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  FWC Enforcement Report January 26-February 1. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 02-14-2018, 11:06 AM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer Long checked a subject as he returned to the Heron Bayou Boat Ramp. While speaking to the individual, Officer Long noticed that both the vehicle and vessel the individual had been operating had expired registrations. A criminal history on the individual revealed he had an active warrant in Escambia County for violation of probation.

Officer Manning received information that an individual in McDavid was keeping an eastern screech owl as a pet and attempting to sell the owl. The owl was seized and turned over to a wildlife rehabilitator and the subject was issued a notice to appear citation.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

While conducting land patrol near Apalachicola Bay, Officers Nelson and Carr conducted a resource inspection of two individuals fishing from a bridge. During the inspection, it was discovered the individuals were in possession of 13 red drum located in a cooler in the bed of their pickup truck. The officers measured each fish and determined that of the 13 fish only one met the minimum size requirement of 18 inches, with 12 of the fish being undersized. The fish were returned to the water alive and appropriate citations were issued to the individuals.

Officer Kossey and Reserve Officer Martin were targeting undersized oysters in the Eastpoint area. They conducted a resource inspection at the Eastpoint Boat Ramp. During the inspection, they determined that the subject was in possession of undersized oysters. After checking a bag of oysters for size tolerance, they determined the bag contained 42% undersized oysters. The subject was cited and 120 undersized oysters were returned to the water alive.

LEON COUNTY

Officer Brower was on land patrol at the Lake Miccosukee Boat Ramp and observed a vessel approach the ramp from the lake. A boating safety inspection revealed that the vessel operator did not have any personal floatation devices on board. The operator was issued a citation for the violation.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

While on water patrol on Yellow River, Officer Rockwell checked on a bait site he found earlier in the week. A boat was tied off near the bait site and he contacted the subject who was hunting the baited area. The subject admitted to placing the bait. The subject was issued a notice to appear citation for placing bait on Eglin Wildlife Management Area.

Officer Maltais was contacted by Eglin Air Force Base Range Patrol personnel concerning two subjects that were observed exiting a closed area and in possession of a buck. The complainant stated the subject’s vehicle was parked and blocking an access gate. Officer Maltais arrived on scene and saw a six-point buck in the bed of the subject’s vehicle. Further, both subjects were found to be in possession of rifles and a semi-automatic pistol. When Range Patrol arrived to address the vehicle blocking the access gate, they observed the subjects exiting from a clearly posted closed area. One of the subjects did not have a state hunting license and the other subject did not have an Eglin permit. Both subjects were issued citations for no hunting licenses and hunting in a closed area.

Officer Arnette received information that a subject had shot a deer while dog hunting that did not meet the horn restriction rule of at least three points on one side or a main beam of ten inches. Officer Arnette located the subjects and found a short-horned buck along with a hunting dog. He determined that one of them had killed the deer and issued a notice to appear for taking an antlered deer that did not meet the antler restriction rule.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Hutchinson and Investigator Hughes received a call from a complainant who informed them that he saw a truck drive up to the edge of a field, two teenagers exit the vehicle, and one of them fired a rifle in his direction at a deer. After missing the deer, the teens drove off. The complainant said the following day, the same truck was seen again at the field after more shots. The complainant identified one of the subjects. The officers drove to the field and located evidence from the incident. The following day, Officer Hutchinson located both subjects at their residence and interviewed them. One of them confessed to shooting at the deer from the right of way and trespassing. The firearms used to commit the violation were seized as evidence and charges were filed with the State’s Attorney Office for attempting to take deer from a right of way.

Officers Hutchinson, Long, and Clark were working late at night targeting night hunting. Officer Hutchinson saw a truck shining the field he was watching and conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle. While speaking with the three subjects, he discovered that the driver was the father of the other two subjects. All three subjects admitted to shining several fields that night to try to shoot a deer. The shotgun and the spotlight were seized and the subjects were cited appropriately.

Officer Hutchinson saw a vehicle travelling towards him while shining a field with an LED light bar mounted on the vehicle. He watched the vehicle turn towards the field a couple of times and sweep the light across the field attempting to locate deer. As the vehicle approached Officer Hutchinson’s location, it stopped. A loaded hunting rifle was in the front seat. While interviewing the subjects they admitted to shining the field to look for deer. The firearm was seized and the driver of the vehicle was charged with night hunting.

Officers Lewis and Jernigan received a complaint regarding someone illegally camping in a non-designated camping area in Blackwater River State Forest. Camping in the forest is only allowed in designated areas. When the officers arrived at the site, there was no one in the area. The area was in disarray, with trash and camping supplies consisting of propane bottles, a grill, soda cans, papers, and alcoholic beverage containers strewn about. The debris extended into a nearby creek. Various trees had been cut down. The officers identified two individuals from articles that were left behind.
The officers contacted the subjects who cooperated with the officers and gave them the names of seven other subjects that camped in the area. The subjects were juveniles and young adults. The officers individually interviewed the subjects at their residences. Each of the subjects admitted to various crimes and, in total, 25 citations and three warnings were issued to the nine subjects.

Officer Ramos discovered several large piles of yard waste, construction debris, fencing materials and insulation that had been illegally dumped on a county road. An investigation led to a nearby home which was undergoing an extensive remodel. The homeowner advised he paid a man to take the debris to the county landfill for proper disposal and that the man even asked for extra money for landfill fees. With the cooperation of the homeowner, Officer Ramos, along with FWC Investigations, set up a second job for the suspect to return to the property and haul off more debris a couple of days later. When the suspect arrived, he loaded a flatbed trailer full of debris and was paid to deliver it to the landfill. Officer Ramos and the FWC investigator followed the suspect covertly when he left the home. The suspect drove directly to the same dumpsite as before and quickly offloaded the debris on the county road. The officers revealed themselves and the suspect was placed under arrest. He was transported to the county jail and faces multiple counts of felony and commercial dumping.

Officer Hutchinson was on patrol when he observed a truck parked in the middle of a paved road. He pulled up to the vehicle and saw a man slumped over in the driver seat. He attempted to get his attention and when he did the man sat up in the seat and drove off. The truck swerved off the roadway and into the other lane several times. Along with a Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s deputy who was patrolling the area, the vehicle was stopped and the man was placed under arrest for driving with a suspended license and driving under the influence of alcohol.

WAKULLA COUNTY

While patrolling the area of Dickerson Bay, Officer Nelson observed an individual harvesting oysters from a prohibited area. A resource inspection revealed that the individual did not possess either a commercial or recreational fishing license and had harvested over the recreational bag limit of oysters in the prohibited area and possessed undersized oysters. The appropriate citations were issued to the individual and the oysters were returned to the water alive.

Officer Carr and K9 Officer Simpson were working a multi-agency detail in the Apalachicola National Forest, which involved approximately 20 officers. The focus of the detail was to conduct resource inspections for violations throughout the forest and hunt camp checks. The officers pulled up to a hunting camp located at Forest Roads 309 and 360 to inspect the camp. Officer Simpson went to a camper that had an ice chest sitting right beside the door. Officer Simpson asked the owner if he could look in the cooler, which he gave permission to do so. Upon inspection, Officer Simpson located deer meat in a black garbage bag that was untagged and absent of sex evidence. While Officer Simpson was talking to the subject, the camper door opened and the subject’s spouse was standing in the doorway and, when asked, stated she was just washing up the dishes. The officers immediately smelled cannabis coming from inside the camper as the door opened. Officer Simpson asked the subject’s spouse if she could explain why there was the smell of marijuana coming from inside the camper. She stated that there was no marijuana in the camper and that she didn’t know why there was a smell and gave permission to search. K9 Officer Anderson assisted with the search, which yielded less than 20 grams of cannabis and paraphernalia. The subject was issued the appropriate citations, given a property receipt and the evidence was placed in the evidence facility.

WALTON COUNTY

Lieutenant Hollinhead worked duck hunting activity to ensure compliance and enforcement of migratory bird hunting regulations. Numerous shots were heard at daylight around a small body of water on private property. Officer Letcher was contacted and responded to assist. An inspection of the subjects leaving the area revealed the subjects were in compliance with their hunting equipment, licenses, and bag limits. The area they were hunting from was checked and Officer Letcher determined the area had been baited with cracked corn. One of the subjects stated he had put the bait out prior to hunting. All three subjects were cited for hunting migratory game birds over a baited area.

Lieutenant Hollinhead, Officers Letcher and Tison located a duck hunt on private property. Nine subjects were observed hunting from blinds. When they completed hunting, Officers Letcher and Tison made contact with them and observed a small amount of bait in their vessel. When questioned, one of the subjects stated he had baited the pond weeks prior to them hunting. Lieutenant Hollinhead and Officer Letcher inspected a portion of the pond in front of a blind they were hunting from and documented two types of grain present in the water. All nine of the subjects were cited for hunting migratory birds over a baited area.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLCING
LEON COUNTY

Lieutenant Wass de Czege participated in the Skills Day portion of the online Hunter Safety Course which covers the knowledge, skills and attitude needed to be a safe hunter. Lieutenant Wass de Czege taught the laws portion of the course to six students in attendance.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Nichols and Wilkenson provided security and support to the park staff and Gulfarium personnel at Henderson Beach State Park. The Gulfarium released nine rehabilitated sea turtles that were affected by the recent freezing temperatures. The park staff estimated 1,600 people attended the turtle release.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
DUVAL COUNTY

A resource protection squad member cited a subject for stone crab violations at Sawpit Boat Ramp. An inspection of a commercial blue crab boat revealed 10 undersized stone crab claws concealed between two five-gallon buckets that had been stacked together. The subject claimed to have no by-catch onboard until the crab claws were found.

SUWANNEE COUNTY

Officer Mobley was on foot patrol on a local landowner’s property when he observed an individual dragging a deer through the woods. The subject continued to drag the deer to a nearby tree where he hung the doe deer up and began to skin it. Officer Mobley approached the subject who admitted to killing the doe deer earlier that day and had just returned to field dress the deer in the cover of the woods. The subject was issued a citation for taking doe deer during closed season.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
SUWANNEE COUNTY

While on patrol, Officer Boone noticed a fire on a local landowner’s property. After taking a closer look and contacting the landowner, Officer Boone determined it was a wild fire that had just started. He quickly alerted Fire and Rescue as well as Department of Forestry who responded quickly and contained the fire from neighboring land, structures and homes.

Officers Boone and Colasanti spoke with approximately 100 students at the Branford Elementary School career day event. They spoke about the many possibilities of a career within FWC and incorporated a boating safety demonstration.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
MARION COUNTY

Officer Rice was on patrol at Silver Springs State Park when he came across a silver truck parked along a closed boundary of the state park. After a short surveillance, an adult male subject was seen carrying a rifle and two traps on the park property. The subject admitted to trapping and taking two raccoons on state park property. The two raccoons and four additional box traps were recovered. The subject was issued a notice to appear for hunting/trapping on the state park without a permit.

LAKE COUNTY

Officers Teal and Shaw received information of illegal duck hunting in the Emeralda Marsh WMA. They located an open gate on private property adjacent to Emeralda Marsh where they heard shots occurring. Three subjects were found in a duck blind. Further investigation revealed there was cracked corn spread out in the area. One of the subjects admitted to placing the corn and stated his two other friends did not know the corn was present. It was also discovered that the same subject was hunting with an unplugged shot gun. The subject was cited appropriately for the violations.

BREVARD/VOLUSIA COUNTY

Senior Federal Wildlife Officer Phil Amoroso with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and FWC Officer Lejarzar coordinated a season-long joint duck detail under the direction of FWC Lieutenant Bonds and Supervisory Federal Wildlife Officer Jane Whaley. The detail, named “Duck Under Cover,” spanned the entire season and included officers from Volusia and Brevard Counties with some extra help from FWC K9 Officer Simpson and K9 Moose. Plain clothes officers posing as duck hunters and bird watchers operated in unmarked mud boats, kayaks, and canoes. The officers worked with marked units to get close enough to identify violations that had been repeatedly reported by the public, but were difficult to address using traditional patrol efforts. The detail resulted in more than 50 State and Federal citations including; hunting over bait, lead shot violations, illegal entry, over the bag limit of waterfowl species, no permit, attempt to take outside of legal shooting hours, interference with hunters, early entry, unplugged shotguns, as well as multiple boating and refuge-specific rule violations. The detail spanned from November 2017 through January 2018 and more than 300 hunters were contacted.

BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Lejarzar was working the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge when he noticed two separate hunting parties enter one of the impoundments illegally. During surveillance, they were seen taking over their limit of bluebill ducks. When the subjects returned, they only showed Officer Lejarzar their daily bag limit after the initial inspection. A further inspection revealed that one of the subjects had hidden the remaining bluebills. The subjects were cited appropriately.

While on patrol at Sebastian Inlet State Park, Investigator Horst observed multiple subjects fishing. As the subjects returned to their vehicle, a resource inspection was conducted which revealed that none of the subjects were in possession of their fishing licenses. A records check indicated that one of the subjects had an active warrant out of St. Lucie County for failing to appear for a fishing violation. The subject was taken into custody and transported to the Brevard County Jail.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

A burglary was reported at Deleon Springs State Park in the last week of December 2017. A tip was received a few weeks later identifying a possible lead in identifying the suspects. The investigation involved conducting multiple interviews, executing multiple search warrants on cell phones, social media, and a residence by FWC officers and investigators, with assistance from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office detectives. The resulting investigation by FWC led to the main suspect being arrested and charged with burglary, grand theft less than $5,000, grand theft of a motor vehicle, and dealing in stolen property.

Investigator McKinney responded to a boating fatality that occurred on Lake Woodruff. A 63-year-old male fell overboard. The operator threw a life jacket and the man in the water held onto it. The operator moved the vessel to the man and reached out with a landing net and brought him alongside. The victim held on to the side of the vessel, but could not get on board with the help of the operator. The victim lost consciousness while a nearby vessel came to assist, but was held above water and then brought aboard. The victim was not breathing and had no pulse. CPR was performed and the victim was taken to Highland Park Fishcamp where he was pronounced dead. This boating accident is currently under investigation.


SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officer Zampella put together an enforcement detail to target vehicles operating off-road in the Webb Management Area. Officers identified a group of individuals operating on closed roads and driving off-road in the wetlands. Officer Thompson observed one of the operators doing doughnuts and damaging management area lands. The group continued to another wetland area and began driving through the ponds. When officers arrived on scene, there were 14 vehicles driving in the wetlands. Operators from each vehicle received citations for the violations, and one of them received a misdemeanor for destruction of state lands. The group was gathered together, educated on the proper use of the management area, and given a chance to ask any questions.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on patrol Officers Messman and Rorer were dispatched to a complaint of people keeping illegal snook. During a resource inspection, it was determined both individuals were in possession of snook during a closed season. In addition, the snook were harvested by cast net which is a prohibited method of take. While on-scene a third individual brought two more snook to the officers and advised he saw one of the individuals hide them under a car. During a post Miranda interview, one of the individuals admitted to hiding the snook when he saw the officers drive up. The individuals were cited for possession of snook during a closed season and illegal method of take. The individual who hid the snook was cited for interfering with the duties of a FWC officer by attempting to prevent the officers from conducting an inspection of his catch by hiding it when he saw them.

While on water patrol on the Hillsborough River, Lieutenant Laskowski and Officers Rorer, Pettifer, and Fagan conducted a boating safety inspection on a vessel. Through the course of the inspection, the officers detected signs of alcohol impairment coming from the operator. Officer Rorer administered standardized seated field sobriety tasks. Based on the operator’s performance on the tasks, it was determined the operator was impaired to the point where his normal faculties were affected. The operator provided a breath sample which was above the legal limit of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) .08. He was arrested for boating under the influence of alcohol and transported to the Hillsborough County jail.

While on water patrol in the Seddon Channel in Tampa, Investigator Prouty and Officers LaRosa and Lehman conducted a boating safety inspection. Through the course of the inspection, signs of impairment were observed coming from the operator. Officer LaRosa administered standardized seated field sobriety tasks. Based on the officer’s observations and the operator’s performance on the tasks, it was determined he was impaired by alcohol to the point where his normal faculties were affected. The operator refused to provide a breath sample. The operator was arrested for boating under the influence of alcohol and issued a $500.00 civil penalty for refusing to provide a lawful breath sample. He was transported and booked into the Hillsborough County jail.

While on patrol near the Courtney Campbell Causeway, Officer Pettifer observed an individual fishing from land. He initiated a resource inspection and found the individual to be in possession of three undersized spotted seatrout and four undersized mangrove snapper. The individual was cited accordingly.

On four separate occasions, Officers Grenz, Dalton, Davidson and Gonzales each were working water patrol at the Gasparilla Festival in the Seddon Channel. While on patrol, they each stopped and performed a boating safety inspection on a vessel participating in the festivities. During the inspections, the officers got some indications from the boat captains that they may be under the influence of alcohol and not fit to be operating a vessel. After performing field sobriety tasks on the captains to gauge their level of impairment, the four subjects were placed under arrest for boating under the influence and taken to the Hillsborough County jail.

Lieutenant DeLacure and Captive Wildlife Investigator Hough arrested two subjects regarding the unlawful taking and possession of indigo buntings and a northern mockingbird which were trapped illegally. The subjects were also charged for tampering with evidence since they attempted to conceal and flee with several birds.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Hazelwood approached two people fishing from the shoreline to conduct a fisheries inspection. He discovered that neither of the two had a valid shoreline fishing license. He checked the bucket that was between the two on the seawall and found 13 mangrove snapper, 10 of which were undersized, and one undersized sheepshead. Appropriate citations were issued.

Officer Winton was on patrol in Matlacha when he located two subjects fishing in a secluded location. He approached the subjects and conducted a resource inspection, which revealed that the subjects were in possession of 48 mangrove snapper, 46 of which were undersized. Additionally, Florida Law states that each fisherman can only harvest five mangrove snapper, meaning that 38 of the snapper were taken over the bag limit. It was also discovered that neither of the subjects had a valid fishing license. The individuals were cited appropriately.

Officer Winton was on offshore vessel patrol in the Gulf of Mexico when he saw a commercial stone crab vessel transiting back inshore. A resource inspection revealed that the occupants were in possession of 11 undersized stone crab claws. A check with FWC dispatch revealed that the captain had multiple previous warnings and citations for violation of stone crab regulations. The captain was issued a notice to appear for the violations.

Officer Winton was on patrol in Pine Island when he saw a fishing vessel tied up in front of a boat ramp. Officer Winton approached the subject to conduct a fisheries inspection. The occupant quickly threw out a whole stone crab and gag grouper, even though he was instructed not to. A resource inspection revealed six additional undersized gag grouper. The operator was placed under arrest for misdemeanor violations pertaining to whole stone crabs, undersized gag grouper, over-the-bag gag grouper, out-of-season gag grouper, and obstructing a FWC investigation.

Lieutenant Spoede and Officers Winton and Hazelwood worked a detail for Tampa’s Gasparilla Parade utilizing Lee County’s SAFE Patrol Vessel. During the operation, the officers maintained public safety and security and arrested an impaired boat operator for boating under the influence. In addition, while traveling to the detail offshore, Lieutenant Spoede heard a mayday call on the VHF radio and responded to the scene. He rescued two subjects from their sinking boat in rough weather. The rescue highlighted the SAFE Patrol Vessel’s ability to perform public safety operations in hazardous weather.

Lieutenant Ruggiero and Officer Bell tracked some individuals they believed were possibly hunting in the Yucca Pens Management Area. Officer Bell saw one individual inside the Yucca Pens, and heard dogs barking and hogs squealing. When another individual saw Officer Bell, the entire group attempted to flee the area. The officers set up a perimeter and stopped four people. Two individuals were caught inside the management area with dogs and admitted to hunting hogs on the property. The officers identified the individuals who got away. Six misdemeanors, six infractions, and six warnings were issued. Additional charges may be pending.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
LEE COUNTY

Officers Price and Stapleton did panther enforcement in the Lee County panther protection areas. During their detail, the officers stopped 11 vehicles for speed related violations. Ten traffic citations and six warnings were issued. During the stops, the officers sought to educate drivers about the importance of following the speed limit for the protection of panthers that may be in the area. The highest recorded speed was 83 miles per hour in the 45 miles per hour posted speed zone.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Lieutenant Frantz and Officer Birchfield attended and spoke at a Charlotte Harbor fishing seminar. Among the guest speakers were a charter captain and a CCA representative. There were approximately 150 attendees.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
GLADES COUNTY

Officer Brodbeck was on vessel patrol on Fisheating Bay when he received a report of a boating accident involving two vessels participating in a bass tournament out of Clewiston. Two occupants of one vessel were ejected into the water. The two occupants of the second vessel were uninjured. Both boats sustained damage, but were able to continue to the Clewiston boat ramp. One subject with an injury was transported to the local hospital by EMS. Officer Brodbeck took photographs, collected witness statements and collected evidence relevant to the accident. The investigation is ongoing.

Officer Brodbeck was on vessel patrol in the Sportsman’s Canal when he observed a vessel with a single occupant actively fishing. A vessel stop was initiated to conduct a boating safety and resource inspection. The subject then opened the lid to a cooler, and in plain view was a black crappie on ice. Officer Brodbeck told the subject that he needed to measure the fish. The subject reached into the cooler and Officer Brodbeck told the subject not to grab the fish and that it needed to be measured. The subject picked up the fish and Officer Brodbeck loudly told the subject to drop the fish back into the cooler. The subject threw the fish into the water. Officer Brodbeck issued the subject a notice to appear (citation) for failure to allow inspection by an FWC Officer.

Officers Dial and Brodbeck were conducting resource inspections at the Harney Pond Canal Boat Ramp. They observed a vessel coming to the ramp with several fishing poles visible. Once the vessel was at the ramp, a resource inspection was initiated. The subject was found to be in possession of several black crappie, two which were under the ten-inch minimum for Lake Okeechobee. The subject was cited for being in possession of black crappie less than ten inches in total length.

MARTIN COUNTY

Officer Willems was on patrol in the Dupuis Wildlife Management Area when he observed three individuals illegally camping. The individuals also had motorcycles in the beds of their trucks. The three individuals were issued infractions for illegally camping, and two warnings were issued for possession of unregistered motorcycles in the Dupuis WMA. Later the same week, 4 individuals were observed with an illegal campsite at the Governor’s House Picnic Area in the Dupuis WMA. Four infractions for illegal camping were issued along with 8 warnings for having an illegal fire and possession of alcohol in the Dupuis WMA. While on patrol after the camping incident, an individual was observed driving erratically with his passenger outside of the vehicle hanging on to the side of the vehicle. A traffic stop was initiated and the driver was issued a citation for careless driving. The parents of the driver and the passenger were called to inform them of the situation. Later that day, in the Allapattah WMA, an individual was observed in one of the parking areas with an ultralight aircraft strapped to his vehicle. When questioned, the individual stated that he was looking for a good place to take off. The individual was educated that aircraft of any kind, including model aircraft, are not allowed to be used in the Allapattah WMA.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
BROWARD COUNTY

Officers Vacin and Brock assisted on a manatee rescue. A manatee was tangled in a life jacket which made it difficult, if not impossible for the manatee to submerge. Officer Vacin guided a patrol vessel in proximity to the manatee so that FWC biologists could catch it with a hoop net off the front of his vessel. Once the manatee was on land, both officers helped with lifting, moving, and restraining the manatee so that the biologists could complete their work quickly and get the manatee back in the water. Everything went well and the manatee was released in good condition.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

While on land patrol in a known bunting trapping area of Miami-Dade, an investigator and officer drove past a residence that had two trapping cages with indigo and painted buntings inside. The owner of the residence was contacted and another cage was discovered inside the yard containing migratory birds. The owner was charged with misdemeanor violations of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and nine birds were seized, along with one regular cage and two trapping cages.

MONROE COUNTY

Officers Wagner, Piekenbrock, Rubenstein, and Alvarez were targeting commercial shrimp vessels south of Key West. Upon boarding a shrimp vessel out of Texas, the captain and two mates stated that they had only shrimp and a few tuna onboard, no other resource. An inspection of the vessel’s shrimp hold revealed three large freezer bags hidden deep behind trash bags and large sacks of shrimp. Post Miranda interviews found that the two mates were responsible for 85 wrung lobster tails, 59 of which were undersized. The two mates were arrested and taken to Stock Island jail, while the Captain was cited for MSD violation in state waters. The targeted enforcement effort resulted in four MSD violations, and two warnings for illegal resource possession.

A boater was out fishing bayside of Islamorada when he found a body floating near the mangroves. Officers responded, recovered the body, and transported it to the FWC office nearby. Officers later recovered the deceased man’s small skiff which was blown up into the mangroves from the high winds. The boating accident is still ongoing and the cause of death has not been determined.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

FWC officers met with youth from Miami Jackson Senior High at the SRB Office. Participating officers/investigators were matched with students in an Agricultural Science Academy within the school based on shared traits with students. They enjoyed breakfast and lunch together and taught them about unique duties as conservation law enforcement officers.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers from Collier County conducted targeted patrols in the Picayune Strand State Forest to combat unauthorized use of the forest after hours and in areas closed to vehicle traffic. The two-night detail found numerous individuals operating vehicles in closed areas and in the forest after hours. In each case appropriate law enforcement action was taken.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Knutson and Lieutenant Mahoney responded to the Faka Union Canal to provide transportation to the Manatee Rescue Team as they recovered two deceased manatees. While on scene, one field necropsy was performed and one recovery was conducted. As they were returning the manatee staff back to the boat ramp, they were notified of a manatee in distress nicknamed Sidewinder by the local boaters. They located the manatee and coordinated a capture effort for the following day.
The following day an additional manatee was discovered in distress. The manatee staff was able to place the manatee in a stretcher with a successful recovery. After completion, attention was turned to locating and capturing Sidewinder. After several hours, the capture team arrived and completed another effective capture.

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  FWC Enforcement Report January 19-25. All Regions.
Posted by: bigefromlc - 02-02-2018, 02:10 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
FRANKLIN COUNTY

Officer Raker was on land patrol in the Apalachicola National Forest when he observed a vehicle traveling north on Ashley Landing road displaying a light in a manner capable of disclosing the presence of wildlife. During a vehicle stop, a resource inspection was conducted and the odor of marijuana was emanating from one of the passengers. A small glass pipe was found under the seat. The subject was cited for possession of drug paraphernalia.

LEON COUNTY

While participating in the “Steel Curtain” detail in Apalachicola National Forest, Officer Mandrick observed a subject wearing blaze orange and camouflage clothing outside a truck pulled off a forest road. While checking the subject’s hunting license, marijuana was observed on top of the dog box in the bed of the subject’s truck. K-9 Officer Anderson arrived on scene for assistance and located a shotgun hidden in a palmetto bush. The subject was arrested for possession of a firearm by convicted felon and possession of marijuana.

Officer Hildebrand was on patrol in the Apalachicola National Forest when he received a call from dispatch regarding hunting dogs near private property. Upon arrival, he encountered several subjects who stated they were trying to catch their hunting dogs. The complainant had caught two hunting dogs with global positioning collars and it was determined that the hunting dogs had crossed over to private property after seeing the global positioning tracts the dogs followed. Appropriate citations were issued to the two dog owners.

While working a special detail, Officer Peterson discovered two individuals hunting with dogs. After a brief discussion, it was determined that the subjects’ dogs were pursuing deer on private property. The subjects admitted that they did not have permission to hunt the property. Both subjects received citations for violating the Hunter Responsibility Rule.

Officer Peterson assisted Officer Raker with a resource inspection on the Apalachicola Wildlife Management Area. During the stop, the officers noticed blood on the dog box. The subject admitted to shooting a short horn spike earlier that day. The subject took the officers to the property where he cleaned the deer. The subject was cited for taking antlerless deer and the meat and head were seized for evidence.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Pifer and Corbin, along with Lieutenant Clark, were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety/fisheries inspections in the Destin Pass and observed a vessel returning from the Gulf of Mexico displaying rods and reels. While conducting a boating safety inspection, the officers observed, in plain view, two harvested red drum and a gag grouper. A resource inspection determined the two red drum were oversized and gag grouper is closed for recreational harvest. The vessel operator was cited and issued notice to appear citations for possession of oversized red drum and possession of gag grouper during closed season. The passenger was also cited for possession of oversized red drum.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

While on patrol, Officer Mullins was checking a subject who had recently taken a deer. The subject had a cooler full of fresh deer meat, but the subject did not have the meat tagged and did not possess any sex evidence showing that the meat was from a legal deer. Officer Hutchinson arrived shortly thereafter to assist. The subject admitted to taking a short-horned buck that was under the legal antler size limit for the area. Through the investigation, it was discovered that a second subject had harvested a short-horned buck from this same property a day earlier. The officers seized two sets of antlers, the meat from two fresh deer and two firearms that were used to take the illegal deer along with cannabis and drug paraphernalia. Several charges were filed with the State Attorney’s Office.

Lieutenant Hahr was patrolling the Escambia River Wildlife Management Area at Salter’s Lake after receiving complaints that subjects had been shooting well after legal shooting hours. Lieutenant Hahr heard several shots well after shooting hours coming from a slough between the lake and the main river. After crossing the lake at a shallow area and walking towards the shots, the subjects were located and shooting at ducks 28 minutes after legal shooting hours. Neither of the subjects had a valid hunting license, waterfowl permit, management area permit, federal duck stamp, and both subjects were using lead shot to take waterfowl. Additionally, the subject that owned the boat had not transferred the title to the boat and the registration was expired along with several other boating safety infractions. Investigator Livesay and Officer Pettey arrived at the boat ramp and assisted Lieutenant Hahr. Both subjects were issued notices to appear for taking ducks after legal shooting hours, taking ducks with lead shot, and citations for license violations and boating safety violations.

WAKULLA COUNTY

Officers Carr and Simpson were on land patrol at the public boat ramp at Shell Point when they conducted a resource inspection of duck hunters returning from a hunt. The inspection revealed that one of the subjects did not have a migratory bird permit. The subject was cited for the violation.

Officers Raker and Carr was working the deer decoy in the Apalachicola National Forest near Forest Road 340 when a subject passing by, stopped, and stuck his rifle out the window and fired at the decoy. The subject was cited for violation of the management area rule and evidence was seized and stored in the evidence facility.

Officers Hofheinz and Korade were working the deer decoy in the Apalachicola National Forest near Forest Highway 313 when a subject stopped and looked at some deer tracks on the road in the area. He later returned with other subjects to prepare to deploy dogs. The members of the group saw the decoy and two subjects shot it from separate vehicles. The officers cited the subjects for the management area rule violation and transported one of them to the Wakulla County Jail for possession of a firearm with its serial number removed. All evidence from the case was placed in the evidence facility.

WALTON COUNTY

Officer Bradshaw located a vehicle parked near an area closed to hunting on Point Washington Wildlife Management Area and made contact with a subject returning to a vehicle who had been hunting. An inspection of the area where the subject had been hunting revealed he had placed bait around his tree stand. The subject was cited for hunting in a closed area and was also issued a warning for placing bait on a wildlife management area.

Officer White was patrolling the Briar Creek Unit on Eglin Wildlife Management Area that was closed to hunting due to training activities by the U. S. Air Force. After observing a vehicle parked along a road, he located two subjects hunting. Both subjects stated they had not checked the open/closed status of the unit prior to hunting which is required due to active military missions on portions of the management area. Both subjects were cited for entering a closed area.

Officer Tison was patrolling northern Walton County early in the morning targeting duck hunting on private lands. Constant shooting was heard from one area, and by aid of aerial maps and moving to different locations, he was able to triangulate where the shots were coming from. A locked gate was found to be the entry point onto the private land where the shooting was coming from. Five subjects were seen hunting over a pond. Office White arrived to assist, and upon inspecting the subjects, Officer Tison located whole corn on the edge of the pond to draw the ducks to the pond. The subjects were cited for taking/attempting to take migratory birds over bait.

RESCUES
FRANKLIN COUNTY

Officers Matechik, Sauls, Stephens, Nelson, Raker, and Miller responded to an overdue vessel in the Apalachicola Bay. The subjects left the night before to go fishing in the freezing temperatures. Shortly after arriving at their fishing location, their vessel broke down. After spending 28 hours in the elements, the subjects were located in Lost Creek by the Aviation Unit and assisted back to the boat ramp.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
NASSAU COUNTY

Several resource protection officers, uniform officers and one investigator conducted Operation Scavenger which targeted after-hours duck shooting in Nassau County hunt clubs. Complaints were received concerning subjects shooting waterfowl as they returned to the roost 25 minutes after sunset. Officers set up, listened for shots, and then made contact with the violators. Citations and warnings were issued for shooting migratory birds after sunset, unplugged shotguns and license violations. Word of this enforcement activity spread and the illegal activity quickly stopped.

HAMILTON COUNTY

Officers Johnston and Yates responded to an in-progress trespass call involving multiple subjects with dogs trespassing on private land. Upon arrival, the suspects had already left the area. The complainant gave detailed vehicle descriptions along with a suspect’s name. The complainant also stated a single gunshot was heard after the subjects left the private land. The officers began to canvas the surrounding area looking for vehicles matching the descriptions provided by the complainant. Within minutes, the officers located a large group of subjects hanging around a skinning rack beside a mobile home. The crowd dispersed when the officers arrived revealing a cooler full of fresh deer meat and a truck backed up to the skinning rack with the bed having been recently washed. The officers located the owner of the truck who admitted to transporting an antlerless deer in the bed of his truck earlier before the officers arrived. The subject admitted to being in possession of the illegal deer but denied having any knowledge about who shot the deer. The officers located the freshly dumped antlerless deer carcass a short distance away down a remote road. Blood and hair samples were collected from both locations including suspected deer hair from the bed of the suspect’s truck. The deer meat was photographed and seized as evidence. Resource charges are pending with the State Attorney’s Office on at least one subject.

SUWANNEE COUNTY

Officer Mobley was on foot patrol on a local landowner’s property when he observed an individual dragging a deer through the woods. The subject continued to drag the deer to a nearby tree where he hung the doe deer up and began to skin it. Officer Mobley approached the subject who admitted to killing the doe deer earlier that day and had just returned to field dress the deer in the cover of the woods. The subject was issued a citation for taking doe deer during closed season.

TAYLOR COUNTY

Officer Colasanti was on patrol near the Aucilla River and conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle near the Mandalay boat ramp. After giving a false name, the passenger fled on foot into the woods. Officer Colasanti secured the driver and Officer Albritton and Wilder responded to assist along with Taylor Correctional Institute K-9 team. Officer Wilder accompanied the K-9 team tracking the suspect for approximately 4 miles and lost the track at the Fenholloway River. Officer Albritton notified nearby hunt club members to keep an eye out for the suspect and a short time later received a phone call that the club members had the suspect held at gunpoint at their camp. Officers Albritton, Colasanti and Wilder responded and placed the suspect, wet, tired and dirty, in custody. He was booked into the Taylor County Jail on outstanding felony warrants, resisting arrest and providing false information to law enforcement.

Officer Albritton received information of illegal dog running in Steinhatchee Springs WMA. Officers Dasher and Colasanti responded to assist. Officer Dasher heard the dogs running and caught them. The officers then documented the owner’s information from the dogs’ collars and placed them in a pen at the suspect’s camp. Charges are being direct filed with the State Attorney’s Office.

ALACHUA COUNTY

Officer Harris responded to a complaint of a subject shooting a deer from a vehicle along an easement road bordering the complainant’s property. Officer Harris located fresh blood, part of a liver, and deer hair in the bed of the suspect’s vehicle. Officer Harris also discovered fresh deer hair and blood on a table in the yard when he noticed a dog sniffing and licking the table. Further search of the property revealed a freshly killed antlerless deer carcass along with a box of remains dumped in the woods on the property. With the assistance of Investigators Ayers and Bing, who determined the deer was not hit, Officer Harris was able to charge two suspects. They were booked into jail on possession of firearm by convicted felon and one suspect admitted to driving the truck on the road, shooting the deer with a small caliber handgun, and then bringing the deer to the other suspect who cleaned it. Officer Harris seized the meat, carcass, and remains and he will be filing additional charges on both subjects for the doe deer and closed season violations, as well as the criminal traffic violation.

RESCUES
NASSAU COUNTY

Officer Johnston was on an animal call with two Columbia County sheriff’s deputies when the deputies received a report of a structure fire with a disabled male subject trapped inside the home. The structure fire was just a block away and Officer Johnston followed to assist. Officer Johnston and the responding deputies arrived on scene and entered the smoke-filled residence to confirm all occupants in the home had evacuated safely while checking on the well-being of those already outside the home. Several birds and one subject remained inside who was successfully controlling the fire with a fire extinguisher. Fire/rescue personnel arrived shortly thereafter to handle remaining fire suppression efforts and any medical needs.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ALACHUA COUNTY

Lieutenant Ferguson and Officers Stanley, Butler and Sheffield worked the annual Tour De San Felasco bike race, a 50K bike race through the state park. With more than 800 registered bicyclists and a large crowd of spectators, the event went well.

Officer Stanley attended career day at Santa Fe High School. Nearly 1,200 students attended the event to ask questions about various jobs and careers.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Officer Johnston was the guest speaker at Columbia High School’s bass fishing club monthly meeting. Officer Johnston spoke about boating safety and answered questions from students and parents. Approximately 50 students and parents were in attendance.

SUWANNEE COUNTY

Officers Boone and Colasanti spoke with approximately 100 students at the Branford Elementary School career day event. They spoke about the many possibilities of a career within FWC and incorporated a boating safety demonstration.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Officer Aswall was on afternoon Joint Enforcement Action (JEA) patrol in the area of the Vilano Boat basin when she conducted an inspection of a recreational vessel which had just returned from offshore. The inspection revealed the subject was in possession of 10 vermillion snapper, five over the daily bag limit on the Atlantic coast. The subject was issued a citation for the fisheries violation.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Officer Harris participated in a joint training exercise with marine unit members of the City of St. Augustine Fire Department and St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, along with servicemen from the US Coast Guard (USCG). The exercise and training included lowering a rescue swimmer from a USCG helicopter onto the FWC patrol vessel, then lowering and hoisting a basket back to the helicopter. The exercise/training provided useful insight into understanding how training partnerships between area public safety agencies can lead to effective and efficient rescue operations during maritime emergencies.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officer Zampella was conducting fisheries inspections when he stopped a charter boat captain returning from a fishing charter. During his inspection Officer Zampella found several trout on board. After measuring the fish, he determined three of the fish were undersized. A misdemeanor citation was issued for the violation.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on land patrol in Plant City, Officer Wilkins observed a vehicle parked by a locked fence leading into a farm. The land owner had issues in the past with people trespassing to fish in the pond on the property. Officer Godfrey arrived to assist, and the two officers walked the property and found a subject fishing at the pond. The subject was cited for trespassing and escorted off the property.

Lieutenant Holcomb and Officer Guerin observed some individuals duck hunting near the mouth of the Alafia River. Officer Guerin observed that they were hunting too close to Bird Island, which is closed to such activity. The individuals were made aware of the violation and were properly educated. The individuals left without incident.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Hardgrove was on uniformed patrol on Pine Island when he observed a vessel violating a manatee zone. He stopped the vessel and asked the two occupants if they had caught any fish. They both stated it was a slow day and they only had bait onboard. The vessel had blood and scales on the deck consistent with multiple fish having been caught. Officer Hardgrove asked the occupants to open the live well. The captain opened the stern live well which only had shrimp and baitfish onboard. Officer Hardgrove asked again if there were any fish on the vessel and once again the subjects stated that they hadn’t had any luck. An inspection of the vessel revealed a second hatch at the bow of the boat which contained 12 sheepshead and a gag grouper. The subjects were issued notices to appear for undersized sheepshead, undersized gag grouper, and interference with an FWC officer, as well as multiple warnings.

Officer Hardgrove was on uniformed patrol at the Pineland boat ramp when he observed a vessel with three occupants returning to the dock. A resource inspection revealed 16 spotted seatrout; four of which were undersized. The captain of the vessel was issued a notice to appear for undersized seatrout.

While on uniformed patrol at the Pine Island Co-Op boat ramp, Officer Hardgrove observed a subject putting his vessel on a trailer. Officer Hargrove asked him if he had caught any fish and he pointed to a bucket in the back of his truck. A resource inspection revealed 35 stone crab claws, 24 of which were undersized. The subject was issued a notice to appear for possession of undersized stone crab claws and shown how to properly measure the claws.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on land patrol at the 4th St. Boat Ramp, Officer Bibeau observed a person carrying a cast net walking across the bridge. He approached the subject to conduct a fisheries inspection and observed him placing a plastic bag on the ground. A resource inspection revealed eight extremely small sheepshead. The individual was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of undersized sheepshead.

Officer Martinez and Bibler were on the water when they received a call from dispatch stating that a subject was catching and keeping undersized and over the bag limit spotted seatrout. A resource inspection found the man to be in possession of 11 spotted seatrout, nine of which were undersized. The man was told he was only allowed four per day and that they had to be at least 15 inches. The subject was cited for his violations, and cited for a major violation for being in possession of excess of three or more trout over the limit.

Officer Alvis was on patrol in South Pinellas and observed a vehicle doing doughnuts on Gandy Beach at a high rate of speed. Additionally, Officer Alvis observed the vehicle drive towards a flock of protected shore birds causing them to scatter. The driver was issued a notice to appear for damage to public lands, and was educated about the protected status of the shore birds.

RESCUES
LEE COUNTY

Lieutenant Ruggiero received a phone call from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) regarding an unconfirmed plane crash in Bonita Springs and began coordinating a response to assist with searching a dense area of woods. Officers Collazo and Rogers along with the LCSO, Department of Forestry, and Fire and Rescue responded to assist. The LCSO helicopter pilots confirmed there was a plane crash after they located a debris field in the woods and guided officers to the location. Officers Collazo and Rogers made their way through the woods on foot to search for survivors but unfortunately the pilot was deceased. The investigation was turned over to the LCSO and the National Transportation Safety Board to determine the cause of the crash.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Lieutenant Holcomb visited an elementary school in South Tampa and talked with students about the job of an FWC officer and the importance of conservation. Lieutenant Holcomb brought an alligator for a demonstration and several educational handouts for the children to take with them.

PASCO COUNTY

Officer Pulaski conducted an outreach event at Hacienda Village in New Port Richey. There were approximately 45 persons in attendance. Officer Pulaski spoke about feeding wildlife and the rules that prohibit certain activities.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Investigator Coffin arrested a boat operator involved in a 2015 boating accident fatality. During the accident, one subject was killed and two others sustained serious injuries. The subject turned himself in and was charged with a total of seven felony counts to include, vessel homicide, boating under the influence (BUI) manslaughter, BUI manslaughter with unlawful blood alcohol limit, BUI manslaughter impairment, BUI serious bodily injury (2 counts).

GLADES COUNTY

Officer Brodbeck was conducting resource inspections when he observed multiple subjects fishing at the Moore Haven Locks. A resource inspection revealed two black crappie which measured less than the required 10 inches. The subject was checked through FWC records and it was discovered that the subject had previously received a warning for the same violation, as well as other citations related to freshwater fishing. The subject was issued a notice to appear (citation) for the violation, and the fish were photographed and returned to the water.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Hankinson conducted a derelict vessel investigation near the Burt Reynolds Boat Ramp. Through proactive investigative work, the owner has been identified, interviewed and cited for “vessel at-risk.” Officer Hankinson is monitoring the issue daily and working diligently with the owner to have it legally removed from state waters. The owner will be criminally cited if the violation is not corrected within 30 days of notice.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

FWC’s Miami Port Investigation Team (Stiffler, Martir-Negron and K-9 Mag) assisted the USFWS at the Miami Airport. Inspection of boxes containing marine fish revealed one box containing four lionfish (2 Pterois antennata- Spotfin Lionfish and 2 Pterois radiana-Tailbar Lionfish). The fish were seized and the importer was issued a misdemeanor citation for the unlawful importation of lionfish.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Thompson and Officer Pino were on patrol conducting a retail inspection at a bait house in Key Largo. Officer Thompson requested the proper paperwork from the individual that was working in the retail store. He explained that he could not find the purchase invoices and contacted the owner, who stated that the invoices were located in another city. After refusing to comply with instructions, he was arrested and transported to the Monroe County Jail and cited for refusing to sign the resource citation, interference with two FWC officers, and failure to keep adequate records.

COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Amuso, Polly, and Kleis responded to a wildlife feeding complaint in Naples. According to the complainant, employees of a local car wash were feeding large numbers of racoons at the business every afternoon. The officers concealed themselves and observed a subject toss what appeared to be dog or cat food to raccoons. The subject was educated and cited appropriately and the Collier County Health Department was contacted. Officers will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that the feeding has ceased.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Officer Washington presented information about FWC’s law enforcement division to approximately 30-40 students from Fanshawe college in their ‘Police Foundation’ study program. We hosted the 16th annual field trip where students from Fanshawe College visit FWC, learn about our agency, and experience ride-alongs with marine officers to develop a better understanding of our daily operations. Investigator Smith and the owner of the South Florida exotic wildlife rehab center brought wildlife such as pythons, alligators and a lemur to teach the group about his duties as a Captive Wildlife Investigator.

COLLIER COUNTY

The Collier County FWC patrol team including a combination of patrol officers and lieutenants staffed the FWC Law Enforcement booth at the Naples Boat show this week. They provided information to the public and answered questions about boating safety and education, livery/boat rental safety, derelict and displaced vessels enforcement efforts, saltwater and freshwater fishing regulations, and hunting and land use regulations. Other topics included human-wildlife conflict mitigation for bears, panthers, alligators, pythons and other species local to Collier County. Hundreds of stakeholders interacted with our staff.

Officer Plussa and Lieutenant Mahoney conducted state park patrol during the annual beach arts and crafts show at Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park. Hundreds of local stakeholders and visiting tourists were at the park during the event. Officer Plussa and Lieutenant Mahoney answered questions and interacted with the public, providing information about state park and saltwater fishing regulations. In addition to educating the public, they conducted speed and shoreline fisheries and boating enforcement and issued appropriate citations and warnings.

Officer Curbelo and Lieutenant Bulger joined members of the panther biologist team to represent the FWC at the annual AgVentures Day in Immokalee. More than 400 first graders from 5 area schools came out to learn about 4-H programs, animal husbandry, farming, and Florida panthers.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROL
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Plussa, Officer Thurkettle, and Lieutenant Mahoney conducted overnight offshore patrol between 5-9 miles off Marco Island. Their efforts focused on commercial shrimp boats potentially fishing inside state waters off southwest Florida. Also targeted were vessels engaged in commercial mackerel fishing and any vessel operating at night without required navigation lights. Their stops resulted in multiple violations including criminal commercial fisheries license violations, violations for safety equipment, registration, marine sanitation devices, and navigation lights. Appropriate citations and warnings were issued.

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  FWC Enforcement Report January 12-18. All Regions.
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NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
CALHOUN COUNTY



Officers Alsobrooks, Coker and Hayes were working night hunting when Officer Alsobrooks observed a truck on a county road traveling at a slow rate of speed. The truck continued to travel slowly while a spotlight out the passenger window illuminated clear-cut fields. Officer Alsobrooks followed the truck for approximately two miles and observed the passenger using the spotlight sweeping every clear-cut field they passed. The truck was heading in the direction where the other two officers were positioned. When the vehicle and officers met, a traffic stop was conducted. A female was operating the truck and a male passenger was using the spotlight. The occupants were in possession of a 30-06 rifle and ammunition. Appropriate charges and warnings were issued for the violations.



Officer Baber was conducting surveillance on a farm field and a newly cleared area. At approximately 8:00 pm, he saw a truck drive by slowly with a spotlight being used out of the driver’s side window. Officer Baber conducted a traffic stop and found the driver had a loaded .22 caliber rifle in the passenger seat. The suspect was issued a notice to appear for the violations.



ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officers Clark and Long discovered a large amount of trash dumped along a road way in Escambia County. They dug through the trash and found the name and address of an individual they suspected dumped the trash. They located the subject and interviewed him and he admitted the trash belonged to him and that he dumped it along the roadside. The subject was issued a notice to appear for dumping.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

Officers Kossey and Travis were working duck hunting activity in Apalachicola Bay. After checking multiple vessels, they observed a vessel returning to the 10 Foot Hole Boat Ramp after dark operating without navigation lights. They stopped the vessel to address the violation. After stopping the vessel, they observed that the subjects were returning from duck hunting. The subjects stated they had killed a limit of blue bills and presented the ducks. After a thorough search of the vessel the officers located an additional nine blue bills stuffed into a chair bag. All three occupants were cited for over the bag limit.

While working deer hunting activity in the Apalachicola Wildlife Environmental Area, Officers Kossey and Travis located a subject hunting in Bloody Bluff with a short horn spike on his dog box. The subject initially stated that his son had shot the deer, but after a short investigation, he recanted his story and stated he had shot the deer. They cited the subject for taking an antlerless deer. Later that afternoon the officers encountered another subject in the Bear Creek area. They observed blood on the trunk of his car and a deer leg sticking out of the trunk. They stopped the car and a subsequent search revealed an illegal deer (spike) in the trunk of the vehicle. The subject was cited for taking a spike deer in the Apalachicola Wildlife Environmental Area.

While working oyster enforcement in the Eastpoint area of Apalachicola Bay, Officers Sauls and Matechik observed a boat traveling east in the Eastpoint Channel towards Barber’s Seafood. When the operator of the vessel saw the officers waiting by the dock, he turned around and threw two bags of oysters overboard. The officers stopped the subject and he stated he would rather throw his catch over than receive a ticket for undersized oysters. The subject was cited for interference with an FWC Officer.

While on land patrol working hunting activity in the Apalachicola Wildlife Management Area, Officer Raker observed a vehicle traveling north on Ashley Landing Road displaying a light in a manner capable of disclosing the presence of wildlife. During a vehicle stop, the occupants were advised that a resource inspection would be conducted. During the inspection, the odor of marijuana was present. A search of the immediate area where the subject was seated in the vehicle revealed a small glass pipe under the seat. The subject was appropriately cited for the violation.

JACKSON COUNTY

Officer Hayes received information that five subjects harvested 39 wood ducks. He and Officer Forehand began an investigation and they located photographs of the subjects and ducks. All of the subjects were interviewed and all admitted to shooting the ducks. Appropriate charges for taking over the bag limit of wood ducks were filed.

Lieutenant Allen and Officer Forehand located an area where a known convicted felon was deer hunting. They located the suspect’s blind and conducted surveillance of the area. The suspect came out of the blind approximately two hours after legal hunting hours and was not in possession of a firearm. The officers went to the suspect’s blind and found a loaded .243 caliber rifle. The suspect was issued a notice to appear for the hunting violations and charged directly through the State Attorney’s Office for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Corbin was on land patrol near the Fort Walton Beach Landing when he observed a sailboat tied to the dock/boat ramp. Two individuals were on the vessel with one individual actively fishing. Two other individuals were interacting with the subjects on the boat. The subjects were sharing a small smoking pipe, and after inhaling, would pass it to another person. During a resource inspection, the subjects admitted they were smoking cannabis. Officer Corbin recovered and seized a small smoking pipe and a bag containing cannabis. Two of the subjects were issued a notice to appear citations for possession of drug paraphernalia and the other subject was issued a notice to appear citation for possession of cannabis.

Officer Corbin was on land patrol near the Fort Walton Beach Landing when he recognized a vessel tied to the dock that was previously anchored in the Destin Harbor. The officer contacted the registered vessel owner who advised he sold the boat in November 2017. The individual provided the officer with the new owner name/contact information. Officer Corbin contacted the new owner. The new owner confirmed that he purchased the vessel in November 2017. The officer asked for the bill of sale. The new owner stated the document got wet and he threw it away, but did provide the vessel’s title. The new owner was issued a notice to appear citation for failure to transfer vessel title within the thirty days from the date of purchase.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Lieutenant Lambert arrived at Boiling Creek Boat Ramp in Eglin WMA a little after sunset. There were two trucks with boat trailers parked at the ramp. A brief time later, he heard several wood ducks fly over and heard multiple gun shots from two locations, one north of the boat ramp and one south of the boat ramp. The shooting continued until approximately 35 minutes after sunset. During waterfowl season, ducks can legally be hunted until sunset. The vessels arrived back at the ramp, one vessel from the north location and one from the south location. Lieutenant Lambert interviewed the subjects, they both possessed duck hunting equipment along with wood ducks. The subjects were cited and warned for several violations to include hunting ducks after hours, unplugged shotgun and various boating safety violations.

WALTON COUNTY

Officer Bartlett was on land patrol in the Freeport area when he was approached by a Walton County Deputy about a vessel located at Marsh Landing. The deputy advised the vessel was tied up to the dock and there was a white male living on the vessel. Officer Bartlett arrived at Marsh Landing and contacted the individual on the boat. The vessel displayed an expired registration since 2001. The officer determined the individual was also the vessel’s owner. The boat owner stated he purchased the boat several months ago and provided the vessel’s title documentation. The new owner had yet to transfer the vessel’s title to his name. Officer Bartlett explained per statute he has thirty days to transfer the vessel title to his name. The officer stated he would return in thirty days to verify the transfer occurred. The officer then issued the boat owner several written warnings related required safety equipment. When the officer returned thirty days later, the vessel owner still had not complied with vessel transfer and was issued a notice to appear citation for failure to transfer title.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
DUVAL COUNTY

Resource Protection Squad officers were conducting plain clothes surveillance on trout fishing activity at Alimicani when several five-gallon buckets were found sitting in the mud at low tide. Two individuals were observed actively harvesting oysters from an unclassified closed area. The pair had eight buckets filled to the brim with oysters and were working on filling up three more. Neither person had a saltwater fishing license. The subjects were cited for violations including harvesting from a closed area and over the recreational oyster bag limit.

Environmental Investigator Terrones was notified of a large pile of debris that had been illegally discarded in a wooded field in Jacksonville. The items included wood flooring, 5-gallon paint buckets, fiberglass insulation, particle board, PVC pipes, cardboard and trash bags. A pizza box with a customer phone number and address led investigators to a female who admitted that her boyfriend was to blame. The suspect was later interviewed, admitted to the dumping and began to remove and properly dispose of the litter. The suspect was charged accordingly.

HAMILTON COUNTY

While on patrol in Hamilton County, Officer Nichols observed a group of subjects leaving a private hunting lease. Upon conducting a hunting inspection, Officer Nichols found the subjects in possession of three deer, two of which were antlerless. Citations were issued for taking antlerless deer during closed season and non-resident hunting license violations.

While patrolling Hamilton County, Officers Nichols and Cline located a freshly dumped doe deer carcass. The officers observed a large amount of blood that had come from a vehicle carrying the deer. The officers back tracked the blood trail down approximately one mile of dirt roads to a residence. At the residence, a vehicle was located with fresh blood and deer hair in it. The officers contacted a subject at the residence who admitted to shooting the doe deer. The subject was issued a notice to appear for taking doe deer during a prohibited period of the season.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Officer McDonald was on patrol in Osceola Forest WMA listening to a group of subjects pursue a deer using dogs. Officer McDonald heard numerous shots in the direction the dogs were barking. Officer McDonald heard a conversation over the radio by one of the subjects telling other members of the hunting party that the race was over and to come help catch dogs. Officer McDonald went to the location the hunting party was catching dogs. He observed several subjects and dogs being caught in the area. FWC Officers Burnsed, Tyson, Fanelli and K-9 Officer Gill responded to the area to assist. Fresh blood and a doe deer carcass was discovered just off the road. K-9 Friar also located a freshly spent rifle cartridge at the scene. All of the subjects refused to talk or answer any questions regarding who shot the deer. After a meeting with the Assistant State Attorney’s office, charges were filed on 2 subjects that were using the dogs to pursue the deer. Charges included taking doe deer and hunter responsibility violations.

TAYLOR COUNTY

Officer Robson received a complaint about doe deer being killed out of season. The complainant advised that the suspects just left the hunting club and were currently at a residence near Keaton Beach. Upon arrival at the residence, the suspects were found along with a vehicle matching the description from the complainant. Interviews were conducting with the suspects and the doe deer was still in the vehicle. The shooter received a citation for taking doe deer out of season and the gun and deer were seized. The deer was donated to charity and charges will be filed with State Attorney’s Office.

RESCUES
TAYLOR COUNTY

Officer Albritton received a phone call from a Perry PD Officer who stated he was in a pond in deep water inside of Three Rivers Hunt and needed assistance. FWC Officers Albritton, Wilder, Dale and Stephanie Wilcox responded and walked into the waste deep water of the heavily vegetated pond to locate the officer and helped him to the road where EMS was waiting.


NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

FWC officers received numerous complaints about a large group of duck hunters on the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. The complaints were directed at one group of hunters. The violations ranged from hunter harassment, over the bag limit, and multiple refuge violations. Some instances earlier in the season led to violent altercations with other hunters and this group. Officers Eller and Hadwin and Lieutenant Bonds with FWC teamed up with U.S. Fish and Wildlife officers for a plain clothes joint enforcement detail to investigate these complaints. Officers staged themselves in a popular hunting spot to see if this hunting group would use their intimidation tactics on them. As soon as the group entered the pond they went straight to the location of the officers and began trying to make them leave using verbal intimidation. When their efforts failed they returned to their hunting location for the remainder of their hunt. After their hunt, the officers conducted a resource inspection on the subjects in their duck blind and numerous violations were addressed that were observed prior to the hunt and during the hunt. All violations were addressed and the subjects were cited accordingly.

Officer Eller and Lieutenant Bonds were notified by a source about an alligator that was recently killed out of season. The source gave detailed information about the alligator. The officers located the carcass to get DNA samples and a pair of hedge clippers that were used to cut the gator’s tail off. Once the evidence was collected, Officer West from Volusia County was asked to help with the investigation since the crime happened just over the Brevard County and Volusia line. The officers regrouped and went to the suspect’s residence for an interview. During the interview, the suspect admitted to killing the alligator and provided officers with pictures of the animal from that day. Four packages of alligator meat and a rifle were seized as evidence. The suspect was cited accordingly.

Officers Rasey, Hadwin, Bohne and Matthews responded to a report of a group of men using a gill net in the Banana River, just south of Pineda Causeway. Officers Rasey and Hadwin positioned themselves in locations where they could observe the group in the water using the net and photo/video their actions. Officers Matthews and Bohne set up surveillance on the suspects’ vehicles which had people inside serving as lookouts. As the group in the water returned to their vehicles with their illegal catch, all four officers quickly moved in and conducted a resource inspection. The four adult males who had been fishing were in possession of 2 monofilament gill nets, 8 undersized snook, 2 undersized red drum, 1 undersized sheepshead, 3 horseshoe crabs, and 2 coolers full of mullet. All 4 individuals were arrested and charged with 2 felonies and 5 misdemeanors each. The 2 gill nets were seized and the horseshoe crabs were returned to the water alive.

Officer Mendelson received intelligence about poaching on a piece of private property on Merritt Island. Officer Hadwin had previously observed two subjects launch a boat at that property with a feeder on board. Officer Hadwin and Officer Bohne went to the property and located a large corn feeder with duck decoys floating around it, as well as several permanent duck blinds. Early Saturday morning, Officer Mendelson, Officer Hadwin and United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) Federal Officer Amoroso conducted concealed surveillance on the property. They observed two individuals hunting ducks in a blind next to the corn feeder throughout the morning. The poachers were apprehended, interviewed and charged with hunting migratory birds over bait. The shotguns and ducks harvested during the illegal hunt were seized. The lease holders were issued federal criminal charges by USFWS Officer Amoroso for placing bait on the property to hunt.

Officers Eller and Hallsten received a tip about a private duck lease in the Scottsmoor area that was baiting close to their duck blinds. The two officers conducted an assessment of the property and located several blinds. One of the blinds caught the officers’ interest and they waded into the hip deep impoundment to take a closer look. They searched in about two feet of water and located corn underneath the water. The following morning Officers Hallsten and Lejarzar returned to the location and observed three subjects attempting to take ducks in the baited area. A thorough inspection revealed a large amount of corn within 10 yards of the duck blind. Multiple hunting violations to include license and baiting violations were addressed with criminal citations. All the hunting gear related to the take of the ducks was seized.

LAKE COUNTY

Officer Scrambling was patrolling Lake Griffin Fish Management Area when he observed three males fishing for, catching and keeping black crappie. A resource inspection revealed a total of 18 undersized black crappie in their coolers. The same subjects had previously been educated on the rules and regulations regarding black crappie in the area. All three were cited for undersized black crappie.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officer West conducted an inspection at a fish house in Volusia County. An investigation revealed an employee was buying fish from an unlicensed fisherman. Appropriate citations were issued.

Officer McDonough was on patrol near Halifax Harbor Marina when he conducted a fisheries inspection on a subject he observed fishing with a cast net. During the inspection, the fisherman showed Officer McDonough a bucket containing several mullet. Officer McDonough then located the subject’s car and found a large cooler in the trunk. Upon inspecting the cooler, Officer McDonough found six snook, all of which were under the minimum required size for possession. The subject was cited appropriately for the violations.

JOHNS COUNTY

While patrolling Guana Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in St. Johns County, Officer Chriest came across a hunter that informed her of a group of subjects possibly taking wading birds. Officer Chriest located the group and upon inspection found one to be in possession of three black crown night herons and one cat bird. The birds were seized, photographed and destroyed. The subject was cited accordingly for the violations.


SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on land patrol, Officer Caldwell received a call at MacDill Airforce Base about a subject in possession of snook and sheepshead. Upon arrival Officer Caldwell met with the U.S. Air Force Police who had the subject detained. Officer Caldwell conducted a resource inspection of a cooler in the back of a pickup truck which revealed a 37 inch snook that was harvested during closed season, along with some legal sized sheepshead. Officer Caldwell explained the laws to the individual regarding the slot limits and seasons for snook in the Gulf region of Florida. Officer Caldwell issued the subject one resource citation for possession of snook during closed season and one warning for possession of oversized snook.

Officer Gaudion conducted a fisheries inspection on an individual fishing in Upper Tampa Bay who was in possession of 19 spotted seatrout, most of which were undersized. The individual was cited for possession of spotted seatrout undersized and over the daily bag limit. Officer Gaudion released many of the spotted seatrout alive.

While on foot patrol at the Sunshine Skyway Fishing Pier State Park (North), Officers Martinez and Bibler approached a subject who was fishing from the bridge. As the officers got closer, the subject ran to a bag of fish and attempted to get rid of them by stuffing them down a storm drain. Officer Martinez shouted at the subject to stop what he was doing and leave the fish where they were. The subject couldn’t get the fish down the drain, so as the officers were about to get to him, he decided to throw the fish off the bridge. The officers saw that one of the fish the subject threw was a mangrove snapper. The subject was cited for obstruction/interference with an FWC officer.

LEE COUNTY

While on land patrol on Lovers Key, Officer Stanley observed two individuals and a commercial fishing vessel at the dock. As he approached, one individual left the dock quickly in the vessel. Officer Stanley questioned the second individual why he was not loading the vessel on the trailer but he did not have an answer. Officer Stanley advised the subject on the dock to contact the individual on the vessel, and advise him that FWC was instructing him to immediately return to the dock for a resource inspection. It took the vessel over 10 minutes to return to the dock even though it had only departed a few minutes prior. The resource inspection revealed the fish contained on the deck of the boat were covered with bilge water and were against the starting battery of the vessel. The fish are required by Florida Administrative Code to be stored in a manner not to be in contact with bilge water and the fish shall be covered in finely divided ice or adequate refrigeration to preserve the food quality of the product. A sample temperature was taken of one of the mullet which registered 61 degrees. The subject was issued a notice to appear citation for quality control violations of failing to prevent fish from contacting bilge water/contaminants, and for failing to properly ice or refrigerate the mullet. He was instructed not to sell the product for human consumption.

While on patrol at Pineland boat ramp, Pine Island, Officer Hardgrove encountered two subjects as they were pulling up to the dock on a recreational fishing vessel. A resource inspection revealed 21 mangrove snapper and an undersized greater amberjack. The captain was issued a notice to appear citation for over the bag limit mangrove snapper and undersized amberjack.

Officer Bell was working land patrol when he was dispatched to an address. From a vacant lot next to the address, he noticed a yellow nylon line moving in the water with an end attached to a white cutting board at the complainant’s address. As he watched, a snook surfaced attached to the line. Officer Bell pulled the line from the water and discovered two snook attached. The owner of the property was contacted and admitted to keeping the snook. He was issued a notice to appear citation for undersized and out of season snook. The fish were released alive.

Officer Winton responded to a complaint regarding a construction company impacting an active gopher tortoise burrow. When Officer Winton arrived on scene, he discovered that the gopher tortoise burrow had been collapsed from construction activities, and that no permits had been issued by FWC for its removal. An investigation was conducted, at which time the responsible party was located and interviewed. Charges relating to the unlawful destruction of a gopher tortoise burrow will be filed with the State Attorney’s office.


MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Gonzales was on land patrol around the Bradenton City Pier on Anna Maria Island and stopped and performed a fisheries inspection on two men fishing from the pier. Upon completion of his inspection, he found the men to be in possession of three undersized gag grouper and two undersized spotted seatrout. One of the men admitted to catching all the fish and was subsequently cited for possession of over the bag limit, undersized gag grouper, and possession of undersized spotted seatrout.

Officer Martinez was on land patrol at the Sunshine Skyway Fishing Pier State Park (South) when he observed a man fishing. As Officer Martinez approached, the subject noticed him and ran to a bucket and started to throw sheepshead into the water. Officer Martinez hit his siren as he drove up to the subject, but the subject continued to throw more sheepshead into the water. He found the subject to be in possession of numerous undersized sheepshead. The subject was cited for possession of undersized sheepshead and warned for obstruction/interference with an FWC officer.

PASCO COUNTY

While Officers Balfour and Pulaski conducted a retail inspection at a local bait shop, the owner was unable to produce records showing how they acquired their product. Officer Pulaski issued the individual a citation for failure to produce records on saltwater products.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Officer Ferguson was awakened around 3:30 a.m. to find several subjects burglarizing cars in his neighborhood. Officer Ferguson quickly put on his uniform, jumped in his patrol truck, and had FWC dispatch advise the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. Officer Ferguson tried stopping the suspects’ vehicle, but they fled and refused to stop for lights and sirens. Upon arriving back to his neighborhood to assist in the burglary investigation, Officer Ferguson was told by the Sheriff’s office that multiple agencies including the Violent Crime Task Force Unit became involved and eventually found the vehicle and suspects driving in another part of town. The suspects again refused to stop, but the Sheriff’s office did stop them and with the help of a K-9, arrested two of the three suspects. The driver was charged with grand theft auto, felony fleeing and eluding, and multiple traffic violations. Burglary charges are pending. Officer Ferguson helped local deputies in obtaining video footage of the thefts including the theft of $3,000 in cash taken from a neighbor’s truck two nights earlier.

RESCUES
PASCO COUNTY

Multiple FWC officers from several counties responded to the Pithlachascotee River to assist with rescue efforts on a commercial passenger vessel that caught fire. The United States Coast Guard, Pasco County Fire Rescue, Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, Pasco County Emergency Management, Port Richey Fire Department, Port Richey Police Department, New Port Richey Police Department and Tarpon Springs Fire Department also responded to the incident. Through a coordinated effort all passengers and crew were located. The United States Coast Guard is conducting the investigation.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officers Salem and Furbay performed a hunter safety education presentation for approximately 25 students. The officers educated the students on the laws of hunting, introduced them to wildlife management areas, and encouraged proper hunting ethics. The course gave students the opportunity to meet some of the local FWC officers and to ask questions before they completed the course and took a hunter safety exam.


SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

While patrolling in Dr. Von D. Mizell – Eula Johnson State Park, Lt. McDonald received a complaint that a man was walking around nude. Lt. McDonald met with the complainant who advised what area the subject was in and his description. Lt. McDonald observed a man fitting the complainant’s description walking into the bathroom in a long sleeve top and nothing on from the waist down. The subject went into the bathroom and put a pair of shorts on. He was then cited for indecent exposure and permanently trespassed from the state park.

While patrolling waterfowl hunting activities in Stormwater Treatment Area (STA) 3 & 4, Officer Tarr observed that a subject had entered his name twice on the lottery list to get a standby permit to waterfowl hunt. Entering his name more than one time increases his chance of drawing a permit to hunt. You are only permitted to enter your name for a permit one time. The subject was trespassed from the STA for 1 year.

MARTIN COUNTY

Officers Rogers, Moss and Schroer were on ocean patrol, 7 miles offshore in Martin County. Throughout the day, the officers made multiple vessel stops and conducted resource inspections. The officers stopped two center console fishing vessels; each of the vessels had deep drop rods and reels on board. The officers found both vessels to be in possession of multiple bottom fish and a total of 4 snowy grouper. Snowy grouper is closed in federal waters. The officers issued a total of six federal citations and multiple boating safety gear warnings.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officers Fijalkowski and Allen were on airboat patrol in the Kissimmee River Marsh near Hickory Hammock when they encountered a duck hunter who taken two blue wing teal. A second duck hunter arrived on foot and had taken one teal and two mottled ducks, which exceeded the one per day limit for mottled ducks. He was issued a citation for the violation.

Officers Fijalkowski and Allen found a camp in Chandler Slough in a prohibited area. The man who had put up the camp did not have a camping permit and had an outstanding warrant with no bond. He was arrested and taken to the Okeechobee County Jail.

Pilot Simon, Officers Brodbeck, Fijalkowski, Allen, Dial, Worrell, Davis and Hausler assisted the Glades County Sheriff’s Department with a search and rescue near Indian Prairie Canal and SR 78. A subject who had been trespassing and hog hunting on private property had been missing for nearly two days. The man was picked up in a marked construction area near the private property by his wife and mother in-law. They attempted to flee to Okeechobee and were apprehended by FWC units and GCSO deputies. The three subjects were arrested for trespassing in a construction area and transported to jail by the Glades County Sheriff’s Office.

RESCUES
HENDRY COUNTY

In the morning hours of January 4th, two fishermen departed the C. Scott Driver boat ramp located on the Kissimmee River in Okeechobee, Florida. Preliminary information indicates that a brief time after their south bound departure from the boat ramp, the vessel encountered rough waters, subsequently ejecting the passenger. The operator was unable to recover his passenger due to possible engine damage and water conditions. A multi-agency search and rescue ensued over the course of approximately 6 days. The passenger was located deceased on January 10, in the Clewiston area of Lake Okeechobee. The FWC is currently investigating the incident.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
BROWARD COUNTY

Lt. McDonald and Officer Holcomb received a complaint that there was a burrowing owl stuck inside of an abandoned store and could not get out. Lt. McDonald and Officer Holcomb responded and observed the owl inside the store. An electrical worker in the area was able to allow them access into the store and they were able to successfully catch & release the owl.

Officer Delatorre responded to a call of an injured hawk in Davie. Officer Delatorre was able to successfully capture the osprey that was unable to walk or fly. The osprey was transported to the South Florida Wildlife Center for treatment.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

A Field Training Officer was on water patrol recently with a new officer/trainee when they conducted a vessel stop near Sands Cut. A subject on board was actively fishing so the officer/trainee elected to conduct a fisheries inspection. The officer asked the subject if he had caught any fish but his responses were somewhat evasive, as if he didn’t want to reveal exactly what he had caught. The officer checked the subject’s live well and discovered a total of fourteen mangrove snapper, eleven of which were undersized. The officer cited the subject for possession of over-the-limit and possession of undersized snapper.

MONROE COUNTY

Officers Mobley, Carroll, Powell, and Alvarez were on patrol on the gulf side of Marathon and during a commercial vessel stop, discovered that the commercial craft was carrying 165 short lobsters, and three out of season and undersized hogfish. The vessel was escorted back to the dock it had launched from by the officers and once on land, another inspection was performed on the vessel and its traps. All 173 of the traps had violations with buoy numbers that resulted in more charges. At the end of the investigation the captain of the vessel and the three crewman were arrested and are charged with multiple felonies and misdemeanors. The vessel was seized and all the contraband was documented and put into evidence.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MONROE COUNTY

Officer Dube represented the FWC at the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary’s 51st Change of Watch Ceremony at the Pilot House Marina in Key Largo. Officer Dube was one of the special guests in attendance for the long-standing tradition of the Change of Watch.

Officers Dube and Petru along with Investigator Smith assisted FWC Staff at the Exotic Pet Amnesty Day in Collier County. The amnesty event was held at the Naples Zoo and there were numerous exotic species that were surrendered to the FWC staff. At the conclusion of the event the animals were adopted by registered applicants that were pre-approved.

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  FWC Enforcement Report Jan 5-11. All Regions
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NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer Pettey checked a pair of fishermen at Quintette Boat Ramp. He discovered that they were in possession of 120 panfish, 20 over their allowable daily bag limit. A notice to appear citation was issued for the violation.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Pifer was on land patrol responding to River's Edge Boat Ramp in Holt in reference to an individual shooting at black vultures, commonly referred to as buzzards, on the Yellow River. The complainant provided a description of the shooter and vessel. When the officer arrived, the complainant was standing by and identified the subject’s vehicle. FWC Officer White arrived on scene to assist. Within a few minutes, the officers observed a vessel with one individual matching the description given by the complainant, returning to the boat ramp. The officer determined the vessel operator was returning from a hunting trip. The subject had shot one wood duck. A resource inspection revealed that the shotgun was unplugged, capable of holding more than three shells. The individual admitted that he shot at a buzzard but did not hit it. The subject was issued a notice to appear resource citation for failure to plug the shotgun and a warning for shooting at a protected species.

Officer Corbin was on land patrol at the Fisherman’s CO-OP in the Destin Harbor when he observed a federally documented commercial fishing vessel tying to a dock. The officer determined the vessel was returning from a commercial fishing trip. The vessel harvested red snapper and vermilion snapper. Under the federal commercial vessel program, when landing red snapper, the operator or owner of vessel must report a three-hour landing notification prior to docking, which did not occur. Officer Corbin had seen the vessel in the harbor earlier with an individual cleaning the fish and tossing some back into the water. The officer determined the deckhand was tossing all undersized fish back into the water. The remaining fish included undersized red snapper and undersized vermilion snapper, both in violation of federal and state fisheries laws. The operator of the vessel was found in the cabin sleeping. In plain view, Officer Corbin observed glass smoking pipes next to the boat operator used in a method of inhaling illegal drugs. Residue on the pipe was field tested as positive for methamphetamine. In close vicinity, other additional smoking glass pipes were found along with a small container with substance that tested positive for methamphetamine. The operator was arrested, handcuffed and transported to Okaloosa County Jail where the intake process was completed. The intake officer located a controlled substance in the operator’s wallet. The operator was charged with two felonies and one misdemeanor. A National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) officer arrived on scene to address the failure of providing a landing notification and the undersized fish.

Officer Pifer met with a complainant after they reported witnessing an antlerless deer shot from a state highway. The complainant provided a statement of what he observed which included a tag number of the vehicle. Officer Pifer located the deer which appeared to have been shot with a shotgun. Lieutenant Hollinhead met Officer Pifer at the residence of the registered owner of the vehicle. After a short interview, the driver and passenger admitted to shooting the deer from the side of the roadway. Both subjects were charged with taking an antlerless deer and the passenger was also charged with discharging a firearm from the roadway.

SANTA ROSA

Officer Hutchinson was working late at night in the Blackwater State Forest when he observed two vehicles with a bright light being shined from the driver side window of the first vehicle. As he watched, the driver shined the light into the tree line and across an open field on private property. When the two vehicles stopped at a large tree beside the roadway, Officer Hutchinson pulled in behind them and observed one of the subjects standing in the road shining his light in the top of the tree. Officer Hutchison determined that the men were hunting raccoons with the use of a light from a moving vehicle which is prohibited. Officer Hutchison issued the man who used the light a notice to appear for attempting to take racoon with the use of a light from a moving vehicle.

Officer Hutchinson and Lieutenant Hahr assisted Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources with a night hunting case before the 2017 hunting season. The case involved two subjects who killed two bucks in velvet in Alabama at night before the hunting season. Officer Hutchinson and Lieutenant Hahr caught the subjects in possession of the deer in Florida and worked in conjunction with the Alabama officers to make the case. Officer Hutchinson appeared in court in Alabama along with the Alabama Conservation Officers resulting in a conviction for one of the subjects. The other subject failed to appear in court.

Officer Jones was on patrol in South Santa Rosa County, in Navarre Beach, when he noticed a man exit an old sailboat that was anchored in Santa Rosa Sound. The man boarded a small dinghy and proceeded to the boat ramp. As Officer Jones approached the vessel to conduct a boating safety check, the operator of the vessel turned the vessel and began to motor away. The subject refused to comply with repeated instruction to return to the dock and returned to his sailboat, where he removed the small motor from the dinghy. The operator then paddled to the dock where Officer Jones was located and was placed under arrest for interference with an FWC officer and booked into the Santa Rosa County Jail. The subject was also issued a uniform boating citation for an expired registration.

WALTON

Lieutenant Hollinhead and Officer Letcher received information about a subject taking an illegal deer. The officers located the subject and questioned him about the information they received. The officers were provided the antlers of the deer which measured only four inches and the name of another subject involved with taking the deer. Both subjects were juveniles and were educated on the law of antler restrictions.

LEON

After receiving information from the investigations section, RPS Officers Miller and Pekerol began investigating illegal fishing that was possibly taking place on Lake Overstreet in Maclay Gardens State Park. Lake Overstreet is closed to fishing at all times. After an initial investigation, a small boat was found stashed on the bank of the lake. After surveillance of the area, Officer Miller was able to catch the suspect fishing on the lake. The subject was issued citations for evasion of state park fees and fishing in a closed area.

LIBERTY

While on uniform patrol just south of Hitchcock Lake, Officer Bell observed an individual standing near his truck holding a shotgun. After driving past the individual, Officer Bell turned around to conduct a resource inspection. The subject advised the officer that he was not hunting, but only listening to the dogs trailing deer. Officer Bell inquired about the shotgun that he was holding. After a short search of the area, a loaded 12-gauge shotgun was found approximately ten yards from where the individual had been standing. After speaking with dispatch, the individual was confirmed as a convicted felon. The individual was placed under arrest and transported to jail for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

FRANKLIN

While on patrol, Officers Richardson and Sauls spotted a commercial net boat east of Carrabelle. The officers traveled down by foot from the highway and observed fishermen actively retrieving a net from the water and removing fish from it. During a subsequent resource inspection, it was determined that two of the nets were connected and exceeded one thousand square feet. All the nets were seized for more precise measurements to be conducted. After completing the measurements, four misdemeanor charges were filed for fishing with a net exceeding five hundred square feet, connecting two nets so as to exceed five hundred square feet, carriage of nets exceeding five hundred square feet on a vessel less than twenty-five feet with a forward mounted motor and not marking nets with saltwater products license number.

WAKULLA

While on patrol, RPS Officer Raker responded to a complaint of an individual harvesting oysters from prohibited waters within Dickerson Bay. Upon arrival, an individual was seen exiting Dickerson Bay with three bags of oysters on a bicycle. Officer Raker identified himself and showed his badge to the individual. The individual refused to stop for Officer Raker and then ran into the adjacent woods. Officers Nelson and Matechik responded to the area to assist Officer Raker in apprehending the fleeing subject. Officer Nelson was able to locate the individual a short distance away and take him into custody. The officers then completed their investigation resulting in six misdemeanors and one felony charge being filed. The violations included harvest of oysters from a prohibited area, over the bag limit for oysters, possession of undersized oysters, giving a false name to a law enforcement officer, interference with an FWC officer, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

CALHOUN

Officer Hayes responded to a complaint from a landowner about trespassing. The landowner had game camera photos of a vehicle on his property. The landowner stated he knew who the suspect was and had previously told him to stay off his property. Officer Hayes tracked down the suspect who was currently in the Liberty County Jail on unrelated charges. The suspect admitted to trespassing, charges have been filled with the State Attorney’s office for the violation.

JACKSON

Officer Forehand responded to a call from an FHP Trooper who had conducted a traffic stop on I-10. The Trooper noticed blood on the bumper of the car and had been told by the two occupants that they killed a four and six-point buck earlier that morning. When Officer Forehand arrived, he found two ice chests with fresh untagged deer meat in the trunk of the car. He also found two fresh deer tails but no deer antlers. He noticed the deer back straps seemed very small to have been legal deer. Subsequent interview revealed both suspects admitted to killing two doe deer that morning. Charges have been filled on both subjects for of taking doe deer during the closed season and possession of deer meat without sex evidence.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Maltais conducted an outreach event for the Boys Scouts #522. The officer covered fishing regulations, fish identification, fishing methods, boating safety, and answered numerous questions resulting from the group discussion. The scouts met their elective requirements for “A Bear Goes Fishing.”

RESCUES
HOLMES

Officers assisted Holmes County Sheriff’s Office with a search for two lost hunters in the Choctawhatchee River WMA after dark. With freezing temperatures, the subjects were found quickly and had no medical conditions.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
GULF

The Gulf County squad braved frigid freezing temperatures to rescue cold water stressed sea turtles in St Joe Bay. Approximately ninety-five stunned turtles were recovered and delivered to Gulf World to be cared for until the water temperatures rise and they can be released.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
DUVAL COUNTY

Officer Schirbock was on routine land patrol on Jacksonville Electric Authority/Florida Power and Light property off Yellow Water Road in Jacksonville. He observed a gold 2003 Jeep Liberty driving under the power lines and turning its headlights on and off. Officer Schirbock initiated a traffic stop for trespassing on posted private property. Both driver and passenger stated they did not know that they were trespassing and that they were just cruising roads. In a search of the vehicle, a bag and a jar of 28 grams of marijuana was found. A check of records through dispatch revealed that both subjects had active warrants. One subject had a warrant issued out of Duval County for battery. The other subject had a warrant issued out of Nassau County for failure to appear for driving while license is suspended or revoked. Both subjects where placed under arrest for the warrants. Both subjects were charged for trespassing on private property. The driver of the jeep was also charged with felony possession of cannabis. Both subjects were transported to the Duval County Jail.

NASSAU COUNTY

Officer Barry was on land-based vehicle patrol in Snowball Hunting Club in Nassau County when she heard multiple gunshots. Three subjects were exiting the woods after sunset from where the shots were fired. All three subjects admitted to shooting at ducks. The three subjects were also using shotguns that were not plugged, allowing them to hold more than three shells. One of the subjects did not possess a Federal duck stamp. Officer Barry issued notices to appear to two of the adult subjects for shooting ducks after sunset and for shooting with unplugged shotguns. The juvenile subject was issued written warnings for the same violations. In addition, one of the adult subjects was also issued a written warning for not having his Federal duck stamp.

TAYLOR COUNTY

Officers Albritton and Wilder were checking fishermen and their vessels at the Petersons Landing boat ramp in Taylor County. During this time, the officers found two vessels and a total of five fishermen to be in possession of 13 redfish. Most were undersized. The officers also located five undersized sheepshead and undersized flounder and black drum. Evidence was seized and the appropriate citations were issued.

UNION COUNTY

Officer Gill received a call of rifle shot coming from a county road and the caller suspected a deer could have been unlawfully shot. Officer Gill responded to the area and located fresh tire and foot sign on the dirt road. He located a freshly spent .270 rifle casing where the suspect had been standing. Approximately 30 yards off the road, Officer Gill found a freshly killed buck. The deer was undersized as it did not possess the required three points on one side or a ten-inch main beam. Officer Gill left the area and returned a brief time later on his ATV which he could conceal better than his patrol vehicle. Officer Gill maintained surveillance on the illegal deer for several hours until a vehicle with the exact tire match came back to retrieve the deer. After being interviewed, the subject admitted to shooting the deer with a .270 rifle while it was standing in the road. The subject will be charged with taking wildlife from a roadway and for taking a short antlered deer.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Dubose received a complaint that a man on Sebastian Inlet State Park's north jetty had caught and kept a lemon shark. After arriving and conducting resource inspections in the area, Officer Dubose was able to find the lemon shark in the man's possession. It is illegal to harvest lemon shark in Florida. A citation was issued for the offense.

Lieutenant Lightsey received information that subjects were keeping undersized permit at Sebastian Inlet State Park. Upon arriving and beginning to conduct inspections, a subject was found to be in possession of five undersized permit. A citation was issued for possession of over the bag limit and undersized permit.

FWC Captive Wildlife Investigator Saunders was notified by Brevard County Animal Services that while conducting an investigation at a residence, they observed two Florida native pygmy rattlesnakes being held in captivity. The subject was not licensed to keep venomous reptiles. Investigator Saunders interviewed the subject and the subject admitted to having the rattlesnakes. The subject was cited for possessing venomous reptiles without a permit and issued five warnings for caging violations. The subject released ownership of the rattlesnakes to FWC and they were released into the same wildlife management area from which they had been removed.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officers Norris, Stasko, and Birchfield were patrolling the Charlotte Harbor Buffer Preserve State Park when they came across a vehicle that was stuck in the Myakka River. The driver attempted to drive on the exposed river bottom due to the severe low tide and eventually got stuck. He was able to coordinate a tow company to come remove the truck before the tide came back in. He also received a citation for destruction of state lands.

Officer Morrison responded to a boating accident near Ponce De Leon boat ramp. The accident involved a powered vessel and a sailing vessel. One person was transported to the hospital for treatment and the operator of the powered vessel was cited for improper lookout.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on land patrol at the Courtney Campbell Causeway Bridge, Lieutenant Van Trees was checking fishermen fishing the seawall. He noticed another group about 100 yards away and saw a young man alert another man of Lieutenant Van Trees’ presence in the area. Lieutenant Van Trees left the group he was with and watched as the second man walked towards a five-gallon bucket placed in the rocks. Before anything could be done with the bucket, Lieutenant Van Trees contacted the subjects and found the second subject to be in possession of his bag limit of spotted seatrout. Out of the four-seatrout allowed, three were undersized. The subject was cited accordingly for the violation.

Lieutenant Van Trees was patrolling near Davis Islands when he stopped a vessel returning from a day of fishing. The four subjects on board stated they didn’t have any fish. During a boating safety inspection, three snook and four sheepshead were found concealed in a livewell. The three snook were all undersized and two of the sheepshead were undersized. After being read their Miranda rights, one subject admitted to catching all three snook and another admitted to catching the undersized sheepshead. All subjects were cited accordingly for their resource violations, and numerous warnings and citations were issued for license and boating safety violations.

While on patrol, Officer Caldwell observed an individual fishing under a bridge. As he approached he saw someone yelling and pointing at him. The individual he observed fishing ran to the seawall and began throwing fish from a bucket into the water. Officer Caldwell ordered the man to stop. He did not stop throwing fish until Officer Caldwell closed the distance between them. Upon inspecting the bucket with the remaining fish in it, Officer Caldwell found the man to be in possession of 14 spotted seatrout. Some of the fish were undersized. The individual was cited for possession of over the bag limit of spotted seatrout, possession of undersized spotted seatrout, for interfering with the duties of a FWC officer, and for disobeying the lawful command of a law enforcement officer.

LEE COUNTY

Officers Winton and Hazelwood were on water patrol in Pine Island Sound late at night when they saw a vessel being operated without the required navigation lights. As the officers approached they noticed that the vessel was a commercial net fishing boat. The officers conducted a commercial fisheries inspection, at which time it was determined that the fishermen had been using a seine net that exceeded the 500-square foot maximum. The vessel occupants were charged with the appropriate violations.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Hinds was responding to a complaint of subjects keeping undersized snook at the Green Bridge Fishing Pier. Two of five subjects were actively fishing with cast nets. He waited for the subjects to return to the parking lot and inspected their catch, which revealed 42 undersized sheepshead and one undersized snook. One subject was cited for possession of snook during closed season and possession of undersized sheepshead, and was issued warnings for taking snook by illegal method, possession of undersized snook, and not having a fishing license. The second subject was cited for possession of undersized sheepshead and over the daily bag limit, and a written warning was issued for no fishing license.

PASCO COUNTY

Officer Pulaski responded to a call of an individual who had harvested snook in the area of Bailey’s Bluff. Officer Pulaski arrived on scene and witnessed the subject attempting to catch snook with a cast net. A fisheries inspection revealed the subject was in possession of four undersized snook. The subject was charged with a major violation for possession of three snook in excess of the daily bag limit, possession of snook out of season, possession of undersized snook, and taking snook by illegal method. The subject was issued a warning for not keeping the fish in whole condition.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on land patrol at the Friendship Trail, Officer Martinez observed two men fishing and initiated a resource inspection. Officer Martinez began speaking to the two men and saw that they were fishing for sheepshead and noticed that they were using stone crab as bait. He found both men to be in possession of multiple undersized stone crab claws, as well as being in possession of whole stone crabs. The crabs were seized and the subjects were cited accordingly.

While on land patrol near the Courtney Campbell Causeway, Lieutenant Van Trees watched from a concealed position as a subject fished from underneath a small relief bridge. The subject caught numerous sheepshead and placed them on a stringer that was in the water. Lieutenant Van Trees decided to inspect the subject and found her to be in possession of 15 sheepshead, nine of which were undersized. The subject was cited accordingly for her violation and the nine undersized sheepshead were released back into the water.

Officer Phillippi received a report of two subjects cast netting snook along the Courtney Campbell Causeway from Officer Gaudion who was off duty at the time. Upon arrival, Officer Phillippi observed one of the subjects throwing a cast net and two live snook in a bucket. After making contact the subject throwing the cast net, he admitted cast netting the two snook, one of which was undersized. The subject was cited for illegal method, undersized and out of season snook. Both snook were released alive.

While on land patrol in south Pinellas County, Officer Bibeau observed an individual wade fishing and made contact with him as he was returning to his vehicle. The individual advised that he had caught his bag limit of sheepshead, which were in a catch bag in the mangroves. The individual removed multiple sheepshead from the catch bag and threw them back in the water. After being instructed to stop releasing his caught fish, the subject was found to still be over the daily bag limit of sheepshead. Officer Bibeau wrote the subject a misdemeanor citation for being over the daily bag limit of sheepshead and a warning for interference with a FWC officer.

While on water patrol, Lieutenant Laskowski and Officer Caldwell observed an individual fishing under a bridge. In the rocks at the base of the seawall the officers observed several small sheepshead. Eleven undersized sheepshead were recovered from the rocks. The individual admitted to catching the sheepshead. He was cited for possession of undersized sheepshead.

SARASOTA COUNTY

Officers Miller and Hinds were working the New Pass area and observed a subject walking toward the parking lot of the New Pass Bait Shop carrying what appeared to be two fish. After looking through binoculars it was confirmed that the subject was carrying two fish and they appeared to be snook. The subject then walked back to the dock without the fish. Officers Miller and Hinds approached the subject to conduct a fisheries inspection. The subject stated he had no fish. When asked about the two fish he was seen with he stated that he released them. The officers walked back to the area where the subject was last seen and found two undersized snook hidden inside a BBQ grill. The subject then admitted to cast netting the snook, as well as knowing they were out of season, undersized, and over the bag limit. The subject was cited appropriately.

While on patrol around the New Pass Bridge, Officer Grenz watched a man cast net a snook out of season and then take it back to his truck. After performing a fisheries inspection on the individual, the subject was given two citations for possession of snook out of season and taking snook by illegal method. The subject was also given two written warnings. He will have to appear in court for his violations.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
HENDRY COUNTY

Officer Keen observed a vehicle driving at night while using artificial light to disclose the presence of wildlife. The vehicle continued to make several passes near the same area. Officer Keen stopped the vehicle and after his investigation, both subjects admitting to hunting. A Ruger .22 caliber rifle was found along with a box of ammunition. Officer Keen issued the appropriate citations.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

While on land-based water patrol near Fisherman’s channel in Miami-Dade, Lt. Reynaud, and Officers Washington and Fernandez responded to a complaint of possible commercial shrimp violations. They observed three vessels actively engaged in the commercial harvest of shrimp by wingnet during prohibited hours. One vessel was using food shrimp equipment to harvest live shrimp and a subject was observed actively transferring live shrimp from his vessel to a live bait truck at the seawall. The vessel did not have the required navigational lights for shrimping vessels by Florida Statute. There was no all-around white light displayed. Subjects were cited for shrimping during prohibited hours and improper vessel lighting.

Officer Coscullela stopped a boat in a no-entry zone at Virginia Key. An FCIC check of the operator returned an active warrant for a previous FWC sailfish arrest. The subject was arrested and charged accordingly.

COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Oldsen, Yurewitch, and Kleis responded to a single vehicle accident with possible injuries at Delnor Wiggins State Park. Upon arriving, the officers found a vehicle that had run off the roadway and hit a tree. The driver had minor injuries and refused treatment by EMS. While speaking with witnesses and the driver, the officers suspected that the driver was under the influence. Officer Oldsen administered field sobriety tasks and subsequently arrested the driver for DUI. The driver refused to provide a breath sample.

Officers Knutson and Plussa were conducting water patrol at Cocohatchee boat ramp and observed a vessel approaching with an apparent navigation light violation. The officers conducted a stop and inspection of the commercial mullet fishing vessel. Their inspection revealed the operator in violation of commercial seafood quality control and failure to display a HIN on the vessel. The operator was criminally charged for these violations and issued appropriate warnings and citations.

Officers Knutson and Plussa were conducting water patrol on the Marco River near the ABC Islands Critical Wildlife Area (CWA) when they observed a windsurfer sailing through the boundaries designating the CWA as a closed area. During the vessel stop, the individual admitted to seeing the signs but disregarded the regulation and could not provide an adequate explanation as to why she did so. Officer Knutson’s attempted to explain the severity of the violation and that it was criminal in nature, but she was unreceptive and became argumentative. The subject was issued a criminal citation.

Officers Knutson and Plussa were waved down by a concerned citizen about a vessel blocking residential access to boat docks on a canal in Goodland. Officers responded to investigate and found a large houseboat aground in the canal, blocking access to residents’ boat docks and lifts. An inspection revealed the vessel to be an at-risk and pre-derelict vessel, having both registration and MSD violations. The owner/operator was present and cited for interfering with navigation in the canal.

Officers Knutson and Plussa were conducting night speed enforcement of the panther zone within Collier County. They stopped a vehicle driving 66 in a 45 that did not respond to their lights and siren. During the encounter, the subject tried to conceal a knife behind his back and they could smell alcohol and marijuana coming from inside the truck. When the subject stumbled out, drug paraphernalia fell from the truck. Investigation revealed the subject to be DUI due to a combination of drugs and alcohol, additionally his license was suspended and he had previously refused to submit to breathalyzer testing during a previous DUI. The subject was arrested by the officers.

MONROE COUNTY

Investigator Hein was on land patrol near Islamorada when he observed a commercial truck towing a trailer and unloading construction debris onto the right of way. Investigator Hein separated the two occupants and interviewed them. They admitted to bringing the construction debris from a jobsite in Dade County and deciding to dump it off the roadway on their way to another jobsite in Marathon. Investigator Hein arrested both subjects for felony dumping and one subject was also charged for possession of cannabis under 20 grams.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Officer Washington made a presentation to Miami Country Day School 6th graders. The event was coordinated by the Kids Let’s Go Fishing program. He discussed job duties, training, environmental stewardship and ethical sportsmanship. The group consisted of about 168 students.

RESCUES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Knutson, Plussa and Curbelo responded to a report of a kayaker experiencing a medical emergency in a remote part of the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge. While enroute, Officers Knutson and Plussa activated the Collier County Maritime Emergency Response Team (MERT) including Sheriff’s Office and Fire Rescue marine units. The individual was successfully located and transported to shore for medical care.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Knutson, Plussa, and Lieutenant Mahoney responded to a bear digging through garbage left in an apartment complex’s recycling bin. The bear was already gone when they arrived. The following night, Officers Knutson and Plussa responded to the same call in the same area. While on scene, they observed a bear digging through garbage around a recycling bin. The officers used adverse conditioning and the bear departed. The residents were advised that the bear would continue to return as long as the recycling bins were not secure.

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  FWC Law Enforcement Report Dec 29-Jan 5. All Regions.
Posted by: bigefromlc - 01-12-2018, 11:46 AM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
BAY COUNTY

Officer Letcher stopped a vehicle after observing it being operated in a careless manner nearly causing an accident. The driver displayed signs of being impaired and admitted to consuming alcohol. Field sobriety exercises revealed the driver was too impaired to be operating a vehicle due to being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The subject was placed under arrest and transported to the Bay County Jail where they agreed to provide a breath sample to determine their breath alcohol content. The breath sample documented was .220, nearly three times the legal limit. The subject was booked into jail and charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol.

CALHOUN COUNTY

Officer Hayes received a call from a landowner who heard a rifle shot from the roadway near his residence. The landowner also heard a vehicle speed away from the location. Officer Hayes responded and searched the area for any shell casings or evidence that a deer had been shot. Unable to locate any evidence, Officer Hayes concealed his patrol vehicle and conducted surveillance over two nearby farm fields. Approximately three hours later, a truck drove by slowly shining the fields with a spotlight. Officer Hayes conducted a traffic stop and found the driver to be in possession of a loaded 12-gauge shotgun. The suspect was charged with night hunting. The firearm and light were seized as evidence.

ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer Cushing observed a vehicle being operated without any lights on and initiated a traffic stop to address the safety concern. While behind the vehicle with emergency lights on, the passenger was observed discarding several small items out of the passenger window while the vehicle was moving. When the vehicle was stopped, several indicators that the passenger and the operator may be under the influence were observed. Neither subject had any form of identification nor did the operator have a valid driver’s license. Additionally, the tag was not assigned to the vehicle. Pensacola Police Department (PPD) arrived on scene to assist and the PPD K-9 unit alerted on the vehicle. The driver of the vehicle was found to be in possession of illegal narcotics and the case was turned over to PPD

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Corbin was requested by the U.S. Coast Guard for assistance in identifying the vessel owner of an abandoned anchored boat. The boat was anchored in the North Channel causing a navigational hazard in Destin. The officer determined ownership and contacted the owner. The owner explained he was towing the vessel to Navarre to dock at a private wet slip when the towing vessel ran out of gas. The towed vessel, after the owner anchored it, sank. Officer Corbin met with the vessel owner and cited him for failure to transfer title and issued a derelict vessel citation.

Officer Corbin was conducting boating safety and resource protection at Marler Park when he observed a vessel returning to the boat ramp from a fishing trip. During a resource inspection, one of the five individuals provided an expired license. Through a routine criminal history check, the Tallahassee Regional Communication Center determined the individual had a warrant issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The individual was arrested and transported to the Okaloosa County Jail where the intake process was completed.

Officer Corbin investigated a boating accident with injuries that occurred in June 2017. The accident involved one occupant on a personal watercraft that struck a private dock in Fort Walton Beach. The operator was transferred to a local hospital for a fractured lower leg. A medical blood draw sample legally checked revealed a BAX of 0.230, almost 3 times over the legal limit. A warrant was obtained and the operator was arrested and transported to the Okaloosa County Jail.

Officer Nichols responded to a bear complaint in a Fort Walton Beach neighborhood. The officer observed several garbage cans knocked over with the white household garbage bags pulled out and torn open. Officer Nichols made contact with one of the homeowners who failed to secure their garbage can. The homeowner was provided an educational brochure of the laws and rules in securing attractant and methods of how to secure the garbage can and issued a non-compliance notification letter.

Officers Trueblood and Rockwell responded to a call regarding suspected illegal camping in the Blackwater Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The officers made contact with three subjects in a creek-side camp where they had illegally accessed the campsite via a closed road. While addressing the violation, deputies from Escambia County, Alabama, arrived to question the same three subjects about multiple burglaries and thefts. The two FWC officers and Alabama deputies found more than $10,000 in reported stolen property out of Alabama. The Alabama deputies used these findings to obtain an arrest warrant on one of the men. Several days later, an Escambia County, Alabama, deputy attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the man who now had six felony warrants. The subject fled from the Alabama deputy and crossed the state line into Blackwater WMA where he bailed out of his truck and ran into the forest. Okaloosa Correctional Institute (OCI) K-9 team arrived and deployed their man-tracking team, with Officer Ramos and an Okaloosa County deputy. Lieutenant Hahr, and Officers Jernigan, Wilkenson, Lugg, and Roberson joined the effort and set up checkpoints in the surrounding area in conjunction with the Sheriff’s Office. The joint OCI K-9 team tracked the subject for more than five miles through the forest before turning the track over to the Santa Rosa County Corrections K-9 team. Officer Cushing joined the K-9 team on the foot chase and they tracked the suspect for several more miles before the suspect was taken into custody without incident. The suspect’s apprehension was an example of cooperative law enforcement work between FWC, Escambia County, Alabama Sheriff’s Office, Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, OCI K 9 team and the Santa Rosa County Corrections K-9 team.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Hutchinson was patrolling late one night when he observed a truck moving slowly in an area known for night hunting. He observed the driver shine a spotlight along the edge of a field in an attempt to disclose the presence of deer. When Officer Hutchison attempted to stop the truck, the driver did not stop immediately and he was observed throwing an object out of the window of the vehicle. Once the operator stopped, a muzzleloader rifle with a flashlight taped to the stock was located inside the vehicle. A Santa Rosa County Deputy arrived to assist and located a bag containing methamphetamine and glass pipes where the subject threw it out the window. The subject was a convicted felon and had a suspended driver license. Additionally, blood from a recently killed deer was found in the bed of the truck and it was determined that the man had killed an illegal buck a few days earlier. The subject was arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, attempting to take deer at night, driving on a suspended license and possession of an illegally taken deer.

Officer Jones responded to the Escribano Point WMA at the request of a FWC biologist who had encountered subjects removing a Jeep from a wetland within the management area in an area where public entry by vehicles is prohibited. An investigation revealed that the driver had driven around a locked gate and proceeded into the area. He drove across a small bridge that was not intended for vehicles which resulted in considerable damage to the bridge. After driving throughout the area, he then drove across a creek and through a wetland for approximately a mile causing considerable damage to the land, trees, and plants. Charges are being prepared for two counts of destruction of state lands by a motor vehicle.

Officer Jones received a complaint from a Santa Rosa County marina owner that he was ordering off his property a sailboat, its owner and other associated persons. The officer arrived the following morning to find that the boat was tied to a piling near the marina as well as to structures of the marina. A patron of the marina pointed to a small dingy boat that was tied alongside of the sailboat. The patron said that the dingy was the property of the marina owner. A man and a woman were on board the vessel. After watching the boat and the area, the officer observed the female occupant of the sailboat proceed in the dingy to shore at a nearby park. It was confirmed that the dingy was recently stolen. The woman was charged with theft, operating a vessel with no personal flotation devices and operating a vessel with no registration.

Officer Wilkenson and Investigator Hughes responded to a complaint of individuals harvesting juvenile stone crabs at the Bob Sikes Fishing Bridge. Based on the description provided by the complainant, the officers located the individuals quickly. The individuals were actively fishing with rods and reels. In plain view, a bucket that contained several juvenile whole-body stone crabs was observed. It was determined the individuals were using the stone crabs as bait. There was a total of 14 whole body stone crabs in the individuals’ possession. The subjects were cited for possession of whole stone crabs and undersized stone claws. The officers released the stone crabs alive.

WAKULLA COUNTY

Officer Nelson and Lieutenant Marlow were working a detail in the Apalachicola National Forest and observed a vehicle displaying a spotlight out the passenger window. They stopped the vehicle and spoke to the occupants who admitted to looking for deer. They were in possession of two loaded firearms. The occupants were issued citations for the violations.

WALTON COUNTY

Officer Nichols was on land patrol conducting hunting license/permit/game compliance on Eglin WMA. The officer stopped a vehicle that entered the Choctaw East hunting unit. The driver did not have the required Eglin Recreational User permit to access Eglin. A criminal history check on the driver confirmed that the driver had a warrant from Sarasota County for failure to pay child support. Investigator Armstrong arrived on scene to assist. The driver was arrested and transported to the Walton County Jail.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
COLUMBIA COUNTY

Officer Johnston received information from a concerned citizen regarding possible illegal hunting taking place at the Alligator Lake Public Small Game Hunting Area during designated waterfowl hunts. Responding to the complaint, Officers Dasher and Johnston worked Alligator Lake targeting hunting violations related to migratory birds and boating safety. The officers encountered multiple hunting and boating safety violations. A combination of 15 citations and warnings were issued for a wide range of violations which included the following: No federal duck stamp, no hunting license, no migratory bird permit, no state waterfowl permit and multiple boating safety violations. One subject was found to have no boating safety gear and none of the licenses and permits required by state and federal law to lawfully take ducks. Appropriate paperwork was issued.

UNION COUNTY

Officers Burnsed, Gill and Fanelli were targeting dove hunting when they observed two hunters actively shooting dove. The officers watched the hunters for some time and approached them as they finished hunting for the day and started gathering up their equipment. One of the hunters was found to be in possession of over the daily bag limit of dove. An inspection of their hunting area revealed the hunters were hunting dove over a baited area that was baited with corn. Both hunters were charged with hunting dove over a baited area and one hunter was charged with exceeding the daily bag limit of dove.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

FWC dispatch received a call about a father and two sons that had not returned from duck hunting in the Indian River. Due to heavy fog in the area, air units could not respond. Lieutenant Zamonis, Officers B. Graves and Cybula began a search of the area by vessel and discovered duck decoys floating in the water east of a spoil island. As they neared the island they saw a flashing light. After arriving at the island, the father and two sons were found. After speaking with them, it was discovered that the hunter’s vessel had drifted away the night before. They informed the officers that it contained their bird dog, shotguns, and ducks that they had harvested. After a diligent search, the vessel was found with the dog unharmed, the guns secure and most of the ducks intact.

Officers Hadwin and Marroquin received information of duck hunters trespassing on private property along a local waterway. After observing a vessel in an area near the private property, Officer Marroquin called Officer Hadwin for assistance. When the subjects returned to the boat ramp, the officers were able to identify them. A walk of the property revealed several clues of trespass and illegal harvesting of ducks. Over the next week a further investigation was conducted and statements were taken resulting in the arrest of ten men for armed trespass. All of the subjects were booked into the Brevard County Jail and their weapons were seized as evidence.

Officer Eller was on land patrol in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge checking waterfowl hunters. Ten minutes before shooting light a group of hunters climbed into their blind and began vigorously calling ducks. However, all of their headlights were still on. As soon the officer began to return to his vehicle, the entire group with headlights still on began to fire multiple rounds, still 7 minutes before shooting light. An inspection of the hunters revealed boater safety violations as well as violating shooting light hours. After interviewing the hunters, they were cited accordingly.

Officer Eller was working an area that had several duck hunters. Three subjects were seen making their way down the canal towards the officer. A large number of ducks could be seen on the bow of the vessel. A resource inspection revealed one of the hunters was in possession of lead shot. The subject was cited accordingly.

Officers Hallsten and Eller worked several nights at the Haulover Canal on the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge during the black drum run. Through their efforts the officers were able to catch three separate suspects who were attempting to leave with over the bag limit of oversized black drum. The officers issued the appropriate misdemeanor citations and the fish were seized.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officer North was on patrol in Dexter Mary Farms WMA during the closed season when he encountered a man who was squirrel hunting. The man claimed that since small game season was open on private lands he thought that applied to the WMA also. During an investigation, Officer North discovered that the man had called the Florida Forestry Service for a day use permit and said he wanted access to the WMA for sightseeing purposes, which is not required during the normal hunting seasons. He was cited for hunting during the closed season.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Wilkenson investigated a case of grand theft related to a red-tailed hawk. The hawk escaped from a permitted falconer in Orange County and was subsequently recovered and transported to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in Volusia County. The hawk’s owner received information that the hawk was in the custody of the rehabilitator so he contacted the rehabilitator and attempted to get the hawk back. The rehabilitator refused to return the hawk to the falconer and threatened to release it should law enforcement be contacted. By the time FWC was notified and had contacted the rehabilitator, the hawk had already been released. The hawk was the falconer’s personal property with a value of more than $300 and a charge of grand theft was filed against the rehabilitator.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officer Birchfield was working land based water patrol and observed an individual catch and keep an out of season snook at a local fishing pier. The individual placed the snook into a handbag and hid it in their vehicle. When Officer Birchfield spoke with the angler, he said they did not keep any of the fish he caught that evening. Officer Birchfield informed him that he saw them catch and keep the snook. The fisherman admitted to keeping the snook and was issued a citation for taking snook out of season.

K-9 Officer Stasko responded to a Wildlife Alert complaint of two fishermen who kept a snook out of season at the El Jobean Fishing Pier. When Officer Stasko arrived at the pier, the complainant stated that the subjects left the area with the snook in a bucket but they gave a good description of the vehicle and license plate. Officers Stasko, Birchfield, and Zampella went to the address and observed the vehicle described. The officers spoke with the suspect who admitted to catching, keeping and eating the snook. The officers recovered the carcass of the snook and the subject was cited for possession of snook during closed season.

Officers Stasko, Birchfield, and Zampella conducted targeted water patrol in Turtle and Bull Bay. Some of the violations encountered were manatee speed zone, boating safety gear, and one captain operating a fishing charter without a valid license.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Lieutenant Laskowski, Officers Messman, Caldwell, LaRosa, Pettifer, Gonzalez, and Davidson responded to a boating accident on the Little Manatee River. On scene, Officers LaRosa and Pettifer assisted Hillsborough County Fire Rescue with extinguishing the vessel which was fully engulfed in flames. Four people onboard at the time of the fire were transported to shore by a Good Samaritan. One person was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The incident is currently being investigated as a boating accident with assistance from the Hillsborough County Fire Department.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Furbay observed a vehicle swerving in and out of its lane. Suspecting that the operator may be driving under the influence, the vehicle was pulled over. The operator was covered in frosted flakes cereal and claimed he was having a diabetic problem. EMS was contacted to ensure he was okay. A license check revealed the operator had been arrested four times previously for driving while his license was suspended. After being cleared by EMS, the operator was arrested for felony habitual driving while license suspended. A search incident to arrest of the vehicle revealed two packages of methamphetamine, a marijuana cigarette, a scale, cash, and some paraphernalia. The operator was charged with felony possession of narcotics and for possession of narcotics with intent to distribute.

While on patrol at the Matlacha Public Boat Ramp, Officer Hardgrove encountered two subjects as they tied up their recreational fishing vessel to the dock. When asked if they had brought any fish home, one subject stated “No,” while the other stated, “Not really.” A fisheries inspection revealed a stringer tied to the stern of the vessel containing a sheepshead and a redfish. The redfish measured just over 16 inches. The subject who caught the redfish was issued a notice to appear for possession of undersized red drum. The redfish was eventually released alive after several minutes attempting to revive it.

While on patrol in Bokeelia, Pine Island Officer Hardgrove encountered a subject fishing under the bridge. He conducted a fisheries inspection and located a spadefish, a large blue crab, a sand trout and two mangrove snapper that appeared to be under the legal minimum overall length of 10 inches. An FWC history check revealed that the subject had three prior criminal cases for resource violations, in addition to several warnings and citations. The subject was issued a notice to appear for possession of undersized mangrove snapper.

Officer Winton was on water patrol in Pine Island Sound when he saw a vessel returning from offshore waters. The vessel was stopped to conduct a fisheries inspection and the captain was found in possession of three undersized red grouper. A notice to appear was issued for the violation.

Officers Winton and Hazelwood were on water patrol near Fort Myers Beach on New Year’s Eve when they saw a vessel being operated without a boating safety sticker. The officers stopped the vessel to conduct a boating safety inspection, at which time they noticed that the operator exhibited signs of impairment. Field sobriety tasks were conducted and it was determined that the operator had been boating while his normal faculties were impaired. He was placed under arrest and transported to the Lee County jail with charges of boating under the influence and failure to submit to a breath test.

Officers Hardgrove and Thompson located a vessel loaded down with monofilament gill net tucked back in a creek. The boat had no motor attached and was apparently being used as a place to store the net so that it could be accessed for illegal use. The officers seized the net and the boat for investigative purposes. When they measured the net, they found it to be over 1000 yards long, more than a half mile. The investigation is ongoing, but if successfully prosecuted, the suspects could face the forfeiture of the vessel and net, thousands of dollars in fines, up to five years in prison, and a suspension of saltwater licensing privileges.

Officers Hardgrove and Goggin stopped a commercial net fishing vessel while the two men onboard were retrieving seine nets used to catch mullet. The officers noted that the two men had deployed and retrieved four seine nets from the same boat. Use of more than two nets from a vessel at one time is illegal. Furthermore, after examining the nets they found that they were constructed illegally. While a legal seine net cannot have more than 500 square feet of mesh, these nets had more than 1,500 square feet of mesh hung in a manner that created folds in the net designed to entangle fish. Both suspects were charged and, if convicted, face serious penalties.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Dalton was on land patrol around Coquina Boat Ramp on Anna Maria Island and performed a fisheries inspection on an individual returning the boat with a large quantity of mullet. The inspection revealed that the fisherman did not have the proper licensing to possess commercial quantity mullet. He was cited criminally for his violation and will have to appear in court.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on land patrol, Officer Bibeau along with Lieutenant VanTrees made contact with two individuals to conduct a fisheries inspection. The individuals both stated that all they caught was a lady fish. A small snook was found hidden underneath a cast net at the bottom of a bucket. After reading the individuals their Miranda rights and questioning them about the snook, Officer Bibeau found that one subject caught and landed the snook while the other subject harvested the snook by placing it in the bucket. Both subjects were written citations for the fisheries violations.

While on patrol, Officer Caldwell observed two individuals fishing with a cast net. A resource inspection revealed the individuals were in possession of an undersized snook during closed season. One of the individuals admitted to catching the snook with the cast net. He was cited for possession of a snook during a closed season and harvesting a snook by an illegal method.

Lieutenant Wells and Officers Smith, Alvis, Grenz, Nelson, Boyer and a NOAA Enforcement Officer conducted a multi-day law enforcement patrol on the Offshore Patrol Vessel Gulf Sentry. The officers were working commercial longline vessels that were fishing 40-80 nautical miles from the coast in the Gulf of Mexico. The officers boarded one vessel as they were getting ready to pull their longline. The officers counted every single hook that came up on their 4 miles long longline. Current regulations state the vessel cannot possess more than a total of 1000 hooks; including hooks on board the vessel and hooks being fished – and cannot possess more than 750 hooks rigged for fishing at any given time. The vessel was fishing with more than 750 hooks and they had over 1000 hooks on board. The officers issued two federal citations and turned the investigation over to NOAA.

Officers Alvis and Smith were on offshore patrol working commercial reef fish vessels. The officers inspected several vessels. One vessel they inspected was using red grouper on their bandit fishing gear. Additionally, there was cut up red grouper in the bait box. The captain of the vessel was issued a notice to appear for not landing reef fish intact.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officers Brock and Vacin were on water patrol in northern Broward County and conducted a marine fisheries inspection on a vessel. After the inspection, the individual onboard was issued a citation for possession of two undersized mutton snapper. Two undersized mutton snapper were seized as evidence.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Landa continued his enforcement and education efforts towards individuals exhibiting wildlife on South Beach. He observed an individual on a hover board with a large Burmese Python allowing the public to hold the snake. Investigator Landa approached the individual and while identifying himself as law enforcement the subject fled on the hover board. Several days later, a positive identification of the subject was made and investigators again observed him in possession of two Burmese Pythons without the proper licenses. The subject was issued four misdemeanor citations and several warnings for the violations relating to the illegal possession of the snakes. The snakes were seized and turned over to agency biologists. Lieutenant Garzaniti, Investigators Booth, Alford, and Officer Sullivan assisted on this incident.

GLADES COUNTY

Officers Loach and Nasworth were conducting water patrol on Lake Okeechobee near Moonshine Bay and identified an individual operating a vessel who had been hunting ducks. After conducting an inspection, they discovered the subject was in possession of eight ring neck ducks. The subject admitted to shooting seven of the ducks that day and one of the ducks the day before. The individual was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of over the daily bag limit of ducks.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

While conducting land patrol in the JW Corbett WMA, Officers Kirkland and Morrow conducted a vehicle stop on a subject that was driving erratically. Upon contact with the driver, one of the occupants appeared to conceal an item when Officer Morrow approached the car. The owner of the vehicle gave consent for the officers to search the vehicle. A container containing cocaine was located by Officer Kirkland. Further investigation revealed that the cocaine belonged to the driver of the vehicle. The driver was arrested and charged with felony cocaine possession and cited for his traffic violation. In addition, the occupant was issued a citation for having an open container of alcohol.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

For New Year’s Day, officers in Miami-Dade county worked a BUI detail in the area of Bayside and Miami River. Two officers responding to a boating accident noticed individuals on a pontoon boat driving carelessly while throwing items overboard. When stopped, the officers deescalated an active domestic dispute and the officers arrested the operator for BUI.

An officer in Miami-Dade County conducted a vehicle stop in a known dumping area. The officer observed a small white pick-up truck driving at a very slow rate of speed with the bed of the truck filled with junk. Due to the area being a popular spot for illegal dumping of trash and waste, the tag was checked. The registered owner, who matched the driver, had an invalid license and eighteen prior convictions for driving while license suspended/revoked and an active arrest warrant. When stopped, narcotics were found in the vehicle. The operator was arrested for possession of cocaine and driving while license suspended/habitual.

MONROE COUNTY

Lt. Lyne observed a black pickup truck on the shoulder of US1 on Craig Key. In the darkness, she could make out one male subject removing black industrial trash bags and broken base boards from the bed of the truck and throwing them in a trash pile on the side of the roadway. Officer Garcia arrived to assist. The subject was booked into the Plantation Key jail on felony dumping charges.

COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Arbogast, Kleis, and Oldsen were on water patrol when they observed a blacked-out vessel and conducted a vessel stop. During the stop, the operator revealed several indicators of impairment. The inspection also revealed that the PFDs and the fire extinguisher onboard were not in a serviceable condition and flares were expired. When Officer Arbogast asked the operator how much he had to drink, he responded, “About 4 drinks.” The occupants consented to opening their cooler which contained a large bottle of rum. Officers Kleis and Oldsen gathered everyone’s identification which confirmed that no one aboard was 21 years of age or older. Officer Arbogast administered field sobriety tests on the operator who performed poorly. The operator was placed under arrest for underage possession of alcohol, BUI, and was issued citations/warnings for vessel safety violations.

Officer Oldsen, Arbogast and Kleis were on water patrol conducting resource and vessel inspections and observed a boat with two male occupants with fishing equipment. As the vessel passed, Officer Arbogast asked if they had any fish onboard. They replied with “Yes. One 33-inch Snook”. Officer Oldsen conducted a vessel stop and upon inspection of the cooler found a snook. After Officer Arbogast read them their Miranda rights, he asked who caught the fish. One of the occupants admitted to catching the snook. Officer Oldsen issued the appropriate citations for possession of a snook out of season, no saltwater fishing license, and no snook permit.

Officer Plussa conducted a follow up investigation of an at-risk sailboat that was located in Wiggins Bay. The owner was given numerous warnings and citations over a two-month period to remove the vessel. The owner did not comply and attempted to evade law enforcement. Officer Plussa located the owner and placed him under arrest for abandoning the derelict vessel in state waters. He was issued citations for no navigation lights, expired registration, and interfering with navigation.

Officer Plussa assisted Collier County Sheriff’s Marine Corporal Darren who had stopped a commercial stone crab vessel running into port without navigation lights late New Year’s Eve. Officer Plussa and Corporal Darren conducted an inspection and found a substantial quantity of undersized stone crab claws. The vessel had no hull identification number and numerous marine safety and registration violations. The captain of the vessel was charged for the undersized claws and cited accordingly for other violations.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Knutson, Officer Araujo and Lieutenant Mahoney were dispatched to a panther that was hit crossing County Road 951 in Collier County. Upon arrival, there were traces of the panther where it was hit and then moved into the woods nearby. According to the individual that called in about the matter, the panther was wearing a tracking collar, so the officers contacted the local panther biologists to help with location. The panther was found, tranquilized and then transported to the local animal hospital to be evaluated. After evaluation, the panther underwent surgery to repair a broken back leg and will be rehabbed at White Oak rehabilitation facility. The panther will be released when well.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Plussa and Lieutenant Mahoney were conducting land-based water patrol focusing on shoreline areas of Marco Island and Goodland that ware frequently used as unlawful dumping sites. Throughout their patrol they encountered multiple subjects and vehicles and issued a combination of citations and warnings for various violations including: littering, fishing license violations, alcohol violations, and multiple criminal public health violations at an abandoned marina being used as a transient camp.

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  FWC Enforcement Report December 15-28. All Regions.
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NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer Land was on patrol in the Gulf Islands National Seashore with U.S. Park Ranger Robinson and witnessed multiple duck hunters near the Johnson Beach area of the park. Officer Land and Ranger Robinson contacted the hunters for a resource inspection. When Officer Land inspected one of the subject’s firearms, he found that it was capable of holding more than three shells. The subject was issued a citation for the violation.

Lieutenant Hahr was working in the Perdido River Wildlife Management Area when he contacted a subject in the management area 1.5 hours after sunset as allowed by management area rules. While talking to him, he observed fresh blood on the trunk of the subject’s car. The subject told Lieutenant Hahr that his friend killed a six-point buck that morning, but was evasive when describing the deer. After an interview with the subject and the subject’s friend, who was hunting with him earlier in the day, the friend admitted to killing a “big cow horn.” When Lieutenant Hahr located the carcass, the antlers were only slightly over 4 inches in length. He issued the subject a notice to appear for taking the illegal deer.

Officer Allgood received information that someone was possibly deer hunting in Big Lagoon State Park. He walked into the area and found where someone had been hunting on private property near the property line. There was also sign that the hunter had been in the park. A ground blind, a pile of corn and fresh blood was found on the private property. After a short investigation, Officer Allgood found out who was hunting the area. Officer Manning joined Officer Allgood to interview the subject. After a short interview, the subject admitted to killing a doe deer out of season and illegally entering the park. Officer Allgood seized the deer meat and issued a notice to appear citation for the violation.

Officer Allgood received information that a subject killed two doe deer in one day during the recent doe weekend. The past antlerless weekend it was legal to harvest one antlerless deer per day on private property. Officer Allgood interviewed the subject and obtained a confession. The deer meat was seized as evidence and the subject was issued a notice to appear for the violation.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Roberson, Wilkenson, and Lugg were searching a road near a primitive campsite for a subject who had fled from local deputies. Officer Roberson observed a man lying face down in the dirt road. The officers determined that the elderly man was alive but incoherent and called EMS. They turned him over to EMS and identified him as a missing man from Alabama. The man had been missing for four days. He had gotten his truck stuck in a mudhole about 100 yards away and may have been trying to walk out of the remote area. The man was transported to the North Okaloosa Medical Center for treatment.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officers Mullins and Officer Roberson responded to a call in Blackwater River State Forest where a subject was reported to have shot a doe out of season. The subject stated that he had shot the doe by accident and was aiming at a buck. The subject was also hunting two days before deer season reopened in Blackwater River State Forest by management area rules. Officer Roberson issued the subject a misdemeanor citation for hunting out of season and a warning for taking a doe out of season.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
NASSAU COUNTY

Officer Sweat checked two subjects on Middle Road in Nassau County who were trying to catch their deer hounds that were on a piece of Rayonier property that is closed to hunting. The two subjects were pursuing deer with Walker hounds on a private twenty-acre piece of property and a separate forty-acre piece of property within Rayonier land. The dogs got away from the registered hunting area and onto Rayonier property. There was insufficient information on the dog collars. A notice to appear and a warning were issued.

Officer Sweat received a call from a Nassau County landowner about an ongoing problem with deer-hunting dogs. Officer Stuhr was within a few miles of the property and made contact with the subjects at the entrance of the property as they were attempting to leave. Officer Sweat approached the area south of the location of the complaint and caught two beagle hounds as they were pursuing wildlife on the complainant’s property. After an interview, the subject was issued a notice to appear and a warning on deer dog hunter responsibility requirements.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officers West and Bertolami issued criminal citations to adult males for fishery violations. Officer Bertolami found an adult male on the inlet jetty in possession of an out of slot size limit snook and without a permit. Officer West checked an adult male who was in possession of multiple undersized mangrove snapper.

Officer Bertolami stopped and inspected shoreline and vessel fishermen in the New Smyrna Beach area. On two shoreline locations, he found two adult males in possession of multiple undersized mangrove snapper. On a vessel stop, an adult male was found to be in possession of red snapper that was not landed in whole condition. All fishermen were issued notices to appear for their violations.

Officer Bertolami was checking the Daytona Beach area bridges when he found an adult male in possession of undersized red drum, black drum and mangrove snapper. The subject was issued a notice to appear for the violations and the fish were seized and released alive.

LAKE COUNTY

Officer Phillips was dispatched to private lands in Paisley where he made contact with the landowner, who stated he observed several hunting dogs running across his property with GPS collars attached. The land owner caught one of the dogs and provided a sworn written statement. Officer Phillips made contact with the owner of the hunting dogs, who admitted he put the dogs out to hunt at the end of the road, which is less than half a mile from the landowner’s 142-acre property. The subject who owned the hunting dog was cited for the violation of allowing/using dogs to pursue or molest wildlife on the lands of another without written permission from the landowner.

BREVARD COUNTY

While on patrol at Sebastian Inlet State Park, Lieutenant Lightsey observed a man with a fishing cart returning to his vehicle. A resource inspection revealed the man was in possession of more than one oversized black drum. A records check showed the man had a history of resource violations. A citation was issued for the offense.

While on foot patrol at Sebastian Inlet’s north jetty, Lieutenant Lightsey observed numerous fish on a deck. Next to the fish was a fish bag concealed by a rain jacket. After asking if there were any fish in that bag, one of the fisherman stated that he caught one snook. A measurement of the snook revealed that it was 33 inches in length, over the legal slot size. A citation was issued for the offense.

Officers Kearney, Matthews, Cybula, Dubose and Lieutenant Lightsey conducted a month-long detail focusing on Marine Sanitation Devices (MSD) at Brevard County marinas. Numerous citations and warnings were issued for MSD violations, along with several educational opportunities with vessel and marina owners.

Officer Balgo received a call via the Wildlife Alert program about three subjects taking numerous black drum who were currently in possession of at least fourteen oversized black drum. After observing the men for some time, the officer approached to conduct a fisheries inspection. Officer Balgo’s inspection revealed that the men were in possession of fourteen oversized black drum, well over the one per person allowable limit. The men were cited for the violations.

OSCEOLA COUNTY

Officers Summers and Stelzer responded to a call about a deer being kept inside a small cage on someone’s property. Upon arrival, a four-point buck was found inside a small enclosure. The owner did not have a license allowing him to possess the deer. The owner was cited for the violation and the deer was relocated to the wild.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officer Salem responded to a call about someone using heavy machinery to clear an area of land inside Babcock Ranch. After investigating, Officer Salem identified several areas where a tractor had been used to cut trails and clear some trees. He spoke with the quota holder who admitted to using a tractor in the area. The case is ongoing at this time.

Officer Salem was on patrol when he conducted a resource inspection on some duck hunters on an airboat. The inspection revealed that the men were in possession of a legal bag limit of scaup but did not possess a federal duck stamp or a migratory bird permit. A citation was issued for the federal duck stamp violation and a warning was issued for the migratory bird permit violation.

HIGHLANDS COUNTY

Officer Smith responded to an individual intentionally feeding sandhill cranes while holding another crane captive in the back seat of a car. Once Officer Smith arrived on scene and spoke with the subject, the subject stated he was waiting in the parking lot for a friend when he saw three sandhill cranes walking behind his car. The subject said that he loves the bird and wanted one for his land. He opened the back door of his car where he had an open bag of cracked corn and began to pour it on the ground beside his car. He also began to feed the cranes by hand and lured one into the back seat of his car and closed the door. While still waiting for his friend he continued to feed the other two birds. One of the cranes bit his pinky finger and wouldn’t let go. The subject began to choke the bird until a witness yelled at him to let the bird go. He quickly let go of the bird’s neck and released the captive crane in the car. Officer Smith cited the subject with intentionally feeding sandhill cranes, and will be direct filing charges for capturing and harassing a state designated threatened species.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Officer Guerin was patrolling Upper Hillsborough WMA when he encountered two individuals walking down one of the trails on the east part of the property. They were wearing camouflage and carrying a rifle and a shotgun. The two subjects were advised of their Miranda Rights, and admitted they had been hunting deer on the property illegally for years by crossing railroad tracks and climbing a fence from an adjacent property. The rifle and shotgun were seized and both subjects received misdemeanor citations for attempting to take deer in a closed season, illegal entry onto SWFWMD property, as well as warnings for illegally hanging three tree stands which were removed.

Officer Wilkins spearheaded a night hunting detail that encompassed numerous counties within the Southwest region. Officers from four surrounding counties, along with FWC Aviation participated in the detail. The detail was a success and charges for felony trespassing were issued to two subjects during the course of the night.

Officers Berg and Guerin responded to a call that there was an individual lost in the woods in Lithia that had been out there all night. The officers were familiar with the area and located the individual quickly. Upon making sure the individual was safe and not in need of medical attention, they observed a large knife with blood and what appeared to be deer hair on it. They also located a loaded .270 rifle behind a tree. The officers interviewed the individual and he admitted that he and his friend had been out the day before hunting deer on Mosaic property. He stated that he did not use the rifle and that he was just tagging along with a friend. Once made aware of the other individual’s name, the officers attempted to locate him. They spoke to him briefly on the phone but he hung up and did not answer any more calls. Officers Berg and Guerin were given a possible location in Mulberry of where he was hiding. He admitted to hunting Mosaic property with the .270 rifle and shooting at a deer. He was charged with trespassing, attempting to take a deer during closed season and possession of a firearm by a felon.

While on patrol, Officer Messman observed an individual fishing from the CSX railroad bridge over the Palm River. The individual accessed the bridge by passing multiple posted “No Trespassing” signs. An FWC history check revealed the individual had been previously cited for trespassing on CSX property. The individual was cited for trespassing and escorted off the bridge.

LEE COUNTY

FWC officers and investigators responded to a two-vessel boating accident that occurred at Fort Myers Beach. The two vessels collided causing serious bodily injury. This is an ongoing and active boating accident investigation.

FWC officers and investigators responded to a single vessel boating accident in Pine Island Sound. The operator left the vessel in gear and walked to the bow leaving no one in actual physical control of the vessel. The vessel struck a sandbar ejecting the subject. The vessel continued to make way and struck the subject who consequently died on the scene. This is an ongoing and active boating accident investigation.

Officer Stanley and Officer Hardgrove stopped a vessel to conduct a marine fisheries and safety inspection. The vessel had four people on board, and immediately upon being stopped the owner stated that they were on a two-day charter. A fisheries inspection revealed two of the red grouper were undersized and one yellowtail snapper was undersized. A notice to appear citation was issued to the charter captain for possession of two undersized red grouper and one undersized yellowtail snapper. The charter captain had been stopped two days prior by FWC Officer Winton, and had been issued a written warning for possession of out of season amberjack.

Officers Thompson and Hardgrove were patrolling Charlotte Harbor and Pine Island Sound enforcing commercial mullet regulations when they spotted a fisherman throwing a cast net in the mouth of a creek. As they approached the fisherman, they realized he was throwing the cast net onto a group of fish that was encircled by two seine nets. It is a violation of net fishing regulations to fish with more than two nets at one time. In addition, the two seine nets were connected to be fished as one net in excess of 500 square feet. The fisherman also had approximately 100 pounds of mullet, a food fish, on the deck of his boat with no ice. The fish and the three nets were seized. The fisherman was charged with two major violations.

Officer Winton responded to a boating accident near the Fort Myers Beach Pier. During the investigation, it was determined that one of the vessels was a rental jet ski. A criminal investigation was conducted to determine if the livery met all statutory requirements for renting vessels, and several violations were discovered. As a result, four criminal charges are being filed with the state attorney’s office.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Klobuchar was on land patrol when he was dispatched to a possible undersized snook call. Upon arriving on scene, two subjects were seen wade fishing just south of the Terra Ciea Bay Condominiums pier. The two individuals were seen taking several species of fish and attaching them to stringers around their waists. Their vehicle was identified and the officer moved to a position where he could observe the subjects exiting the water. Multiple snook, trout, and red drum were seen as they were being placed into a bucket by the second subject. After both men exited the water, Officer Klobuchar approached the men at their vehicle and performed a resource inspection. The men were found to be in possession of four out of season and undersized snook, eight trout, three of which were undersized, and one undersized redfish. One of the individuals did not possess a valid fishing license or snook permit. Notices to appear were issued for out of season, undersized, and over the bag limit snook, as well as undersized red drum. Warnings were issued for the undersized trout, fishing without a valid shoreline fishing license, and no snook permit.

Officer Miller was working Northern Manatee County when he observed a vehicle at the canoe launch on Stotz Rd. A resource inspection revealed two undersized snook and four blue gill. One of the occupants claimed possession of the fish and admitted to catching all the fish with a cast net. The subject was issued citations for possession of undersized snook, over the bag limit snook, and possession of snook during closed season. Warnings were issued for taking snook by illegal method and taking freshwater game fish by illegal method.

Officer Davidson was on land patrol when he received a complaint that a man was poaching fish on the Anna Maria Fishing Pier. At the location, he found a man fishing in the area matching the description from the complaint. A resource inspection revealed that the man was in possession of two undersized gag grouper and several undersized grey snapper (mangrove snapper). The subject was given two criminal citations and will have to appear in court for his violations.

Officers Hertel and Klobuchar were on water patrol in Tampa Bay near the South Skyway Fishing Pier. The officers conducted a fishery inspection on a vessel with three people onboard. The inspection revealed two undersized gag grouper, 20 undersized mangrove snapper and four undersized sheepshead. One of the subjects claimed to have caught all the fish and was cited for three misdemeanors and one written warning.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Lieutenant Van Trees and Officer Wilkins were on land patrol at Tierra Verde Bridge checking fishermen when they approached three male subjects fishing from a seawall. Lieutenant Van Trees smelled the odor of marijuana coming from their car. One subject admitted to having marijuana. A subsequent search of the vehicle also revealed the subject was in possession of cocaine and MDPV (type of methamphetamine). The subject admitted to all the drugs being his, and it was later discovered a second male had two warrants for his arrest. Both were arrested and booked into the Pinellas County jail and verbal warnings were issued for fishing license violations.

While on land patrol in South Pinellas County, Officer Bibeau observed four individuals that were actively fishing from atop a bridge posted “no fishing.” Officer Bibeau watched the individuals from a concealed location and made contact with them as they were returning to their vehicle to conduct a fisheries inspection. The resource inspection revealed seven undersized gag grouper, three undersized mangrove snapper, and one undersized sheepshead. The subjects were issued the appropriate misdemeanor citations and warnings for the fisheries violations.

While on land patrol in St. Pete Beach, Officers Bibler and Wilkins approached a group of subjects fishing from a small pier to conduct a resource inspection. At the conclusion of their inspection, the officers found one of the subjects to be in possession of an undersized gag grouper. The subject was cited for the violation.

While on land patrol at the Fort Desoto Bridge, Officer Bibeau made contact with an individual to conduct a fisheries inspection and located four undersized stone crab claws and one whole stone crab in the subject’s cooler. Officer Bibeau got permission from the subject to search his vehicle which was parked nearby, and found a small bucket with more undersized stone crab claws and whole stone crabs. In total, Officer Bibeau found the subject to be in possession of eight whole stone crab and 12 undersized stone crab claws. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation and warning for the fisheries violations.

While on water patrol offshore of John’s Pass, Officer Bibler stopped a vessel returning from a day of spearfishing. The captain of the vessel stated he only had hogfish and sheepshead, but Officer Bibler saw that he was concealing a gag grouper inside the cooler. A resource inspection revealed one undersized gag grouper, three undersized hogfish and two undersized sheepshead. The captain of the vessel was cited for the violations and given numerous warnings.

While on water patrol near Blind Pass, Officer Bibler stopped a vessel returning from offshore. A subsequent resource inspection revealed the fishermen had four out of season gray trigger fish, two of which were undersized. Officer Bibler advised the occupants that trigger fish had been closed for harvest for quite some time and cited the individuals accordingly for the violations.

While on water patrol near the Maximo Boat Ramp, Officers Bibler and Martinez stopped a vessel that failed to obey the slow speed requirements. During the stop, signs of impairment from the operator were observed, including falling over and having a hard time balancing. Field sobriety tasks were initiated with the subject, but were later refused. Officer Bibler and Martinez also discovered that the operator had given them a false name upon first contact. An hour later at the jail the operator provided a breath sample of .015. The subject was booked into jail for BUI and providing false information to a law enforcement officer.

SARASOTA COUNTY

Officer Dalton was on water patrol around Stickney Point Bridge, saw a subject fishing in the ICW and performed a fisheries and boating safety inspection. A resource inspection revealed the subject was in possession of undersized spotted seatrout and undersized snook out of season. The subject was given a warning on the spotted seatrout and two criminal citations for possession of snook out of season and undersized snook. He will have to appear in court for his violations.

POLK COUNTY

Officer Earls responded to a hunting accident that occurred in Arbuckle Wildlife Management Area. The hunter had fallen from his tree stand and received minor injuries. Officer Earls will be completing a hunting accident report.

Lieutenant Brooks was patrolling the Avon Park Air Force Range when he observed a subject in possession of a deer that did not meet the antler requirement. Lieutenant Brooks spoke with the hunter and she admitted to knowing that it was too short, but had shot it anyway. Lieutenant Brooks issued the hunter a notice to appear for the violation and the deer was seized as evidence.

RESCUES
POLK COUNTY

Officers Carter, Young, Earls, Fagan, and Pilot Fields responded to Green Swamp Wildlife Management area for a lost hunter. The hunter’s family reported him missing after he did not return home. The officers requested assistance from Sumpter County Sheriff’s Office, Polk and Sumpter Corrections K-9 units. The officers located the hunter’s vehicle and started running K-9 tracks to locate the missing hunter. Officer Carter and a K-9 team from Polk Corrections Institute located the hunter. The hunter had fallen 30 feet from his tree stand in the early morning where he had sustained major injuries. The hunter was transported to a local hospital for treatment. Officer Carter will be completing a hunting accident report.

CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officers Birchfield and Salem received a report from a boat rental company that a boat was overdue. Later, the subject called and said he was going to commit suicide in the boat. The family of the 24-year-old subject called and reported that he had taken a rifle with him. The officers located the rental boat and the subject with a rifle pointed at his chest. They were able to get the subject to put the rifle down and move away from the gun. The subject was transported back to the dock where they were met by two clergymen and a deputy.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
PASCO COUNTY

Officer Balfour was on land patrol along the riverbank on the border of Green Swamp West (WMA) and Richloam (WMA). After a short while he could hear a vessel in operation and watched the operator beach the vessel. The vessel occupant then entered Green Swamp West (WMA) and began to remove the water management district signs. Officer Balfour conducted a stop of the vessel, and he charged the individual with criminal mischief and illegal entry into the WMA.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Investigator Ervin and Officers Allen and Smith were conducting an airboat detail to detect subjects harvesting wildlife from moving vessels in the Kissimmee River Public Use Area marsh. Investigator Ervin and Officer Smith identified two subjects hunting deer from an airboat without the required hunter orange clothing and advised Officer Allen. Officer Allen made contact with the subjects who received citations for the violation.

Officer Allen was towing an airboat to the Kissimmee River PUA marsh through Hickory Hammock WMA before daylight when he saw a small spotlight turn on and off in front of him. He detained three subjects on foot, an adult male and two juveniles, who had four freshly killed rabbits. The adult male stated he illuminated the four rabbits prior to legal hunting hours with his head light while his juvenile son shot the animals. The man received a notice to appear in court for the violation

Officers Fijalkowski and Crosby were on patrol in the Okee-Tanti Campground conducting resource inspections on individuals fishing the bank of the Kissimmee River. After speaking with a fisherman, the subject stated that he had not caught any fish.

Officers Fijalkowski and Crosby found a hidden bucket with black crappie under a bush. When the subject was asked about the bucket he confessed it was his bucket. Upon measurement of the fish, one was found to be under the 10-inch size limit. The subject was issued a citation.

BROWARD COUNTY

Officers Matthews and Ryan responded to the area of the Everglades Holiday Park in for a call of assistance from the Pembroke Pines Police Department. The call was about ATV riders violating a no trespassing area and shots being heard. The police department was able to arrest one individual. Officers spotted the other ATV riders but they fled the area.

Officer Brock was on patrol in Mizell-Johnson State Park when he heard a Park Ranger requesting assistance on the park radio. Officer Brock responded to the Ranger’s location. Once on scene he located a subject walking naked down the beach with numerous other beachgoers in the area. The subject was arrested and booked into Broward County Jail for indecent exposure.

MARTIN COUNTY

Officer Morrow conducted a fisheries inspection on a subject who was fishing. When asked about the contents of his cooler, the subject advised he was in possession of sand perch. Upon inspection of the cooler, two undersize mutton snapper, measuring 11” and 13” were located. The subject, who had been previously warned for undersized saltwater fish just weeks prior, was issued a misdemeanor citation. The illegal fish were seized and returned to the water.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Pecko, Langley, Mclendon and Stone were on land patrol when they received a phone call about a subject cast-netting snook. The officers responded and found the subject had no fishing license and was in possession of two snook. The subject was cited accordingly.

Officers Pecko and Webb were on land patrol in STA 1W conducting hunting inspections when two subjects were found missing four of the five licenses/permits needed to be hunting migratory birds. Both subjects were cited accordingly.

Captive Wildlife Investigators Howell and Toby responded to a report of an individual in possession of a reticulated python without the required license. Upon arrival, the illegal possession was verified. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation for the illegal possession and several warnings for other violations relating to the incident. The snake was seized and turned over to agency biologists. Officer Loach assisted in this incident.

RESCUES
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Banks was on patrol on the Western side of Palm Beach County when she was flagged down by a Good Samaritan who wanted to report a boat that had crashed into the bank and was stuck in some grass. Officer Banks located the vessel and made sure the single occupant was uninjured. She then contacted Officer Brock to respond with a vessel to assist the subject with removing his vessel from the grass. The subject and his vessel were safely removed from the grass and towed back to the boat ramp. The vessel suffered no damage and no one suffered injuries.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MIAMI DADE COUNTY

Officers were on patrol and stopped a subject conducting livery inspections. After a wanted/warrant check on one of the involved subjects, they found him to have a bench warrant reference prior noncompliance with livery laws.

An officer stopped a vessel at Black Point and found the subject to be in possession of two undersized mutton snapper and seven undersized yellowtail snappers. The subject was cited accordingly.

While on patrol, an officer made contact with a subject in a common illegal dumping area. This officer saw a bird trap in plain view in the rear foot well of his vehicle with an indigo bunting inside. The subject stated he was trapping birds in the area and had one other trap deployed with a painted bunting inside. The officer recovered the deployed trap which contained one painted bunting inside the bait section of the trap. Subject was in possession of one painted bunting, one indigo bunting, two bird traps and one holding cage. Defendant was cited for possession/trapping of migratory song birds, which is prohibited by the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Landa continued his enforcement efforts targeting the illegal display of wildlife on South Beach. Several individuals were issued warnings for exhibiting wildlife without a license, including birds and snakes. Two subjects checked for exhibiting wildlife were found to be in the country illegally. The subjects were arrested and turned over to Border Patrol. Officers Martir and Cosculluela assisted with the case.

COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Curbelo stopped a vehicle in the Picayune State Forest after hours. FWC dispatch advised him that the driver of the vehicle had three active warrants. Officers Araujo and Knutson responded for back up and Officer Curbelo suspected DUI. During the DUI investigation, a container of marijuana was found outside the vehicle. The subject later admitted to throwing it out the window. Additionally, a small tube of cocaine was found in the subject’s possession. Field sobriety tasks indicated that the subject was driving under the influence. When asked to give a breath sample, the subject refused. Officer Curbelo booked the subject for DUI refusal, multiple traffic violations, drug offenses and the three warrants for violation of parole.

MONROE COUNTY

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office’s (MCSO) license plate reader hit on the vehicle/subject reported missing and endangered from Sarasota County after he reportedly pulled a knife on his mother. MCSO attempted to pull the subject over, but he refused to yield. The subject twice avoided spike strips that had been deployed and almost struck an MCSO deputy on the roadside. MCSO dispatch contacted FWC asking for any officers around the 90-mile marker for assistance. They advised that the driver might have mental issues. Officer Garcia was northbound waiting to intercept, as Officer McKay was in route southbound. Officer Garcia was near Founder’s Park when he saw the approaching deputies. The subject stopped on the roadway behind Officer Garcia and contact was made. MCSO was able to safely take the subject into custody.

Officer McKay was driving home when he observed a driver following too closely, making improper lane changes and violating traffic control devices. Officer McKay stopped the vehicle and the driver handed him a Florida ID card after admitting that his license was suspended for child support delinquency. The license was also expired and suspended for failure to pay traffic fines, with two past suspensions for DUI. The driver was placed under arrest and his vehicle was towed. Appropriate traffic citations were issued.

Officer Wagner was in his unmarked patrol vehicle when he observed an individual catch and place a tarpon inside a plastic bag. The subject then began making phone calls and looking around. A few minutes later, two females arrived in a separate car and retrieved the fish from the subject and began walking back to their car. As Officer Wagner approached the female with the bag, he noticed the bag was missing. After explaining that he had observed the entire situation, she showed him the bag that had been thrown into nearby bushes. Shortly after, Officer Alvarez arrived on scene where he began interviewing the fisherman. The subject was placed under arrest for harvest/possession of a tarpon.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Kleis responded to an alligator complaint in which a person had caught an alligator while fishing, and the alligator was currently in the subject’s yard. After removing the alligator from the residence, Officer Kleis was flagged down by a frantic couple who stated that their 7-year-old nephew was missing. Officer Kleis interviewed the missing child’s family while waiting for the local sheriff’s office to arrive on scene to assist and found that they hadn’t seen the child in over 3 hours. He was last seen riding his bike with his brother. Officer Kleis spoke with the brother of the missing child, who was also 7 years old. He pointed Officer Kleis in the direction that he had last seen his missing brother. Officer Kleis located the missing child nearby and unharmed. It was discovered that he was taking a nap after a long day of riding his bike and he was reunited with his family.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MIAMI DADE COUNTY

The Columbus High School Anglers Club was invited to partake in the Annual FWC Christmas Luncheon at the Miami Regional Office. They were provided with a guided tour and a video interview. They received responses to questions about life as an FWC officer, resource protection, boating safety and search and rescue. The luncheon presented a special opportunity to establish a rapport with the next generation of sportsmen. There were approximately 25 student contacts.

On December 21, 2017 FWC officer Alexander Dinu on behalf of SRB took part in a community event taking place at Texas Roadhouse restaurant in West Miami. The event featured several police agencies including Sweetwater PD, Coral Gables PD, as well as recruiting members of the United States Army and the National Guard.

Several High School Junior ROTC and their families used the event to raise money for their programs. The event was a good opportunity to promote awareness of the different armed forces and police agencies available as careers for the high school students going forward after graduation.

Officers Wagner and Alvarez participated in career day at Bridge Prep Academy Elementary School in Miami where they presented a program on alligators and the FWC mission. Officers brought a live alligator, and educated the students about the reptile’s behavior and biology. Officers spoke to approximately 150 individuals including teachers, parents, and students ranging from first to fifth grade, emphasizing the importance of safety and an individual’s behavior when an alligator is encountered in the wild. Officers also taught the children about the agency and its role in conservation.

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  FWC Enforcement Report December 8-14. All Regions.
Posted by: bigefromlc - 12-20-2017, 10:17 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer Allgood worked fisheries enforcement in the Pensacola Bay area and identified several individuals in violation. He issued notice to appear citations for possession of red snapper in a closed season and possession of undersized scamp and mangrove snapper. Officer Allgood also documented license and boating safety violations.

Officer Allgood entered a hunt camp and noticed the remains of a doe deer hanging on a skinning rack. The deer had already been cleaned and appeared to be an antlerless deer. Antlerless deer season is not open and to take an antlerless deer legally it must be tagged before moving it from the field. When the two hunters noticed Officer Allgood, they attempted to tag the antlerless deer. The deer was killed several hours prior and had not been tagged. Officer Allgood issued a citation for failing to tag an antlerless deer.

FEDERAL WATERS

Officers Cushing, Land and Wilkenson were on water patrol in federal waters aboard the offshore patrol vessel NW Fincat. While patrolling approximately 30 miles south of Perdido Key in the Gulf of Mexico, they approached a large charter vessel and observed items being thrown overboard. Once onboard, Officers Land and Wilkenson discovered several violations inside the cooking grill located on deck and in the freezer. Officer Land found cooked gray triggerfish fillets (closed season) and red snapper fillets inside the grill. They also discovered a gray triggerfish in whole condition in a catch basket on deck as well as two one-gallon bags of fresh red snapper fillets (not frozen) in the freezer. In addition, the captain did not possess a current federal charter permit. Officer Land issued a federal citation for the violations.

GULF COUNTY

Lieutenant Allen and Officer Hellett were working a net detail and observed a truck that was stuck in the sand near their location. The subject approached the officers and asked if the officers could pull him out. Officers stated they were not permitted and the subject stated that he will just wait for another truck to come by to pull him out. The officers asked what he was doing in the area and the subject stated that he was checking his trail cameras. The officers then proceeded on with their net detail. Being an avid hunter, Officer Hellett thought it unusual that the subject was checking trail cameras that early in the morning. Later that morning, the officers returned to the area where the subject’s truck had been stuck and noticed fresh blood on the ground. An investigation revealed that the subject was suspected of trespassing on another hunting lease and of stealing trail cameras and poaching deer. During an interview, the subject confessed to killing a deer at night and stealing trail cameras. They recovered a buck deer head, flashlight, rifle, two SD cards and a trail camera from the subject’s truck. Lieutenant Allen also recovered a deer carcass, with a missing head, in the woods near the location where the subject’s truck was stuck. The subject decided to hand over three other trail cameras that he had stolen from another hunting lease. Appropriate charges will be filed with the State Attorney’s Office.

JEFFERSON/ LEON COUNTY

After receiving complaints about permanent duck blinds on lakes in Leon and Jefferson Counties, Officers Pekerol, Brookes and Korade, along with Investigator Bryant and Lieutenant Wass de Czege worked diligently to address the issue. Prior to the opening weekend of the regular duck season, officers documented more than 35 permanent duck blinds on area lakes. During the first two days of the season, officers issued four citations and two warnings for hunting from permanent duck blinds, along with one citation for a motor violation on Lake Iamonia. Other citations and warnings were issued for license and boating safety violations.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) and Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) requested assistance regarding a manhunt. FHP attempted to stop a vehicle for excessive speed, but the driver sped off to elude the trooper. In a short distance, the driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed at General Bond and Highway 85. The driver exited the vehicle and retreated into Eglin’s reservation. Due to geographical knowledge of the area, having trucks with 4-wheel drive and aviation, officers aided in the search of the fleeing felon. OCSO, Eglin security personnel and seven officers formed a triangle barrier around the thick wooded area where the subject entered. With the aid of the Department of Corrections (FDC) K-9 unit, the subject was apprehended 3½ hours later. During the search, the FDC K-9 unit found where the subject cut off his GPS monitoring ankle device. Furthermore, there were two firearms in the vehicle, along with burglary tools. The subject’s criminal history was lengthy and included violent acts.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Lewis located a food plot that had been planted on Blackwater River State Forest adjacent to a section of private property. When asked, a man hunting near the food plot admitted to planting it. The subject was issued multiple citations for planting the food plot on the management area.

Officer Lewis observed a pickup on the side of the road that appeared to be disabled and stopped to assist. While talking to the occupants, the officer learned that one of them had killed a doe deer, which was in a cooler in the bed of the pickup. Stories differed regarding the location where the deer was killed and the shooter could not remember where it was taken. The subject that killed the deer claimed he killed it in Alabama but had not checked it in as required by Alabama regulations. Officer Lewis contacted an Alabama game warden, and met him at the state line. The suspect showed the officers the deer carcass in Alabama, but claimed that he could not remember where it was taken. The Alabama officer charged the subject for not filling out his harvest report.

Officer Land was on the Escambia River when he observed three subjects on a boat heading under power toward a flock of coots. When the boat flushed the coots, one of the hunters fired at them before the boat stopped moving. Officer Land contacted Lieutenant Hahr who located the hunters as they were leaving a nearby boat ramp. The subjects admitted to trying to shoot the coots from the moving boat. Upon inspection, the officers found that the subject observed shooting was using lead shot and a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells. The one subject was issued a citation for attempting to take waterfowl from a vessel under power and with lead shot.

Lieutenant Berryman was patrolling the Escribano Point Wildlife Management Area (WMA) when he encountered four individuals camping at the Bayou Campground. While speaking with these individuals, he learned that they did not possess a camping permit for the campground and observed several beer cans that had been discarded on the ground and open containers of beer within their vehicles. Additionally, it was found that none of the four individuals possessed a valid driver’s license and that one of the vehicle’s registration tag was expired and was ordered by the court to be seized. All four subjects appeared to be nervous and were acting very suspiciously. Officer Land arrived to assist and requested a K-9 unit from the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s deputy arrived and worked his police canine around the vehicles and the subjects’ tent that had been set up in a non-designated camping area. The canine showed a positive alert on both vehicles and the tent for narcotics. A search of both vehicles revealed marijuana, methamphetamines and drug paraphernalia. The owners of both vehicles and the tent were placed under arrest by Officer Land and transported to the county jail. Both vehicles were towed and the tent was seized for safe keeping until a search warrant could be obtained to search it and its contents. The other two individuals were given a ride to a local motel.

WAKULLA COUNTY

During duck season, Officer Nelson and Federal Refuge Officer Lord received information that several subjects were hunting in the portion of the St. Marks Wildlife Refuge closed to hunting. Officers Lord and Nelson launched a vessel and located the individuals who had harvested several redhead ducks inside the closed area. The subjects were issued the appropriate citations for hunting in the closed area.

RESCUES
SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officers responded to a distress call from three hunters who swamped their boat while preparing to duck hunt in Escambia Bay. The three young hunters ran out of gas about four miles from the boat ramp and drifted away from the shoreline. They had a friend bring them gas, but they were unable to start the motor once they filled the tank. By this time, they had drifted out into the bay and strong north winds had created a stiff chop. They attempted to anchor the boat using a heavy lead anchor, but improperly tied the rope off to the stern. The boat quickly took on water and swamped. Luckily, the three young adults donned their life jackets and began to swim to shore in the freezing air temperature. One of them had a waterproof case on his phone and called 911 while swimming. Avalon Fire Rescue located the hunters and pulled them from the water. Officers located the boat and recovered it along with the hunters’ shotguns and most of their belongings. The hunters were treated at the hospital for hypothermia and released.

WALTON COUNTY

Officer Corbin and Investigator Armstrong responded to a search and rescue in the Choctawhatchee River area near Smokehouse Landing in Freeport. The report stated a 70-year-old man was operating his 18-foot vessel in a slough off the river when the boat became stuck on a log. The operator was by himself with no cellular phone service. The operator provided GPS coordinates to dispatch. The officers launched a vessel and, with the GPS coordinates, located the man quickly. The officers freed the man’s vessel from the log and ensured his safe arrival back to the boat ramp.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers J. Rockwell, Brooks and P. Rockwell attended an outreach event at Crestview High School. The officers addressed approximately 60 students and spoke about the job of an officer and how they use different vehicles and vessels to patrol their areas. The officers brought for display two marked patrol vessels, one 26-foot and the other 16-foot, and an ATV used to patrol rough terrain.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officers teamed up with staff from the Division of Habitat and Species Conservation to work the Blackwater Family Hunt. The hunt was an enormous success as the hunters enjoyed beautiful weather and saw lots of deer movement. The hunters harvested 18 deer over the weekend and used 43 of the issued permits. Several of the young hunters won donated door prizes including two firearms and a double ladder stand. It was a wonderful experience for all that participated.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
LAFAYETTE COUNTY

Officer Drew observed a vehicle being operated in Mallory Swamp WMA after hours. Further investigation revealed that the operator of the vehicle had no exclusive use permit and was driving with a permanently revoked driver’s license for driving under the influence (DUI) manslaughter. The operator was arrested and delivered to the county jail for driving while license was permanently revoked.

MADISON COUNTY

Officer Ransom received information from a local landowner of two individuals trespassing on his property. Further investigation revealed the identity of the two individuals and their attempt to shoot a doe deer. The rifle used was seized and the appropriate charges will be filed with the state attorney for prosecution.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

While performing vessel inspections in Port Canaveral, Officer Balgo encountered a vessel with numerous fishery and boating safety violations. Two undersized mutton snapper, one undersized black grouper, and one undersized mangrove snapper were located onboard the vessel. The vessel owner/operator was issued several citations for the violations.

Officer Rasey received a Wildlife Alert call about subjects taking over the bag limit of oversized black drum in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and located a truck matching the description of the possible suspected vehicle and subject. An inspection of a cooler in the truck bed revealed only alcoholic beverages. Next to the cooler was a blanket which contained three black drum hidden beneath it. All fish measured over 30 inches in length. The subject received a citation for possession of more than one black drum greater than 24 inches.

Officer Cybula received a complaint of anglers taking oversized redfish from Sebastian Inlet’s north jetty. Once in the area, the officer began conducting resource inspections. One subject was found to be in possession of an oversized redfish and was issued a citation.

LAKE COUNTY

Officer Scrambling was on patrol at the Buzzard Beach boat ramp at Lake Eustis and observed two subjects using cast nets to catch game fish. He conducted a resource inspection and found six small panfish, one largemouth bass, one turtle and shiners in their containers. Both subjects were cited for the violations of catching freshwater game fish by illegal method.

ORANGE COUNTY

Officer Hadwin was patrolling Hal Scott Preserve when he observed a vehicle parked outside of a locked gate where vehicles are not typically parked. After speaking with some nearby fishermen, he determined the vehicle owner had not been in the area recently but had been parked there for a few hours. Shortly after sunset, two subjects were seen exiting the property. Both subjects were in full camouflage and had climber tree stands. One hunter had a rifle and the other had a compound bow. Both subjects were issued citations for hunting in closed area.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officer Sapp located a tree stand that had corn scattered in front of it on Tiger Bay WMA. The following morning, a hunter, wearing full camo, was in the stand deer hunting over the bait. The hunter admitted to placing the bait and said he knew it was against the law. He was issued citations for hunting over bait in a WMA and not wearing hunter orange.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
LEE COUNTY

Lieutenant Spoede and Officers Winton and Hazelwood conducted an offshore patrol on the SAFE patrol vessel. During the patrol, multiple commercial and recreational vessels were stopped and checked for compliance. Violations included lobsters not in whole condition, undersized snapper, over the bag limit of cobia, charter fishing violations, fishing license violations and boater safety violations. Multiple notices to appear, resource and boating citations, and boating and resource warnings were issued.

Lieutenant Spoede and Officers Winton and Hazelwood were on water patrol near Punta Rassa Cove when they saw a commercial blue crab vessel actively pulling traps. A vessel stop was conducted, at which time it was determined that the vessel was not properly marked with the endorsement number of the traps being pulled. A history check revealed that the vessel captain had an extensive history of citations and warnings, including marking violations. The captain was issued a notice to appear for the marking violation, as well as multiple warnings for related violations.

Officer Stanley stopped a vessel inbound from the Charlotte Harbor area with fishing poles visible in the rod holders in Matlacha Pass to conduct a marine fisheries inspection. As the vessel approached his position, the operator stopped the vessel and changed course outside the channel. He quickly began casting a fishing line while idling his vessel into shallow water. Officer Stanley asked the vessel operator how his day of fishing was going and he responded that it was not good and that he only had one snook and stated it was a legal fish that measured 25 inches. The legal size limit for snook is a minimum 28 inches to a maximum of 33 inches. A marine fisheries inspection revealed a 21.5-inch snook in the live well. The operator was issued a notice to appear citation for possession of an undersized snook. The fish was photographed and released.

Officer Winton was on water patrol in Jug Creek when he observed a vessel being operated without a registration sticker. During the stop, the operator continued to change his story about where and when he got the vessel. The vessel was escorted back to the dock, and it was determined that the subject had owned the boat for two and a half years, but had not changed the title or registration over to his name. During the inspection, several other safety violations, hull identification number violations and registration violations were identified. The subject was written a notice to appear, a boating citation and numerous warnings for the violations.

Officer Winton was on water patrol in Matlacha Pass when he saw a commercial crab boat actively pulling blue crab traps. During a stop on the vessel, it was determined that the subjects were pulling traps whose endorsement numbers were not registered to the vessel. Several other violations were discovered relating to live shells, commercial licensing, blue crab endorsements and safety equipment. The occupants were issued notices to appear, a boating citation and multiple warnings for the violations.

Officer Price was conducting surveillance on several subjects fishing from a bridge when he noticed that the subjects keeping several undersized fish. As the subjects packed up their gear, a resource inspection was conducted. During the resource inspection, it was determined that the subjects were in possession of undersized sheepshead. Additionally, one of the subjects had a revoked fishing license. The individuals were issued notices to appear and warnings for the violations.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on night water patrol, Officer Martinez observed a vessel with improper navigation lights operating outside of the channel near the Dick Meisner Bridge. Officer Martinez approached and realized it was a commercial mullet fishing boat. As Officer Martinez activated his lights, the deckhand on the vessel started to untie nets that were illegally tied together. He quickly boarded the vessel and the deckhand stopped untying the nets. Officer Martinez had the subjects proceed to the closest boat ramp where Officer Bibeau arrived to help with the investigation. The officers found that the two men had a total of four nets tied together (well over 500 square feet) and were not in direct transit, a violation of net carriage rules. The subjects were cited accordingly and the nets were seized. Officer Martinez along with Lieutenants Holcomb and Van Trees later measured the four nets, which tied together measured approximately 1,960 square feet.

After receiving complaints about fishermen violating the local mullet bag limit rule in Coffee Pot Bayou, Officers Bibeau and Bibler set up surveillance and watched for violators. The officers observed a subject matching a description of a violator from earlier in the day. They observed him and another subject harvest over their daily bag limit of mullet, while a third subject waited in a nearby car for a quick getaway. After the men began to put the fish in the trunk of their car, Officer Bibeau called Officer Martinez and Investigator Schefano who were nearby in an unmarked car to complete an inspection. It was discovered the driver of the vehicle was a habitual traffic violator and was in possession of numerous illegal prescription pills. The driver was arrested on three felony charges, and one of the subjects was cited for harvesting over his daily bag limit of mullet.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Lieutenant Ruggiero was checking the borders of the Webb WMA to see if anyone was entering illegally when something caught his eye. He came across a great blue heron that was caught in some fishing line and stuck to a strand of barbed wire in the middle of a canal. Lieutenant Ruggiero used a machete to cut back some thorns and climb down a steep bank so he could cut one side of the barbed wire. Then he had to climb over a dam to pull the bird to safety on the other side of the canal. As he brought the bird to safety, Lieutenant Ruggiero saw a fishing lure that was causing the problem. One end of the lure was caught in the bird’s wing and the other end was caught in the bird’s neck. Lieutenant Ruggiero safely captured the bird and removed the hooks before successfully releasing it unharmed.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
LEE COUNTY

Officers Furbay and Stapleton conducted speed enforcement to gain compliance and improve protection to panthers around the protection zones. The officers stopped and educated several people for speed related violations. Three notices to appear were issued for speed exceeding 30 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. The highest recorded speed was 87 miles per hour in the 45 miles per hour panther protection zone.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
PASCO COUNTY

Officer Pulaski conducted an outreach event at Sanders Memorial Elementary School. He educated approximately 80 children during the third annual Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) dream celebration. He educated the students about career options and shared valuable knowledge and experiences with the next generation. He encouraged them to make a connection between their education and life goals. Finally, he taught them about the core roles and duties of an FWC officer.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

While patrolling the area of the Hillsboro Inlet, Officers Armstrong and Holcomb observed three subjects fishing. When they pulled in to conduct a marine fisheries inspection, the three subjects were walking with two 5-gallon buckets full of fish. In the buckets, they initially observed unregulated species of fish. They further inspected the contents of the buckets and found a total of three undersized snapper at the bottom of the buckets. One of the subjects advised that he caught the mutton snapper and the other two subjects advised they caught the mangrove and schoolmaster snappers but they didn’t know who caught which ones. The first subject was issued a citation for possession of an undersized mutton snapper and the fish was seized as evidence. The other two subjects were issued citations as co-defendants and the mangrove and schoolmaster snapper were also seized as evidence.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers McLendon and Boyd were conducting surveillance on a bridge when they observed a subject catch a snook and keep it. Upon conducting a fisheries inspection, the officers discovered a 24” snook hidden beneath the cooler. The snook was seized as evidence and the subject was charged with possession of undersized snook.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
MARTIN COUNTY

Officers Rogers and Morrow responded to a report of a 6-foot alligator that had been struck by a vehicle and was injured and causing a traffic hazard. Upon their arrival, the officers captured the wounded alligator and transported it to the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary for rehabilitation.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Knutson, Yurewitch and Investigator White were on water patrol in an area known as The Narrows and observed a vessel traveling at a high rate of speed through a slow speed manatee zone. They stopped the vessel and addressed the violation. During the vessel stop, the operator continuously exhibited indicators of impairment. After field sobriety tasks, the operator was determined to be impaired and was arrested for boating under the influence (BUI).

A recent long-term investigation was concluded regarding illegal dumping on private property. Last year, Investigator Mert received information indicating there was large scale illegal dumping taking place on private property. Further investigation revealed the property was designated as wetlands. Multiple flyovers of the property confirmed the activity. The investigation revealed a trash hauling company was illegally dumping massive quantities of construction debris on the property, as opposed to paying to dispose of the debris properly. The investigation resulted in one individual being charged with felony dumping, misdemeanor charges for the destruction of wetlands and the operation of an unpermitted solid waste facility.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

On December 12, 2017, Investigator Landa continued his enforcement efforts targeting the illegal exhibition of wildlife on South Beach. Investigator Almagro, Officer Martir-Negron, Officer Cosculluela and two Miami Code Enforcement Officers assisted. Investigator Landa identified two individuals exhibiting Burmese pythons to the public. Although the individuals were properly licensed to exhibit the snakes, one individual was viewed exhibiting the snake in a manner that resulted in a threat to public safety. On multiple occasions, he would leave the large snake with the public, leave the area, then return and ask for money for allowing the public to hold the snake. Investigator Landa issued a warning for this violation and educated the licensee on the potential dangers of leaving the snake unattended with the public. The Code Enforcement Officers issued the individual a $500 civil fine for conducting business on Miami Beach without a business license.

Three officers on water patrol were just oceanside of Bear Cut Bridge when they observed a vessel returning from further offshore. The vessel was unlawfully displaying a dive flag while underway, so the officers conducted a vessel stop. The officers recognized the vessel operator from a previous encounter in which he was cited for being in possession of more than one oversized barracuda. In addition to the vessel operator, two other subjects were onboard along with diving equipment, spear guns and a cooler that had large tailfins protruding from it. A fisheries inspection of the cooler was conducted which revealed that all subjects were once again in possession of over the limit of oversized barracudas, along with other speared but legal fish. The vessel operator was asked if that was all the fish that were onboard to which he replied “yes.” Further inspection revealed two speared hogfish (closed season) hidden underneath their dive gear. The vessel operator and the two subjects all received citations related to the fisheries violations.

MONROE COUNTY

Officers Thompson and Pino were on routine patrol in uniform on Long Key Bridge and approached persons actively engaged in the act of fishing. A fisheries inspection resulted violations of 1 undersized yellowtail snapper, 2 undersized mangrove snapper, 1 undersized gag grouper, and 2 undersized mutton snapper. The subject was cited accordingly.

Officers Thompson and Pino were on routine patrol near Tea Table Channel. Officer Thompson approached two fishermen who were actively fishing from the shoreline. Both men identified a blue cooler as being theirs and gave consent to Officer Thompson to look inside. They explained that they both caught the fish inside the cooler. A resource check revealed 8 undersized mangrove snapper and 5 undersized lane snapper. One suspect did not possess a valid Florida fishing license. Both subjects were cited accordingly.

Investigator Mattson was completing a vessel inspection when he observed a golf cart being driven on the road with a driver holding his hand on an 8-month-old standing on the passenger seat. Investigator Mattson flagged the driver over to address the numerous traffic infractions, especially the child restraint issue. The driver, who lived in the neighborhood, advised his license was suspended. Two previous suspensions were found along with a non-extraditable warrant out of Miami for failure to appear on Driving While License Suspended (DWLS), with knowledge. Officers Rhoda and McKay arrived to assist. Officer Rhoda took over the case and after the infant was turned over to his mother, the golf cart was towed and the subject was arrested for felony DWLS 3rd or subsequent offense. The State Attorney’s Office is reviewing the case for possible further charges of child neglect/endangerment.

While assisting the United States Coast Guard (USCG) with displaced vessel operations, Officers Morales and Nelson observed an individual operating his dingy in an erratic manor. The officers observed the stern of the dingy go below the waterline and the vessel fill with water. The officers quickly assisted the operator of the vessel who was clinging to the outboard motor cowling of the submerged vessel. The individual was placed aboard the patrol vessel and transported to his sailboat located in the vicinity. After displaying many indicators of impairment during field sobriety exercises, the individual was arrested and transported to the county jail. At the jail, he provided a breath sample almost three times the lawful limit for breath alcohol content.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Knutson and Plussa were dispatched to a bear digging through garbage cans in a residential neighborhood. Upon arrival, the deputy onscene advised the officers of the bear’s location. Officer Knutson used loud verbal commands for the bear to leave with negative results. As a result, adverse conditioning was used on the bear which caused the bear to climb over a fence and leave the area.

Officers Knutson and Johnson were dispatched to a panther call in Golden Gate Estates. While on scene, they noticed three gopher tortoises in a small fenced in area on the property. When the tenant was questioned about the tortoises, she stated the gopher tortoises were on the property before she moved in and she advised the owner that she believed it was illegal to have the tortoises. The property owner advised she received them from a volunteer and put them on her property. The owner did not have the proper permits to possess the tortoises. The tortoises were seized and brought to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. The property owner was cited accordingly.


MONROE COUNTY

Officers Rhoda and Mckay responded to a call at Dagny Johnson State Park about a possible python in the park. Upon arriving on scene, the park rangers pointed out what was later identified as a three to four-foot ball python curled up next to a boulder near the park entrance. Officers Rhoda and Mckay captured the snake and transported it to the Crocodile Lake Wildlife Refuge to be turned over to an agent from US Fish and Wildlife.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Yurewitch gave a presentation about the duties and responsibilities of an officer to members of the Backcountry Flyfishers Club. There were approximately 75 individuals in attendance. Officer Yurewitch answered questions pertaining to resource protection, boating safety, and search and rescue.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Officer Cabanas gave a presentation about the duties and responsibilities of an officer to students of Laura C. Sanders Elementary School for career and truck day. He answered questions pertaining to resource protection, boating safety, and search and rescue. There were approximately 100 students in attendance.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer McKay assisted John Pennekamp State Park Rangers who were putting on a campfire lecture series on alligators and crocodiles by bringing a 4-foot alligator to the park event. He started by walking around the park in the afternoon with the gator drumming up interest in the evening event. Over 100 people interacted with the gator taking pictures with it. During the lecture, Officer McKay fielded numerous questions about how he responds to alligator/crocodile complaints.

Officer McKay, along with the local Sheriff’s Office, provided traffic control assistance during a post Hurricane Irma roadside cleanup event. Close to 80 volunteers walked along US-1 and the DEP Overseas Heritage Trail removing litter and debris that was either thrown by passing vehicles or were remains from the numerous storm debris piles. Officer McKay also filled the bed of his patrol truck with larger items found and 10 bags of trash.

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  FWC Enforcement Report December 1-7. All Regions.
Posted by: bigefromlc - 12-12-2017, 11:05 AM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
JACKSON COUNTY

During muzzle loading gun season, Lieutenant Allen and Officer Forehand received a complaint from a landowner who stated that earlier in the morning a hunter came to his residence to ask for permission to track a wounded deer that he had shot on the adjacent property and run onto the landowner’s property. The landowner denied the request and told the officers that he heard the shot and that it did not sound like a muzzleloader. The officers located the hunter at his residence and conducted an interview. The hunter admitted to shooting the deer with a .270 rifle. He produced the rifle and the officers located a spent .270 shell casing. The officers also located fresh deer blood where the hunter shot the deer. The hunter was charged with taking deer by an illegal method.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
CITRUS COUNTY

Officer Crane got a complaint of people hunting “monkey squirrels.” Officer Crane located two subjects who were hunting and had killed a fox squirrel. The subject was cited appropriately.

Officer Cheshire inspected a vessel for boating safety violations and attempted to issue a boating citation when the subject became combative and had to be taken to the ground. The subject was taken to jail for refusal to sign the citation and resisting arrest without violence.

Officers Creel and Wells were on water patrol when they received a complaint of a subject on a vessel using a net to catch mullet. The officers located the vessel and two seine nets that were tied together. The subjects were charged with several felonies and the net and fish were seized.

NASSAU COUNTY

Officer Sweat observed a suspicious vehicle on Crawford Road and watched as the vehicle drove down the dirt road a couple hundred feet, stop and then move on a few more feet. The emergency flashers would also come on for few seconds and then turn off. When asked if he needed assistance, the operator advised that he was looking for his deer dogs that had run onto other hunt club property. The passenger stated he was just riding along and was not hunting. After checking the driver’s hunting license, an inspection of his cooler produced several cans of beer. Both young men were under twenty-one years of age. The two subjects were issued warnings for possession of alcoholic beverages underage. The passenger was issued a citation for litter less than fifteen pounds and the driver was issued a notice to appear for not being in possession of deer dog registration papers.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officer Bertolami inspected a subject in the Holly Hill area and discovered that the man had been using a cast net to harvest and possess tarpon, snook and mangrove snapper. Snook and tarpon may never be harvested with a cast net, and the snook were not within the required slot size limit. The fish were seized and the man was issued a criminal notice to appear for the violations.

Officer North was on night patrol when he observed a truck stopped in the middle of the road in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Officer North maintained visual contact and followed the truck through the refuge into Brevard County. The driver and passenger were both observed shining a spotlight out of the vehicle into the woods. The truck stopped as the driver held the light out of his window and the passenger fired a rifle out of the driver’s window at a wild hog. Officer North stopped the vehicle and secured both the passenger and driver. A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed two .22 caliber rifles, drug paraphernalia and a small amount of cannabis. Both subjects were charged with taking wildlife with a gun and light, taking wildlife from a state maintained roadway, possession of cannabis and possession of paraphernalia, as well as federal violations by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Officer Thornton was on patrol off Highbanks Road in Debary when he observed a vehicle on Duke Energy Property. He conducted a traffic stop for trespassing. From initial contact, the driver of the vehicle was suspected of driving under the influence (DUI). The passenger also appeared to be impaired. During the DUI investigation, the passenger became non-compliant and interfered with Officer Thornton’s investigation. The driver of the vehicle was arrested for DUI, open container, and issued a trespass warning. The passenger was arrested for interfering with the investigation and charged with open container. A trespass warning was also issued to the passenger.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HERNANDO COUNTY

Officer Balfour located a suspicious vehicle parked alongside Croom Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Further investigation revealed hunting equipment in the vehicle. During surveillance, Officer Balfour contacted two individuals wearing hunter orange. An inspection was conducted which revealed several violations. Officer Pulaski and Officer Sehl arrived to assist. Several citations were issued for violations including hunting out of season. The hunting equipment was seized as evidence.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Price observed men fishing near a secluded area at night and stopped to see what was happening. After a brief time, he observed one man catch a snook. A few moments later, the man left the area and came back with a bag of ice. He grabbed the snook and placed it against the ice and began walking to a nearby neighborhood. Officer Price followed the man and stopped him around the corner. The fish was measured and found to be 24 inches long. The man was issued a misdemeanor for possession of snook out of season. He was also issued warnings for the undersized snook and for not possessing a valid fishing license.

Officers Furbay and Stapleton responded to assist Officer Price at Bunche Beach. Officer Price noticed several resource violations while fishing with individuals on the beach. Officers Furbay and Stapleton made contact when the fishermen were leaving at sunset. The resource inspection revealed seven undersized sheepshead, two undersized mangrove snapper, multiple oysters taken from unclassified waters and fishing without a saltwater license. Appropriate citations were issued.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Gonzales was on land patrol around Coquina Boat Ramp on Anna Maria Island and performed a fisheries inspection on a subject fishing from a jetty that extends off the beach into the Gulf. Upon completion of his inspection, he found that the subject was in possession of one undersized snook out of season. The subject was given two criminal citations for possession of undersized snook and possession of snook out of season. The subject will have to appear in court for his violations.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on land patrol near the Walshingham Bridge, Officer Martinez observed a man fishing from a vessel underneath the bridge. Officer Martinez approached the water’s edge and asked the man if he had any fish. The subject advised the officer he only had sheepshead. Officer Martinez asked the subject if he could check the fish, and again the subject insisted all he had was sheepshead. After being told where to find the sheepshead on the vessel, Officer Martinez found numerous undersized fish and no sheepshead. In the subject’s live well there were three gag grouper all under 12 inches, two undersized black drum and one undersized mangrove snapper. The subject was cited for numerous violations to include undersized gag grouper, possession of over the daily bag limit of gag grouper and warned on numerous other violations.

Officer Bibler was at the Maximo Boat Ramp when he observed a vessel that had just returned from fishing. Officer Bibler discovered it was a paid charter and that the customers let the captain of the charter keep the fish. He found the captain at the fish fillet table and witnessed him starting to fillet a snook. Before the snook could be completely filleted, Officer Bibler measured the snook which was under the minimum size of 28 inches. Officer Bibler cited the captain for possession of undersized snook and educated him on charter crews keeping bag limits of snook.

While on patrol near the Dick Meisner Bridge, Officer Martinez observed two men fishing and approached so he could perform a resource inspection. After talking to the men and inspecting their catch, it was discovered both men had each caught an undersized gag grouper. Both gag groupers were approximately 12 inches, well under the 24-inch minimum. Both men were cited accordingly for their violations.

SARASOTA COUNTY

Officer Davidson was on land patrol in Myakka State Park and received a call from the park rangers that there was an individual harassing the patrons. When Officer Davidson arrived on scene, he located the subject driving around inside the park. After speaking with the man, it became quite clear that the subject was intoxicated. After performing an investigation into possible DUI, the subject was arrested and taken to the county jail.

Lieutenant Hinds IV was on land patrol around Bayfront Park on Longboat Key and performed a fisheries inspection on a kayaker that had just returned from fishing. During the inspection, Lieutenant Hinds found that the man had caught and kept two spotted seatrout over 20 inches. The fish measured 26 inches and 22 inches. The subject was cited criminally for possession of more than one spotted seatrout over 20 inches and will have to appear in court.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
LEE COUNTY

Officers Maldonado and Collazo performed an outreach event in Lovers Key State Park. The name of the event was Great Outdoor Adventure Day. Approximately 150 people attended the event. Officer Collazo brought one 10-inch hatchling alligator for the presentation. Officer Maldonado brought fishing and hunting regulation pamphlets, as well as coloring books. The officers spoke about the importance of not feeding alligators and discussed fishing and hunting opportunities.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
MARTIN COUNTY

Officers Brevik and Carroll were conducting land patrol at night around Allapattah Flats Wildlife Environmental Area (WEA) and observed a suspicious vehicle parked along the fence line of the WEA. Moments later, officers observed two subjects illegally exiting the WEA. After investigation, Officer Brevik charged both subjects with misdemeanors for illegally entering/exiting a WEA.

Officers Carroll, Rogers and Brevik were conducting land patrol in the Dupuis WEA, approached two subjects and, through investigation, discovered a bag of corn placed in the woods next to the vehicle. The officers interviewed the subjects and discovered that they had placed the corn to bait hogs. The subjects were cited accordingly for the violations.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officer Brodbeck was conducting boating safety and resource inspections along the Kissimmee River due to the substantial number of fish that were being caught. While conducting surveillance at the Scott Driver Boat Ramp, the officer observed a vessel with three occupants and fishing equipment consistent with fishing for black crappie approaching the dock. Officer Brodbeck identified himself and asked the captain of the vessel for consent to inspect their catch. The captain agreed and, upon inspection, multiple black crappie were located that were well short of the 10-inch size limit. Officer Brodbeck also observed a measuring device used specifically for back crappie in plain view aboard the vessel. Each occupant was issued a citation for the violations and a total of 12 black crappie were seized as evidence.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
GLADES COUNTY

Officer Brodbeck was dispatched to a complaint regarding an aggressive alligator located at the Fisheating Creek Campground. Upon the officer’s arrival, several alligators were observed, but none matched the description provided. Officer Brodbeck informed the campers that he would wait to see if the alligator would return. Approximately an hour later, while one of the campers was fishing, a large alligator appeared near the shoreline. Officer Brodbeck estimated the alligator at over 8 feet, and it did not display any fear of humans. A licensed nuisance alligator trapper was called and agreed that the alligator needed to be removed. With the assistance of Officer Brodbeck, the trapper captured the alligator, which measured 10 feet in length. Many of the occupants of nearby campsites came over and expressed thanks to the trapper and for responding and removing a potentially dangerous animal.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Corteguera concluded an investigation in response to complaints of an escaped silver fox that had been seen roaming a residential neighborhood. He identified the owner, who confirmed it was his fox and that it had escaped. Further investigation revealed the fox had been kept in an improper enclosure, which led to three escapes within a week. The caging has been brought into compliance. Two criminal citations were issued for the escape and for the improper enclosure. Three warnings were also issued for related violations. The fox was returned to his owner. Officer Banks assisted on this incident.

COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Arbogast was on water patrol with an Everglades National Park Ranger in a park service vessel. The officers were pulling away from the dock when they observed a 14’ jon boat idling towards the boat ramp with several fishing rods hanging out the sides. During a resource inspection, several indicators of impairment were observed. When asked how much he had to drink. He replied “a few, 3 to 4.” The operator consented to Seated Field Sobriety Tests which he performed poorly. Officer Arbogast placed the operator under arrest for BUI. The operator refused to provide a breath sample and was booked into the county jail.

MIAMI DADE COUNTY

Two officers were on water patrol together, concentrating their efforts inside of Key Biscayne Special Management Zone. The officers stopped one commercial vessel that had the captain, first mate and five paying customers onboard. After completing safety and fisheries inspections, the captain was cited for possession of undersized yellowtail snapper, operating a vessel for commercial purposes that was not registered for commercial use and two other equipment safety violations.

Officers on water patrol encountered and stopped an inbound vessel in Biscayne Channel. A fisheries inspection was conducted and three oversized barracuda were found amongst the catch. The captain of the vessel was cited for the violation.

RESCUES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Oldsen, Amuso, Araujo and Kleis responded to Marine Emergency Response Team (MERT) call regarding two missing boaters in a remote part of the Ten Thousand Islands. The local Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit and a National Park Service Vessel also responded to the call. The missing boaters were found by Officers Kleis and Amuso, and aside from being scared and lost, they were unharmed. The officers escorted them back to the boat ramp.

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  FWC Enforcement Report November 17-30. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 12-05-2017, 12:03 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
BAY COUNTY

Officer Gore was on patrol when he observed a vehicle weaving and failing to maintain a single lane. A traffic stop revealed that the operator appeared to be impaired. Field sobriety tasks were administered and the subject was determined to be under the influence and arrested. The subject was charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and open container and transported to the county jail.

Officers Alsobrooks and Coker were patrolling Deer Point Lake and heard gun shots coming from the lake. They observed two individuals duck hunting on the lake and shooting after legal hours. They met the subjects at the boat ramp and asked them if they knew legal shooting hours for hunting ducks. Both the subjects stated that legal shooting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. Legal shooting hours for duck hunting is 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset. Both were issued citations for shooting after legal hunting hours. Written warnings were issued for unplugged gun, unregistered vessel, no trailer tag, no Type 4 PFD and no whistle.

CALHOUN COUNTY

Officer Hayes was working night hunting and was conducting surveillance overlooking a fresh clearing. At approximately 1:00 am, a truck slowly drove by and a light was being shined out of the driver’s side window. The truck backed up and continued shining the chop. Officer Hayes conducted a traffic stop and found it was occupied by two subjects. The driver was wearing a head lamp and the passenger had a loaded .22 rifle. Both suspects were charged with night hunting and the light and rifle were seized as evidence.

ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officers Allgood and Manning worked on the Escambia River checking hunters. They observed a vessel that was tied up along a wooded area where the occupants appeared to be hunting in the Escambia River Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The officers marked the spot and came back later when the individuals were not hunting, to check the area for bait. Shortly after they returned, they heard a vessel traveling to their location. When the subjects saw another boat in the area, they commented, “They better not be hunting my ground blind.” The two hunters were interviewed and confessed to placing bait at two nearby stand sites. Both hunters were carrying small plastic bags containing corn. Both baited stands were located and the hunters were issued notice to appear violations for placing bait in a management area.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

Officer Mandrick responded to assist the Sheriff’s Office in locating a missing elderly woman who had gone walking at night on Alligator Point Beach. Alligator Point Volunteer Fire Department also responded and located the missing woman uninjured a few miles from her rental home. She had gotten lost in the dark and was returned home safely.

HOLMES COUNTY

Officer Yates and Lieutenant Walsingham were patrolling in the Gritney area when they heard shots. The subjects were found to be complying with duck hunting regulations other than a boating violation and were given a written warning. During this encounter, they heard a rifle shot and found two subjects dragging a five‑point buck to their truck. The deer appeared to have been shot and the subject admitted to shooting the deer with a rifle. Archery only season was still in and the subject was cited for taking deer by illegal method and the deer was seized as evidence.

JACKSON COUNTY

Officers Forehand and Little responded to a landowner’s complaint who heard a shot on his property. The officers found fresh foot tracks and drag marks on the property. They followed the drag marks to a thicket where they found two freshly shot doe deer. From there, the officers followed the foot tracks to a nearby residence. An occupant of the residence said earlier that morning a relative had come over and had gone hunting in the area. The witness said the suspect lived in Chipley and had already gone home. Officers Gore and Hellett went to the suspect’s residence and conducted an interview. The suspect admitted to shooting the deer and dragging them into the woods so the coyotes could eat them. The suspect was charged with two counts of taking doe deer during the closed season, two counts of willful and wanton waste of wildlife and one count of armed trespassing. A .270 rifle was seized as evidence.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

While on patrol in Eglin Air Force Base WMA, Officer Mullins tracked a hunter who was potentially baiting an area for wildlife. When Officer Mullins approached the hunter in the woods, the hunter told the officer he was not baiting the area and showed him a nearby tree stand. While investigating the area and speaking with the subject, it was discovered that he had previously placed bait at that site. Officer Mullins also discovered that the subject had another stand close by which he had baited that day with a salt/mineral lick and liquid deer attractor. The bait was removed from the area and the subject was issued a citation for placing bait to attract wildlife on a WMA.

Officer Pifer was on land patrol when he observed a vessel with four individuals and fishing gear onboard approach the dock at a local marina. The vessel nosed up to the dock and dropped off two of the individuals onboard. Officer Pifer made his way down the dock to conduct a fisheries and license inspection. As he approached the individuals on the dock, he observed one of them holding a clear, plastic bag containing fillets and ice. When asked, the individual stated the fillets were redfish. An inspection of the vessel revealed another clear, plastic bag containing fillets of redfish and mangrove snapper onboard. The operator of the vessel was issued a notice to appear citation for possession of redfish not in whole condition and a warning for possession of mangrove snapper not in whole condition.

Officers Jarvis and Rockwell were conducting a saltwater fisheries inspection on a subject fishing from the Valparaiso Pier. The subject did not have a fishing license and was in possession of one undersized mangrove snapper. The subject also had an active warrant for failure to pay child support. The subject was arrested for the warrant and issued a citation for no saltwater fishing license and a warning for undersized mangrove snapper.

Officer Nichols assisted a police officer who located two black bears on the city’s newly annexed property, which is now being used for a homeless shelter. Officer Nichols conducted a site inspection and located a small Waste Management dumpster near the buildings, which had household garbage and old food inside it. Officer Nichols also located old food containers on the ground around the dumpster. The site manager was educated on the importance of securing garbage. A bear guide was furnished and the property manager was issued a letter of non-compliance.

Officer Nichols responded to a complaint of a bear in garbage in a Fort Walton Beach neighborhood. The officer arrived on scene and spoke to a stopped motorist who advised the bear was eating garbage. The bear was located and hazed out of the community. The homeowner was provided an educational bear brochure and issued a non-compliance notification letter for failure to secure the garbage can.

Officer Corbin was on land patrol conducting boating safety and resource protection at local boat ramps in the Niceville area and observed a vehicle towing a boat enter the boat ramp. The boat trailer did not display a registration tag. The officer observed the driver back the boat trailer down the ramp and launch the vessel. The driver then pulled the vehicle into a parking spot. Officer Corbin approached the driver and asked if the trailer was registered. The driver stated no. The officer asked for the operator’s driver license. The driver provided a Florida Identification Card. Officer Corbin determined the driver’s license was revoked. The driver had an active warrant for failure to appear on a notice to appear citation (failure to transfer vessel title). The driver was arrested and transported to the county jail.

Officer Rockwell was checking a baited site he found before archery season in Blackwater WMA. While on foot patrol, he observed a vehicle near the area. When he got close to the area, he saw a man crossing a tree over a creek to get to the baited site. Once the man was in a tree and actively hunting, Officer Rockwell identified himself and advised the man to come down. The subject told Officer Rockwell that he didn’t think anyone would find his spot. Officer Rockwell issued him a notice to appear for hunting over bait in a WMA.

Officer Pifer was on patrol when he observed a fishing vessel returning to the Destin Docks. One individual was holding a large plastic bag with fish fillets. Another large bag with fish fillets was located on the vessel. Officer Pifer determined the fillets were red drum and mangrove snapper. The operator was cited and issued a notice to appear citation for failure to land red drum and mangrove snapper in whole condition.

While on patrol in Mary Esther, Lieutenant Clark observed a garbage can knocked over with a garbage bag pulled out and its contents spread out on the front lawn. The garbage had not been secured properly. Lieutenant Clark contacted Officer Pifer to contact the homeowner. The officer conducted a history check on the residence and determined the homeowner was issued a non-compliance notification letter recently for an unsecured garbage can. Officer Pifer provided a courtesy bear retro kit for securing the garbage can and issued a written warning.

Officer Corbin observed an unlit anchored vessel in Cinco Bayou. He identified the owner and arranged to meet him to discuss compliance issues. Officer Corbin determined the individual purchased the vessel a few months ago, but failed to transfer the title within the required 30 days. The boat owner was cited and issued a notice to appear citation for the violation.

Officer Maltais responded to assist an Eglin Range Patrol Officer regarding an individual illegally discharging a firearm. Officer Maltais arrived on scene and was briefed. The individual was riding on Eglin property when his vehicle ran out of gas. The Range Patrol Officer saw the disabled vehicle and the individual walking. The individual was in possession of a pistol. It was determined the individual was not a hunter nor was he permitted to access Eglin’s property. A concerned hunter near the disabled vehicle exited the woods and stated to the officers that he heard a single gunshot coming from the area. The officers found an empty shell casing on the ground near the disabled vehicle. The size of the casing matched the rounds in the pistol. After interviewing the individual, he was issued a notice to appear citation for discharging a firearm from a paved public roadway.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer J. Rockwell was in Blackwater WMA when he noticed a small boat on the side of the road. Officer Rockwell ran the registration to identify the owner and later that afternoon, determined the vessel was stolen out of Okaloosa County. Officer Rockwell contacted the owner and returned the vessel.

While conducting surveillance on a local fishing pier, Officer Ramos observed a man and woman emerge from under the pier carrying fishing poles and equipment. They went to a vehicle and loaded all the gear into the car. Then, the man returned under the bridge and brought up a cooler. Officer Ramos approached the pair and asked if they had caught any fish. They replied, "No." After checking fishing licenses and receiving consent to search the cooler, Officer Ramos discovered an undersized spotted seatrout, measuring 11 inches, hidden under ice. The man admitted he caught the fish and didn’t check its size. A database search revealed the man had two previous citations for similar offenses. The fish was seized and a notice to appear citation was issued.

While off duty, Officer Lugg received a report of a potential redfish violation occurring at the East River boat launch in Navarre. Once at work, Officer Lugg traveled to the boat launch to follow up with the information that he had received. The tip stated that a couple fishing at the boat launch were keeping undersized red drum and placing them in a white cooler. The individuals were located and a fisheries inspection was conducted. The couple stated that they were not keeping any fish and had not caught any fish to keep. There were no coolers around where the individuals were fishing and the individuals were adamant that they had not kept any fish. After a brief interview, their vehicle was located and their cooler was inspected. Officer Lugg discovered an undersized red drum, measuring 9½ inches. A notice to appear citation was issued for the violation.

While on land patrol in the Yellow River WMA, Officer Lugg observed a suspicious vehicle turn its headlights off while traveling through an intersection. The vehicle also failed to stop at a stop sign as it left the area in a hurry. During a stop of the vehicle, blood was observed in the back of the truck. After a brief interview, the operator admitted to shooting an undersized deer the day before and disposing of the carcass in the woods. Officer Lugg located the carcass of a spotted fawn. The subject was issued a notice to appear citation for the violation.

From a considerable distance, Officer Ramos observed a vehicle operating oddly in a remote neighborhood after midnight. When the vehicle stopped moving for a while, Officer Ramos drove closer and discovered that its hazard lights were now flashing due to a crash that had just occurred. Dispatch was informed that the truck had jumped a deep ditch and then ran head on into a large tree. The vehicle’s airbags had deployed and the driver had been knocked into the rear cab of his pickup with life threatening injuries. Fire Rescue and EMS personnel were notified and arrived to remove the driver. The driver was transported to a local hospital. The crash investigation was turned over to Florida Highway Patrol to determine the cause.

WAKULLA COUNTY

Officer Mandrick was on state park patrol within Wakulla Springs State Park when he observed a vehicle parked at the Cherokee Sink trailhead past closing hours. After speaking with the park ranger who had not seen anyone with the vehicle, Officer Mandrick drove his patrol truck down the trail to check for any remaining hikers on the trail. Approximately one mile from the trailhead, Officer Mandrick located an unconscious woman lying on the ground off the side of the trail. Officer Mandrick called for EMS and woke the woman up. She had minor injuries to her limbs, was very disoriented, and did not remember how she had gotten on the trail. Officer Korade arrived on scene and led EMS to the woman’s location. She was transported to the hospital and treated for her injuries.

WALTON COUNTY

Officer Brooks checked an area on the Choctawhatchee WMA where he had previously located a tree stand with bait placed around it. An ATV was observed on the management area prior to Officer Brooks contacting a subject hunting from the tree stand around the bait. The subject was cited for hunting over bait and operating an ATV on a management area.

While Officer Brooks, Tison and Greene were conducting surveillance in an area for night hunting activity, he heard a gunshot and saw a light being displayed from a vehicle. The light was displayed in a manner capable of disclosing the presence of deer. The vehicle was stopped and a firearm and light were found in the vehicle. All three occupants were questioned and they admitted to shooting at a deer with use of a light. A search of the area determined the deer had not been hit by the subjects. All three subjects were charged with attempting to take deer at night and received a warning for discharging a firearm from the roadway.

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Officer Gore was patrolling the Burnt Sock Area of the Choctawhatchee WMA-Holmes Creek Unit during closed hours when he observed an illegal camp. He heard a boat approach and checked the operator who was the camp owner. The subject was found to have numerous violations including no name on bush hooks, no freshwater fishing license, possession of alcohol in a management area, illegally camping, operating on a closed road and possession of cannabis and paraphernalia. The subject was cited accordingly for the violations.

Lieutenant Walsingham was on patrol when he heard dogs running on private property. He observed the dogs running a deer through two different pieces of private property, which have had complaints of this activity in the past. When he checked the dogs’ owner, he failed to possess any private lands deer dog permit, license, and one of the dogs did not have a name on the collar. After helping the owner catch his dogs, Lieutenant Walsingham cited him accordingly.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Maltais taught the law portion of a hunter safety course to 47 people. He provided information on hunting regulations, general information on firearms and how to avoid hunting accidents. He also assisted during the skill portion of the class as a Range Safety Officer.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers Troiano and Reith were working night hunting activity when they observed a vehicle pull off the side of the road. After watching the vehicle from a concealed location, the two officers could see that the driver was using his headlights to illuminate deer in the ditch area. Shortly after, the officers heard a shot and the vehicle quickly drove off. Officers Troiano and Reith ran back to their patrol vehicle and caught up to the suspects’ vehicle. After Miranda rights were read, the two occupants admitted to shooting at a deer. A .22 caliber rifle was seized and citations were issued for attempting to take deer at night with a gun and light and shooting from a public roadway.

BAKER COUNTY

Officer Barber was working a call-in referencing deer dogs running in the still hunt portion of the John Bethea State Forest. Officer Barber heard a pack of dogs running in the Federal Refuge property located at the Florida/Georgia line. He also saw that the gate connecting the refuge and the state land had been recently cut. A truck with hunting dogs suddenly drove out of the refuge and into the state forest. The subject stated the dogs were not theirs and that they were just trying to catch them. Two more subjects came into the area all possessing hunting dogs. All subjects were cited for possession of dogs in the still hunt portion of the management area. In addition, the subject’s information will be sent over to a federal agent for possible charges.

CITRUS COUNTY

Citrus and Levy counties have seen an increase in the commercial harvest of oysters after the area opened to harvest. Officers VanNess and Schulz were working the area to ensure the harvest of oysters was occurring in open areas only. During their patrol, the officers observed several oyster boats harvesting oysters in an open area. During a compliance inspection on one of the oyster boats, the officers discovered that there were 24% undersized oysters in one of the tagged oyster bags. One of the harvesters claimed that he had harvested the oysters in the bag that had been inspected. He was issued a citation with a notice to appear county court. The undersized oysters were returned to the water after being photographed.

Lieutenant Jones and Officers Wells and Hudson were on offshore patrol in federal waters when they located 32 stone crab traps in Zone 2 of the Citrus Shrimp/Stone Crab Zones. Zone 2 is closed to the use of traps annually. The violation was documented and contact was made with the trap owner. The trap owner accepted full responsibility for the traps being in a closed area and advised that he would remove the traps the following day. The trap owner was cited for the violation.

During a federal fisheries inspection, it was discovered that a vessel’s occupants were in possession of an American red snapper during the closed season. When originally asked about their catch the occupants stated they had two gag grouper. When the boarding crew inspected the hold, they discovered that a red snapper had also been taken along with the two gag grouper. The vessel owner was cited appropriately.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Officer McDonald located a pond that was baited with corn to attract wood ducks. After several days of surveillance, Lieutenant Huff and Officer McDonald saw hunters enter the area where the pond was baited. The hunters began shooting wood ducks in the pond that was baited shortly after legal shooting light. Contact was made with the hunters after they had finished hunting. They admitted to placing the corn out for the ducks. In addition to the illegal baiting, one hunter was seen shooting lead shot and did not possess a federal duck stamp. Citations were issued to the hunters for the violations.

Officer McDonald responded to a hunting complaint on private lands. While he walked the property in question looking for illegal hunting activity, a peanut butter jar was found nailed to a tree along with several empty sardine cans. He also observed the ground being disturbed under the jar. Officer McDonald took a stick and pushed away the brush and located a steel trap. Officer McDonald returned to the property later that afternoon and located a vehicle at the property. He waited until the hunters had finished hunting and made contact. After a brief interview with the land owner, he advised the officer that his 22-year old son who was present put the trap out. Appropriate citations were issued for attempting to take wildlife with a steel trap.

Officer McDonald contacted an informant referencing shots being fired on Suwannee River Water Management Lands (SRWMD). The officer was advised that there were several shots in the area in question earlier that morning. Officer McDonald responded to the area and located 10 acres of private land inside SRWMD property. Officer McDonald noticed that there were people staying at the camp. After questioning two subjects about the shooting earlier, one subject admitted to taking a turkey. Officer McDonald followed the two subjects back to the camp where they produced a bag of turkey breasts to the officer. Officer McDonald then requested the subjects show him where the turkey was harvested. The men took the officer to a food plot where a feeder and corn were present. The subject admitted to taking the turkey over the corn. The man was cited for taking turkey over bait and issued a warning for no identification.


LEVY COUNTY

Officers Schulz and VanNess were on patrol in the Withlacoochee Bay when they observed a vessel actively harvesting oysters. The officers approached the vessel and preformed a commercial oyster inspection. The subjects were in possession of 24% undersized oysters, well above the legal undersized oyster tolerance of 5%. A misdemeanor citation was issued for the violation. A brief time later, the officers spotted another vessel actively harvesting oysters. During a commercial oyster inspection, it was found that this vessel was also in possession of 24% undersized oysters. Another misdemeanor citation and 3 written warnings for boating safety violations were issued. All undersized oysters were returned to the resource alive.

Officer Schulz received a complaint about hunting dogs chasing deer on private property and through areas of Goethe State Forest that are closed to hunting. He responded to the area and determined the dogs’ direction of travel. When he got within a few hundred feet of the dogs, he spotted the owner trying to catch them. Officer Schulz approached the subject and began to investigate the violation. After the investigation, another hunting violation was uncovered under state forest regulations. A citation and a warning were issued for the violations.

During a fisheries inspection, Officers Wells and Hudson observed several large gag grouper onboard a vessel in one of the deck holds. Officer Hudson continued his search to discover two other gag grouper located in a second fish hold. The two gag grouper were measured and found to be undersized. The owner of the boat stated that he caught the fish. A citation was issued to the subject for the violation.

TAYLOR COUNTY

Officer Albritton was on patrol near Yates Creek when he observed a vehicle operating erratically. He attempted a traffic stop on the subject who sped away. After a short distance, the subjects began throwing items out of the windows of the vehicle. Officer Albritton backed away as the suspects’ speed became dangerous. After rounding a curve, the vehicle was found in the middle of the road. Two male subjects had fled from the vehicle on foot. One became entangled in a barbed wire fence and was apprehended. A female subject was found in the vehicle. The driver was tracked by K-9 teams and found where he was picked up by another vehicle. He was identified at the scene and determined to also have a revoked driver’s license. The vehicle owner was notified and it was determined that the vehicle had been stolen. The subjects are facing multiple charges including possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of cannabis, possession of drug paraphernalia, fleeing and eluding and grand theft auto.

Officers Colasanti and Yates were along highway 98 and Cow Creek Grade working the highway for night hunting and gun and light complaints when they noticed a vehicle driving slowly and turning around multiple times. Officers heard a shot and responded. Upon walking to the driver’s side, Officer Colasanti noticed a Marlin 17 HMR rifle in the back seat. The driver denied any knowledge of hunting by gun and light. Officer Yates followed a blood trail and discovered a doe taken out of season. Officer Colasanti noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from the driver. Both parties denied any knowledge of hunting at night and denied being in possession of cannabis and drug paraphernalia. Officer Colasanti interviewed both parties involved and received a full confession from each. Officer Colasanti seized the cannabis, drug paraphernalia and the hunting rifle used to take the doe out of season as evidence.

RESCUES
LEVY COUNTY

Officers Canfield and Fox responded on the 2005 Fincat to assist local officers, the Levy County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) with an overdue vessel. A brief time after beginning the search, a USCG aircraft contacted the Fincat to advise they had possibly located the vessel 15-miles west of the mouth of the Suwannee River. The Fincat proceeded to the location in heavy seas. Upon arrival, the officers located the vessel at anchor and learned everyone was all right but the vessel batteries had died. Per the owner’s request, Sea Tow was contacted and responded to assist. The Fincat provided the operator of the vessel with a handheld VHF radio and transported one occupant, who wished to leave, back to shore.

Officers Schulz, Starling, Fox, K-9 Officers Wiggins and Gill, the Levy County Sherriff’s Office and the Marion County Sherriff’s Office Aviation Unit, responded to a call about a missing female in Devils Hammock WMA. It was reported that the female had been hunting hogs with her husband in the WMA when they got separated. On arrival, the husband led the officers to her last known location which was on a road that bordered a private hunt club. A search ensued from this location utilizing K-9 Officers Gill and Wiggins to determine a direction of travel. As it got dark, a gunshot was heard a few miles into the private hunting club and it was known that the female was last seen in possession of a shotgun. The officers began to move towards this location and gathered more information about the shots’ location from a hunter in the hunting club. Officer Schulz gained access to the private hunting club and was then guided to the proximity of the shots by the surrounding units. As he drew closer, he could hear the female’s shouts and drove to them. Through this multi-agency effort, the missing female was located and had no medical needs. She was reunited with her husband a brief time later.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ALACHUA COUNTY

Lieutenant Ferguson attended two hunt club meetings over the weekend about dog hunter’s responsibilities and rules.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Lieutenant Zamonis and Officer Marroquin conducted resource inspections of hunters at the T.M. Goodwin WMA on the opening day of waterfowl season. Approximately 40 hunters were checked resulting in 11 warnings, 1 boating citation, 1 resource citation, and 2 criminal citations for unplugged shotguns.

While Lieutenant Lightsey and Officer Marroquin were on state land patrol they observed a subject operating an ATV on the public roadway. Officer Marroquin conducted a traffic stop to address the violation. During the stop, the subject was found to be open carrying a firearm and stated that he was on his way to hunt. A check through dispatch found that the firearm was reported stolen out of Orange County 23 years earlier. The firearm was seized and the subject was issued a citation for operating an ATV on a public roadway.

Officer Marroquin responded to a local boat ramp at the request of the Sheriff’s Office to assist with a boating under the influence (BUI) investigation. The deputy observed the suspect on the vessel with the engine running when he arrived. The suspect submitted to field sobriety tasks and performed poorly. The subject was arrested for BUI and booked into the county jail.

Officers Miller and Humphrey were conducting local derelict vessel investigations. When speaking to one of the vessel owners, it was found that he had an open warrant for failure to appear. He was placed under arrest and delivered to the county jail.

Officer Hallsten was conducting patrols on the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge when he observed an individual place two oversized black drum into the trunk of his vehicle. The subject then went back to fishing. A brief time later, the same individual brought two more black drum and put them into the trunk. After doing this, the individual was heard making comments about how he sells the fish. The individual then put one more fish in the trunk. Officer Hallsten conducted a resource inspection and found the individual in possession of six black drum, all of which were oversized. Citations were issued accordingly.

Officer Hallsten conducted a traffic stop on a truck pulling a boat that was leaving Haulover Canal. A resource inspection revealed eight oversized black drum. There were only three individuals associated with the vessel and truck, and the driver admitted to taking fish from other friends so that those friends could stay and catch another limit. Citations were issued accordingly.

Officer Hallsten conducted a resource inspection at Haulover Canal and found an individual in possession of seven oversized black drum. Citations were issued accordingly.

Officer Hallsten was conducting patrols at Port Canaveral when he observed a fisherman run back to his truck with an oversized snook. Officer Hallsten conducted a resource inspection and issued a citation accordingly.

MARION COUNTY

Officer Hargabus was conducting surveillance of a back road in Reddick where a couple of deer were actively feeding. Shortly after daybreak, a blue Chevrolet truck slowly passed by. A few moments later, the blue Chevrolet came back where the deer were feeding. Officer Hargabus observed a barrel come out of the passenger side window of the truck and fire. The passenger then exited the truck, jumped a fence and dragged a dead doe back to the road. Officer Hargabus made contact, and the subject with the doe admitted to taking it from the roadway. The subject was issued notices to appear for taking deer from the roadway and trespassing.

Officer Rice was contacted by an informant about a shorthorn buck being taken from Ocala WMA. The subject was contacted at his work place and admitted to taking the deer from Hopkins Prairie Unit of Ocala WMA. He retrieved the skull cap and meat of the deer whose antlers measured 7” and 7 ½”. The subject admitted to knowing the Ocala WMA regulations requiring a 10” main beam or 3 points on one antler. He was issued a notice to appear for taking a less than legal size buck off the WMA and issued a warning for failure to check the deer at the check station.

Officers McConnell and Dias were following up on a complaint in the Sunny Hill Restoration Area South Tract about possible illegal hunting and illegal entry via airboat. As the officers were following airboat and foot signs from the previous day, they heard airboats approaching their location. The officers listened as the airboats pulled up on the bank and shut their engines off in the same area as the day before. When the officers approached, they observed three males wearing camouflage, all carrying rifles and standing in the road. Two of the individuals turned and ran to the airboats when they noticed the officers approaching. After loud verbal commands from the officers to stop running, the individuals complied. Miranda warnings were read to the individuals. During the investigation, it was determined one of the individuals had been dropped off by airboat the previous day to hunt deer. He had shot at a deer but did not know if he had hit the deer, nor did he know if it was a buck or doe. The three individuals had returned to look for the deer. Officer McConnell back-tracked to the area the deer was supposedly shot. After searching for a few minutes, he located a dead doe deer. The deer had a single bullet hole in it. Officer McConnell back-tracked the blood trail to the roadway where the individual admitted to shooting the deer. After further investigation, Officer McConnell located a spent 7MM-08 shell casing that matched the rifle the individual was carrying when the officers made contact. Citations were issued for taking a doe deer, hunting in a closed area and no hunting license. The deer, rifle and shell casing were seized as evidence.

ORANGE COUNTY

While on patrol of Tosohatchee WMA, Officer Wigley received a call from the check station advising someone had harvested an illegal deer. Once on scene, the officer conducted an interview of two men who had brought the deer to the station. After speaking to both men, one man admitted to not being able to see the deer clearly and mistakenly took the undersized buck. A notice to appear was issued for the violation.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

While on patrol near Callalisa Creek, Officer McDonough observed a man dragging a cooler toward the parking area. Officer McDonough stopped the man and conducted a resource inspection. During the inspection, Officer McDonough found the man to be in possession of 15 undersized mangrove snapper, 25 live stone crabs (most of which had claws under the minimum size limit), undersized black sea bass, undersized lane snapper, undersized mutton snapper and undersized sheepshead. Officer McDonough issued citations for possession of undersized mangrove snapper and being over his bag limit of mangrove snapper in addition to a citation for possession of whole stone crabs. The man received warnings for all other violations.

Officer Bertolami checked a subject in the Holly Hill area and discovered that the man had been using a cast net to harvest and possess tarpon, snook and mangrove snapper. Snook and tarpon may never be harvested with a cast net and the snook were not within the required size slot limit. The fish were seized and the man was issued a notice to appear for the violations.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
OSECOLA COUNTY

Lieutenant Lightsey and Officer Wigley attended the grand opening of Triple N Ranch Shooting Range. The event drew large crowds, as families watched the Gould Brothers Exhibition Shooting show and later participated in shooting events of their own. This public shooting range is now open to the public.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officer Norris was conducting fisheries inspections at a local boat ramp when he stopped a vessel with three people onboard. Initially, one of the people onboard said they did not catch anything. Upon further inspection, Officer Norris located a live well with multiple species of fish inside including an undersized snook, two undersized trout and two undersized gag grouper. The vessel owner eventually confessed and stated that he had caught the fish earlier that day and then picked up the others. He was charged for the undersized fish and issued a citation for an expired fishing license.

HERNANDO COUNTY

Officers Fagan and Balfour responded to a call for service on a piece of private property regarding two subjects hunting and trespassing on the property. Initial reports were that the complainant was with one of the subjects and the other subject took off on foot. By the time officers arrived, the subject that fled had returned to the scene. After gathering all the subjects’ information and retrieving the firearm, it was found that one of the subjects was a convicted felon and the firearm was stolen. The subject was placed under arrest for multiple felonies, a misdemeanor, and was booked into the county jail without incident. The second subject was a juvenile and was released to his parents.

Officers Fagan, Canamero and Spradlin responded to a call for service at the Cypress Glenn campground in Croom WMA. The call was about a camper camping in a spot that was reserved by another camper. The officers contacted the subjects and one of them had an active warrant. Officer Fagan placed the subject under arrest for the warrant and was booked into the county jail without incident.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigators Paul and Hough located an individual that was in possession of an unlawfully imported 2-year-old Patas Monkey. The owner is being charged with appropriate violations and the monkey will be boarded at a licensed primate facility.

LEE COUNTY

While checking boaters at the Punta Rassa boat ramp, Officer Bradshaw encountered a small recreational fishing boat with six men onboard. The men appeared to have been harvesting fish with cast nets. Officer Bradshaw found two small snook and a few mullet in a cooler. Since it is unlawful to harvest snook with a cast net, Officer Bradshaw continued his investigation and took a closer look at the nets on the boat. He found a monofilament gill net about 100 feet long stored in the front of the boat. Possession and use of such a net is a flagrant fisheries violation. The owner of the boat and the net was arrested for multiple charges.

Officers Bradshaw, Thompson and Stapleton were checking fishermen at a local pass when they observed several men fishing along the beach with a cast net. They later observed these men cleaning fish out on the beach before returning to their vehicle. When the officers checked the fishermen at their vehicle, they found multiple undersized black drum and sheepshead. Appropriate citations were issued.

Officer Winton was on water patrol in Pine Island Sound when he noticed a fishing vessel returning from offshore waters. A vessel stop was conducted, at which time it was determined that the operator of the vessel was in possession of four undersized red grouper. The grouper ranged in size from 11.5 inches to 15 inches, well under the legal minimum requirement of 20 inches. A notice to appear was issued for the undersized fish, as well as several warnings for boating/resource violations.

Officer Winton responded to a boating accident in Fort Myers Beach. During the accident investigation, it was determined that one of the vessel operators was in possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. A notice to appear was issued and the drugs and paraphernalia were seized as evidence.

While on patrol at Blind Pass, Officer Winton observed an individual fishing from the shoreline. A fisheries inspection was conducted, at which time it was discovered that the fisherman was in possession of a snook and a redfish that were not in whole condition. During an interview, the fisherman admitted that he had cut up the snook because it did not meet the size requirements. A notice to appear, a citation and several warnings were issued for related violations.

Officer Winton conducted a targeted enforcement patrol of seatrout regulations in the Pine Island Sound area. During the patrol, Officer Winton seized over 12 seatrout that did not meet the size requirements. Several notices to appear were issued, as well as several citations and numerous warnings.

Officer Bell was on federal water patrol in the Caloosahatchee River when he observed a larger vessel traveling west down the river at a high rate of speed and passing other vessels. Officer Bell visually estimated the vessel traveling at 44mph. The radar showed the vessel traveling at 45mph in a federal 25mph zone. The vessel passed several large 25mph posted speed limit signs before being pulled over. The operator was issued a federal citation for violation of the Federal Manatee Zone.

Officer Hardgrove was on land patrol at Pineland boat ramp when he observed a vessel pull into a slip at the dock. As he approached the vessel, he noticed a stringer hanging off the rear left side cleat that contained several spotted seatrout, all of which appeared to be under the legal minimum size limit of 15 inches. He asked the operator if he had caught any fish and he responded by saying that they did not keep any fish. Officer Hardgrove pulled up the stringer and measured the 4 spotted seatrout which were all undersized. The operator was issued a notice to appear for the violation.

Officers Perry and Salem were working the small game season in Cecil Webb WMA. They encountered two subjects hunting mourning dove. During the inspection, it was discovered the subjects were using unplugged shotguns to harvest the dove. Citations were issued for the violations.

Officer Winton was on water patrol in Pine Island Sound when he noticed a vessel actively engaged in fishing. Officer Winton conducted a vessel stop, at which time it was determined that the subjects onboard were in possession of undersized spotted seatrout and sheepshead, as well as a mangrove snapper that was not in whole condition. Several boating safety and registration violations were also discovered. The subjects onboard were issued notices to appear for the seatrout and snapper violations, a boating citation for a safety violation, and warnings for the other violations.

Officer Winton was on water patrol near Pineland Marina when he noticed a vessel returning to the boat ramp. Officer Winton conducted a stop on the vessel, at which time it was determined that the occupants were in possession of several undersized spotted seatrout. Numerous boating safety and registration violations were also discovered. The subject in possession of the seatrout was issued a notice to appear for the violation, and the captain of the vessel was issued several boating citations for the safety and registration violations, as well as numerous warnings.

While on patrol at the Pineland Marina boat ramp, Officer Winton observed an individual filleting several fish. Officer Winton approached the subject to conduct a fisheries inspection, at which time it was determined that the subject was in possession of undersized spotted seatrout, mangrove snapper and lane snapper. The subject, who was a fishing guide, also had an expired charter fishing license. The subject was issued a notice to appear for the seatrout and mangrove snapper violations, and a warning for the lane snapper and charter license violations.

Officers Hazelwood and Winton were on water patrol near Sanibel when they noticed a commercial stone crab boat actively tending traps. The officers also noticed that the vessel was not marked with the endorsement number and buoy design as required by law. The officers conducted a stop on the vessel, and discovered several other registration and commercial licensing violations. The subject was written a notice to appear for the marking violations, and warnings for the other boating and resource violations.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on land patrol at Fort Desoto, Officer Bibeau observed two individuals returning to their vehicles carrying fishing equipment. During a resource inspection, six undersized trout were located. Post Miranda, one of the individuals admitted to catching five of the trout. Officer Bibeau wrote the individual a misdemeanor citation for possession of undersized trout and a warning for being over the daily bag limit of trout.

While on land patrol around the 4th Street bridge, Officer Caldwell observed a male subject place a cooler inside of a vehicle and close the door. Officer Caldwell approached the subject and observed the cooler, as well as some buckets containing cast nets inside. Upon approaching the individual, another male subject walked up to the vehicle from the bridge. Officer Caldwell obtained consent to conduct a resource inspection of the cooler. The inspection revealed 24 undersized sheepshead, 8 stone crabs in whole condition, 6 undersized black drum, and 1 undersized redfish. Officers Pettifer and Godfrey responded to assist with the case. Both subjects admitted to harvesting the fish by cast net during a brief post Miranda interview. Both subjects were issued misdemeanor citations for possession of undersized sheepshead, undersized black drum and possession of stone crabs in whole condition. Warnings were issued for undersized redfish and undersized stone crab claws.

Officers Infante, Carter, Guerin, Gaudion, Berg and Lieutenant Bontrager worked with aviation pilot Officer Fields and Officer Alvis to enforce trespass and night hunting violations. Officer Fields and Alvis led the land units to several violators during two overnights. Violations observed were trespassing, casting dogs from a roadway, night hunting, hunting from a roadway, felony armed trespassing, fleeing to elude officers and resisting without violence. In total, appropriate violations were addressed with 15 subjects.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
HERNANDO COUNTY

Officer Bergwerff responded to a call of a dead manatee in the Hernando Beach area. When she arrived, she located a dolphin that had beached itself. Officer Spradlin and Clearwater Marine Aquarium Rescue Team also responded. The officers assisted the team in the water with the evaluation. In all, personnel were on scene with the dolphin for over five hours. After a full medical workup, the dolphin became active and tried to swim away. The on-scene veterinarian decided the dolphin was strong enough to be left in the wild.

LEE COUNTY

Officers Fogle, Furbay and Stapleton responded to an alligator call in a Bonita Springs residential community. This was Officer Stapleton’s first nuisance alligator call and capture.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
LEE COUNTY

Lee County officers are stepping up their patrols related to inshore net fishing as the commercial mullet season has started. Officers will be looking to enforce quality control, licensing, and net limitation regulations throughout the season.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officers Mitchell, Salem, Furbay and Stapleton assisted Hunting and Game Management with a Special Purpose Permit. The permit was issued to relocate wild alligators that were fenced in when a new alligator farm was created. Cool weather led to only capturing and relocating two alligators to Webb WMA.

LEE COUNTY

Officers Bradshaw and Hazelwood attended the Junior Ranger Program at Koreshan State Historic Site. The officers talked to the children in attendance about being an officer and answered questions about rules, regulations and the job in general.

PASCO COUNTY

Officer Pulaski conducted an outreach event with a local fishing club. He educated them on different programs the agency offers, Wildlife Alert, and GovDelivery where fishermen can receive up-to-date information and news releases through emails and text messages. Officer Pulaski also spoke about boating safety and fisheries regulations.

Officer Pulaski participated in the Great American Teach-In at two separate schools. There were approximately 100 students at Northwest Elementary School and an additional 45 students at Crews Lake Middle School. Officer Pulaski educated the youth about the duties and responsibilities of an officer. He also provided information about the different divisions within the agency and spoke about the preservation of the American Alligator.


SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officers Banks and Matthews were on patrol near the South Florida Water Management STA 3-4 during the annual waterfowl season. They were dispatched to an area nearby due to a report of illegal target shooters. Officer Ryan arrived on scene to assist. The officers contacted an individual that was involved in the shooting. After information was gathered from the individual, a warrant was confirmed from the United States Customs and Border Patrol. The person was issued citations related to the shooting and a Border Patrol Agent responded to the scene and took the person into custody for the warrant.

MARTIN COUNTY

While conducting saltwater fisheries inspections, Officer Morrow approached a subject underneath a bridge. Upon contact with the subject, Officer Morrow noticed a plastic bucket with a large rock on the lid in the water near the subject. When asked, the subject advised the bucket belonged to him. Upon inspection, the bucket was found to contain a red drum measuring 13 inches. Florida law prohibits possession of red drum under 18 inches. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of undersize red drum and the illegal fish was returned to the water.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Lieutenant Carcasses and Officer Wright were patrolling the A1-Flow Equalization Basin during the quota permit duck hunt. They were observing three subjects hunting from a duck blind. Upon the subjects exiting the area, Lieutenant Carcasses and Officer Wright checked the blind they were hunting from. In and around the blind, they located nearly 60 spent shotgun shells that had been left in the marsh. Investigator Coffin was called in to check the subjects as they exited the marsh and all three subjects were issued littering citations.

Investigators Warne and Phillips responded to a boating accident with injuries at the Lake Park Marina involving a commercial dive boat. A diver was severely cut in the upper thigh from the props of the dive boat. Officers Godward and Spradling heard the distress call and arrived on scene with very little time delay. Officer Spradling boarded the vessel and administered first aid while a USCG vessel was in route to their location offshore. When the USCG arrived, they loaded the victim onto their boat and transported the victim to EMS as Officer Godward and Spradling followed. Investigator Phillips responded to the hospital, obtained photos and then went to the scene. Investigator Warne and Officer Hankinson responded to the dock and met the vessel as it was docking. Investigator Warne identified all persons on the vessel and collected sworn written statements from all the passengers and divers from the vessel. The USCG arrived and took over the investigation and interviewed the captain and the crew. The case was turned over to the USCG.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

United States Wildlife Officers stopped a PWC in Fort Pierce for a violation of the slow speed manatee zone. The officers noticed signs of impairment from the operator and contacted Officers Payne and Hausler for assistance to conduct the BUI investigation. The operator performed poorly during field sobriety tasks and was arrested. The subject provided a breath sample of 0.178 and 0.175. The subject was booked into the county jail for BUI.

Officer Payne and Hausler responded to a boating accident on the North Fork of the St Lucie River. The operator of the vessel stated that the vessel struck a submerged log and lost control, striking a channel marker and ended up on the shoreline. Three occupants who could not swim and were not wearing life jackets were ejected from the vessel into the water. The other passengers on the boat assisted the subjects to shore. A passing vessel picked up an injured person who had sustained a broken leg. The vessel was later removed from the water. The investigation is ongoing.

Officers Hausler and Payne were conducting license and resource inspections in Fort Pierce, when they encountered two subjects and two young children fishing. During an inspection, the subjects were found to be in possession of 15 mangrove snapper, six of which were undersized. The subjects were issued the appropriate citations for the violation.

RESCUES
MARTIN COUNTY

Officers, along with the county sheriff’s office, responded to a call about a lost hiker in the Dupuis WMA. Lieutenant Fillip and Officers Morrow, McLeod, Carroll, Brevik, Kirkland and K-9 Hera separated into two teams and searched the area on foot. The team consisting of Officers Morrow and Mcleod and Deputy Yun found the lost subject and a helicopter guided them out through the waist high waters and heavily wooded area. The subject was in good health and refused medical treatment.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Spradling and Godward were on water patrol offshore when they heard a vessel call for assistance on VHF channel 16. The “Mayday” came from a commercial dive boat for an injured diver. Immediately, Officers Spradling and Godward responded to the vessel arriving within a couple minutes. On the stern dive platform of the commercial dive boat was a white female on her back yelling in pain with a towel covering her left leg. Officer Godward quickly navigated the patrol vessel through the rough seas against the port side of the dive boat. Officer Spradling jumped onto the dive boat and checked the extent of her injuries. First aid was administered to the subject’s extensive injuries. The USCG arrived and pulled up to the dive vessel’s starboard side and passed a backboard to the officers. With the help of the USCG, Officers Spradling and Godward loaded and secured the woman onto the backboard and transferred her to the USCG vessel. The woman was taken to the Riviera Beach Marina where Fire Rescue was waiting. Fire Rescue took over care for the woman and transported her to St. Mary’s Medical Center.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
BROWARD COUNTY

Officer Brock met with a Broward County Deputy at the Pompano Beach boat ramp. The deputy gave Officer Brock an alligator. He had been flagged down by several individuals that had crowded around an alligator in the street. Officer Brock released the alligator back into the Everglades.

HENDRY COUNTY

Officer Keen responded to County Road 833 just north of Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation about a possible deceased Florida panther. Upon arrival, Officer Keen contacted the county sheriff’s office and verified the deceased animal was a Florida panther. It appeared to have been struck by a vehicle. The panther was turned over to a panther biologist for further analysis.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Pecko, Hankinson, Stone and Merizio worked the opening weekend of duck season at STA-1W. The officers checked hundreds of hunters throughout the weekend and violations were handled accordingly.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Plussa and Knutson were conducting federal fisheries off load inspections on a commercial vessel in Naples, where they observed violations relating to the subject’s federal and state commercial fishing license. The violations were addressed and the appropriate law enforcement action was taken.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

While on land patrol, an officer was responding to a complaint inside of a WMA. Upon arrival, the officer noticed an unoccupied vehicle blocking the levee entrance. After conducting a search of the area, this officer discovered two males that were trapping buntings in the area. They had a total of 4 traps deployed in the area and were in possession of two indigo buntings and two blue grosbeaks. They were also in violation of several water management rules. The subjects were cited accordingly.

An investigator and officer were on land patrol working when they observed a vehicle parked towards the end of a dirt road with two men sitting in lawn chairs in front of the car. Upon further investigation, the officers discovered they were trapping migratory song birds. They were in possession of two total traps, 4 painted buntings and 1 indigo bunting. The subjects were cited accordingly.

An investigator and officer spotted a pickup truck loaded down with garbage bags driving towards a dead-end road. They watched the pickup from a distance until it eventually backed into another road and began illegally dumping the black bags from the back of the truck. They approached the three subjects and they admitted they were dumping household trash from one of their houses because they did not know where the local trash dump was. All three subjects were cited for illegally dumping.

A park ranger, working the point of sale at the ranger station, gave a tip to a unit within the park of a suspicious vehicle that was entering. The individuals wore all black attire and the driver made minimal eye contact, while the passenger refused to look in any direction other than straight forward. Officers maintained surveillance on the vehicle as it entered parking lot number 9. As the driver exited the vehicle, he immediately began peering into nearby car windows and testing the door handles trying to enter unlocked vehicles. The subjects moved on to different areas of the parking lot as the driver continued suspicious behavior. As the vehicle started to leave the park, officers initiated a traffic stop. During the stop, it was discovered the driver had a suspended license with prior convictions. Officers found a stolen credit card in the driver’s possession from a break-in earlier that day which occurred at another local park. Additionally, the suspects were using a rental vehicle that was two weeks overdue and there were several burglary tools found. They were trespassed from the park and charged with loitering and prowling. The second subject was also on federal probation/supervised release status. The police department had probable cause to arrest based on intelligence connecting the second subject to a burglary in their jurisdiction from early November.

Two officers were on nighttime water patrol near Bear Cut when they encountered a returning vessel with three subjects onboard. A fisheries inspection and the officers’ subsequent investigation determined that a combination of yellowtail snappers, a mutton snapper and Spanish mackerel had either been filleted and/or sectioned. The captain of the vessel received citations for the multiple violations.

MONROE COUNTY

Officers Thompson and Pino were on patrol and dispatched to Tavernier Creek Bridge South End about individuals catching undersized fish. Upon arrival, an individual turned around and ran. The individual was followed around the corner where he was seen throwing fish into the water. Officer Thompson identified himself and told the individual to “stop throwing the fish.” He did not stop. Officer Thompson entered the water to retrieve one undersized mangrove snapper. Officer Thompson also discovered an additional undersized mangrove snapper that was concealed under a towel. The subject was arrested for interference/obstruction and possession of two undersized mangrove snapper.

Officer Sapp was conducting water patrol in Key West Harbor when he received a call regarding a grounded vessel on the gulf side of Big Coppitt Key. Upon arrival, the vessel appeared to have been involved in a boating accident. Officer Sapp searched the area to look for the operator, but was unable to locate him. Officer Sapp located a dog in the water, and rescued him with the help of the SPCA. Officer Sapp had heard a voice in the distance yelling for help, but the subject refused to come out and acted aggressively. While responding to Officer Sapp’s call for assistance, Officer Carroll spotted a man in boxers, screaming at traffic. The man tried to run into Officer Carroll’s lane while he was driving down the highway. Officer Carroll ordered the subject onto the ground and detained him. Officer Carroll determined that this was the subject that had crashed his vessel and lost his dog. Due to the subject’s behavior and his apparent intoxication, field sobriety tests were conducted and it was determined that the subject had been operating the vessel while intoxicated. The subject was arrested for BUI, leaving the scene and animal abandonment.

While on uniform patrol in John Pennekamp State Park, Officer McKay observed two subjects at the rear of a parked SUV. The male was mixing drinks in red Solo cups and proceeded to give one to the female. Officer McKay watched the subjects and just prior to leaving, the male retrieved a beer bottle from the rear of the SUV and place it in the backseat. As they drove away, the driver failed to stop at two stop signs. The vehicle was stopped at the park’s Ranger Station. After gaining consent, Officer McKay checked the vehicle and discovered 12 unopened cans/bottles of beer and other alcoholic drinks. The driver admitted to having prepared mojito drinks for him and his 18-year-old girlfriend. The male was placed under arrest for possession of alcohol by a person under 21 years of age and providing alcohol to a person under 21 years of age. The subject was also cited for traffic and park rule violations. His passenger was also given a notice to appear. The vehicle was towed.

While on land patrol in Tavernier, Officer McKay observed a truck and trailer off-loading landscape debris onto the shoulder of the road. Hurricane Irma roadside debris removal had ended the previous month. Three men were removing Silver Buttonwood branches and when asked, the truck owner who owns a landscape operation, said the vegetation was from his residence. When asked if officers would find Silver Buttonwood trees at his residence, the truck owner didn’t respond. A few minutes later he admitted that the materials being dumped were from a construction job site. He, along with his two friends, were arrested for littering for commercial purposes. The truck and trailer were towed.

RESCUES
COLLIER COUNTY

Lieutenant Sushil and Officer Tidwell responded to a Marine Emergency Response Team (MERT) call about a male in his 70s that was having difficulty breathing and going in and out of consciousness. The gentleman was on a kayak in shallow water north of Isles of Capri. Officers picked up two firemen from station 90 on Isles of Capri and brought them via vessel into the back water to locate the kayaker. When he was located, fire-rescue treated him while in route back to the dock where EMS was waiting to transport him to the hospital.

Officers Plussa, Kleis and Tidwell responded to a marine medical emergency in Gordon Pass involving a boy that had gone missing while swimming in the pass. After a combined search of the area with EMS, the boy was found safe and returned to his family onshore.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Carroll was notified of a sunken vessel with four people, including one child, clinging to the bridge at Bahia Honda. After responding from Marathon, Officer Carroll navigated through the rough waters to find the distressed boaters and bring them safely onboard. It was determined that the vessel was too small to handle the rough conditions. It went down quickly and only two people could put on life jackets. The boaters were returned safely to their cars.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Plussa and Knutson responded to complaints of a black bear in a neighborhood, raiding trash cans. The officers hazed the bear out of the area, but it returned several hours later to resume feeding from the trash cans. The officers hazed the bear off a second time successfully. Several area residents were issued letters of noncompliance for not securing their trash, resulting in attracting bears to the area.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Plussa conducted a series of focused patrols at Delnor-Wiggins State Park. Rangers at the park had been having issued with visitors refusing to leave the park at closing time. Officer Plussa issued a series of citations to violators and unattended vehicles parked illegally in the area overnight. Throughout the patrol, other violations were addressed including consumption of alcohol in a state park, open

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  Sammy Annual fishing report: Horseshoe Beach 12/2
Posted by: bigefromlc - 12-03-2017, 01:24 PM - Forum: Fishing Reports - Replies (2)

Hmmmm.

Last report here was May 2, 2017 so either:

1. No one is fishing

2. No one is visiting the site.

3. No one is posting.

4. All of the above.

5. Some of the above but not all.

Despite the Super Moon this weekend, the weather forecast was so spectacular we had to hit the Gulf yesterday. High tide was at 1:30, basically no wind, high 70's temperature, water temperature close to 70®. First spot we saw some birds working and started catching ladyfish immediately. We caught fish steadily all day ended up with 8 specs and a big sand trout. Caught 1 mackerel, 1 BIG bluefish, a few blackfish and a couple of pin fish. No trash fish at all. Probably caught 200 fish total, all on popping corks and jigs.

Because of the moon the water was at least 2 feet deeper than usual. The fish fed like crazy but none had anything in their stomachs.

I even caught shark chow!        

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