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  FWC Enforcement Report November 10-16 All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 11-17-2017, 01:29 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
BAY COUNTY

Officer Palmer was working late one evening near a hunting lease. Well after sunset, he observed a vehicle enter the hunting lease. After a brief time, several shots could be heard from inside the private property in the direction that the vehicle was last seen. Several minutes later, the same vehicle exited the hunting lease and started to leave the area. A stop of the vehicle was conducted. Fresh blood was on the tailgate and rear bumper of the vehicle. Inside the bed of the truck was a freshly killed doe. The doe showed signs of being shot with a centerfire rifle. Officer Palmer issued appropriate citations for the violations.

CALHOUN COUNTY

Officer Baber responded to a call from the county Sheriff’s Department in which one of their officers stopped a vehicle shining a light at a farm field. When Officer Baber arrived on scene, he searched the vehicle and located a loaded .22 caliber rifle along with a spotlight. The driver was charged with night hunting.

Officer Baber was conducting surveillance on a farm field when a truck drove by shining the field with a spotlight. A vehicle stop was conducted and inside the vehicle, the driver had a spotlight hooked to a battery in the passenger floorboard and a crossbow in the passenger seat. The suspect was charged with night hunting.

FEDERAL WATERS

While aboard the offshore patrol vessel Vigilance, Officers Rockwell and Trueblood teamed up with Officers Brady and Rice aboard the 29 Safe Boat to target offshore federal fisheries. While patrolling in the Madison & Swanson Marine Protection Area (MPA), an area closed to bottom fishing, they observed a recreational vessel fishing several miles within the closed area. As both vessels approached, they noticed that the three occupants were still fishing with bottom style rigs. During the boarding, Officer Trueblood found the subjects to be in possession of reef fish, including red snapper, which was currently closed. All individuals were cited for fishing in an MPA closed to fishing. The captain was also cited for possession of red snapper during closed season and for no vessel registration onboard.

Officer Nelson participated in an offshore, multi-day research expedition with Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) Biologists Gray, Cook, Kampmann, Staley and Brown. The study focused on the reproductive health of gag grouper in the Gulf of Mexico MPA. During the expedition, they collected blood, liver, fin, age and other biological samples and recorded the size and weight of gag grouper. During the research expedition, approximately 30 fish were tagged and released. Two fish that were previously tagged were recaptured. Data collected during the trip will further efforts of FWRI staff to better understand the reproductive characteristics of the gag grouper population in the Gulf of Mexico. After the trip, 84 pounds of fish were donated to the Food4Kidz charity.

HOLMES COUNTY

Officer Forehand located a small field that was baited with cracked corn. The following afternoon, he heard shooting at the field. He observed four hunters shooting doves over the baited field. All four hunters were charged with taking doves over bait.

JACKSON COUNTY

Officer Little inspected a hunter in the upper Chipola Wildlife Management Area (WMA). During the inspection, the hunter asked for directions to the Apalachee WMA. Officer Little gave directions and explained legal antler requirements for that management area. The hunter stated that he knew the law. Later that afternoon, the check station operator at Apalachee called Officer Little about an illegal deer that had been shot. When Officer Little arrived, the same hunter he inspected earlier in the day had killed a four‑point buck. He was charged with taking deer with less than three points on one side.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
BAKER COUNTY

Lieutenant Huff was working opening day of general gun season in the Osceola WMA when he heard a gunshot. After locating the subject, he admitted to shooting at a four-point buck but did not think he had hit it. Lieutenant Huff advised the subject that he more than likely hit the deer since he was using a shotgun. After Lieutenant Huff stated he would attempt to locate the deer, the subject became nervous. While walking back to Lieutenant Huff’s truck, the subject stated there were two deer and they both ran off. K-9 Officer Gill and Officer Tyler responded to assist. K-9 Friar was deployed on the subject’s path to their hunting area and immediately found the spent shell casing from the subject’s shotgun. K-9 Friar also located a small doe 30-yards from the subject’s stand. While K-9 Friar was looking for another deer, the subject admitted to Lieutenant Huff that he shot the doe and that was the only deer. He went on to state he was not truthful because he was nervous and did not think the officers would look for the deer. The subject was cited for taking an illegal doe deer. The shotgun was seized as evidence.

CITRUS COUNTY

Citrus County officers and Officers VanNess and Cheshire were working a Targeted Enforcement Action (TEA) targeting the harvest of oysters. During the detail, the officers set up surveillance around Ozello. While conducting surveillance, the officers observed several boats in the area harvesting oysters. The area was currently open to the harvest of oysters and no vessels were observed in any closed areas. The officers conducted a compliance inspection on two commercial harvesters and found they were in possession of 18% undersized oysters. The harvesters are allowed 5% undersized per bag. The two commercial oyster harvesters were cited appropriately.

Officer Browning was on water patrol around the Little Homosassa River and observed a commercial blue crabber working a line of traps in Homosassa Bay. During a gear inspection, the officer observed that the occupants had 15 whole bodied stone crabs in a catch basket on their boat. Officer Browning asked why they had the stone crabs when the season was not open for five more days. The occupants said they were going to place the crabs in a trap and harvest them after the open date for them to possess the crabs. The vessel occupants were issued a citation to pay $318.00 or appear in county court. The crabs were released back to the water.

Officer Browning was working the oyster harvest area when he observed three boats actively harvesting oysters. Officer Browning approached the harvesters and conducted a compliance inspection on their oysters. During the inspection, Officer Browning discovered that the occupants had 14% undersized oysters in a tagged bag of oysters. The vessel occupants were issued a notice to appear in county court. The undersized oysters were photographed and returned to an active oyster bar nearby.

DUVAL COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Doricchi went to conduct a follow-up inspection at a facility which exhibits venomous reptiles and sells other various non-regulated reptiles. While conducting the follow-up, it was learned that the licensee still had expired venomous reptile licenses as well as expired Class III wildlife ESC license. The licensee was issued a citation for the expired licenses and a warning for a sanitation issue.

A Resource Protection Unit (RPU) Officer was working an area of Jennings WMA where complaints of gunshots had been received. As the officer eased around a corner in an unmarked truck at sunrise, a poacher was spotted sitting on a stool near a fire break. When the poacher spotted the truck he stood up, grabbed his stool and dove into the woods. The officer approached the spot and noticed the poacher tangled up in green briar vines. He helped to extricate the man from the thorns and retrieved a .308 hunting rifle that had been tossed into the woods. The man admitted to hunting in the closed forest with a rifle in an area that is restricted to archery hunting. He was issued citations and warnings for the violations.

Officers Sweat and Christmas investigated information on the illegal take of deer and trespassing. A man went onto a property without permission and shot a spike buck. The owner of the property had three game cameras setup on the property. The trespasser located two of them and took the photo cards from the camera. On the third camera, a photo of the violator was taken as he dragged the illegal buck away from the property. He posted his illegal take on Instagram, with comments. Along with the other violations, the hunter did not possess a hunting license or a deer permit. Charges will be filed with the State Attorney’s Office.

LEVY COUNTY

Officers Schulz and Willis received a call referencing a commercial fisherman that was actively harvesting oysters from a closed area. Once they arrived on scene, they observed a white vessel with one subject onboard harvesting oysters just inside of closed waters. The officers watched the subject harvest for a brief period until the subject started to pack up and leave the area. The officers waded out on to an exposed oyster bar and stopped the vessel for a commercial fisheries inspection. There were 14 baskets of oysters and a culling board filled with oysters aboard the vessel. During the inspection, the officers also noted two other oyster violations. Based on the totality of circumstances, Officer Schulz issued one misdemeanor citation and two warnings for the oyster violations. All oysters were seized and returned to the resource alive. No further law enforcement action was taken.

Officer Schulz was on patrol at the Cedar Key boat ramp when he observed a recreational fishing vessel approach the boat ramp to load up. Officer Schulz contacted the two subjects onboard to perform a fisheries inspection. During the inspection, three boating safety violations were observed and three undersized spotted sea trout and one undersized black sea bass were located. The captain of the vessel was cited appropriately.

MADISON COUNTY

Lieutenant Humphries and Officer Cline were working a closed area in Twin Rivers WMA when they observed a truck parked on a closed road within the area. Further observation revealed two subjects exiting the woods carrying firearms and dragging a freshly killed deer. The subjects were interviewed and admitted to killing the deer while hunting in a closed area. The subjects were issued the appropriate citations for the violations.

TAYLOR COUNTY

Officers Wilder and Robson responded to a residence where a deer had been taken illegally during muzzleloader gun season. During the investigation, the officers learned that a subject spotted a 7-point buck outside his residence and, from his back porch, shot the deer. The deer was on his neighbor’s property. The subject then requested help from family members to retrieve the deer. The subject was cited for taking deer by illegal method and trespassing.

Officer Albritton received information from a concerned citizen of a possible wildlife violation that occurred October 15th. During the investigation, the officer learned that an 8-point buck had been taken from the right of way. A subject was driving and spotted the deer on the shoulder of the road. He then called a friend requesting a gun. He went to the friend’s home and retrieved him and his gun. They returned to the location where the deer was seen. They shot the deer from the vehicle and returned home with it. The gun and antlers were seized as evidence. Charges of taking deer by illegal method and hunting from the right of way are being direct filed with the State Attorney’s Office.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
SUWANNEE COUNTY

Officers Boone and Colasanti attended a local community neighborhood watch luncheon. During this program, both officers answered questions from the attendees giving information to better prevent violations of fish and wildlife state laws from occurring in their neighborhood. They were also thanked for the agency’s recent efforts during the flooding from Hurricane Irma.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

While on patrol, Lieutenant Lightsey observed a man he had previously arrested earlier in the year driving down the roadway. The man had an active warrant for resource violations in Indian River County. The officer stopped and approached the man. After informing him of the warrant, the man was arrested and delivered to the county Sherriff’s Office without incident.

Officers conducted focused patrols of Critical Wildlife Areas (CWA) in the Indian River Lagoon and at the Stick Marsh. Officers spoke with boaters and wildlife viewers concerning the CWA boundaries and purpose.

While on foot patrol at a local causeway, Officer Balgo observed an individual fishing along the shoreline. The individual stated he did not have any fish. After further inspection, Officer Balgo located one undersized red drum, one undersized spotted sea trout and one undersized mangrove snapper. The individual was cited accordingly.

MARION COUNTY

On opening morning of rifle season in the Ocala WMA, Officer Rice was working in the Paisley area when he heard gunshots near his location. Officer Rice located a group hunting with dogs in the area the shots came from. The officer heard an additional shot and observed two hunters walk out of the woods with their dogs. Officer Rice approached the hunters. One hunter admitted to taking a deer. The deer that was taken was a spike less than the legal 10” antler length required. The hunter admitted to not identifying what the deer was before he took it and was issued a notice to appear for the violation.

SUMTER COUNTY

Officers Balfour and Phillips located a suspicious vehicle with a dog-box parked in a secluded area in Richloam WMA on the Green Swamp fence line. From the contents in the vehicle, it appeared the subjects were hunting, but no one was around the vehicle. Officers Balfour and Phillips waited at the vehicle in a concealed location. At approximately 2:30 AM, Officer Phillips observed a light coming down the fence line in their direction. Contact was made with three male subjects and five hunting dogs. All three subjects admitted to hog hunting in Green Swamp West and Richloam WMA. They were issued citations for hunting hogs during closed season, illegal entry into a WMA and for the dogs being off leash.

While on patrol off Highway 42 in Paisley, Officers Teal and McConnel saw a large buck in the pasture. They placed their patrol vehicle in a concealed manner to watch the field. Within minutes, a truck pulled up, turned around, shining their headlights in the field and shot towards the buck. The truck, occupied by two subjects, turned on their hazards to act like they had broken down. The subjects went to look for the deer, but were unable to locate it. They started to leave the area when Officers Teal and McConnel stopped the vehicle. Next to the passenger was a loaded shotgun containing buck shot. Post Miranda warnings, both subjects admitted to attempting to take deer by gun at night, shooting from the roadway and attempting to take wildlife from the right of way. Both suspects were cited appropriately.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
LAKE COUNTY

Lieutenant Chase and Officer Scrambling attended the City of Leesburg National Night Out. There were over 3,000 individuals in attendance. The event was well received.

SUMTER COUNTY

Lieutenant Chase and Officer Shaw attended the local Farm Bureau’s Farm Day. There were over 100 in attendance. The event was well received.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on patrol at Skyway Fishing Pier State Park, Officer Martinez stopped two individuals returning from fishing. Upon inspecting their catch, it was determined one of the subjects had an undersized gag grouper. The subject was run for previous history of violations. Officer Martinez determined that the subject had numerous violations in the past. The subject was cited for possession of undersized gag grouper.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Winton was on patrol in Matlacha when he witnessed several individuals fishing from the shore. Officer Winton approached the group and determined that one of the fisherman was in possession of five undersized mangrove snapper. A notice to appear was issued for the violation, as well as a warning for failure to have a fishing license.

Officer Winton was on water patrol in Pine Island Sound when he saw a commercial net fishing vessel actively working several seine nets. Officer Winton conducted a stop on the vessel, at which time several violations were discovered. The captain of the vessel was issued several citations, as well as numerous warnings, and was educated about laws pertaining to seine nets.

Lieutenant Ruggiero completed a court case for a BUI arrest he made. Working with the State Attorney’s Office, the case was resolved before going to trial. The suspect was adjudicated guilty for the violation. The suspect was issued $500 in court costs, $500 for refusal to submit to his breath alcohol content and 50 hours of community service among other requirements as part of his sentencing.

MANATEE COUNTY

While on land patrol around the South Skyway rest area, Officers Hinds and Gonzales stopped and performed a fisheries inspection on a group of men fishing under the relief bridge just before the main fishing pier. Upon completion of their inspection, the officers found that one of the men had caught and kept over his bag limit of pompano. The subject was issued a criminal citation for his violation and will have to appear in court.

While on land patrol around the South Skyway rest area, Officers Hinds and Miller stopped and performed a fisheries inspection on a group of men fishing under the relief bridge just before the main fishing pier. Upon completion of their inspection, the officers found that one of the men had caught and kept over the bag limit of grey mangrove snapper. The subject was issued a criminal citation for his violation and will have to appear in court.

While on land patrol around the South Skyway Fishing Pier State Park, Officer Gonzales was waived down by a fisherman who made him aware of some potential poaching by a group of men on the pier. Officer Gonzales located the potential violators and performed a fisheries inspection. Upon completion of the inspection, Officer Gonzales found that one of the men had caught and kept 19 Spanish mackerel. The subject was cited criminally for possession of over the bag limit of Spanish mackerel and will have to appear in court for his violation.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on patrol, Officer Caldwell observed three individuals fishing from a bridge and initiated a fisheries inspection. The individuals stated they just started fishing and allowed the officer to inspect two empty coolers. Officer Caldwell observed a third small cooler near the three individuals. Inside the cooler were four undersized gag grouper and seven mangrove snapper. The three individuals stated the cooler belonged to someone who had been fishing on the bridge and left. Officer Caldwell observed a piece of blue braided fishing line inside the cooler with the undersized fish. He saw one of the fishing poles, used by one of the men on the bridge, had the same fishing line. Officer Caldwell confronted the individuals with this information. The man with the matching fishing line admitted to catching the undersized fish. He was cited accordingly.

While on land patrol near the Skyway relief bridge, Officer Martinez approached a subject to conduct a resource inspection. Upon seeing Officer Martinez, the subject tried to get rid of the fish by throwing them back in the water. Officer Martinez stopped the subject and found him to be in possession of a 12” gag grouper and two undersized mangrove snapper. Officer Martinez cited the subject for possession of undersized gag grouper and warned him for the snapper violation.

While on land patrol at Gandy beach, Officer Martinez observed a subject conceal numerous fish in a grocery bag and hide them under the driver seat of his vehicle. When Officer Martinez made contact, the subject attempted to close the door of his vehicle so the officer couldn’t find the concealed fish. Officer Martinez informed the subject that he seen him hide the fish, and to go ahead and bring them out. Upon inspecting the bag, Officer Martinez located four undersized mangrove snapper, almost his entire bag limit. The subject was cited accordingly for his violation.

While on land patrol, Officer Martinez observed a man walking briskly out of the mangroves with a cooler. When approached, he asked him if he had caught any fish. The man responded that he did not and pulled a bag out of the cooler and hid it out of view. Officer Martinez attempted to conduct a resource inspection and, several times, was obstructed by the man. He found that the subject was in possession of two undersized snook. The subject advised Officer Martinez that he had caught the fish with a cast net and was unsure of what they were. The subject was cited accordingly.

While on land patrol near Blind Pass, Officer Bibeau approached two subjects that were fishing from the seawall to conduct a fisheries inspection. After the inspection, Officer Bibeau found the subjects to be in possession of an undersized gag grouper and two undersized spotted seatrout. One subject admitted to catching the undersized fish. Officer Bibeau wrote the subject a misdemeanor citation and a warning for the fisheries violations.

POLK COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Hough and Lieutenant DeLacure found an individual in possession of two unlawfully possessed Class II African Servals. The two servals were seized and placed at a licensed facility. Charges were filed for unlawful possession of Class II Serval, failure to meet minimum standard caging requirements and failure to obtain a valid import permit.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Corteguera responded to a complaint regarding the illegal possession of a reticulated python. After contacting the individual, the investigator found a juvenile in possession of a juvenile reticulated python. The violation was discussed with the juvenile and his parents, and several warnings were issued regarding the illegal possession and related violations. The snake was seized and turned over to an agency biologist. The source of where the snake came from originally is being investigated.

Officer Brock responded to Pompano Beach in the early morning hours referencing a report of a boating accident. A vessel was involved in property damage. An investigation into the boating accident is ongoing.

Officers Grant and Brock and Lieutenant Laubenberger conducted a marine fisheries inspection in the early morning hours. An individual onboard was found to be in possession of undersized mutton snapper. The individual was issued a citation and the fish was seized as evidence.

Officer Vacin was on late night patrol when he observed several individuals fishing from the beach near Sunrise Blvd. Pursuant to a marine fisheries inspection, one individual was issued a criminal citation for possession of undersized mangrove snapper. The mangrove snapper were released back into the water alive.

MARTIN COUNTY

Officers Webb and Pecko were conducting land patrol and observed a truck with a trailer parked in an area that caused suspicion. After checking the tag information, the officers discovered that the truck was owned by a convicted felon. The subjects came back at dark and the felon was in possession of a firearm. The subject was arrested and charged accordingly.

Officers Hankinson and Pecko were conducting state water patrol when they observed two subjects fishing in a boat. They initiated a vessel stop and found that there was no safety equipment on board. There was a cooler on the piling of the bridge that the subjects said had some fish in it. Officer Pecko discovered an undersized mangrove snapper. The operator was cited for no Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs) and the second subject was given a warning for undersized mangrove snapper.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

A suspicious vehicle was observed parked near the Port of Fort Pierce with a single occupant. The vehicle had been observed at the same location on multiple days. Further investigation determined the vehicle would leave the area for a brief period and then return and remain for an extended period. Investigator Patterson and Officers Fretwell and Payne decided to conduct surveillance on the vehicle and occupant. From a concealed location, Investigator Patterson observed the subject light an object near his face, but it did not look like a cigarette. When the officers began to approach the vehicle, Investigator Patterson observed the subject make some abrupt motions. After making contact, the subject appeared impaired. A search of the vehicle revealed a pipe and crack cocaine in a bucket on the passenger side floorboard and marijuana in the trunk. The subject was arrested and charged for the violations.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
BROWARD COUNTY

Officer Grant responded to a house referencing a loose snake. She arrived on scene and found a black racer entangled in tape in the homeowner’s garage. The officer freed the snake of entanglement and released it into the Everglades unharmed.

Officer Grant was on patrol at Dania Pier when she observed a cormorant tangled in fishing line. With the assistance of a fisherman, and the use of his net, the officer caught the bird, untangled the fishing line and cut it off the bird. The cormorant was released unharmed.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers responded to a young sperm whale stranded in Juno Beach. Multiple agencies responded and attempted to assist the sick female whale.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
BROWARD COUNTY

Numerous officers gathered at two memorial sites. The L-5 Memorial for Officers Randall and Burnsed and the Manley Ditch for Officer Lawless. These Officers were killed at these locations in the Everglades. Officers honored the fallen with the laying of wreaths, a moment of silence and rendered a salute during the playing of taps. This was the 10th Anniversary of Officer Lawless’ death and the 16th Anniversary of Officers Randall and Burnsed.

Lieutenant Laubenberger commanded the Broward Police Multi Agency Honor Guard Colors Team during the ceremony for the Broward Victims of Violence awards ceremony.

Lieutenant Laubenberger commanded the Broward Police Multi Agency Honor Guard Colors Team during the ceremony for the Police Accreditation Coalition in Weston.

Lieutenant Laubenberger commanded the Honor Guard Colors Team during the ceremony for the Police Accreditation Coalition in Weston.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Hankinson, Officer Pecko, Lieutenant Russo, Lieutenant Hayes and Major Rondeau provided security for Governor Scott’s press conference at the Cheney Brothers Warehouse.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Officers participated with three other agencies in “Operation Safe Passage” in the North Fork of the St. Lucie River. They searched an 18-mile stretch of the river, finding and removing fallen trees and other hurricane related debris. Over 100 large trees were removed or identified for removal.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Plussa and Knutson were assisting with an evidence seizure for a subject arrested for multiple trap violations. Officer Plussa recognized the suspect in Monroe County. Officer Plussa found that three citations for this subject had been returned undeliverable for three different addresses. The suspect admitted to owning the derelict vessels in the Keys and that he had been living on Marco Island for the last seven months. Officer Plussa served him the three unclaimed Monroe citations and criminally charged him with failure to transfer interest or address on vessel registration. Additional charges are pending for the subject in Monroe County with Lieutenant Cox.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

While on water patrol just south of Julia Tuttle causeway, an officer noticed a red PWC anchored in the bay with two males onboard fishing using yoyos. Upon conducting a fisheries inspection, they opened a blue cooler in the back of the jet ski that contained fourteen spotted sea trout, eleven of which were undersized. Their bag limit was four per person. Both subjects admitted to catching the fish together. They were cited appropriately for the violation.

A United States Coast Guard (USCG) helicopter was following a vessel of interest approximately 5 miles offshore the Bakers Haulover Inlet in which the subjects believed to be involved with human smuggling and/or narcotics. The USCG requested agency assistance to further investigate the vessel that had two visible persons onboard. An officer in the area located the vessel around the ICW and Sunny Isles Bridge. The vessel had a registration number violation, so the officer conducted a vessel stop. Upon speaking to the captain of the vessel, the subjects claimed to be trying out the vessel. The officer was not convinced and waited for assistance from CBP. CBP determined the captain entered illegally and he was also illegally bringing in the other passenger. The captain was arrested for human smuggling and the passenger was taken into custody for processing.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
COLLIER COUNTY


Officer Plussa responded to an overnight callout involving a 10-foot alligator that had entered a residential garage and was damaging property. Officer Plussa and Nuisance Alligator Trapper Ray Simonsen responded to the residence to find a crowd of people and several local deputies in the street and driveway. Officer Plussa cleared the area with the deputies and assisted the trapper in removing the 8.5-foot alligator and securing it for safe removal from the scene

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Mobley, Powell, Rhoda, Carroll and Alvarez all participated in the Taste of the Islands Festival in Marathon. All officers educated the public on boating safety, living with alligators and answered questions regarding post hurricane response. Members of the public were also educated on exotic reptiles as pets and the importance of not releasing them into the wild to prevent ecosystem damage, much like the Burmese python epidemic. Officers also had an alligator and python for hands-on interaction with children and adults. The event was from 11:00 am-5:00 pm, and officers spoke to over 100 individuals.

Officers Jason, Jefferson and Carroll conducted public outreach and support by participating in the Veterans Day Parade in Marathon. During the event, officers spoke with local veterans of all generations, hearing their stories and giving thanks for their service and sacrifices. The officers showed appreciation to first responders for their continued service, as well as members of the community for their strong efforts in helping to bring the community back from the brink in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

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  FWC Enforcement Report November 3-9 All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 11-14-2017, 07:52 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
FRANKLIN COUNTY

Officers Matechik and Sauls were on patrol inspecting oyster boats in Eastpoint. They stopped at a seafood dealer and were informed that two subjects dropped off five bags of oysters and left without saying anything to the dealer. The dealer did not want to buy the oysters because they were visibly undersized. The dealer also knew who the oyster harvesters were and gave a written statement to the officers. The officers measured the bags of oysters and they ranged from 70-85% undersized. The officers also noticed that the Saltwater Product License (SPL) numbers did not match up to the harvesters. When they checked the numbers on the oyster tags, the numbers came back to no one. However, on the back of two of the tags were the names of the harvesters. Charges will be direct filed on the two harvesters for undersized oysters and falsification of oyster tags.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Corbin and Pifer responded to a single vessel boating accident that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, just outside of the East Pass. The vessel involved was a 17-foot open console boat. Information was received that one of the five occupants was transported to a local hospital for treatment of injuries. The US Coast Guard (USCG) responded by vessel and provided assistance by transporting the vessel and occupants to the Coast Guard Destin Station. Officer Corbin responded to the Coast Guard Station to conduct the investigation and Officer Pifer headed to the hospital to ascertain the severity of the injured occupant. Based upon the investigation, Officer Corbin determined the vessel was cruising west from the Destin Jetties, at half throttle, when the vessel was struck by a large wave causing the vessel to roll hard to the starboard side and ejecting three of the five occupants. The injured occupant sustained a laceration to the front side of her right leg above her ankle. She also sustained a laceration to the back of her right upper arm. This boating accident is currently under investigation.

Officer Nichols responded to call concerning a small black bear cub trapped in a commercial dumpster at a Fort Walton Beach business location. There was a female bear staying close to the dumpster. When the officer arrived, the bears had retreated into a wooded area. Officer Nichols spoke with some employees of the business concerning the bears and inspected the dumpster for bear resistance compliance measures. The dumpster was not secured and the business owner was provided with an educational bear brochure and issued a non-compliance notification letter.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Hutchinson contacted the Department of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (ABT) and informed them about an illegal moonshine still that he and Lieutenant Hahr located while investigating a deer poaching case. After speaking with an investigator and passing along the information to them, they drove to the suspect’s residence where the still was located. They contacted the suspect who admitted to possessing the still and making moonshine. While speaking with the suspect, the officers observed two more whiskey stills near his shed. They gained consent to search the property and with the help of two other ABT investigators, they located other items used to make moonshine. A felony warrant was later issued for the suspect’s arrest for the possession of the illegal moonshine stills.

While on patrol in the Yellow River Wildlife Management Area (WMA), Officer Mullins observed subjects at a state forest primitive recreation area. Officer Mullins spoke with the subjects and discovered one subject was in possession of cannabis, drug paraphernalia and alcohol in a posted “no alcohol area.” The subject was issued a citation for possession of cannabis under 20 grams.

Officer Ramos concluded an investigation leading to the arrest of a Navarre resident for the unlawful taking of a black bear shot in a resident’s yard in October. A thorough investigation of evidence and statements provided by witnesses and involved parties was reviewed by the State Attorney’s Office. The presiding judge concurred with the arrest affidavit and approved the arrest warrant. The suspect was booked into the county jail for the unlawful taking of a black bear.

ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Detectives with the Pensacola Police Department began an investigation during September into what was originally reported as a missing persons case. As the case developed, detectives began to suspect foul play and, through their investigation, believed that the victim was possibly located on a farm in Cantonment. Pensacola Police Department requested assistance from FWC due to the wooded terrain in the area and the FWC’s expertise in this type of landscape. Officers McHenry, Pettey and Hoomes responded to assist with locating the victim. After an extensive search which included heavily wooded and wetland areas, the officers located the victim’s remains. The discovery of the remains led to an arrest of a suspect by the Pensacola Police Department.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers Stanley and Fanelli worked an active bait site in the Grove Park WMA. After checking the sites several times, they observed a hunter who was hunting over the bait. The hunter admitted to placing the bait out and was cited for the violation.

BAKER COUNTY

Officer Burnsed received a complaint of a doe deer that was killed illegally during the opening of muzzle loading season. Muzzle loading season only allows antlered deer. The officer obtained the name of the subject in violation and verified the information with the landowner who leased the property. The subject was interviewed and admitted to killing the doe deer, as well as attempting to shoot another on the same day. Charges will be directly filed with the State Attorney’s Office for taking an illegal doe deer during closed season.

DIXIE COUNTY

Lieutenant Futch and Officer Butler were on water patrol working illegal oyster harvesting at night when they observed a vessel in a closed area and discovered they were harvesting oysters. As they approached the vessel, they observed fresh oysters on the deck of the boat. Following a brief interview, the subjects admitted to harvesting oysters at night in closed waters. The subjects were issued the appropriate citations for the violations.

DUVAL COUNTY

Officer Christmas was on routine patrol near Broward River and Zoo Parkway when he came across a male and female fishing. A resource inspection of their catch revealed two undersized red drum, four undersized black drum and eight undersized mangrove snapper. The subjects were issued citations for the illegal fish and the fish were seized and photographed. The male subject was also issued a citation for not having a valid saltwater shoreline license.

GILCHRIST COUNTY

Officer Allen conducted a property inspection for a Deer Depredation Permit. During the inspection, Officer Allen discovered there was a corn feeder placed on the property. A brief time later, he observed a hunter actively hunting deer on the property. The subject was walking around the edge of the field with a rifle in full camouflage. Officer Allen made contact and the subject indicated he was utilizing the deer depredation permit. The subject did not have a copy of the permit with him nor did he have his hunting license. Charges will be direct filed with the State Attorney’s Office for the permit violation.

Officer Allen was on patrol when he heard a gunshot that did not sound like a muzzle loader. He found a vehicle near the location and waited until the subjects returned. The subjects came out and Officer Allen discovered they had taken an eight-point deer with a .223 rifle. Following a brief interview, the subjects admitted to taking the deer with the .223 rifle during muzzle loader season. Officer Allen will be direct filing charges with the State Attorney's Office for taking deer by illegal method.

Officer Allen received information that an individual had taken an illegal deer in the Log Landing WMA. A hunter overheard a subject stating that he had killed an illegal spike and attempted to kill two other deer earlier that morning. Officer Allen arrived and observed a subject meeting the description exiting the management area. He conducted a resource inspection and advised the subject he received information that he had taken an illegal deer. The subject denied he killed a deer and showed Officer Allen the area he hunted that morning. Officer Allen back tracked him in the woods to where he was hunting. Later that day, Officer Allen found an illegal deer hidden behind a large tree in the same area the subject had hunted. Officer Allen met with the subject later that afternoon at his residence. When faced with the evidence, the subject admitted to killing the deer and attempting to shoot two more. Charges will be direct filed with the State Attorney's Office for the illegal deer and for willful and wanton waste of game.

Officers Allen and Troiano received information about a hunter harassment complaint on a local management area. The officers went to the area the next morning and posed as hunters. Shortly after daylight, a subject arrived at the parking area meeting the description. The subject drove a short distance away to his property which joins the state lands. The subject then began to shine a flashlight towards the hunters and discharged a pistol four times from his fence line. At that point, Officer Allen stepped out and identified himself as an officer. The subject admitted to willfully interfering with the lawful taking of game on state lands and was issued a notice to appear for the violation.

Officers Cooper and Sheffield received information that a deer had been killed illegally. When they arrived on scene, they discovered the deer had been shot from a public roadway. While collecting evidence at the scene, the suspect drove up. The suspect was questioned and he admitted to shooting the deer from his vehicle. The subject was issued a notice to appear for discharging a firearm from a public roadway and for unlawful taking of deer.

NASSAU COUNTY

Officer Christmas was working the last day of the muzzleloader quota hunt in Ralph Simmons WMA when he came across a subject walking out of the woods and back towards his truck. Officer Christmas requested the subject show his license and quota permit. The subject showed his license but then only a printed quota hunt application sheet that clearly read “unsuccessful” on the quota hunt. The hunter stated he believed it was sufficient to hunt. Officer Christmas explained to the hunter that he did not get selected for the muzzleloader hunt and he was not allowed to be in the management area during the hunt. He was issued a citation for the level two violation.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
COLUMBIA COUNTY

Lieutenant Kiss and Officer McGrath participated in the annual Eastside Elementary Fall Festival. The officers brought their patrol trucks as well as a Yellowfin patrol vessel for display. The officers also answered any boating and resource related questions. Approximately 400 school-aged children and their parents were in attendance.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Kearney observed a car pull up to a gas pump. After watching the operator for some time, Officer Kearney approached the subject and smelled the odor of alcohol. An open container was visible inside the vehicle. The officer also had reason to believe the operator may have used drugs. After speaking with the operator and seeing several signs of impairment, the operator was placed under arrest for driving under the influence. The operator was also cited for failure to submit to lawful testing of blood, breathe or urine.

Officer Dubose issued a man a citation for reckless operation of a vessel earlier this year. The operator pled guilty to the lesser charge of careless operation and was sentenced to a $200.00 donation to the Wildlife Alert Fund and the $50.00 cost of prosecution.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

During the week Tiger Bay WMA is closed, between muzzle loading gun season and general gun season, two subjects signed in at the entrance kiosk. At the entrance kiosk where they signed in, the season dates are clearly posted. Lieutenant Baer and Officer Sapp contacted both subjects who were hunting deer in the WMA. Both were issued citations for hunting during the closed season.

Officers Ward and Haskins encountered two men hunting deer in Rima Ridge WMA during the closed season. One of the men had a general gun quota permit for the following weekend and was in possession of a Rima Ridge WMA brochure. Both the quota permit and the brochure clearly state the dates the WMA is open to hunting and the dates the quota permit is valid for. The men were issued citations for hunting the WMA during the closed season.

Officers responded to a complaint in Rima Ridge WMA of a man hunting during the closed season. The officers located a vehicle and called Officer North and his K-9 partner Max. Max tracked from the vehicle to the hunter who was armed with a rifle and a pistol. The man admitted to deer hunting. The area was baited with corn. The hunter said he saw the corn on his way in but did not put it there. In the back of the subject’s truck an open bag of corn was located. He was cited for hunting during closed season, hunting over bait in a WMA, and hunting deer without wearing blaze orange.

Lieutenant Baer encountered two subjects in the Lake George WMA with dried blood in the back of their truck. One of the subjects told Lieutenant Baer he killed a 4” spike buck several days earlier with a muzzleloader on private property. He was under the impression that since the deer met the definition of antlerless it was legal. Lieutenant Baer explained that, without a tag, antlerless deer are only legal during archery season. The hunter said he gave the deer to a friend in Lake County who had the meat and antlers. Officer Shaw went to interview the friend who told him that the story was a lie and that his friends had shot an illegal buck in the Lake George WMA that morning. Lieutenant Baer and Officer Sapp made contact a second time with the subjects who admitted, after Miranda warnings, that one of them had shot a short antlered buck that morning and taken it to a processor in Lake County. The hunter gave a written confession and turned over the antlers that he was still in possession of. The buck was a 3 point and the longest beam was 8”. He was charged with taking an illegal buck.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officer Winton was on ATV patrol at the Cecil Webb WMA when he observed a swamp buggy engaged in hunting activities. Officer Winton also noticed that one of the subjects onboard was not wearing blaze orange, a requirement when hunting deer on public lands. As Officer Winton attempted to catch up to the buggy and conduct a stop, the buggy began traveling around a flag pond with deep water, as if to avoid being stopped. Officer Winton eventually caught up to the buggy and discovered that one of the subjects had shot a deer that did not meet the antler requirements, and was therefore taken illegally. The subject was issued a notice to appear for the deer violation and a warning for the blaze orange violation.

Officer Winton was on patrol at the Cecil Webb WMA check station when he noticed a vehicle attempting to pass through with a deer in the back. Officer Winton conducted a stop at which time he noticed that the deer did not meet the antler requirements to be lawfully taken. The subject was issued a notice to appear for the violation.

While on land patrol at the Cecil Webb WMA, Officer Winton observed a vehicle towing a trailer with a swamp buggy. Underneath the swamp buggy he saw a deer behind one of the tires. Officer Winton conducted a stop on the vehicle, and a resource inspection revealed that the deer did not meet the antler requirements to be lawfully taken. The subject stated that he knew the antler regulations but had shot the deer before he was able to positively identify it. The subject was issued a notice to appear for the violation.

Officer Winton received information about a deer that was illegally taken at the Cecil Webb WMA, and had been left out in the woods. With the help of Officers Salem and Perry the deer was located, at which time it was determined that it did not meet the antler requirements to be lawfully taken. An investigation is ongoing, and charges will be filed with the State Attorney’s Office. Charges will include the illegal take of a deer, failure to check out game and willful/wanton waste of wildlife.

HERNANDO COUNTY

Officer Balfour and Lieutenant Parisoe were working the Croom WMA when they were approached by a passing motorist who had questions about hunting. During initial contact, Officer Balfour observed drug paraphernalia in plain view. The vehicle operator also showed signs of impairment. Field sobriety tasks were conducted, and the individual performed poorly. Officer Balfour arrested the individual for driving under the influence, possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis and possession of drug paraphernalia. The officer transported the individual to the county jail without incident, and the drugs and paraphernalia were seized as evidence.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on land patrol, Officer Messman observed an individual near a vehicle holding a bag with fish in it. Officer Messman approached the individual and initiated a fisheries inspection. Officer Messman found the individual to be in possession of an undersized 27-inch cobia. The minimum legal size for cobia is 33 inches in length measured to the fork. The individual was issued a citation for the violation.

While on patrol at the Courtney Campbell boat ramp, Officer Messman observed a personal watercraft (PWC) operating at a high rate of speed in a marked slow speed boating safety zone. The operator drove the PWC at a high rate of speed directly towards a second PWC with two people onboard. At the last possible moment before collision, the operator sharply turned his PWC and sprayed the PWC with the two people onboard with water. This maneuver was done in a slow speed boating safety zone while there was heavy vessel traffic near the boat ramp. Based on the operator’s disregard for the boating safety zone, aggressive maneuvers at a high rate of speed, and disregard for the safety of himself, the two people onboard the second PWC, and the other boat traffic in the area, the operator was cited for reckless operation of a PWC.

While on land patrol, Officer Caldwell observed an individual fishing under a bridge. He approached the individual and initiated a fisheries inspection. He found the individual to be in possession of two undersized black drum and three undersized mangrove snapper. The individual was issued a citation for the undersized black drum and a warning for the undersized mangrove snapper.

While on land patrol, Officer Lehman observed a truck parked in an area adjacent to a preserve. Suspecting illegal hunting, Officer Lehman waited in a concealed location for the occupants to return. After some time, he watched as two individuals dragged a hog back to the truck. Officer Lehman approached the occupants, and discovered that there was one other individual in the woods, as well as two rifles. The individuals admitted to hunting on the property and were cited accordingly.

While on patrol, Officer Pettifer located two individuals fishing under the North Skyway Fishing Pier and stopped to conduct a resource inspection. Upon contact, the individuals were in the process of placing fish into a bait bucket. A subsequent inspection of their catch revealed three undersized gag grouper, six undersized mangrove snapper, and two undersized sheepshead. Post Miranda, the individuals admitted to catching the fish and were cited accordingly.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officers Hinds and Miller were working land patrol around the South Skyway Rest Area. While on patrol, they noticed the occupants of a fishing vessel and PWC working together to spear fish around the base of the pier. While watching them, they noticed one of the men spear an undersized snook and hand it to the men in the vessel. The officers followed the vessel undetected back to the boat ramp they launched from and performed a fisheries inspection. After the inspection was complete, they found the men to be in possession of undersized sheepshead, mangrove snapper, and the snook they saw the man spear which was hidden in the bilge of the vessel. The man that speared the snook was cited for several criminal violations that will require him to appear in court. The other fishermen were given several infractions for licensing and dive flag violations.

PASCO COUNTY

Officer Balfour was on land patrol in the Richloam WMA, when he checked a group of hunters that harvested a hen turkey. During the inspection, Officer Balfour determined the turkey was harvested by an illegal method. Officer Balfour seized the turkey and hunting equipment as evidence, and issued the subject a citation for the violation.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While conducting resource inspections at the North Skyway Fishing Pier, Officer Caldwell found an individual to be in possession of seven spotted seatrout. After measuring the seatrout, it was discovered they were all under the legal-size limit of 15-inches. The individual was cited for possession of undersized spotted seatrout and issued a warning for possession of over the bag limit of seatrout which is four per person.

While on patrol at a local boat ramp, Officer Pettifer observed a commercial fishing vessel dock at the ramp. He approached the vessel and initiated a resource inspection. The fisherman stated he had a five-gallon bucket of stone crab claws. An inspection of the claws revealed 54 of them were under the legal-size limit of 2 ¾ inches. When asked what measuring device the individual used to measure the claws, he stated he did not have one onboard his vessel. The individual was cited for possession of undersized stone crab claws.

Officer Caldwell coordinated a marine sanitation device inspection detail to ensure anchored liveaboard vessels near the Dunedin area were properly disposing of their waste. Southwest Special Operations Group members were used for extra manpower alongside field officers. During the detail, 16 vessels were inspected, and three violations regarding improper working marine sanitation devices were cited.

RESCUES
PASCO COUNTY

Multiple officers assisted the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) with a single aircraft crash. The crash occurred in the New Port Richey area approximately a quarter of a mile offshore. The single aircraft occupant did not survive the crash. The investigation continues and will be completed by the NTSB.

SOUTH REGION A
COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
BROWARD COUNTY

Officers Matthews, Moore, Albert and two duty officers manned the booth at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show. They handed out brochures and answered questions from the public. An estimated 1,000 people visited the booth during the five-day event.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Albert, two duty officers and office staff attended the 3rd Annual Veterans Family Fishing Classic at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse. Regional Director Reinert and members from our fisheries section were also in attendance. Fifty-eight veterans and their families participated in the event. Everyone had an enjoyable experience.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Plussa was on overnight water patrol near Naples and Marco Island when he conducted a vessel stop for navigation lights and rules violations. An inspection revealed the subject was in possession of an undersized snook. Officer Plussa also noticed multiple safety equipment violations. The operator was issued citations accordingly.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

On Saturday, November 4, 2017, an officer observed two subjects that appeared to be fishing. However, something didn’t seem right and upon contacting them, it was suspected they were trapping migratory birds. The officer requested permission to search their vehicle. A bird holding cage typically used to keep the bait birds was discovered. Upon further investigation, a total of three bird traps were located. It was determined they were deployed in the area. A total of 2 indigo buntings, 1 blue grosbeak and 1 gray cat bird were located inside of the traps. The subjects were cited accordingly.

While on water patrol near Government cut, an officer conducted a marine fisheries inspection on a vessel. The subjects had been fishing in the area for several hours. Upon inspection, the officer identified several undersized mutton snapper. The captain of the vessel claimed responsibility for the undersized fish and was cited accordingly.

Two officers were on nighttime water patrol near Haulover Inlet when they observed a vessel that appeared to have been returning from a fishing trip. The officers conducted a vessel stop and once a fisheries inspection was completed, one subject was found to be in possession of undersized mutton snappers and yellowtail. That subject was issued appropriate citations.

MONROE COUNTY

Officers Powell and Mobley were called to assist Investigator Williams with a DUI matter at Bahia State Park in the middle keys. Upon arrival, Investigator Williams informed officers that he smelled a strong odor of cannabis coming from the vehicle. The officers separated the defendant from the vehicle and performed a search of the vehicle, as well as conducted field sobriety tasks on the driver. Officers found more than 300 miscellaneous pills that were incorrectly packaged and three cannabis cigarettes hidden in the vehicle. While searching, officers also uncovered a loaded firearm in the console of the vehicle. The defendant was arrested and booked into the county jail with four felonies and three misdemeanors.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Plussa, Yurewitch and Curbelo conducted focused speed enforcement of the night time panther zone on US-41 in Big Cypress National Preserve. Collectively, the officers stopped more than 25 drivers exceeding the 45-mile an hour night speed limit, with more than five violators driving between 70 and 84-miles per hour. Drivers were cited accordingly.

Officer Plussa conducted targeted enforcement for navigation light violations in Naples Bay. He stopped numerous vessels during the week-long detail, identifying many delinquencies of night time visual distress signals and functioning navigation lights. Officer Plussa issued numerous citations and warnings and provided education to violators, explaining the USCG navigation requirements.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Plussa responded to multiple calls involving black bears in homeowner’s garages, porches and driveways. At each encounter, he educated the property owners of common bear attractants and actions they can take to prevent bears being drawn to their property, reminding homeowners to “stash that trash, scare that bear.” In some instances, Officer Plussa had to utilize hazing techniques to encourage the bear to relocate.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
COLLIER COUNTY

The Naples Zoo held their annual Panther Fest on November 4, 2017. Lieutenant Bulger, as well as a panther and bear biologist, joined staff from National Park Service Conservancy of Southwest Florida and other local organizations to educate zoo guests about local wildlife.

MONROE COUNTY

Officers Dube and Steinmetz traveled to the city of Weston in Broward County as members of the Honor Guard Team. Officers joined other Honor Guard members from around the state to present colors at the National Accreditation Conference at a local resort. There were several committee members that approached the Honor Guard members afterwards and thanked them for their service. They also expressed how impressed they were with the team.

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  FWC Enforcement Report October 27-Nov 2. All Regions.
Posted by: bigefromlc - 11-06-2017, 05:37 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Wilkenson received information regarding three subjects possibly placing corn on Eglin Wildlife Management Area (WMA) before the opening of archery season. The subjects were identified and on opening day, Officer Wilkenson located one of the subjects walking out of the woods returning from hunting. The subject admitted that he and a friend had placed corn on the management area prior to the season starting. He was issued a citation for placing grains on the management area and a warning for attempting to hunt over an area where grains were placed. His friend was interviewed later by Officer Wilkenson and Investigator Hughes. He also admitted to placing corn on Eglin WMA. He was also charged with placing grains on a management area.

Officers Pifer and Rockwell were on land patrol conducting resource protection on the Eglin WMA. They observed two parked vehicles with both drivers exiting their vehicles. One of the drivers was in possession of a dog. The area where the hunters were located is designated as stalk hunting only. The hunter explained that he had shot a deer earlier in the day, but lost the blood trail. He asked a friend to bring a dog to try to locate the deer. Officer Pifer determined the area where the hunter shot the deer was closed by Eglin. The officers provided assistance in locating the deer. In the process, the officers observed a baited field next to the tree stand where the hunter shot the deer. A resource citation was issued to the hunter for hunting in a closed area and a warning for hunting over baited area.

WALTON COUNTY

Officer White observed a subject fishing from the shoreline in Choctawhatchee Bay. An inspection of a cooler revealed the subject was in possession of undersized gray snapper. The subject was cited for the violation.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Over the past week, Officer Jones answered a total of six nuisance bear complaints in residential neighborhoods. These complaints ranged from Midway in the Navarre/Gulf Breeze area to East Milton. All were directly related to human attractants being left unsecured creating a hazard to people, pets and bears. Officer Jones assisted the residents in the area on living in bear country through educational literature and documentation of noncompliance letters.

WALTON COUNTY

Officers Tison, White and Letcher completed investigations on five vessels that had been identified as derelict. All the derelict vessels were partially submerged in various locations in the Choctawhatchee Bay. Two of the owners were located and charged for failing to remove them from state waters. Lieutenant Hollinhead is working with the County Public Works Department on their removal from the Bay.

RESCUES
SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Ramos was notified in the early morning that three men were stranded on Yellow River WMA. The men were cold and thirsty after spending the night stuck in the woods with very limited cell phone service. Officer Ramos located the men, and with the assistance of Officers Rockwell and Tolbert, got their vehicle running so that the men could return home.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
TAYLOR COUNTY

Officers Colasanti and Yates were patrolling the area of Mandalay Road on the Lower Ecofina WMA when Officer Colasanti spotted a vehicle with four subjects inside pulling a boat. Upon conducting a consensual resource inspection, Officer Colasanti found the subjects to be in possession of 7 red drum with 3 over the legal bag limit. The owner of the vessel admitted fault to having over the bag limit. The subject was given a notice to appear. Three redfish were seized as evidence.

Officers Dasher and Albritton, while working airboat patrol near Rock Island, approached a subject to complete a resource inspection after observing him fishing for a while. Upon realizing it was law enforcement, the subject scrambled around in the vessel and attempted to toss a redfish overboard. Officers intervened and after a brief interview the subject admitted to being in possession of over the bag limit of red drum. Citations were issued.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ALACHUA COUNTY

Over the weekend, Lieutenant Ferguson worked the annual 25K and 50K Cross-Country Run in San Felasco State Park. Approximately 500 people showed up for the event and 300 participated in the run. All 300 participates finished within the allotted time.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
ALACHUA COUNTY

While on foot patrol at the Grove Park WMA Officer Stanley observed an individual hunting from a tree climber. Officer Stanley walked into the area early one morning and found a male hunting within thirty yards of an active bait site. Officer Stanley asked the hunter to climb down. After a short conversation, the man admitted to placing the bait. Officer Stanley issued the individual a citation for attempting to take wildlife over bait on a WMA.

CITRUS COUNTY

Officer Canfield conducted a JEA Patrol. Several recreational vessels were stopped with no violations observed. Officer Canfield then conducted a patrol along the shrimp and stone crab separation zones. Approximately 11 miles offshore of Hernando County, he observed several stone crab traps in a closed area and began a brief investigation. The next day, Officer Canfield located the owner and issued him a warning for the traps being in the closed area.

RESCUES
CITRUS COUNTY

Officers Canfield and Cheshire responded on the 2005 Fincat to assist local officers and the USCG with an overdue vessel out of Homosassa. The officers began a search pattern approximately 9 miles offshore. During the second leg of the search pattern, the officers overheard radio traffic on the radio possibly related to the overdue vessel. The officers proceeded to the location which was 25 miles west of Homosassa. Upon arrival, the officers located the overdue vessel at anchor and a Good Samaritan vessel. The officers learned both occupants were okay and the vessel suffered an engine problem the previous afternoon. It was also learned the occupants of the overdue vessel waited several hours after the break down before anchoring and there was not a functioning VHF radio onboard. The officers on the Fincat provided the occupants with water and remained on scene until Sea Tow arrived to assist.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

While on foot patrol on the Eau Gallie Causeway, Officer Balgo observed four individuals fishing from the relief bridge. While walking to the individuals, Officer Balgo announced his presence as an officer. It was at that time Officer Balgo observed one individual walking to his cooler. Officer Balgo again stated his presence and instructed the individual to step away from the cooler. The individual threw one fish from his cooler back into the water before stepping away from the cooler. Upon performing a fisheries inspection of the cooler, Officer Balgo observed one undersized spotted seatrout. The individual was cited accordingly.

MARION COUNTY

Officer Dias was heading home when he observed an individual selling saltwater products in a store parking lot. Officer Dias made contact and conducted a quality control and commercial license inspection. The individual selling the seafood could not produce the proper receipts or records for the product he was selling. A records check indicated the individual was given a warning in May 2017 for the same violation. Officer Dias issued the individual a notice to appear for failure to keep adequate records of saltwater products.

Officer Dias was on patrol in the Church Lake Unit of the Ocala WMA on opening weekend of muzzleloader gun season when he spotted a vehicle parked in an area known for trespassing complaints. Officer Dias ran the tag and discovered the registered owner didn’t have the proper licenses or a quota permit to hunt the area. Officer Dias setup surveillance on the vehicle, and after approximately an hour and 20 minutes, he observed two individuals exit the management area. He observed one individual carrying a scoped high-powered rifle instead of a muzzleloader. Officer Dias approached the subjects. The individual carrying the rifle admitted to hunting illegally. The individual was cited for attempting to take deer with a rifle during muzzleloader season. He also received two written warnings for no quota permit and no muzzleloader permit.

ORANGE COUNTY

Officer Mendelson obtained game camera pictures of two individuals that ran dogs and hog hunted inside the Tosohatchee WMA during the closed season. Officers Mendelson and Stelzer went to the individual’s residence and located the hog that was removed. After being interviewed, both subjects admitted to coming into the management area by airboat, running dogs during a period closed to hunting, and taking a live hog from the management area. Criminal charges were directly filed with the State Attorney’s Office accordingly.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

Lieutenant Lightsey and Officer Dubose participated in both the Vero Beach and Sebastian Community National Night Out. The officers brought a truck, boat and an alligator for display. The officers spoke to numerous families about FWC’s mission and living with alligators in their community.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officers McDonough and Demeter participated in the “First Responders Block Party” in Port Orange. They exhibited a truck and patrol boat, and handed out candy to local trick or treaters. The event had a great turnout and was a huge success.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
DESOTO COUNTY

Officer Kobs was dispatched to an address where a man was keeping two small alligators in an aquarium. After speaking with the subject about the alligators, the man agreed to turn over the two small alligators. The man was cited accordingly.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Officer Martinez received a call about a boating accident in the Port of Tampa where a vessel was found run aground on the seawall with no one onboard. Officer Martinez found out who the owner/operator of the vessel was and interviewed the subject. After initially lying and misleading Officer Martinez as to what happened and who was on board, Officer Martinez confronted him with evidence contradicting his story. Due to Officer Martinez’s diligent work, the subject was cited for failing to report a boating accident and warned for numerous navigation rule violations.

Officer Berg was on patrol in the pre-dawn hours. The officer encountered a subject throwing a cast net from a bridge in South Hillsborough County. Officer Berg concealed his truck and watched the subject from a distance. He watched the subject walking fish away from his location and placing them in the tall grass nearby. Officer Berg approached the subject and observed him throw two other fish off the bridge that he had not hidden in the tall grass yet. Officer Berg discovered the fish that the subject hid in the tall grass and identified them as undersized snook. The subject was charged with harvesting undersized snook and over the bag limit snook by illegal method.

LEE COUNTY

Officers Winton, Thompson and Stapleton investigated a hit-and-run boating accident that occurred in Cape Coral. During the investigation, the officers identified the vessel involved in the accident. When they went to interview the owner of the involved vessel, he was uncooperative and denied there being any accident. After their investigation, the owner/operator of the involved vessel was placed under arrest for leaving the scene of an accident and issued a boating citation for failure to maintain a proper lookout.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Dalton was on land patrol at the South Skyway Fishing Pier. While on patrol, he stopped and performed a resource inspection on a man fishing from the pier. During the inspection, Officer Dalton found that the man had caught and kept a 16-inch gag grouper. The subject was cited criminally for possession of undersized gag grouper and will have to appear in court for his violation.

PASCO COUNTY

While on land patrol in Pinellas County, Officer Phillippi received a call from Pasco County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) requesting help regarding a subject they were arresting and an alligator he was illegally possessing. Officer Phillippi made his way to the deputies in Pasco County and advised them of all the violations they had and took possession of the two-foot alligator. PCSO arrested the subject for their violations and for illegally possessing an alligator. The sheriff’s office was extremely appreciative of Officer Phillippi’s knowledge and help in removing the alligator.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Officer Bibeau received a call from dispatch advising a local produce stand was selling undersized fish. Officer Bibeau met with Lieutenant VanTrees, and together they conducted a retail dealer inspection of the produce stand. While conducting the inspection, the officers located numerous saltwater products for sale including red snapper, red grouper and spiny lobster tails. All the saltwater products met the minimum commercial size limits and the owner had a valid retail license; however, the owner did not have any records or receipts for the products that were for sale. Officer Bibeau wrote the individual a misdemeanor citation for failing to maintain adequate records for the sale of saltwater products.

While on land patrol at the Fort DeSoto boat ramp, Officer Martinez observed a vessel coming in from a day of fishing and initiated a resource inspection. After checking the occupants catch, Officer Martinez asked if there was any other fish onboard and inquired about another cooler he observed on the vessel. One of the subjects stated the cooler just contained his lunch, but after being given consent to search Officer Martinez found numerous fish fillets inside. The subject later admitted the fillets were red grouper and he was cited for reef fish not remaining in whole condition. The fillets were seized and are being sent off for testing to confirm the species of fish, at which time further charges could be forthcoming.

While on land patrol near Clearwater, Officer Bibler received a call for assistance from the United States Coast Guard (USCG) regarding a vessel operator who was possibly impaired. Officer Bibler helped the USCG with their investigation and advised them of all the elements needed for a boating under the influence (BUI) arrest. After the investigation, and based on their probable cause, Officer Bibler arrested the subject for BUI.

POLK COUNTY

FWC officers in Polk and Hardee County received information about two subjects hunting deer from the roadway. When officers arrived at one of the subjects’ houses, both subjects were in the middle of cleaning a male deer. One subject admitted to killing the deer with a rifle during muzzleloader season, while hunting from the roadway. The second subject admitted to killing a deer a week earlier with a rifle during muzzleloader season, while hunting from the roadway. Charges will be directly filed against both subjects for hunting out of season and hunting from a county maintained roadway.

RESCUES
HERNANDO COUNTY

Officers Jones and Sehl assisted personnel from the North Central Region with a search for overdue boaters. The boaters had left out of Homosassa the previous day, and had not returned. The officers searched the Hernando County waters with the hopes of finding the individuals. After several hours, the subjects were found in safe condition by the USCG.

PASCO COUNTY

Officer Pulaski was in Jefferson County on Interstate 10 when he observed smoke and debris in the roadway. He stopped to provide assistance and noticed a car that was on fire. Officer Pulaski quickly utilized his fire extinguisher to put out the fire. He then escorted the vehicle occupant a short distance away to ensure their safety. The incident was turned over to the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) to investigate.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Officers Berg and Messman assisted with an interagency career day held at the Suncoast Youth Conservation Center. The officers spoke to 50 high school students giving them insight on what officer’s encounter daily. The outreach also covered how each division works together to achieve the common goal of protecting Florida’s natural resources.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officer Holcomb responded to the Dania Pier due to a wildlife alert complaint on multiple subjects keeping undersize snapper. The complainant gave a good physical description of the subjects, as well as a description of the vehicle they were taking the fish. Officer Holcomb approached two very belligerent and intoxicated suspects fitting the complainant’s description. They went out to the subject’s car where Officer Holcomb found 3 undersize mutton snapper in a cooler. The subjects were blaming each other for catching the undersize fish, so they were both issued criminal citations as codefendants for possession of the undersize fish. The fish were also seized as evidence.

While on patrol in the Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park, Officer Holcomb conducted a marine fisheries inspection on a subject who had just pulled into the marina by boat. The subject stated that he had been offshore lobstering and spearing hogfish. Upon a fisheries inspection, the subject was found to be in possession of 6 speared hogfish. A new regulation for hogfish went into effect in August that states you can only possess one hogfish that is 16-inches or greater between May 1st to Oct 31st on the Atlantic side. The old regulation was 5 hogfish per person. The subject stated he knew about the new regulation but did not know that it went into effect. He was still in violation of the old regulation of only 5 hogfish per person. He was issued a criminal citation for over the bag limit of hogfish and the fish were seized as evidence.

While Officer Tarr was patrolling in the Stormwater Treatment Area (STA) 3/4 near the Harold Campbell boat ramp, he observed two people fishing in an area closed to fishing. As Officer Tarr approached, he observed that they were fishing right in front of two no fishing signs. After a fisheries inspection, Officer Tarr observed that one of the subjects was in possession of more than one bass that was larger than 16-inches. The subject was aware of the size limit but did not bring a tape measure. The subject was issued a criminal citation for possession of more than one bass 16-inches or greater and the fish were seized as evidence.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Hankinson, Morrow and Webb worked a boating accident along the ICW in North Palm Beach. A vessel ran aground on a local golf course. Charges are pending on the operator of the vessel who fled the scene.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Knutson and Johnson were on foot patrol at Tigertail Beach. They observed one man fishing with a cast net in an aluminum vessel and another man propelling with a push pole. There was a blue cooler and a white cooler onshore. Both subjects came to shore and dumped fish out of a trash bag from the vessel into the blue cooler on the beach. They were observed for approximately ten more minutes. The officers approached and asked to check the coolers. During inspection, they found one undersized snook, one undersized sheepshead and a total of 58 mullet (8 over the bag limit). There were no fishing poles in their possession at the time. The subject was cited accordingly.

Lieutenant Mahoney and Officer Plussa were advised of a vessel that was aground and taking on water near Wiggins Bay. Lieutenant Mahoney met with the owner and spoke with him about his obligation to remove the vessel. The owner stated he understood and would take care of the matter within a week. Over a month later, Officer Plussa assumed the case. He found the vessel aground and unattended. It had taken on water, was without means of propulsion, absent navigation lights, and delinquent on registration requirements. Officer Plussa attempted to speak with the owner but he did not cooperate. Officer Plussa advised the owner that he had to remove the vessel within 30 days or it would be deemed derelict and he could be physically arrested for the criminal violation and financially liable for costs of the removal of his vessel.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

USCG and FWC officials, through a joint detail involving the illegal charter/livery of vessels/PWC around the City of Miami/Miami Beach, were able to obtain the necessary information to terminate the voyage of a charter boat, “No Rules,” with state federal violations and create a Captain of the Port Order restricting the vessel “No Rules” from future usage.

Officers Despian and Moschiano were on state water patrol near Oleta River State Park. They observed a vessel speeding through a posted manatee zone. As they moved closer, they noticed numerous fishing rods displayed at the stern of the vessel. Upon inspection, the captain was found to be in possession of 1 red grouper, 1 mutton snapper, 2 black drum, 2 yellowtail snapper and 3 mangrove snapper. All species were undersized. The captain was cited accordingly.

MONROE COUNTY

Officers Alvarez and Rubenstein were assisting Key West Police Department (KWPD) during Fantasy Fest. After receiving information from KWPD on individuals in violation of exhibiting pythons in exchange for gratuities, the officers contacted an individual on Duval Street that was in possession of an Albino Reticulated Python and taking pictures with the public. The individual needed a Reptile of Concern Permit to possess the python and an Exhibition Permit to exhibit and accept gratuities for pictures. The subject didn’t have any permits and did not know the species of the snake. He was cited accordingly and the python was seized.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
COLLIER COUNNTY

Officers Oldsen, Araujo and Yurewitch were conducting panther zone speed enforcement on US-41. After a few stops, the officers encountered a driver and passenger with several open containers of alcohol in the vehicle. Both occupants were showing signs of impairment. The driver was asked to participate in standardized field sobriety tasks to which she consented. The completion of the tasks further strengthened the officer’s belief that the driver was under the influence of alcohol to the extent that her normal faculties were impaired. Officer Oldsen subsequently arrested the driver for DUI.

Officer Yurewitch was on land based water patrol when he observed multiple persons fishing the Marco River under the Jolley Bridge. Officer Yurewitch observed a fish on the ground near two individuals and he proceeded to conduct a fishing license inspection and resource check. The fish was found to be an undersized snook measuring 25.5 inches. During the same stop, Officer Yurewitch found and then arrested an individual that had an active extraditable felony warrant outside of Collier County. During his patrol, Officer Yurewitch also cited and warned other individuals for fishing license violations.

Lieutenant Shea and Officer Plussa responded to Collier-Seminole State Park to assist the park staff with a disruptive and unruly camper who was failing to follow campground rules. The subject’s campsite contained one large RV, three other vehicles, two tents, a large trailer, a golf cart and other recreational items. These items were encroaching on other campsites and there were numerous empty alcohol containers and trash strewn about. When park staff tried to explain the campground regulations to the subject, he became belligerent. Lieutenant Shea issued four warnings for state park rules violations. The following morning, Officer Plussa again responded to the same campground at the request of the park staff, due the subject’s failure to comply and causing a disturbance. Officer Plussa observed the subject pacing and yelling. Officer Thurkettle arrived to assist. As the officers spoke with him, they noticed the trash from the day before and that he was still in violation of numerous campground regulations. Officer Plussa asked him if he recalled the warnings from the day before. The subject provided them to the officer as well as the campground regulations provided by the park staff both days. Based on the subject’s blatant disregard, noncompliance, and escalating disruptive behavior, Officer Plussa trespassed the subject from the park for a period of one year and issued appropriate citations. Officers Thurkettle and Plussa escorted the subject out of the park advising him that if he returned, he would be arrested.

Officer Plussa was conducting land-based water patrol of Naples Bay when he observed a familiar unregistered and unnumbered orange ski boat make its way to dock at Bayview Boat Ramp. Officer Plussa recognized the operator as the owner, and one whom he had issued a previous warning for failing to display numbers. Officer Plussa and Knutson had also encountered the same subject and vessel a second time, issuing the operator a citation for not carrying the bill of sale within 30 days change of ownership. During both previous encounters, Officer Plussa explained the registration and title requirements in detail and directed the operator not to use the vessel on the waters while in violation. Officer Plussa obtained the operator’s identification and asked if he had registered the vessel yet. The subject began making excuses, stating that it was not his fault and that the manufacturer froze the title. Officer Plussa also observed the vessel’s trailer absent a tag. A records check indicated that the vessel had never been titled, and neither the vessel nor trailer had ever been registered. Appropriate citations were issued.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Amuso and Plussa responded to a report of a distressed alligator walking down US-41 in Naples. The caller indicated it was trapped by the concrete wall, unable to return to the canal on the other side. The caller was unable to wait for the officers because he was on his way to work. Officer Plussa arrived on scene and observed a white van stopped on the side of the roadway. A male subject was seen obtaining something from the rear cargo area and walking towards the alligator. Upon seeing Officer Plussa, the subject quickly returned to his van and attempted to leave. Officer Plussa stopped and questioned the subject regarding his actions and interest in the alligator. The subject stated he was “interested” in the alligator and was taking pictures; however, he could not explain why he had opened the rear of his van to do so. Officer Plussa educated him on the law. Officer Amuso arrived and assisted Officer Plussa in removing the alligator from the road shoulder and releasing it into the canal.

Lieutenant Mahoney and Officer Plussa responded to a report of a 12 to14-foot python observed at a lake in Naples. Upon arrival, officers determined the species was an alligator. They confirmed with the caller that they were observing the same animal she had, and she agreed. Officers provided her educational resources and material for species identification. The caller’s children became fascinated with their patrol trucks and Officer Plussa used the opportunity as a very positive way to interact with the family and communicate the FWC mission.

Officer Plussa responded to a call of a black bear inside a caller’s home. Upon arrival, Officer Plussa met and spoke with the caller whom was relieved that the bear had already left. She stated that her garage was open and her laundry room door was cracked to release warm air. She stated that when her dog began barking and growling at the laundry room interior door, she opened it and the bear attempted to enter the home. The caller stated she yelled and shut the door on the bear, scaring it out of the house. She provided photos of the incident to the officer. Officer Plussa provided her with education on the matter and referred the incident to the local bear biologist.

RESCUES
MONROE COUNTY

Officer Dube was on water patrol near Islamorada when he observed a small sea turtle struggling to swim. Officer Dube rescued the green sea turtle hatchling and brought it to the office in Windley Key. Officer Rafter transported the turtle hatchling to the Marathon Turtle Hospital for treatment.

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  FWC Enforcement Report October 20-26 All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 10-30-2017, 02:59 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Jarvis responded to a capsized vessel in the Destin East Pass. A Good Samaritan vessel removed 6 people from the waters. The Good Samaritan vessel delivered them to the United States Coast Guard Station. The investigation revealed that the boat was at the mouth of the Gulf of Mexico when the outboard motor died. After the motor died, large waves started hitting the boat, causing the boat to capsize. All occupants were ejected into the water but clung to the upside-down boat. The seas were rough, approximately 3 to 4 feet with 10 to 14 mph winds. No one was injured. The vessel was brought to shore and removed the following day.

Officer Jarvis responded to a complaint regarding a bear in the garbage on Fort Walton Beach off Emily Circle. This is a known area for nuisance bears. When the officer arrived, he observed a garbage can knocked over. Several household bags were scattered in the driveway and front yard. There were also several pieces of fence near the can that looked to have been broken by a bear. Officer Jarvis asked the homeowner if she has had trouble with bears in the past. She said that a bear did get into her trash about a month or two ago. Officer Jarvis provided the homeowner “A Guide to living in Bear Country” brochure and educated her on securing the trash. Also, the homeowner was given a set of brackets to mount to her trash can to help secure it. The homeowner was issued a non-compliance notification letter.

Officer Pifer was on land patrol conducting resource protection on Eglin Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in the Metts Unit. Officer Pifer observed two individuals hunting in a closed area. Officer Pifer approached both hunters. One hunter was issued a resource citation for hunting in a daily closed area, a warning for no archery permit, a warning for no Eglin sportsman permit and released pending a court date. The other hunter was issued a resource citation for hunting in a daily closed area.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Jernigan was patrolling in Blackwater WMA when he located a baited area. He returned to the area on the opening day of archery season and found a hunter hunting over the bait. He issued the man a notice to appear for hunting over bait in a WMA.

Officer Hutchinson was patrolling in Blackwater WMA when he observed a man parked near an area where a small food plot had been illegally planted. He located the hunter overlooking the small plot. The hunter admitted to planting the food plot and baiting that site as well as another site in Blackwater WMA. Officer Hutchinson issued the man a notice to appear for hunting over bait in a WMA.

Officer Hutchinson received information that a subject had caught an oversized redfish and kept it. He located the carcass and interviewed the suspect who admitted taking the 33” redfish. Officer Hutchinson issued the man a notice to appear for harvesting an oversized redfish.

LIBERTY COUNTY

While patrolling around midnight, Officer Nelson heard several shots and observed a vehicle pass his location in the Apalachicola National Forest. The vehicle quickly drove around a corner and onto a side road, stopped and turned off their lights attempting to hide. Officer Nelson observed the vehicle which then quickly sped off damaging the state lands road. He conducted a traffic stop for no tag, being parked in the middle of the road with no lights on and damage to state lands. During the traffic stop, he observed a freshly killed doe in the bed of the pickup as well as a .22 caliber rifle and spent shells. Officer Nelson interviewed the four occupants of the vehicle who admitted to shooting the deer with the .22 rifle in Liberty County prior to the opening of archery season. The occupants also admitted to shooting street signs as well as being in possession of marijuana. The appropriate action was taken regarding the violations.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Maltais taught the law portion of the Hunters Education to 32 Eglin Range Patrol personnel.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
BAKER COUNTY

Lieutenant Huff and Officer McDonald were working a bait site they found several weeks ago in the Osceola WMA. The officers continued to monitor the site as it was rebaited on several occasions. On opening day of black powder season, the officers found fresh tire marks driving towards the baited area. They tracked the hunter on foot to the bait site where they found the hunter to be hunting over the bait. The hunter was cited for placing bait on a WMA.

DUVAL COUNTY

Officer Christmas was on routine patrol when he spotted a subject fishing on Lem Turner over the Trout River. A resource inspection of his catch revealed three undersized red drum, two undersized mangrove snapper and one undersized spotted sea trout. The fish were seized and the subject was issued appropriate citations for the illegal fish.

NASSAU COUNTY

Officer Stuhr approached a subject in Four Creeks WMA during muzzle loader gun season. Officer Stuhr asked the subject for his licenses and permits. The subject handed Officer Stuhr a valid sportsman license and the muzzle loader quota permit. Officer Stuhr checked the subject through super query to confirm the quota permit was valid. The super query check did not show a Four Creeks WMA muzzle loading quota permit for the subject. After reading the subject his Miranda rights, Officer Stuhr and Officer Christmas interviewed the subject and he confessed to Officer Stuhr that he fabricated and created a counterfeit quota permit so he could appear legal to hunt. This would not have been caught if Officer Stuhr did not verify the quota permit through super query. The subject was arrested and booked under F.S. 379.354(16), make or possess forged or counterfeit license or permit (3rd degree felony).

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
CLAY COUNTY

While conducting a Captive Wildlife inspection at a wildlife facility, Investigator Doricchi found multiple violations of caging requirements such as no secondary entrance lockouts or safety entrance devices. The facility was given time to correct the violations; however, during a follow-up inspection there were still no secondary entrances or lockouts in place as required. A citation was issued for the violations.

LAKE/ORANGE COUNTIES

Officer Teal was on foot patrol in a private orange grove located on the border of Lake and Orange Counties. Shortly before dark, Officer Teal heard a vehicle creeping through the orange groves. He then heard a rifle shot from a small caliber rifle come from the direction of the truck, which was less than 50 yards from him. Officer Teal approached a male subject who was walking away from the truck. When questioned about the shot, he said that he had dropped off another subject with a rifle in the grove. Air support from the Lake and Orange County Sheriff’s Office responded, but could not locate the second subject. Several boxes of .22 magnum ammunition and loose rounds were found in the front seat of the vehicle. The male subject was arrested for felony charges of trespassing on cultivated land and transported to the Orange County Jail.

PUTNAM COUNTY

Officer Jones was on patrol in Lake George Wildlife Management Area (WMA) when he observed a subject operating a vehicle while consuming an alcoholic beverage. Officer Jones stopped the vehicle and found that the driver was also knowingly operating the vehicle with a suspended license. The driver was cited for both offenses.

Officer Wester responded to a construction site where gopher tortoise burrows were thought to be impacted. Upon his arrival, there was no one at the site, however, Officer Wester was able to locate two active tortoise burrows. A return trip to the site after construction activity commenced, found that burrows on the site had been covered up. The responsible party was charged with destroying gopher tortoise burrows without relocation or permit.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
OSCEOLA COUNTY

Wounded Warrior Outdoors (WWO) held its annual alligator/hog hunt. The event allowed veterans with various levels of challenges an opportunity to push their limits in an outdoor adventure. The warriors were permitted to take one alligator on Bull Creek/Triple N Ranch Wildlife Management Area (WMA) with a permit issued by FWC. The hog hunts took place on two separate ranches. This is the sixth year Lieutenant Hudson has assisted with this event.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
LEE COUNTY

Officer Winton was on patrol at Blind Pass when he noticed two individuals fishing from the shoreline. Officer Winton approached the subjects and asked them if they were keeping any fish, but they continued to change the subject. A resource inspection was conducted and it was determined that one of the individuals was in possession of an undersized snook. He was issued a notice to appear for the violation and educated about fisheries management.

Officer Winton was on patrol at Lover’s Key State Park when he noticed a vehicle driving erratically. Officer Winton conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle, at which time he noticed that the driver was exhibiting signs of impairment. A DUI investigation was conducted, and it was determined that the driver was operating a vehicle while her normal faculties were impaired. The driver was placed under arrest for DUI and booked into the Lee County Jail.

Officer Price was assisting the United States Coast Guard with a coordinated offshore operation. During their patrol, they stopped a vessel being fished from. Officer Price asked the captain if they had any fish and was told they had a red grouper. When Officer Price looked at the fish, he could tell it appeared to be undersized. The captain said he was sorry if the fish was a little short and that it had been a tough day of fishing. Officer Price asked the captain what he used to measure the fish and was shown a tournament ruler. The end of the tournament ruler was bent over so it would not measure fish accurately. Officer Price measured the fish and confirmed it was undersized. A misdemeanor citation was issued for the violation.

Officers responded to a boating accident at the railroad tracks along the Caloosahatchee River after a witness observed a boat crash into the rocks. When officers arrived, they found the boat resting on top of the rocks next to the railroad tracks. Miraculously, nobody was seriously injured in the accident and the vessel only sustained minor damage. The investigation is ongoing.

PASCO COUNTY

Multiple officers responded to the Hudson area to assist Pasco County Sheriff’s Office with manpower during an active shooter situation. FWC personnel were assigned to help with perimeter control and the safety of a neighboring school. After some very tense moments for all involved, the situation was controlled and normal activity resumed. The investigation is being handled by the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on land patrol, Officer Bibeau approached two individuals that were actively fishing from the shoreline. Upon making contact, one of the individuals told the officer that they didn’t have any fish. Officer Bibeau conducted a fisheries inspection and located two undersized mangrove snapper and an undersized gag grouper which were found underneath a cast net inside a five-gallon bucket. Officer Bibeau wrote a misdemeanor citation for possession of an undersized gag grouper and a warning for the other fisheries violation.

While on water patrol near Johns Pass, Officers Bibeau, Bibler and Martinez stopped a vessel to conduct a boating safety and fisheries inspection. While conducting the inspection, the officers observed signs of impairment from the operator. Officer Bibeau requested that the operator submit to field sobriety tasks, which he refused. Officer Bibeau arrested the operator for BUI and cited him for refusing to submit to a breath test.

Officer Bibeau was on land patrol when he observed an individual returning to his vehicle carrying fishing poles and dragging a cooler. Officer Bibeau approached the individual to conduct a fisheries inspection and was told by the individual that he didn’t have any fish. Officer Bibeau observed the tail of a fish inside a white bucket, which was in plain view. He conducted an inspection of the white bucket and at the conclusion located two undersized gag grouper. Officer Bibeau wrote the individual a misdemeanor citation for the fisheries violation.

While on land patrol near Gandy Beach, Officers Bibeau and Martinez approached two individuals, that were preparing to leave the area, to conduct a fisheries inspection. After the inspection, the officers located an undersized red drum. One of the individuals admitted to keeping the red drum and Officer Martinez issued a misdemeanor citation for the fisheries violation.

While on land patrol at the Gandy Bridge, Officers Bibeau and Martinez approached three individuals, who were actively fishing from the shoreline, to conduct a fisheries inspection. After the inspection, the officers located two undersized gag grouper, two undersized mangrove snapper and an undersized sheepshead. After reading the individuals their Miranda rights and finding out who caught which fish, Officer Bibeau wrote the individuals the proper misdemeanor citations and warnings for the fisheries violations.

RESCUES
PASCO COUNTY

Officer Angelis and Investigator Tsongranis responded to a call around Anclote Key Preserve State Park. The call was regarding two adults and one child that were stranded on the island due to inclement weather and their inability to operate their inflatable manual powered vessel. The officers safely retrieved them from the island and returned them to Hudson Beach. During the rescue, the officers learned the individuals had put their inflatable vessel in at Anclote Gulf Park and they were carried away by the wind and current several miles out to the island. Thankfully, all were accounted for and no injuries were reported.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
PINELLAS COUNTY

Lieutenant Wells, Investigators Prouty and Schefano, and Officers Smith, Boogaerts, Bergwerff, Pettifer, Dearborn, Wolf and LaRosa participated in Marine Quest in St. Petersburg. There were several tasks that the officers shared with members of FWC’s other divisions, USF’s Police Department and St. Petersburg Police Department. Overnight security was provided for three nights, security was performed during the event on Saturday. Tours of the 85-foot offshore patrol vessel Gulf Sentry were conducted, K-9 demonstrations were performed and numerous discussions with stakeholders and the public took place.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
GLADES COUNTY

Officer Brodbeck was conducting fishing license and resource inspections in Moore Haven when he encountered multiple subjects fishing from the shore of the Caloosahatchee River. Two individuals produced a valid fishing license, while a third subject was unable to do so. The subject was asked for identification, which she was also unable to produce. The subject continued to explain that she lived nearby and could return with a valid fishing license. Officer Brodbeck informed the subject that a name and date of birth would suffice for identification purposes, which the subject provided. When checked through the law enforcement database, the provided name came back with multiple warrants out of Hendry and Okeechobee Counties for theft, larceny, and failure to appear. The subject was placed under arrest and transported to the Glades County Jail.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

While conducting a fisheries inspection at the Nubbin Slough Structure, Officers Davis and Hausler observed an individual walking away from the structure carrying a bucket. Upon contacting the individual, he was found to be in possession of 3 black bass, two of which were over 16”. The subject was issued a citation for being in possession of more than one black bass over 16".

Officers Fijalkowski and Allen were on airboat patrol in the Starvation Slough when they saw an airboat parked in an area closed to airboats. In a wooded area near the airboat, two men were encountered as they entered a camp. The owner of the airboat received a citation for operating his boat beyond posted signs and a warning for not wearing hunter orange. The second subject receive a citation for not wearing hunter orange. Warnings were issued to the men for not having a camping permit from the South Florida Water Management District.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Officer Shermetaro was on land patrol in Fort Pierce late one night when he observed a vehicle at an intersection make a wide right turn, almost striking the raised concrete median. He then observed the vehicle abruptly swerve, recover and then proceed into a left turn lane where it then completed a U-turn. Officer Shermetaro followed close behind, observing the vehicle operator violate several more traffic rules. A traffic stop was initiated and contact with the operator revealed possible impairment. Field sobriety tasks were performed with poor results. The subject was placed under arrest, transported to jail and charged with driving under the influence (DUI). The vehicle was turned over to a family member for recovery.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Yurewitch, Oldsen and Araujo were observing night fishermen off US-41. The officers were focusing on finding snook violations during the open season. They encountered many legal fishermen late into the night with several slot snook harvested. One vehicle was stopped for a head light out after leaving a local bridge when officers arrived. The driver of the vehicle was found to be in possession of one over slot snook. The driver had previously been warned for fishing size limit violations. Officer Yurewitch cited the driver accordingly.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Smith responded to a report of a Kinkajou roaming a neighborhood. He located the animal and chemically immobilized it, allowing for its capture and was then able to transport it to a licensed facility. A follow-up investigation was unable to determine who the owner of the animal was or where it originated from.

Officers on land-based water patrol observed a subject fishing from a canal. During the fishery inspection, the defendant was in possession of three peacock bass and one largemouth bass. He was cited for having over the bag limit of peacock bass.

While on routine water patrol, officers stopped a vessel to conduct a resource and boating safety inspection. During the stop, they found 8 bags containing 12 wrung lobster tails in each, totaling to 96 wrung lobster tails. The defendant was cited for lobsters not in whole condition and over the bag limit.

MONROE COUNTY

Back on June 20, 2017, Officer Pestka was on water patrol and noticed a PWC that seemed suspicious in nature. After determining the PWC’s Florida and hull identification numbers were fraudulent, Officer Pestka and a Lieutenant of investigations seized the PWC to further investigate. With the assistance of investigations, the PWC’s identity was determined and the true owner was a Miami resident. The owner advised that his PWC had been stolen three years prior from a private lake in Dade County. Officer Pestka contacted the rightful owner and set up a meeting at the Miami Regional Office, in which the true owner, and his grandson, were elated to see their PWC that they never expected to get back. They also enjoyed the fact that the PWC had a brand-new coat of paint and an improved exhaust.

Officers Thompson and Martino were on patrol near Key West when they received a call from dispatch of a resource violation at White Street Pier. The call referenced an individual possibly harvesting queen conch. Officers arrived and saw an individual in the water who matched the description. Officers found the man in possession of 12 spiny lobster. Seven were wrung, spiny lobster tails. They measured the lobster and of the 12 spiny lobster, 10 were undersized and 4 were also speared. The man was arrested and transported to Stock Island Detention Facility by Key West Police Department.

Officers Alvarez and Rubenstein conducted a resource inspection near Duck Key. While approaching the fisherman, they noticed a very large rod not usually used for the fish in the area, as well as a large amount of guts and blood from what appeared to be a large fish. After approaching the individual, the fisherman stated he was out for sharks and had caught one. Officer Alvarez was given consent to check his large cooler which contained a prohibited species of shark. The individual was cited for the lemon shark and educated on how to identify varied species of sharks in the area.

Officers Alvarez and Rubenstein responded to a tip from dispatch of a possible undersize snook at Long Key being put in the trunk of a car. Officer Alvarez watched as an individual approached the car and popped open the trunk. Officers approached the subject who claimed to have put the snook and another fish inside the trunk of the car. The individuals father was nearby and claimed he caught the snook and didn’t know the size but wanted to keep it for dinner. The individual was cited for an undersized snook and educated on the size limit.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Barringer, Tidwell, Thurkettle, Johnson, Yaxley and Yurewitch participated in the 2017 Annual Naples Boat Show held for the first time on Marco Island. The officers explained and discussed information and distributed pamphlets regarding boating safety, federal and state fishing regulations, and living with bears and Florida panthers. The show was located at the very popular Rose Marina debuting the latest boats from major manufacturers. It was a great opportunity to interact with the many stakeholders.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Dube assisted Tallahassee and FWRI staff at the recent Goliath Grouper workshop in Naples. Officer Dube along with several local officers attended the workshop which had approximately 40 participants that were interested in the issues concerning FWC’s proposed rule changes.

Officer Dube and Investigator Daniels set up a booth over the weekend for the annual “Ladies Lets Go Fishing” seminar at Tavernier Elks Club. Officers passed out literature, regulations and giveaways. Officers also had a question and answer session and talked about the do’s and don’ts on the water and what to do and expect if stopped by Law Enforcement.

To help our commercial lobster fishing community recover from Hurricane Irma, Officers McKay and Tafoya contacted all fishermen who had their lobster traps wash up in Long Key State Park. The park service had piled the traps up not knowing who to contact. Officers ran each tag number and provided the registered owners with directions and contact information on how to enter the closed park to retrieve their traps. Many of the fishermen were hesitant in speaking with the officers fearing they may have been in violation of some regulation but were relieved to hear that the calls were to help the fishermen out. Our partnerships were solidified with the 20+ fishermen and with our partners in the state parks that McKay and Tafoya interacted with.

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  FWC Enforcement Report October 17-19. All region3
Posted by: bigefromlc - 10-23-2017, 03:58 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
BAY COUNTY

During a seafood dealer inspection at a fish house, Officers Basford and Wicker discovered that the freshwater fish dealer license was expired. The business had a striped bass and frog legs displayed for sale, both freshwater species. Also displayed for sale were a red grouper and a porgy that were not fit for consumption. Appropriate citations were issued to the owner.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Pifer was on patrol at the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier and made separate cases for over the bag limit of red drum, two undersized Spanish mackerel and an undersized pompano. Three subjects were issued notices to appear for the violations.

Officers Nichols and Jarvis responded to two different communities regarding complaints of bears getting in garbage. Both officers contacted the homeowners. Officer Nichols observed two garbage cans that were knocked over with the contents spread out on the lawn. Both cans were modified with latches to secure the lids, but the latches were not used. Three homeowners were educated about the importance of securing their garbage cans and were issued non-compliance notification letters.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Maltais presented the laws and ethics portion of the Hunter Education program on Saturday with 39 students in attendance. One student attended the course to meet the requirements for the Florida Concealed Carry Weapon Permit.


NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers Troiano and Reith were checking previously located bait sites in Grove Park Wildlife Management Area (WMA) on Monday around noontime when the officers split up to cover a wider area. While Officer Troiano was walking into one of the bait sites, he noticed an individual spreading corn from a backpack. From a concealed location, Officer Troiano watched the man empty the backpack in front of a tree stand. The man stated he knew it was wrong but he had not been seeing any deer so he decided to place bait in the area. The subject was escorted back to his vehicle and issued a citation for placing bait on a WMA.

BAKER COUNTY

Officer Burnsed received information about several deer being killed during the closed season. The deer had been shot at night with a rifle by several individuals. The officer immediately began gathering additional information on the subjects and performing surveillance. The subjects in question were interviewed by the officer about the deer. The subjects were untruthful about the deer killed, but after providing the subjects with proof of photographs and statements that they had killed numerous deer illegally, the subjects admitted to some of their illegal activities. The subjects will be charged with four counts of taking/possession of deer during the closed season, taking deer by illegal method and the taking of a short-antlered buck.

K-9 Officer Gill was working a complaint from Rayonier Timber Company about an individual who attempted to lease 500 acres from them as hunting property. A representative from the timber company advised the officer that the individual had given them four worthless checks in trying to lease the property. The company also advised that numerous people have been hunting the property without permission. The officer approached the hunters on the property who advised him that they had given money to an individual to hunt the property which they found in an ad through a website. It was determined that ten hunters responded to the ad, met with the same individual on the property in question and had paid anywhere from $800 to $2,000 dollars to hunt. All the hunters were interviewed and supplied written statements to the officer, along with proof of payment to the suspect for the lease. The suspect in question was interviewed by the officer about the illegal activity. The suspect admitted to writing one bad check and had spent most of the monies received from the hunters. After meeting with the state attorney and property owner, it was determined that the suspect had indeed run a scam to obtain money from unsuspecting hunters and had placed them on unauthorized property. Four counts of felony-issuing of fraudulent checks and one count of felony fraud-swindle will be filed through the State Attorney’s Office on the suspect.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Officers Johnston and Drew were on water patrol on the Santa Fe River when they conducted a vessel stop and found registration violations along with a safety gear violation. The officers asked the operator to pull to the side of the river and while preparing to issue warnings for the violations, the officers asked the vessel occupants about the presence of any illegal fish, narcotics or firearms that may be on the vessel. A passenger replied by stating he wanted to be honest and he produced a bag of cannabis from his person and turned it over to Officer Drew. Officer Drew thanked the subject for his honesty and informed him he was going to be temporarily detained for a search of his person for any additional illicit items. The subject responded by suddenly tossing a methamphetamine pipe into the Santa Fe River. He was placed under arrest and transported to the Columbia County Jail where he was booked for tampering with evidence, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis.

DIXIE COUNTY

Officers Butler and Sheffield were on water patrol when they observed a vessel in an area closed to the harvest of oysters. They approached the subjects to conduct a resource inspection. During the resource inspection, they discovered the subjects were in possession of oysters. The subjects were issued citations for harvesting oysters from a prohibited area.

Lieutenant Futch was working in a local WMA, focusing on illegal baiting, when he followed fresh footprints that eventually led to a tree stand and fresh corn. He approached the subject who admitted to placing the corn in the WMA. The subject was issued the appropriate citation for the violation.

Lieutenant Futch was on land patrol when he observed a vehicle leaving a local hunting club. He observed what appeared to be a deer in the back of the vehicle. He caught up with the vehicle and noticed the deer had a large wound consistent with being shot with a high-powered rifle. Lieutenant Futch followed the vehicle to a residence to conduct a resource inspection. Following the resource inspection, he discovered the deer had been shot with a high-powered rifle during archery season. The subject was subsequently issued a citation for taking deer by illegal method.

Lieutenant Futch was on land patrol when he observed a vehicle driving erratically. During a traffic stop, signs of impairment by the driver were observed. The driver was asked to submit to field sobriety tests. Following field sobriety tests, the driver was placed under arrest for driving under the influence (DUI). A subsequent breath test revealed that the driver was over twice the legal limit.

DUVAL COUNTY

While on water patrol, Officers Sweat and Christmas saw a man catch and land a large red drum fish while fishing from the George Crady Fishing Bridge. The subject put the fish in his cooler and continued fishing. After a few more minutes of fishing, the subject began to pack up his equipment and exited the bridge. Officer Christmas maneuvered his patrol vessel in rough conditions to a safe location and climbed onto the bridge to attempt to approach the fisherman as he was exiting the bridge. Upon contact, the fisherman was found to be in possession of an oversized red drum. A citation was issued for the violation and the fish was released back into the water alive.

GILCHRIST COUNTY

K-9 Officer Wiggins received information from a landowner who discovered a recently killed deer on his property. Officer Wiggins arrived on the scene and determined the deer had been shot with a shotgun. He contacted the suspect who eventually admitted to shooting the deer with a shotgun during archery season. Charges will be direct filed with the State Attorney’s Office for trespassing and taking deer by illegal method.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers have been busy with several ride-a-longs over the past few weeks. Several of the criminal justice students from the University of Florida have been scheduling rides that need to be completed before December.

DIXIE COUNTY

Lieutenant Futch assisted with the law portion of a hunter safety class held in Cross City. The topics ranged from lawful methods, WMAs, private property and other laws associated with hunting in Florida.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

While on foot patrol in Titusville, Officer Rasey checked a group of subjects fishing along the Indian River. While conducting a resource inspection, it was discovered that one individual caught a 12 ¼ inch snook. The subject received citations for possessing an undersized snook and for not having a snook permit. A regulation pamphlet was also issued to him for future reference.

While on land patrol, Officer Rasey located several subjects fishing in a hurricane-damaged area marked “no trespassing.” Upon approach, an individual began walking away with a five-gallon bucket. A resource inspection revealed four undersized gray snapper. While on scene, a second container was inspected revealing two more illegal gray snapper. After speaking with the group, two subjects claimed possession of the snapper and advised that it was their first-time fishing in this spot. Citations and warnings were issued for the undersized snapper, as well as trespassing and saltwater license violations.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Environmental Investigator Jabluszewski received a complaint that a subject was bringing commercial debris and trash onto his property and dumping it. It was believed he brought the debris to his property from various jobs he had been paid for and was planning to bury it. When Investigator Jabluszewski arrived at the property with inspectors, the property had been cleared and the owner advised he had the debris hauled away by a friend. Contact was made with the friend via telephone who denied hauling anything from the property except tree debris. A metal detector was used in the clearing and it was determined the debris had been buried. The subject confessed to burying the materials and was charged with operation of an illegal landfill without a permit. He will be working with the county to dig up and remove the debris to for legal disposal.

K-9 Officer North along with Officers Bellville, Malicoat and West conducted a foot patrol-K-9 track based on a complaint of a suspicious subject being dropped off to hunt in a local WMA. Officer North worked with K-9 Max to locate the subject. Upon contact it was discovered the subject was hunting while his license was suspended and had an active felony warrant. The subject had also harvested an 8-point buck. The subject was taken into custody for the offenses and transported to the county jail.

While on foot patrol, Officers Ward and Cameron located a deer stand baited with whole corn in the Lake Monroe WMA. No subject was present the day the site was located. The officers checked it again on the last day of archery season and observed a male hunter attempting to take wildlife over whole corn. Officer Cameron charged the subject with hunting over bait in the WMA.

While on vehicle patrol, Officer Edson observed a vehicle blow by a stopped school bus with children onboard. The bus was displaying flashing red lights and a stop sign. Officer Edson initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle and found that the driver had a suspended license and a felony warrant for the sale and delivery of cocaine out of Flagler County. The driver was arrested and booked into the county jail for the warrant and driving while license suspended with knowledge. He was also cited for failing to stop for a stopped school bus.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HARDEE COUNTY

Lieutenant Fugate and Officers Karr, Franks and Kobs responded to a possible hunting violation after shots were heard on private property. While investigating the possible violation, two subjects were found in possession of firearms while hunting hogs in an orange grove. It was found that the subjects did not have permission to be on the property. The firearms were seized pending further investigation and charges are pending.

HERNANDO COUNTY

Officers Canamero and Sehl were on land patrol in the Chassahowitzka WMA. Officer Canamero located a tree stand that had corn and apples in front of it. The officers returned to the area that evening. A male subject was located sitting in the tree stand actively hunting. Upon making contact, the subject stated he had laid down the corn and that he knew what he was doing was wrong. The subject was issued the appropriate citations.

Officer Canamero was on land patrol near an area of Weeki Wachee Springs State Park that is closed to public access. He located a subject that had just jumped over the fence. The subject gave inconsistent statements regarding his identity. Rapid ID was used to determine the subject’s identity. The subject had two active warrants out of Polk County. The subject was arrested on the two outstanding warrants and charged with providing false information to a law enforcement officer.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Hough arrested a Tampa subject for felony littering of waste tires, felony littering and for creating a nuisance injurious to health. Investigator Hough arrested the same subject in March 2017 for the same charges. The subject was transported to the county jail.

While on patrol in Tampa Bay, Officer Pettifer initiated a fisheries inspection. Two fishermen stated they caught a few small cobia. Officer Pettifer inspected and measured the fish. One of the cobia measured 19-inches in length. The legal minimum size for cobia is 33-inches in length. The subject responsible for catching the 19-inch cobia was cited accordingly.

While conducting foot patrol under a bridge near North Tampa, Officer Caldwell observed an individual fishing. A resource inspection revealed the subject to be in possession of a 19-inch snook. The legal minimum size limit for snook is 28 inches. The individual was cited accordingly.

While on patrol, Officer LaRosa observed an individual fishing under a bridge. A resource inspection revealed the fisherman to be in possession of two undersized gag grouper. The fisherman was cited accordingly.

LEE COUNTY

While on patrol, Officer Hardgrove encountered two subjects who were both actively fishing. He asked if they had caught any fish and one responded by saying that they were only catching catfish, pointing to a bucket containing the catfish. The bucket appeared to be filled to the top with catfish. However, when Officer Hardgrove inspected the contents, he discovered three undersized mangrove snapper, an undersized sheepshead and a black drum buried at the bottom. When asked why they hadn’t told him about the additional fish, neither subject would provide an answer. Both subjects were issued a notice to appear in court for the undersized fish.

While on patrol in Matlacha, Officer Hardgrove encountered two subjects actively fishing. An inspection of their cooler revealed three mangrove snapper and one redfish, all undersized. While checking the fish in the cooler, Officer Hardgrove noticed that the subjects had a Florida sportsman fishing ruler laying on top of their gear. Both subjects were issued notice to appear citations and were charged with possession of undersized redfish and possession of undersized mangrove snapper. The undersized redfish and mangrove snapper were seized as evidence. It should be noted that both subjects had prior contact with FWC for possession of undersized fish and had received several warnings.

While on marine fisheries patrol on Pine Island, Officer Winton saw a commercial net fishing boat returning to the boat ramp. Officer Winton measured the seine nets that were onboard, and determined that they were of legal size but were not properly marked. It was also determined that the subject did not have a type IV throwable device onboard, and that both the primary vessel and “kicker boat” did not have hull identification numbers as required by law. The subject was issued a notice to appear citation for two counts of operating a vessel without a hull identification number, and educational warnings for the other violations.

Officer Winton was on marine fisheries patrol at Blind Pass when he saw a group of individuals fishing from the bridge. He approached the group and asked one of the individuals if he had caught any fish. The subject stated that he had caught a redfish, and showed Officer Winton a redfish that was on the ground. The redfish was recognizable as being oversized, and measured 30-inches, well above the legal maximum size of 27-inches. The subject was written a notice to appear for the violation and was provided a copy of the fishing regulations.

While on marine fisheries patrol at Lover’s Key State Park, Officer Winton saw a vessel returning to the boat ramp. A fisheries inspection was conducted and revealed that one of the subjects was over the bag limit of redfish and possessed an oversized redfish. The oversized redfish measured out to 29-inches, above the legal maximum of 27-inches. The subject was written a notice to appear for the oversized redfish, and a warning for being over the bag limit. Another individual onboard was written a citation for failure to have a fishing license, and both were provided copies of the fishing regulations.

Officer Winton was on marine fisheries patrol in Matlacha when he noticed a group of three fishermen actively fishing from shore. An inspection of their cooler revealed 12 undersized mangrove snapper and 2 undersized sheepshead. One of the subjects was read Miranda rights, and stated that he had caught all the fish, meaning that he was also over the bag limit. The subject was issued a notice to appear for the undersized fish, and a warning for being over the bag limit. Another subject was issued a citation for failure to have a shoreline saltwater license.

Officer Winton was on water patrol in Pine Island Sound when he noticed a vessel operating without a current registration. During a vessel stop, the operator exhibited signs of impairment. Field sobriety tasks were conducted, and it was determined that the subject was operating a vessel while impaired. As the subject was being handcuffed, he became agitated and pulled away. After being handcuffed, the subject became verbally combative and continued to disobey commands. The subject was booked into the county jail with charges for BUI and resisting an officer without violence. He was also issued three boating citations and one warning.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Gonzales was working land patrol around the South Skyway Fishing Pier. While on patrol, he stopped and performed a fisheries inspection on an individual fishing from the pier. During the inspection, Officer Gonzales found that the subject had caught and kept one gag grouper that was undersized. The subject was cited for possession of undersized gag grouper.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on land patrol at the Gandy Bridge, Lieutenant Van Trees observed two males fishing and initiated a resource inspection. An undersized mangrove snapper was found and they were asked for fishing licenses and driver’s licenses. One male complied and gave over his identification, while the other refused. The second subject advised he wasn’t going to give him his identification, name or date of birth. The subject was handcuffed and eventually identified. Officers Phillippi, Wilkins and Godfrey arrived to assist shortly after. The subject also refused to sign any of his citations and was booked into the county jail on several charges.

While on water patrol, Officers Bibeau and Bibler observed numerous individuals that were actively fishing underneath a nearby bridge. Officer Bibler dropped Officer Bibeau off on land to conduct fisheries inspections. After the inspections, Officer Bibeau found two individuals that were in possession of 8 undersized mangrove snapper. Officer Bibeau recognized the couple from a previous inspection where he found them to be in possession of 41 undersized mangrove snapper. Officer Bibeau wrote the individuals a misdemeanor citation and a warning for the violations.

While on land patrol, Officer Bibeau approached two individuals that were actively fishing from the shoreline to conduct a fisheries inspection. The inspection revealed the subjects were in possession of an undersized trout and three red drum. One individual was issued a warning for possession of an undersized trout and the other individual a misdemeanor citation for being in possession of red drum over the daily bag limit.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officers have been providing guest speakers for the Ball Fishing School. Four officers have attended the fishing school for middle schoolers. These schools last the month of October and are scheduled at each of the four middle schools in Charlotte County.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Hazelwood, K-9 Officer Collazo and Investigator Ruggiero attended the Youth Empowerment Day event at Koreshan State Historic Site. The two officers and K-9 Roscoe talked to children at the event about what being an officer is all about. The children saw a patrol truck and patrol boat up close, and got to learn about our K-9 program.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
ST. LUCIE COUNTY

A defendant, who in 2015 operated a vessel towing a barge that subsequently sunk in the Ft. Pierce Inlet resulting in one death, surrendered himself to the St. Lucie County Jail on October 10, 2017. He was charged by Investigator Luher with violation of navigation rules in the boating accident. After the boating fatality, the subject left the area and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Officer Shermetaro conducted multiple stops involving resource inspections. One subject was found to be in possession of an undersized snook when he was observed fishing at a local bridge with a cast net. The subject stated that he caught the snook with his fishing pole and used the cast net to harvest bait. The subject was cited for the violation. On a separate incident, several other individuals were checked at a local bridge when they were observed actively fishing. While inspecting a nearby bucket, 3 undersize black drum were observed. One subject was cited for the violation. All other subjects were warned for not having a shoreline fishing license.

While on patrol, Officer Fretwell observed a subject walking towards a vehicle with a small cooler. An inspection of the cooler revealed an undersized snook. The subject received a citation for the violation. On a separate stop, Officer Fretwell inspected a subject that was fishing. While the subject was following licensing requirements, he was in violation of harvest requirements. He had an undersized snook and two redfish, one undersized. The other red fish was of legal size. The subject was cited for possession of undersize snook and redfish, as well as possession of over the bag limit of red fish. The subject was permitted to keep the legal sized red fish while the other two fish were seized as evidence.

Officer Shermetaro was on water patrol late one evening when he observed a vessel returning to a local boat ramp. A license inspection of the subjects on board revealed no violations; however, when a forward hatch was inspected for fish, several undersize snapper were discovered. The Captain of the vessel took responsibility and was issued a citation for the violation. The fish were photographed for evidence and were released back into the water alive.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Plussa and Knutson were conducting water patrol off Marco Island when they stopped a vessel that was violating a slow speed zone and conducted a safety inspection. They determined it was a rental vessel and that it was missing a sound signaling device and a properly serviceable fire extinguisher. After speaking with the operator about his rental experience, they determined that the rental facility did not properly give the operator pre-ride instructions on vessel controls nor did they review the safety equipment checklist. The officers proceeded to the rental facility for follow-up investigation. They determined the rental employee was not properly licensed to rent vessels, the livery did not possess the required insurance, and did not complete pre-ride instruction or inspection of the vessel’s safety gear prior to the rental. The employees were issued appropriate citations.

Officers Plussa and Knutson were conducting water patrol in state waters when they encountered a large cabin vessel displaying an expired registration decal. During the vessel inspection, a records check indicated the vessel’s title had been canceled and the registration had been expired for multiple years. The officers issued the owner two notice to appear citations for the violations.

Lieutenant Mahoney and Officers Plussa, Yurewitch, Knutson and Arbogast assisted the US Coast Guard, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and FEMA contractors in locating, raising, and removing dozens of vessels from waterways that were displaced due to Hurricane Irma. Officers are in the process of identifying and notifying vessel owners of their condition and the requirement to claim them within 30 days.

Officer Arbogast and Investigator Reid White received information from Officer Price (an officer in Lee County) who had received a call from a fisherman at Blind Pass. The caller provided the license plate number of a vehicle that departed with three male individuals who had caught and kept several undersized black drum and one oversized redfish. Officer Price forwarded the information to Collier County because the registered address of the vehicle was a Naples address. Officer Arbogast and Investigator White went to the address provided to possibly intercept the vehicle as they were coming home. Investigator White found the three male individuals in the rear of their apartment complex about to filet the fish. Measuring the fish revealed that there were five undersized black drum and one 39” redfish. Post Miranda, one individual took full responsibility and possession of the illegal sized fish and was issued a notice to appear.

Officer Arbogast was conducting vessel inspections from his marked patrol vehicle at a local boat ramp. The operator of a docking vessel exited the vessel and staggered to his vehicle. The subject drove his vehicle to the ramp and then backed his trailer into the water. The driver’s eyes were extremely bloodshot and glassy, his speech was consistently and extremely slurred, the odor of alcohol was emanating from his breath during conversation and there were many empty alcohol containers in the vessel. The operator consented to seated field sobriety tasks which he performed poorly. Officer Plussa arrived on scene to assist. Post SFSTs, Officer Arbogast placed the operator under arrest for BUI and DUI. Officer Plussa transported the operator to jail where he also administered implied consent. The operator refused to provide a breath sample and was charged accordingly.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Smith responded to a report of a Kinkajou roaming a neighborhood. He located the animal and chemically immobilized it, allowing for its capture, and transported the animal to a licensed facility. A follow up investigation was unable to determine who the owner of the animal was or where it originated from.

Officers from Miami-Dade, Monroe County and Collier County patrolled the waters of Miami-Dade during the Columbus Day weekend, focusing on boating safety and BUI violations. Officers stopped 457 vessels, checked 1276 users, issued 173 UBCs and 135 warnings, arrested 5 suspects for BUI and issued 13 misdemeanor citations.

Officers from Monroe County alongside with FWC Investigations in Miami-Dade successfully recovered a stolen PWC and returned it to the extremely grateful owners. Charges are pending for the individuals suspected of stealing the PWC.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Plussa was contacted by a concerned citizen about a possible gopher tortoise incident in Marco Island. Officer Arbogast was dispatched to the location to investigate possible destruction of their burrows. Officer Arbogast determined there were no violations. Officer Plussa was later contacted by a different citizen about the same incident. Officer Plussa and Arbogast spoke with biologists, City of Marco Island environmental specialists, and concerned citizens about the incident and the action taken.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Araujo and Yurewitch attended multiple Collier County Sheriff’s Office-sponsored Community Safety Events. They were joined by many different local and county law enforcement agencies to educate the public on positive community oriented policing. Among the attractions were Collier County’s newest swamp buggy. Children and parents learned about what it’s like to be an FWC officer. Officer Araujo and Yurewitch made many positive contacts with the public during these events.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Dube attended the 50/20 anniversary for 50 years as World Wide Sportsman and 20 years as Bass Pro Shops at their location in Islamorada. Officer Dube set up a booth to hand out literature, regulations and answer questions. Officer Dube was also able to get some leads on potential applicants as there were approximately 500 visitors that attended the event.

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  FWC Enforcement Report October 6-12. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 10-18-2017, 09:35 AM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Hutchinson was patrolling the Blackwater State Forest when he observed a couple of vehicles pulled over on the side of a forest road. He stopped to check on the subjects inside of the vehicles. While speaking with them, he could smell the strong odor of cannabis coming from the vehicles. After questioning the two drivers, he discovered cannabis inside both vehicles. Both men were issued notices to appear for possession of not more than 20 grams of cannabis.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
BAKER COUNTY

Officers Burnsed and Fenella were working baited sites in the Osceola WMA during the archery season, targeting an area that was baited with corn and had been recently hunted. Shortly after daylight, the officers saw a hunter who was attempting to take deer over the baited site. The hunter admitted to placing the bait and was cited for hunting over bait in a WMA.

CITRUS COUNTY

Captain Shuster observed a vehicle southbound on the northbound side of US 19 in Homosassa. During a vehicle stop, Captain Shuster noticed that the driver of the vehicle was exhibiting signs of impairment. Officer Suttles administered field sobriety tasks at the scene and the driver was placed under arrest for driving a motor vehicle while impaired. The driver submitted to a test of her breath which determined her breath alcohol to be .187. The subject was charged with DUI.

Officer VanNess was on his way to assist with an ongoing DUI stop in south Homosassa when he observed a vehicle stopped on US 19. As Officer VanNess passed by in the opposite direction, he noticed that the driver’s door was open and a woman was in the middle of the road. The traffic travelling in the same direction had to swerve to avoid striking the woman and her car. Officer VanNess approached the subject and determined that she was impaired by the consumption of alcohol. She was arrested and later submitted to a test of her breath which determined her alcohol level to be .180. The subject was charged accordingly.

Lieutenant Jones was on water patrol on the Withlacoochee River to follow-up on recent signs of subjects entering a closed hunting area. On approach to the area, he observed a small Jon boat pulled up the bank and hidden in some brush. Three subjects with bows were located as they made their way back to their boat. After claiming they did not know the area was closed, Lieutenant Jones pointed out that the sign next to their boat stated that the area was state property and closed to hunting. All three hunters were issued a citation to pay a $218.00 fine or to appear in court on the date provided.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Officer McDonald was patrolling Osceola National Forest when he observed fresh vehicle tire tracks on a closed road. The vehicle was located a brief time later. The operator of the vehicle was putting up a tree stand. The juvenile subject was issued a citation for driving on a closed road. After a consensual search of the vehicle, approximately 4 grams of cannabis was found in a mason jar in the center console. The subject was cited for possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis.

DUVAL COUNTY

Investigator Holleman was dispatched to a complaint of a subject dumping construction debris in a wooded area. Upon arrival, he located two suspects with a stuck four-wheel drive truck attached to a trailer. The subjects admitted to dumping the debris and voluntarily agreed to clean up their trash. The subjects were both cited for littering more than 15 lbs. and less than 500 lbs.

HAMILTON COUNTY

Officer Cline, along with Hamilton County Sheriff’s deputies, responded to a call about a suspicious vehicle parked in an agricultural field. Upon arrival, officers located a vehicle leaving the area and conducted a traffic stop. During the stop, one subject was found to be riding in the bed of the truck with a loaded rifle and the driver was in possession of a large flashlight. After questioning the individuals, post Miranda Warnings, they admitted to trespassing on several agricultural fields and attempting to take deer with a gun and light. The individuals also admitted that they had done this on several occasions. Both subjects were placed under arrest, transported to the Hamilton County Jail and booked on appropriate charges.

TAYLOR COUNTY

Officers Robson and Albritton were on land patrol in the early morning hours near Hagans Cove when they observed suspicious activity of two subjects who appeared to be digging. The subjects appeared to have arrived by air boat. The subjects fled on foot just as the officers were about to make contact. It was discovered that the two subjects had been recently caught by the same officers in another part of the county digging for artifacts on a documented historical site. Both subjects had felony warrants for their arrest and a brief manhunt was unsuccessful. At daylight, officer Robson, while still searching for the suspects, passed a female subject who attempted to flee in the get-away vehicle while trying to locate the male subject. The vehicle was stuck and the female was apprehended by the K-9 team after a short flight on foot. The female was booked into the Taylor County Jail. The male subject is still wanted.

Officers Dasher and Albritton received information from a landowner of possible trespassing. The landowner recognized a vehicle that had passed his home that was captured earlier on a trail camera on private land. The officers intercepted the vehicle and conducted a traffic stop. The occupants were identified on camera trespassing and committing theft of palmetto berries. One of the subjects had been previously arrested a few weeks earlier for the same violations. Charges are being filed with the State Attorney’s Office.

While on patrol at Clubhouse Boat Ramp, Officer Colasanti conducted a resource inspection of a Georgia vessel. Officer Colasanti located a cooler that contained four undersized spotted sea trout. The owner of the vessel claimed ownership and responsibility of the fish and was cited for the undersized spotted sea trout. The fish were seized as evidence.

Officers Dasher and Albritton were checking fishermen as they approached the Fenholloway River Boat Ramp when they found two subjects in possession of five undersized red drum and one undersized black drum. The fish were all less than 15 inches. Officer Dasher seized the fish as evidence and issued the subjects the appropriate criminal citations and four boating safety warnings.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
CITRUS COUNTY

Officer Suttles and Lieutenant Jones were conducting joint enforcement agreement (JEA) water patrol offshore Hernando County when they observed a 36’ Yellowfin at anchor with multiple persons fishing from the vessel. During a resource inspection, Officer Suttles found one undersized gag grouper and two American red snapper in the harvested catch. The subject was issued the appropriate citations and warnings.

Officer Suttles and Lieutenant Jones were on JEA patrol in an area offshore Citrus County when they observed a vessel at anchor with four persons onboard fishing. During a resource inspection, nine American red snapper were in a large cooler. The subjects were issued the appropriate citations.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
COLUMBIA COUNTY

Officers Johnston and McDonald were invited as guests at the Masonic Lodge in Lake City for its annual “Law Enforcement Appreciation Dinner.” The officers were among several members of other agencies, including local county and state agencies. A group photo was taken of the guests and submitted to the Lake City Reporter Newspaper where it was featured a few days later.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Officer Miller received a tip from an off-duty St. Johns County Deputy who advised that a subject at the Guana WMA had exceeded the daily bag limit of spotted seatrout. Officer Miller responded by land to the area of the Guana Dam and contacted the subject. He found the local man to be in possession of 11 spotted seatrout, all of which were oversized. Officer Miller issued the man misdemeanor citations for the bag and size violations.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officers Malicoat and West waited outside a closed county park in New Smyrna Beach at night waiting for subjects who had been fishing to exit the area. Three adult males exited and denied catching any fish when asked. Further inspection revealed one of the men was in possession of a snook and red drum. Both fish were under the required slot size limit. He was issued a notice to appear for the violations and issued a non-criminal citation for failing to have the proper license and permit.

Officer McKee investigated an anonymous complaint about the taking of deer by unlawful method. Two male subjects had taken a buck near Oak Hill with a shotgun. The subjects were tracked down by Officer McKee and provided sworn written statements about the violations. The subject responsible for the violation was charged with taking deer by unlawful method and taking an antlered deer with less than three points or 10-inch main.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officer Salem was on patrol late at night when he came across several people fishing at a creek. While conducting a fisheries inspection, he asked if anyone had caught any fish and the group told him they had caught some catfish. Officer Salem got permission to search the vehicle and located a small bucket. When he asked the owner of the vehicle if there was any fish inside, the owner said, “not that he was aware of.” Inside the bucket, Officer Salem found a snook that measured 19 ½ inches long. One of the other men later admitted to catching and keeping the snook. He was issued a misdemeanor citation for possessing an undersized snook.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on land patrol at the Courtney Campbell Bridge, Officers Godfrey and Wilkins conducted a resource inspection of two subjects fishing from land. One of the subjects said he had fish in his cooler that was next to him, but refused to let the officers inspect it. After explaining the law to the subject, and specifically the right to inspect, he agreed to let them inspect the cooler which had an 11-inch gag grouper inside. The subject had previously been cited in Monroe County for fisheries violations as well. The subject was cited for possession of undersized gag grouper.

Officer Wilkins and Lieutenant Van Trees were recovering a vessel at the Gandy Boat Ramp when Officer Wilkins noticed a subject with numerous mangrove snapper laying on the dock nearby. Officer Wilkins asked the subject if he knew how big mangrove snapper had to be. The subject replied “10-inches.” Upon further inspection, Officer Wilkins found seven undersized mangrove snapper, his entire bag limit. The subject was cited for possession of undersized mangrove snapper and over the daily bag limit of snapper.

While on land patrol near Orient Road, Officers Phillippi and Godfrey observed a subject fishing and trespassing on Swiftmud Property. The subject admitted to passing “No Trespassing” signs to fish in the unauthorized area. The subject was cited accordingly.

LEE COUNTY

Officers Bradshaw and Perry were patrolling the waters near Bokeelia when they spotted a flats boat with two men on board operating recklessly at high speeds in a slow speed zone. The officers stopped the boat and found the two men onboard to be highly intoxicated. After conducting field sobriety tests, the officers arrested the operator for boating under the influence.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Dalton was on land patrol around the South Skyway Rest Area and performed a fisheries inspection on a man fishing under one of the relief bridges. During the inspection, the subject was found to have caught and kept one undersized snook. The man was cited for possession of undersized snook and will have to appear in court for his violation.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on land patrol at the 4th Street Bridge, Officer Wilkins and Lieutenant Van Trees approached a large group under the bridge who were actively cast netting. Upon inspection of a nearby bucket, the officers found an undersized snook and several grossly undersized sheepshead. The group was read their Miranda Rights and after interviewing the subjects it was found that all the fish were caught with a cast net and who was responsible for what fish. Two of the men were cited for numerous charges to include possession of undersized snook, snook taken by illegal method, possession of undersized sheepshead and not having a snook permit.

Officer Bibeau was on land patrol at the Gandy Beach when he observed two subjects actively fishing. Officer Bibeau asked if the subjects had any fish and they told him no, but a catch bag was found floating in the water nearby with numerous fish inside. After a short line of questioning, one of the subjects admitted to catching and keeping an undersized redfish and seatrout that were inside the catch bag. The appropriate citations were issued.

Officers Bibler and Martinez were on water patrol near the Treasure Island ICW when they observed a subject violating the manatee zone. A vessel stop was initiated and, during their interaction with the operator, they noticed numerous signs of impairment. Officer Bibler conducted field sobriety tasks with the operator and determined he was impaired. The officers arrested the subject for boating under the influence, and he subsequently refused to give a breath sample. The operator was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on charges.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
LEE COUNTY

Officer Winton was deployed to Monroe County along with six other officers from the Southwest Region. The mission of the deployment was identifying and removing displaced vessels from Hurricane Irma. During the 11 days, the officers identified more than 150 displaced vessels and made efforts to contact their owners. The deployment represented FWC’s commitment to disaster relief, environmental protection and public safety.

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  FWC Enforcement Report September 29- October 5. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 10-11-2017, 05:03 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
BAY COUNTY

Officers Brady and Rice were conducting offshore patrols in federal waters near the Madison Swanson when they observed a vessel actively fishing in the closed area. The officers conducted an inspection of the vessel and issued the operator of the vessel a federal citation for the violation.

Officers Brady and Rice were conducting offshore patrols in federal waters when they conducted an inspection of a vessel that was actively fishing. During the inspection, the officers discovered the vessel was in possession of greater amberjack during closed season and in other than whole condition.

JACKSON COUNTY

Officers Alsobrooks and Hayes received information about a suspect who killed an eight-point buck in violation of deer depredation permit rules. The officers located the suspect and conducted an interview. The officers found that the deer had been killed and removed from the property without being tagged. The officers seized the deer and a bow. The suspect was charged with violation of deer depredation permit rules.

Officer Forehand was on water patrol on the Apalachicola River when he saw a small boat occupied by three subjects. He noticed there were no fishing poles on board the boat. As surveillance was being conducted, one of the occupants placed electrical wires into the water and it was determined the suspects were using an electric shocking device to take fish. The vessel was stopped and the shocking device was seized. The three suspects were cited with taking fish by an illegal method.

Officers Fletcher, Burkhead and Hayes responded to the Apalachicola River near the Jim Woodruff Dam about a complaint that three suspects were using a net to take freshwater fish. When the officers arrived, they saw the three suspects placing a seine net into their vehicle. The officers stopped the suspects and found they had taken 59 panfish, seven black bass and three striped bass. All three suspects were charged with taking freshwater game fish by an illegal method.

LEON COUNTY

While patrolling the Apalachicola National Forest several weeks prior to the opening of archery season, Officers Raker and Nelson observed a vehicle parked in a manner that suggested its owner was hunting nearby. After some time, the officers decided to try to locate the individual. The officers followed foot signs from the vehicle and then along a fire break and located a hunting stand, but no individuals. While searching the area, the officers located the individual's bow, a bloody arrow, and eventually the owner of the vehicle. The individual was dressed in camouflage clothing and when interviewed, he told the officers he shot a buck and was searching for the deer. The individual was also found to be in possession of marijuana. The individual was cited for hunting out of season and possession of marijuana.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Corbin and Pifer were conducting water patrol during the late night/early morning hours when they made the following cases. The officers stopped a vessel in the Destin Pass with one individual on board returning from a fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico. During a fisheries/license inspection, the individual was found to be in possession of 15 dolphin fish, five over the limit. Officer Corbin issued the individual a citation for the violation. The officers conducted a fisheries/license inspection of two individuals leaving the Destin east jetties and found one of the individuals to be in possession of an oversized redfish. Officer Pifer issued the individual a citation for the violation. The officers stopped a vessel in the Santa Rosa sound which did not have the required navigational lights displayed. During the stop, the officers learned the individual on board purchased the vessel three months prior and failed to transfer the title into his name. Officer Corbin issued the individual a citation for the violation.

Investigator Molnar and Officer Pifer were on routine land patrol when they observed two individuals fishing at a local park. During a fisheries/license inspection, it was determined that one of the individuals harvested an undersized redfish. Officer Pifer issued the individual a citation for the violation.

Officers Maltais and Nichols responded to several complaints of bears getting into garbage in the Casa Loma community. The officers contacted five homeowners whose garbage cans were targeted and knocked over with household garbage bags pulled out and torn, with contents spread out. The homeowners were given bear informational brochures explaining the importance of securing their garbage cans. The homeowners were issued non-compliance notification letters.

While on land patrol, Officer Trueblood received a tip called in to Wildlife Alert about individuals keeping undersized pompano. Upon arrival to the reported location, he observed several men, women and children fishing from the beach in Destin. After observing the individuals fish and place fish into a nearby cooler, the officer proceeded down to the beach and conducted a resource inspection. A number of unregulated fish were observed and five undersized pompano. Only one person within the group had a valid license. Officer Jarvis arrived on scene to assist. The officers addressed the undersized pompano and fishing license violations with the appropriate action. The illegal fish were documented as evidence.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Lewis was patrolling in Milton when he observed a truck being driven erratically. He turned around as it went out of sight behind him, but by the time he caught up to the vehicle, the driver had crashed into a tree and fled the scene on foot. After calling in the registration, he determined that the driver had an outstanding warrant. Several other officers arrived to assist as well as the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Department of Corrections and Florida Highway Patrol. FWC Pilot Tolbert assisted at the scene with a helicopter. After several hours, the suspect was spotted by a resident and was soon apprehended. He was arrested on outstanding warrants and additional charges will be filed by other agencies.

WAKULLA COUNTY

Officer Travis saw a subject on Facebook posting photos of taking deer by illegal method: using a rifle and suppressor. After three days of monitoring by officers, the subject returned to his residence with a car and immediately left with a truck and flatbed trailer. Officers followed the subject and later observed a deer in the trailer being pulled back to the subject’s residence. A traffic stop was made and through observations and interviews they proved the deer had been shot in the head with a firearm. The subject admitted to killing the deer with a .22 rifle and suppressor. The suppressor permit was in the name of the subject’s wife. Officer Travis issued a citation to the subject for taking deer by illegal method. Division of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has become involved regarding the suppressor permit.

WALTON COUNTY

While Investigator Molnar and Officer Pifer were checking fishermen at a park at Santa Rosa Beach, they approached a couple sitting inside their vehicle. The female was crying and acting erratically. Concerned for the female, the officers contacted the driver. The driver stated the vehicle belonged to him and gave consent for Investigator Molnar to search it. A baggie of methamphetamine and a syringe was found in the center console. Both subjects claimed ownership of the contraband. They were both arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. The female was additionally charged with resisting without violence.

Officer Jarvis and Lieutenant Clark responded to two different complaints of a bear in garbage in the Forest Lake community off Highway 30A. Contact was made with both homeowners. The community was recently canvassed providing informational brochures regarding securing food attractants, including garbage cans. Both homeowners were issued non-compliance notification letters.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING

Lieutenant Allen attended Tyndall Air Force Base “National Night Out.” There were approximately 400 people in attendance. During the event, he talked about black bear issues on base and hunting and fishing regulations.


NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
CLAY COUNTY

A captive wildlife investigator identified an individual who was in possession of a fox without the proper license. Additionally, the fox was housed in substandard caging and in poor sanitary conditions. The owner was cited and the fox was transferred to a properly licensed facility.

DUVAL COUNTY

Early Thursday morning, Officers Christmas and Sweat received calls about the illegal taking of a deer. When they arrived at the location, they located a shot seven-point buck. A spent .22 magnum shell was located at the edge of the highway. A tag number and a vehicle description were obtained from an employee of the property owner. Later that morning, Officers Christmas and Sweat, along with assistance from Jacksonville Sheriff’s officers, located the shooter hiding in his grandmother’s closet. Three other suspects were located and interviewed. One Marlin .22 magnum rifle, a magazine with two rounds and a flashlight were seized as evidence. All four suspects gave verbal and written statements admitting to the crime. Several charges are pending.

SUWANNEE COUNTY

Officer Mobley responded to a complaint of two shots being heard near a residence. Upon arriving at the location, fresh blood was discovered in the nearby planted pines and further information was received that there was a pickup truck in the vicinity when the shots were fired. Officer Mobley canvased the neighborhood and discovered a vehicle at a residence that met the description. After interviewing the owner of the pickup truck, it was determined that two occupants had shot a doe with a rifle and had processed it. Charges will be direct filed with the state attorney’s office for unlawful take of doe deer.

TAYLOR COUNTY

Officer Drew responded to a complaint of trespass on private property. Upon locating the empty vehicle, the officer could hear movement in the adjacent woods. Officer Drew located two subjects picking palmetto berries with a pair of hedge clippers and a bucket of berries. Both individuals were given a notice to appear for trespassing.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
LAFAYETTE COUNTY

Officer Davenport spoke to approximately 25 hunter safety attendees at the Mayo Public Library. The topics covered ranged from lawful methods, wildlife management areas, private property and other laws associated with hunting in the State of Florida.

SUWANNEE COUNTY

Officers Boone and Johnston attended a local community neighborhood watch program with the Sheriff of Suwannee County. During this program, both officers answered questions from the attendees, giving information to better prevent violations of fish and wildlife state laws from occurring in their neighborhood.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
LAKE COUNTY

Due to Hurricane Irma, a spillway in Lake County has had an influx of black bass. On separate occasions, Officers Scrambling and Morrow have checked the area for resource inspections. Both found multiple subjects in violation for over the bag limit, too many oversized bass and illegal method of take.

MARION COUNTY

Officer Dias was conducting surveillance on several subjects fishing from the bank at the Moss Bluff Lock and Dam and observed one subject catch and retain several fish. Officer Dias believed the subject might have exceeded the daily bag limit for black bass, so he contacted Officer Seiler who took over surveillance. After observing the subject catch and retain several fish, Officer Seiler made contact and conducted a fisheries inspection, which revealed 11 black bass, 3 of which were over 16”. The defendant was issued a misdemeanor citation for taking over the allowable daily bag limit of black bass, and issued a written warning for possessing more than one over 16" in length.

In the early morning hours, Officer Dias was on patrol around Forest Road 14 in the Ocala National Forest, when he observed a truck driving slowly with an LED light bar illuminating the woods. The truck continued to slowly move through the area to Lake Mary. Two subjects exited the truck and shined the shoreline of the lake. The two subjects started walking down a dim forest road shining lights in a manor capable of disclosing the presence of deer. One subject had a rifle slung over their shoulder. During the subsequent traffic stop on the truck, he found a scoped Savage Axis 30-06 loaded to capacity in the front seat, skinning knives in the back seat, and a spotlight and flashlight on the dash of the truck. A warrant check on the driver revealed an active warrant out of Lake County for failure to pay child support. The driver was also charged with felony driving while license suspended. Based on Officer Dias’ observations and material evidence, both subjects were charged with attempting to take deer at night with a gun and light. The driver was placed under arrest and transported to the Marion County Jail.

PUTNAM COUNTY

Officer Jones was patrolling at night when he observed a vehicle driving toward him flashing its lights and failing to stay in its lane. During a traffic stop on the vehicle, the officer smelled alcohol emitting from the driver. After administering field sobriety tasks, the driver was charged with driving under the influence (DUI) and transported to the Putnam County Jail.

Officers Jones and Bernard were on patrol when they heard Palatka Police Department Officers yelling “shots fired” over the radio. They responded to the scene and Officer Jones was the first to arrive at an officer involved shooting. Officer Jones helped maintain the scene until Officer Bernard and more backup arrived. They held a crime scene perimeter while the crime scene was processed.

SEMINOLE COUNTY

Lieutenant Tye and Investigator Douglas were working the statewide alligator hunt at CS Lee Park, when they watched as two subjects loaded a boat and placed an alligator on the tailgate of their truck. The alligator clearly did not have a CITES tag in the tail. A Seminole County Deputy pulled into the parking area and one of the subjects walked over and got the CITES tag but just kept it in his hand. Lieutenant Tye and Investigator Douglas watched as the subjects finished loading up and pushed the alligator back in the truck, closed the tailgate and stepped away without putting the tag on it. The officers approached the subjects and Lieutenant Tye asked where the CITES tag was. One of the subjects showed her the tag in his hand and told her he was just about to put it on the alligator. The alligator hunt permit holder was issued a notice to appear for not tagging his alligator immediately after harvesting it.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officer Edson was patrolling the Tiger Bay State Forest during the archery hunt when he conducted a resource inspection on a subject and discovered a crossbow in the subject’s vehicle. The subject admitted to using the crossbow and informed Officer Edson he had been hunting with it the entire morning. The subject was charged with hunting with a crossbow in a wildlife management area (WMA) during the established archery season.

Officer Edson was patrolling the fishing piers of New Smyrna Beach when he conducted a fisheries inspection on a subject fishing near the North Causeway. During the inspection, A bag containing a redfish and two mangrove snapper was discovered in the subject’s cooler. The subject informed Officer Edson those were the only fish in his possession. Further inspection of the cooler revealed a separate bag located under the ice. In the bag was another redfish. The subject was charged with over the bag limit of redfish and fishing while license expired.

Dispatch received a Wildlife Alert complaint about a suspicious vehicle parked at Mary Farms Road off State Road 40. Officers Edson and Sapp responded and located a beige truck parked in front of the gate on Mary Farms Road. The vehicle was warm to the touch and was unoccupied; however, there was a plastic bow case and hunting related items in plain view on the front seats. Two subjects were located down the road. Both subjects were carrying compound bows and were wearing full camouflage. Neither subject possessed a quota hunting permit. Each subject was issued a misdemeanor citation for failure to use designated entrance and each a citation for hunting in a quota-required area with no quota permit.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officer Norris responded to a Wildlife Alert at the El Jobean Fishing Pier. He found a man in possession of 17 mangrove snapper, all of which were undersized. The man was cited for bag limit and size limit violations.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Officers Pettifer and Godfrey were conducting boating safety and resource inspections in Tampa Bay. Upon spotting an anchored vessel with several people on board actively fishing, they stopped the vessel to conduct a resource inspection. The subjects made several statements that indicated they were possibly in possession of undersized fish. Upon inspecting their catch, the officers located two undersized cobia. The two subjects admitted to catching one cobia each. They were both issued citations for possession of cobia less than 33-inch fork length, along with multiple warnings for boating safety and license violations.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Hazelwood and Lieutenant Spoede were patrolling offshore when they stopped a recreational boat for a fisheries inspection. Initially, the two men on board stated that they did not catch anything. However, during the inspection Officer Hazelwood found an 8-inch red grouper that had been used for bait. Appropriate citations were issued.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officers Babauta, Davidson and Klobuchar were on land patrol in east Manatee County concentrating their efforts on illegal deer hunting activities. They witnessed a subject trespass on private property with two firearms in his possession. When the officers attempted to stop the subject, he tried to get rid of both firearms by hiding them in a field. During the inspection, the officers located both guns and discovered that the subject was also a convicted felon. Furthermore, the officers also found that the subject was in possession of drug paraphilia and methamphetamine. The subject was ultimately charged with three felony violations, four misdemeanor violations and several infractions. He was arrested and taken to Manatee County Jail. The firearms and drugs were taken and booked into evidence.

Officer Gonzales was on land patrol around the Bridge Street Pier on Anna Maria Island, witnessed a subject fishing from the pier and performed a fisheries inspection. During the inspection, the subject had caught and kept several undersized spotted seatrout. The subject was cited for possession of undersized spotted seatrout and must appear in court for his violation.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on land patrol in Tierra Verde, Officer Bibeau observed a wade fisherman that was actively fishing from the shore. During a subsequent resource inspection, the subject was found to be in possession of a 15-inch gag grouper. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of an undersized gag grouper.

While on foot patrol at the North Skyway Fishing Pier, Officer Bibeau approached an individual that was actively fishing to conduct a fisheries inspection. The subject was found to be in possession of a 9-inch gag grouper and was issued a misdemeanor citation for the fisheries violation.

While on foot patrol at Gandy Beach, Officer Martinez approached two subjects that were actively fishing from the shoreline to conduct a resource inspection. The first subject stated he had no fish, but Officer Martinez noticed a bucket next to the second subject. Upon further inspection, a grossly undersized gag grouper was found mixed in with other fish and beer cans. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation for his violations.

While on foot patrol at Gandy Beach, Officer Martinez approached a subject who was filleting fish, asked if he had any other fish and was directed to a pot with numerous fish inside. It was discovered the subject had his entire bag limit of mangrove snapper, all of which were undersized. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of undersized mangrove snapper.

Officer Bibler and Lieutenant Van Trees were on water patrol near Gulfport when they observed a vessel violate a slow speed zone and approached the vessel to conduct a stop. As the officers got closer, they observed numerous spear guns and other fishing gear. After addressing the speed zone violation, the officers found one subject to be in possession of a cobia that was well undersized. The subject was cited for the misdemeanor violation and later admitted he didn’t measure the fish because he feared it was too small.

Lieutenant Wells, Investigator Prouty and Officers Smith, Hughes, Alvis and Pettifer conducted a three-day patrol on the Offshore Patrol Vessel Gulf Sentry. The officers patrolled from Pensacola to St. Petersburg. They focused on shrimp boat inspections on the first day and issued a warning for an improper turtle excluder device (TED). On the second and third day, the officers inspected several commercial fishing vessels. The officers issued seven criminal violations to three different commercial fishing boats. Some of the violations included interfering with the duties of an officer (throwing filleted fish over the side as the officer approached the vessel), undersized snapper, using reef fish for bait and using shark for bait.

While on foot patrol at the Tierra Verde Bridge, Officer Bibeau approached an individual that was actively fishing from the shoreline to conduct a fisheries inspection. A 16-inch gag grouper and an undersized sheepshead were located inside a bait bucket. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation for the undersized gag grouper and a warning for the undersized sheepshead.

While on foot patrol at the Structure C Bridge, Officer Bibeau observed two individuals actively fishing from the seawall. The male subject placed small fish on a stringer. After a fisheries inspection, an 11-inch gag grouper and an undersized sheepshead were located on the stringer. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of an undersized gag grouper and a warning for the undersized sheepshead.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
LEE COUNTY

Captain Carpenter and Lieutenant Ruggiero attended a bald eagle webinar which was designed to educate stakeholders (conservation organizations, utility industry, consultants and government) on recent rule revisions, eagle program changes and the current permitting structure. The webinar also covered key actions in the draft species action plan. Stakeholders asked questions about state/federal coordination, the future of the nest database, species action plan development/finalization process and appropriate contacts for future inquiries.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Officer Payne was on land patrol in Fort Pierce near the area of the Belcher Canal spillway and observed two male subjects cast netting fish on the freshwater side of the spillway. Further observation determined that neither subject had a rod and reel and were fishing exclusively with the cast net. Officer Payne contacted the subjects and determined that several fish were illegally harvested with the cast net and were in a bucket nearby. Two largemouth bass and one black crappie, among other unregulated fish, were observed. Both subjects were cited for the violations.

Investigator Patterson booked a subject into the St Lucie County Jail on an outstanding warrant. The warrant had been issued because of investigations involving gill-net violations in St. Lucie and Indian River Counties. The charge for the arrest was: carriage of prescribed nets across Florida waters, a violation of Section 379.2423(2), Florida Statutes, a major net charge.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Lieutenant Rogerson attended the monthly Sheriff’s Office Citizens Observation Patrol (COP) meeting in Port Saint Lucie. He was invited to attend and provide information to the volunteers. Information was primarily related to their water patrol efforts on the North Fork of the Saint Lucie River. This waterway provides access to many private residences. COP patrols conducted are high in visibility and are meant to deter crimes from occurring. Other items discussed were methods and ways they could assist FWC with monitoring vessel traffic and violations they observe and forwarding that information for planning of future law enforcement patrols.

Officer Arnold attended the National Night-Out for Crime, held at the Port Saint Lucie Police Department. The theme for the event was “Giving Crime a Going Away Party.” It was well attended by the community. There were K-9 and SWAT demonstrations, fingerprinting and tours of the police department. Officer Arnold provided the public with information regarding wildlife laws and regulations, as well as boating safety regulations and common violations encountered.


SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Arbogast and Kleis were conducting local panther zone enforcement when they observed a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed (72 MPH) in a 45 MPH zone. The officers conducted a vehicle stop and noticed the odor of alcohol emanating from inside the vehicle. There were several alcoholic containers and one that had recently spilled onto the floorboard of the vehicle. Officers observed what seemed to be cannabis inside of a container used as paraphernalia in plain view, in a cup holder, in the center console. Field testing later confirmed that the substance was cannabis. A quick investigation showed that the operator had no signs of impairment. Officer Kleis found a wallet, containing the operator’s Identification card. Officer Arbogast explained to the operator that, “this is only an identification card, not a valid driver’s license.” The operator quickly responded, “yes, mine has been expired and I am working on it.” Further investigation revealed that his driver’s license has been expired for 17 months and pending suspension for failure to pay a traffic fine. Driver and motor vehicle information system, DAVID results showed the operator having 13 prior driving while license suspended or revoked (DWLSRs). The Officers placed the operator under arrest for knowingly driving with an expired driver’s license of more than 6 months, possession of cannabis under 20 grams, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The operator was also cited for having open alcoholic containers and unlawful speed.

Officer Arbogast was at a local weir inside the Picayune Strand State Forest when he observed one vehicle without the proper day-use tag displaying from the rear-view mirror. A cooler and fishing equipment were seen inside the vehicle through the windows. During the encounter, one of the subjects acknowledged that he had fish in the cooler. Officer Arbogast observed one deceased tarpon without the proper tarpon tag. The individual was cited accordingly and the tarpon was submitted into evidence.

Officers Arbogast and Kleis were heading to conduct traffic enforcement in one of Collier County’s panther zones, when they observed a motorcycle operating carelessly, and nearly causing multiple accidents. The officers stopped the motorcycle, and detected multiple signs of impairment from the operator including slurred speech, odor of alcohol, and a lack of balance. The operator consented to field sobriety tasks, which he performed poorly. The driver was subsequently arrested for DUI and refused a breath sample. The officers then conducted traffic enforcement in the panther zone, and stopped multiple vehicles. They issued numerous traffic violations, and educated drivers on the importance of panther zones. Their traffic enforcement efforts were cut short due to a call to respond to a Burmese python complaint. Upon arrival, the officers observed a python near the front door. The python, approximately 7 feet in length, was captured and removed.

Officer Araujo was watching multiple fisherman one morning from a concealed location at Doctors Pass jetty and observed three subjects snorkeling near the rocks with spear equipment in-hand. One subject swam to the shallows towards a kayak, attempting to keep his spear gun under the water line. The subject moved his head around from side to side as if he was looking to see who was watching him. He leaned over the kayak and quickly lifted a snook out of the water into the kayak. The subject put his whole arm all the way into the front cavity of the kayak, as if he was pushing the snook up there to hide it. He placed his spear gun, dive fins, and mask inside the kayak. Officer Araujo approached the three subjects and read them their Miranda Rights. Each subject admitted to spearfishing but claimed that they had not shot anything. The subject that put the snook in the kayak continued to lie about its existence. Officer Araujo inspected the kayak and retrieved one snook with a clear spear hole in its side. The subject eventually confessed to spearing the snook and was cited for illegal method of take. All three subjects were cited for spearfishing within 100-feet of a jetty less than 1,500-yards in length.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
MONROE COUNTY

Officer McKay and Lt. Robison responded to an Oceanside residence in Islamorada about a stranded dolphin in the seagrass shoreline. The dolphin was a lone pygmy sperm whale. Our officers kept the whale covered with wet towels and then assisted the Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Rescue staff remove the whale from the shoreline and load it onto a transport van. The whale was taken back to the group’s Key Largo property after it was sedated so it could be transported. Unfortunately, the whale died shortly afterwards. A necropsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MONROE COUNTY

Officer Dube along with PIC Parrish partnered with a news crew with the Florida Channel from Tallahassee on a segment on the displaced vessels due to Hurricane Irma. Officer Dube teamed up with members of the United States Coast Guard’s Strike Force team as they conducted surveys at several marinas in the Marathon area looking for sunken vessels that were leaking fuel or hazardous materials. Officer Dube later took the news crew to survey the Boot Key anchorage for displaced vessels and conducted an on-camera interview about FWC’s efforts before and after the hurricane in addition to the effects that the hurricane had on the environment, wildlife and commercial/recreational fishing in the Keys.

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  FWC Enforcement Report September 22-28. All Regions.
Posted by: bigefromlc - 10-05-2017, 09:59 AM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer McHenry received a complaint that an individual was operating a PWC in a reckless manner in a small canal off Pensacola Bay. Shortly after arriving, the PWC was observed being operated at night and violating the idle speed zone. After being addressed, the operator of the PWC turned toward Officer McHenry, got within 15 feet of the dock and then fled. At a nearby boat ramp, a trailer for two PWCs was located and one was missing. The operator who fled was the owner of the second PWC. Officer McHenry contacted the operator and was arrested for fleeing and transported to jail.

Lieutenant Hahr was patrolling in Perdido River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) when he observed a man and woman trying to smoke methamphetamine while the woman’s three children were present. Both subjects were charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia and accessing the management area after hours and were booked in the Escambia County Jail.

GULF COUNTY

Officer H. Webb observed a vessel at anchor on St Joe Bay with were four people on board. He noticed one was squatting down in front of the console cooler while the other three were standing around him looking down at him. As he greeted them, a large pile of whole bay scallops was seen dumped out in front of the cooler. The cooler was empty and dirty as though the scallops had just been dumped out of it. The captain said they were measuring their limit. He then asked Officer Webb if the bag limit was 3 gallons per person. Officer Webb corrected him with, “No, sir, it is two gallons per person per day.” After measuring their scallops, Officer Webb found they were in possession of 12 gallons of whole bay scallops – four gallons over their legal bag limit. The captain of the vessel was charged with over the daily bag limit of bay scallops.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Corbin was on land patrol conducting state fisheries and boating safety inspections at the Cinco Bayou Boat Ramp. At about 2:00 am, he observed a boat returning to the ramp with fishing gear present. The vessel’s registration was expired. The fisheries inspection revealed a grossly undersized red drum. The operator acknowledged he knew the red drum was undersized. In addressing the expired vessel registration, Officer Corbin determined the operator had purchased the boat but failed to transfer the title/registration within the required 30-days. The individual was cited and issued notice to appear citations for undersized red drum and failure to transfer title.

Officer Pifer was on land patrol conducting state fisheries inspections at the Alconese Fishing Pier in Ft. Walton Beach. He observed an individual actively engaged in fishing. The fisheries inspection revealed the individual was in possession of an egg bearing blue crab. The individual was issued a notice to appear citation.

Officer Corbin was on land patrol conducting state fisheries inspections at the Mariner Plaza in Cinco Bayou and observed individuals actively fishing from the seawall. The fisheries inspection of their cooler revealed two grossly undersized gray mangrove snapper. One individual was cited and issued a notice to appear citation.

Officer Corbin was on land patrol conducting state fisheries inspections at the Shalimar Bridge and observed several individuals actively fishing. One of the subjects had a cart with a white bucket which contained one mangrove snapper, one bluefish and one mullet. A fish tail underneath the bucket revealed an undersized red drum. The individual was issued a notice to appear citation.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Hutchinson and Investigator Milstead observed two men selling shrimp on the side of Highway 90. They conducted a license and resource inspection and discovered that neither subject had the proper license to sell saltwater products. Both men were issued notices to appear for selling saltwater products without a retail dealers license.

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Officers Gore, Forehand, Baber and Burkhead checked a dove shoot in the Orange Hill area. Approximately ten hunters were shooting over a plowed field that had been baited with corn, birdseed, and other grains. A search of the hunters’ areas and a bag limit check revealed birds hidden in the bushes near two of the hunters. The subjects were cited for taking migratory birds over bait and the subjects who were over the limit were cited for taking over the daily bag limit of doves.

SEARCH AND RESCUES
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Jarvis and Maltais were requested by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office in the search of a 14-year-old subject. The officers responded by water and searched the Destin Pass, Destin Bridge and jetty area for the subject. FWC Pilot Todd Tolbert along with Investigator Armstrong searched for the missing person from the air by helicopter. The Sheriff’s Office called off the search after several hours. The body of the subject was recovered near the West Jetty.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
ALACHUA COUNTY

Flooding of the Santa Fe River due to Hurricane Irma caused a wildlife facility on the river to request assistance in transferring a 600-pound black bear to another facility. Captive Wildlife Investigator Holmes had to chemically immobilized the bear and with the assistance of Captive Wildlife Investigator Bean, Officers Stanley, Troiano and Yate along with the facility personnel successful moved the bear to safe quarters.

Officer Troiano was waiting for a complainant to show up at a local hunt club in the Hawthorne area when he observed an occupied vehicle parked next to an open hunting club gate. Upon making contact, the individual tossed something on the floor board of the vehicle. Officer Troiano saw in plain view a small baggie containing marijuana. After identification of the person, a citation was issued for possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis.

Officer Stanley received information of a possible stolen boat left behind from previous renters in the Jonesville area. The owner was located and provided written statements on the time the vessel went missing. Officer Stanley also received a written statement from one of the renters which was the girlfriend of the suspect. After talking with the State Attorney’s Office, charges were filed for grand theft of the vessel.

While Officer Stanley was answering an alligator hunting complaint on Bivens Arm Lake at Paynes Prairie, he observed an individual through his binoculars smoking from what appeared to be a homemade pipe while he was fishing. During a slow approach through the trees, a strong odor of marijuana was evident. Citations were issued for no fresh water fishing license, possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis and possession of drug paraphernalia.

DIXIE COUNTY

Lieutenant Futch received information through dispatch about a dead alligator in a residential area. Once on scene, he observed a dead alligator in a canal directly behind a private residence. He discovered a shotgun shell on the canal bank a few feet away from the alligator. There were signs that the property owner stayed the weekend at the home. Lieutenant Futch went to meet with the homeowner and, following a brief interview, the homeowner admitted to shooting the alligator the day before with his shotgun. Charges will be directly filed with the State Attorney’s Office for unlawful take of alligator.

Lieutenant Futch was working night hunting in Dixie County when he observed a vehicle displaying lights capable of disclosing the presence of wildlife. After watching the subject for a while he conducted a vehicle stop. While making contact, the driver quickly exited and attempted to divert his attention away from the vehicle. Lieutenant Futch walked over to the driver’s side of the vehicle and observed a drug pipe in the seat. Backup from Dixie County Sheriff’s Office arrived and a subsequent search of the vehicle revealed the driver was in possession of methamphetamine. The subject was arrested and booked into the Dixie County Jail for possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

Lieutenant Futch was working in the Jena Wildlife Management Area, focusing on the illegal harvest of palmetto berries, when he observed a vehicle turning on the boundary line between the WMA and a local hunting club. He followed the vehicle on foot and eventually contacted the four subjects inside of the hunting club. One of the subjects did not provide any form of identification. A short time later, he discovered that the subject provided the name and social security number of his brother. Eventually, the subject admitted to using his brother’s name because he had an active warrant out for his arrest. The subject was arrested for the warrant and was also charged with trespassing and providing a false name to a law enforcement officer.

NASSAU COUNTY

While on state forest patrol in Cary State Forest, Officer Rorer contacted two individuals who were participating in the archery hunt. In the bed of the individuals’ truck, Officer Rorer noticed a harvested spotted fawn. Officer Rorer read both individuals their Miranda Rights. One of the individuals confessed to shooting the fawn. The individual was issued a notice to appear for illegally taking a spotted fawn.

TAYLOR COUNTY

Officer Albritton and Lieutenant Guy were working the Aucilla WMA when a vehicle was spotted parked in a remote hunting area. It had a partial bag of corn in the bed of the truck along with tree stands. The officers left the area and contacted K-9 officers Wiggins and Gill. The K-9 team performed an area search and quickly located three tree stands that had just been put up. One stand was freshly baited with corn along with a trail camera. Officer Albritton located a subject hunting in the stand two days later. A second subject was found in one of the nearby stands and admitted to placing the corn out and knew it was a violation. Both subjects were issued the appropriate citations and warnings.

Officers Robson, Albritton and Wilder received a photo from the social media website Snapchat showing a dead velvet spike with the caption “He’s Down.” Investigator Ayers and K-9 Officer Wiggins were requested to help with the case. After interviewing the female subject who posted the snapchat photo, it was determined that she was with two other male subjects who were riding around a few days earlier when they saw the spike and shot it. After interviewing the male subject and searching his property with consent, he was found to be in possession of 10 bags of fresh deer meat and a .270 caliber rifle in the truck. A further search led to the discovery of bear skulls in his barn. Charges were directly filed for taking deer at night with a gun and light, taking deer out of season and possession of bear parts.

RESCUES
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officer Mims received information from Officer Troiano of a man who was lost while hiking in San Felasco State Park. Officer Troiano described the location of the hiker and Officer Mims quickly located him. The man was a little dehydrated but was given water and declined to have EMS called. After observation during the ride back to his vehicle, Officer Mims determined the man was capable of driving home.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officer Troiano attended a “Touch a Truck” youth outreach event. There were several hundred children in attendance. Officer Troiano brought a boat and spoke to the children in attendance about the duties of a FWC officer and answered questions about the vessel on display.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
LAKE COUNTY

Officers Teal and Rice were on patrol together in the Ocala Wildlife Management Area (WMA) when they responded to a call referencing a red truck suspected of picking saw palmetto berries. The officers contacted three subjects. A subsequent investigation revealed they were in possession of berries on the WMA. They were unable to satisfactorily identify two of the individuals and they were later booked into the Lake County Jail. The other subject was issued a notice to appear for the violation.

Officer Shaw was on patrol in Seminole State Forest where he came across a subject illegally picking saw palmetto berries. The subject was cited appropriately.

Officer Scrambling was on patrol near Lake Griffin when he received information that a subject was keeping oversized and over the bag limit of black bass. Upon checking the area, he conducted a resource inspection of a subject, which revealed he had two oversized black bass. The subject was cited appropriately and the fish where returned unharmed to the resource.

Officer Weber was on patrol when he came across a subject fishing in a canal off Lake Griffin. A resource inspection revealed five black bass. Three of the five fish were over the size limit. The subject was cited appropriately and the oversized bass were returned to the resource.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officer Morrison received a call concerning a subject taking snook with a cast net on the Gasparilla Trestle. During surveillance, the fisherman was seen catching one snook in a cast net and storing his catch. A resource inspection located six undersized snook that had been caught in the cast net. The subject was issued a citation and several warnings for the violations.

Officer Salem responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle in Babcock Ranch. Upon locating the vehicle, he ran the out of state license plate which came back to a valid tag and was not listed as stolen. He knew something wasn’t right because the vehicle was loaded with personal items and the vehicle was unsecured. Officer Salem contacted the local Sheriff’s department to ask if they had received any reports of a possible stolen jeep. Officer Salem described the jeep which was, as it turned out, recently stolen. He coordinated a response with the Sheriff’s department for the recovery of the vehicle, and assisted with returning the vehicle to the owner.

DESOTO COUNTY

Investigators from the Captive Wildlife section responded to the Desoto County Educational Center to assist with the removal of three wolves. These wolves were potentially in danger of drowning in their enclosure due to rising water from Horse Creek that was flooding the property. The water in some areas of the property was as much as 6 feet deep. The wolves were removed from their enclosure using catch poles and tranquilizing drugs with the assistance of a veterinarian. While on the property, other animals were observed that were potentially in harm’s way. Also removed were a bobcat, 4 raccoons, one coyote, one iguana and a house cat. All animals were placed for safe keeping at other facilities. This effort was led by Captive Wildlife Investigator Gregory with assistance from Captive Wildlife Investigator Williams and Lieutenant Harrison.

HERNANDO COUNTY

Officer Little was on land patrol near the Annutteliga Hammock trailhead when he located a vehicle with equipment in it that led him to believe the occupant was hunting in the closed Wildlife Management Area (WMA). After a short surveillance, a male subject walked out of the woods carrying a compound bow and arrows, wearing camouflage clothing. During an interview, the subject admitted to hunting in the WMA. It was also found that the subject failed to have a WMA stamp, deer permit, and an archery permit. The subject also had an active warrant out of Hernando County. The subject was cited for hunting during a closed season, issued warnings for the license violations, and was booked into the Hernando County jail for the active warrant.

Officers Browning, Little and Canamero were conducting hunting resource inspections on private property for hunters harvesting dove. After contacting a group of hunters, several infractions and one misdemeanor for unplugged shotgun having more than three rounds were issued.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on water patrol, Officers Wilkins and Godfrey responded to a vessel accident in which a vessel hit a jet ski. The officers arrived on scene and, during their investigation, observed signs of impairment from the vessel operator. Officer Wilkins conducted seated field sobriety tasks with the subject and determined he was impaired. He arrested the subject for boating under the influence with property damage. Almost two hours after the accident occurred, the subject had a blood alcohol level of .15, nearly twice the legal limit.

While on water patrol in Tampa Bay, Officers Caldwell and Boogaerts observed a vessel occupied by one individual leaving a spoil island. The officers conducted a vessel stop and boating safety inspection. During the safety inspection, the officers observed fishing rods and coolers inside of the boat which led to a resource inspection. Initially, the resource inspection revealed five legal sized spotted seatrout located in a bag in the front cooler. The officers asked if there were any other fish on board the vessel besides the trout and the subject hesitantly stated that he had a 27-inch snook in the cooler. The snook was recovered from a plastic bag within the cooler and measured 25.5 inches. The subject was issued one misdemeanor resource citation for possession of undersized snook, and issued a warning for over the bag limit of spotted seatrout. The snook had been recently caught and the officers released it alive.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Winton conducted a commercial blue crab enforcement patrol in the Caloosahatchee River. During the patrol, multiple crab boats were checked for compliance, and several citations and warnings were issued. An investigation into blue crab trap theft was also opened.

While on patrol, Officer Hardgrove encountered two subjects putting their recreational fishing vessel onto their trailer. Officer Hardgrove asked if they had caught anything and one subject responded by saying, “a few ladyfish and a couple trout.” An inspection of the vessel revealed a cooler containing multiple fish fillets. Two appeared to be snook fillets, and under those were four fillets that were consistent with that of sheepshead, and two others that were consistent with that of snapper. The subjects admitted that there was one snook, one mangrove snapper and two sheepshead filleted. Officer Hardgrove then asked how big the snook was and one subject stated, “maybe 28-inches”. He asked both subjects where they had measured their fish and both stated that they did not have a measuring device onboard. The snook fillet was approximately 8-inches long. The subjects were issued citations for not landing the fish in whole condition.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Gonzales was on land patrol around E. 77th Street. During his patrol, he came across some fishermen fishing from a small relief bridge that crosses a portion of Terra Ceia Bay. While performing a resource inspection, one of the subjects tried to get into his vehicle and drive away. Officer Gonzales stopped the individual from driving off, and could immediately tell that the man was most likely impaired by alcohol. Field sobriety tasks were conducted on the individual to see if he was impaired. After conducting his investigation, the subject was placed under arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) and booked into the Manatee County jail.

While Lieutenant Hinds was on land patrol around the South Skyway Rest Area, he stopped and performed a fisheries inspection on a group of men loading up their vehicle after fishing around one of the relief bridges all day. During his inspection, he discovered that the men were in possession of 11 undersized gray (mangrove) snapper and one undersized sheepshead. One of the fishermen in the group claimed responsibility for all the undersized fish and was cited criminally for possession of undersized gray snapper. He was also given a warning for possession of undersized sheepshead. He must appear in court for his violation.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on land patrol near the North Skyway Fishing Pier, Officer Bibeau conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle with a faulty taillight. While addressing the traffic violation, Officer Bibeau observed fishing equipment inside the vehicle and was given permission from the driver to conduct a fisheries inspection. After the inspection, Officer Bibeau found the subject to be in possession of three undersized mangrove snapper and an undersized gag grouper. Officer Bibeau wrote the individual a misdemeanor citation and a warning for the fisheries violations.

While on land patrol at the North Skyway Relief Bridge, Officer Bibeau observed multiple individuals fishing from a bridge posted “No fishing.” On approach, he observed an individual attempting to conceal a plastic bag filled with fish. During a resource inspection, an undersized mangrove snapper and gag grouper were located. The individual that attempted to conceal the bag was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of an undersized gag grouper and warnings for the other violations.

While on land patrol near Dunedin, Officers Ferguson, Cocke, Guerin and Investigator Dallarosa responded to a single jet ski accident with injuries. After conducting a brief investigation with the operator, the officers noticed signs of impairment and asked the subject if he would be willing to perform seated field sobriety tasks. The subject became angry and aggressive and refused to do any tasks. Officer Ferguson attempted to arrest the subject for BUI, when the subject started fighting with the officers and Pinellas County deputies that were on scene. After a lengthy struggle, the subject was handcuffed and arrested for BUI, battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting with violence.

Officers Bibler and Martinez received a call about subjects keeping undersized black drum near Pass-a-Grille Pass Pier. The reporting party advised the subjects were catching the fish and then quickly moving them to an undisclosed location. After observing the subjects, the officers approached and eventually found a cooler with 14 undersized black drum inside. After being read his Miranda Rights, one of the subjects nearby admitted to catching and keeping the illegal fish and was cited accordingly.

SARASOTA COUNTY

Officer Brown was on land patrol around the Albee Road Bridge and stopped a vessel returning to the boat ramp at the bridge to perform a fisheries inspection. During the inspection, the captain of the vessel was found to have caught and kept one very undersized red grouper. The captain of the vessel was cited for possession of undersized red grouper and must appear in court for his violation.

Officers Hinds and Miller were working Resource Protection Service (RPS) in Sarasota Bay and observed three subjects fishing from the rock jetty at the Sarasota Sailing Squadron. Two of the subjects were in possession of five undersized mangrove snapper and the third subject was in possession of 13 mangrove snapper (4 of which were undersized). The subjects were issued citations for possession of undersized gag grouper and over the bag limit of mangrove snapper. Warnings were issued for over the bag limit of gag grouper and undersized mangrove snapper. The subjects were also issued trespass warnings for being on the property.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
LEE COUNTY

While performing speed enforcement in the local panther protection zones, Officer Furbay stopped several vehicles for speed related violations. The highest recorded speed was 83 miles per hour in the 45 miles per hour protection area. Later that same evening, Officer Furbay received a call about a bear in a neighborhood. He located the bear as it was roaming around the houses. Officer Furbay successfully used aversion techniques to discourage the bear from staying in the area and the bear left the area without incident.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officer Allen was on water patrol in the rim canal near Taylor Creek when he saw a commercial fishing boat come off plane in a no wake zone. When Officer Allen approached the vessel, a male subject quickly threw fish into the canal. After being detained, the subject still had 10 black crappie, 2 bass and 2 bream in his boat. He stated he had caught them with a cast net and did not have a chance to throw them back. He was issued a notice to appear citation for taking game fish by an illegal method.

Officers Davis and Dial were dispatched to assist the Seminole Police Department with a trespass complaint. The subjects had removed the staples from a fence, which allowed them to drive over the fence and enter the ranch. The subjects were detained on the property by the ranch foreman and turned over to the officers. While conducting warrant checks, one of the subjects was found to have an active warrant out of Okeechobee County. The two subjects were issued citations for trespassing. One of the subjects was also issued a citation for having an active warrant. Both subjects were placed under arrest and transported to the Glades County Jail.

While on land patrol, Officer Crosby observed a vehicle on the side of the road at the entrance to Starvation Slough. This is part of the public use area of the Kissimmee River and is managed by the South Florida Water Management District. Officer Crosby was aware that all public use areas associated with the Kissimmee River PUA are closed currently due to Hurricane Irma. Contact was made with the defendant who had jumped a closed gate and entered a closed area to hunt. He was issued two citations with mandatory court appearance. One for entering in a posted closed area, and the second for not using the correct designated entry or exit point of the public use area.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Yurewitch and Araujo were conducting land-based water patrol near Doctor’s Pass in Naples and observed four individuals fishing the rocks along the pass and keeping multiple fish without measuring them. The officers conducted a resource inspection on multiple groups fishing and discovered over the bag limit and undersized pompano and black drum. Those individuals were cited accordingly.

DADE COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Smith, along with Senior Nonnative Fish and Wildlife Technician Mercer with the Division of Habitat and Species Conservation, responded to the sighting of a large exotic lizard in an urban area. Upon arrival, they located a water monitor lizard in a culvert. They captured the lizard, which measured over four feet in length. A necropsy will be performed on the lizard to learn more about this exotic species.

Officers on two days of consecutive water patrol aboard one of Miami’s larger patrol vessels, conducted several inspections of subjects fishing offshore waters. Seven vessels with a total of eighteen people on board were checked for compliance with state fishery laws. Some subjects were cited for undersized kingfish (three), oversized barracudas (four), and undersized mutton (three) and yellowtail (one) snappers. A total of seven misdemeanor citations, three infractions and six written warnings were issued to the violators.

MONROE COUNTY

The region, along with out of town officers, are still assisting with Hurricane Irma recovery.

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  FWC Enforcement Report September 15-21 All Regions
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NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Corbin responded to a complaint of a civil disturbance at Rocky Bayou State Park. Information was received that an adult male and an adult female were having a heated argument with alcohol consumption. The complainant stated he was concerned that the argument could lead to a physical confrontation. Officer Corbin arrived and spoke with the Park Manager and proceeded to the campsite. An Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office deputy arrived on scene to assist. When the officers arrived, the two individuals involved had left the campsite by vehicle. Officer Corbin searched the park’s grounds and located the vehicle illegally parked with no one inside. The two individuals were eventually located near the boat ramp. The officers were unable to prove that a physical altercation ever occurred between the two individuals. Both individuals were issued a trespass warning.

Officer Nichols received information from Lieutenant Clark regarding a bear knocking over a garbage can in the Mary Esther community off Highway 98. Lieutenant Clark observed the homeowner’s garbage can knocked over in the middle of the road with household garbage spread around. Officer Nichols contacted the homeowner and he denied that a bear knocked over his unsecured garbage can. The homeowner was issued a non-compliance notification letter for failure to secure his garbage can. Further, the homeowner was provided a bear informational brochure and complimentary latches to secure his garbage can.

Officer Nichols responded to a complaint that an individual was over the bag limit of Spanish mackerel at the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier. The officer located the individual on the pier who was in the act of cutting the heads and tails off fish she harvested. A resource inspection revealed the individual harvested 28 Spanish mackerel, 13 fish over the bag limit, with 4 being undersized, and 1 undersized bluefish. The individual was issued a notice to appear citation for over the bag limit and undersized Spanish mackerel and a warning for undersized bluefish.

Officer Corbin observed three individuals leaving the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier carrying rods and reels and each pulling their coolers. The officer contacted the three individuals and got consent to inspect their coolers. They were in possession of undersized Spanish mackerel. They were issued notice to appear citations.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Hutchinson obtained information that a deer had been taken illegally by a subject in the Munson area. Officer Hutchinson and Lieutenant Hahr went to the suspect’s residence and located several suspects around their barn. While Officer Hutchinson interviewed suspects, Lieutenant Hahr obtained permission to look in the barn and located a cooler containing two freshly killed deer. One of the suspects admitted to killing a “nice 7-point buck” in velvet and another admitted to killing a spike. Since both deer were killed in Alabama, the officers and two suspects met with Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources officers at the state line. The two men were charged with possession of a freshly killed deer out of season in Florida and taking deer at night in Alabama. Two deer and two firearms were seized as evidence.

Officer Jones was responding to a complaint when he observed a vehicle driving erratically in Navarre. While following this vehicle, he observed the vehicle swerving and partially running off the road. Officer Jones contacted the driver, after the driver suddenly stopped on the roadside. After completing an interview and subsequent field sobriety tasks, Officer Jones suspected the driver to be impaired. The driver was placed under arrest for DUI and transported to the Santa Rosa County Jail. The subject provided a breath sample which was four times the legal limit.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Lieutenant Clark assisted Bear Biologist Green in presenting a bear PowerPoint presentation to a neighborhood organization concerning nuisance bears. The neighborhood/community has concerns with bear and human encounters. The PowerPoint centered on making homeowners and the community aware of the law and their responsibilities in securing food attractants (unsecured garbage cans) to prevent human and bear encounters.

WALTON COUNTY

Officers Corbin and Tison teamed up with bear management personnel to conduct bear canvassing efforts. The community/neighborhood targeted had a recent human/bear encounter. The effort was centered on making homeowners and the community aware of the law and their responsibilities in securing food attractants (unsecured garbage cans) in prevention of human and bear encounters.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
NASSAU COUNTY

Officers Sweat, Christmas, Culbreth and Waldo responded to a trespassing and theft complaint. When Officer Sweat arrived on scene, two hunters pointed out the location of two suspects lying in thick gall berry and palmetto bushes. The suspects were taken into custody and were in possession of buckets and bags used to harvest palmetto berries. Officers Christmas and Culbreth located five bags of berries hidden in different locations. The drop-off person arrived and admitted to dropping the men off earlier that morning. He stated that he uses small groups of workers to prevent being caught by the landowner and law enforcement. There were 560 pounds of berries recovered. The two violators on the property were booked in the Nassau County Jail on trespassing and theft charges. Other charges are pending.

Investigators Izsak, Holleman and Florida Department of Agriculture Checkpoint (FDAC) Investigator Sanders were conducting inspections on trucks transporting seafood into Florida at the FDAC Inspection Station. An inspection on a refrigerated truck transporting over 16,000 lbs. of rock shrimp from Georgia to Texas, revealed improper invoice information with regards to requirements for the transportation of seafood. A further investigation revealed that the driver’s Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) had been expired since 2012. The driver stated that he had not paid his child support which he suggested as a possible reason for his driver’s license being suspended. The investigators arrested the driver and booked him into the Nassau County Jail.

RESCUES
COLUMBIA COUNTY

Officers Johnston and Cline were working directed patrol in response to flooding caused by Hurricane Irma along the Santa Fe River when the officers were flagged down by a citizen stating there was a man lying motionless down a remote road. The officers responded and requested EMS. The officers located an elderly man who appeared to be deceased lying motionless on the ground along a remote dirt road. His vehicle was idling nearby with the door open. The officers made contact, discovered the subject was alive and began providing basic first aid. The officers stabilized the subject’s head and neck and provided him with water. The officers began asking the subject basic questions to keep him alert and talking. The subject stated he stopped to use the restroom, lost his balance and could not get back up. He could not reach his phone to call for help. EMS arrived shortly thereafter and transported the subject to Lake City Medical Center. The officers contacted the subject’s son who was grateful for their response and assistance.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

While on patrol, Officers Cybula and Dubose and Lieutenant Lightsey conducted a resource inspection of a vehicle leaving a local Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Their inspection revealed a dead alligator in the boat being towed. After checking the man’s permit it was discovered he had been hunting and was in possession of a freshly killed alligator outside his designated harvest period. A notice to appear was issued for the offense.

LAKE COUNTY

Officer Weber was travelling north-bound on 441, when he observed what appeared to be a stroller with a child left unattended on the side of the road. Upon making contact, Officer Weber observed a child in the front part of the stroller slumped over and an additional child laying in the back part of the stroller. There were no adults in the area. EMS was requested because the children were unresponsive and warm to the touch. A short time later, a woman came from an unknown location and stated the children were hers. Officer Weber advised the woman she could not just leave her children unattended. The children were taken to the hospital. This incident was turned over to Tavares Police Department and the Department of Children and Families for further investigation.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officers Bertolami and Demeter were monitoring the fishing activity from the Ponce Inlet jetties. The officers checked two adult fishermen who had left the jetty for compliance. They were found to be in possession of 12 illegal red drum and 2 illegal mutton snapper. Both were issued major violation criminal mandatory notices to appear.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

While on marine fisheries patrol, Officer Winton conducted a resource inspection on a commercial seine netting boat. During the inspection, three seine nets were inspected and measured. It was determined that, although the nets were within the maximum size limit (500 square feet), none of the nets were properly marked. Officer Winton conducted a check of the vessel’s captain through dispatch and it was determined that he had a long history of violations. Officer Winton issued the captain a notice to appear for violation of Florida Administrative Code pertaining to seine nets. Officers Hazelwood and Hardgrove also assisted with the investigation.

While on water patrol near the Boca Grande Causeway, Officers Goggin, Morrison, and Captain Carpenter stopped a boat to conduct a boating safety equipment inspection. During the stop, Officer Morrison observed the operator displaying signs of impairment. After conducting field sobriety tasks the operator was arrested for operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Officer Godfrey was patrolling the Courtney Campbell Causeway when he noticed two individuals fishing and approached to conduct a resource inspection. As he approached, he observed an orange bucket about 30-feet away from the men. After talking with the men, Officer Godfrey determined who the bucket belonged to and was told that there was fish in it. Upon inspection, Officer Godfrey found an undersized red drum measuring 13-inches. The appropriate subject was cited for possession of undersized red drum.

Officer Martinez and Officer Berg were on land patrol at the Domino Boat Ramp in Riverview when they approached a group standing by their vehicles at the boat ramp. As the officers approached, one of the subjects threw a small clear bag behind him attempting to get rid of whatever he had. The officers quickly recovered the bag which contained crack cocaine. The subject was read his rights and he admitted to the substance being crack cocaine. The subject was arrested and booked into the Hillsborough County Jail on felony drug charges.

Lieutenant Trees was at the Courtney Campbell Boat Ramp stopping numerous PWCs due to the fact they were out past the legal time. The area is well known for PWC operators operating carelessly and at night. After citing numerous operators, Lieutenant Trees determined one of the operators appeared to be under the influence. Officers Godfrey and Baker arrived to assist and Lieutenant Trees conducted field sobriety exercises with the subject. It was determined the man was impaired and he was arrested for boating under the influence. The man refused to give a sample of his breath and was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail for his violations.

PASCO COUNTY

Officer Pulaski was conducting boating safety and fishery inspections on the Gulf of Mexico near Hudson Beach. He observed a vessel that was being operated in a careless manner with a PWC near. Officer Pulaski conducted a vessel stop to address the violation. During the inspection, indicators of impairment were observed. The subject performed poorly on the standard field sobriety tests, and was subsequently arrested for boating under the influence. After being taken into custody, the individual provided a sample of his breath which measured .107 and .106. He was booked into the Pasco County Jail without further incident.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on land patrol near the Skyway Bridge, Officer Bibeau observed two individuals that were wading in the water attempting to catch blue crab with a net. Officer Bibeau contacted the individuals to conduct a fisheries inspection, and at the conclusion found one of the subjects to be in possession of a 9-inch gag grouper and a 5-inch sheepshead. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation and warning for the fisheries violations.

While on land patrol at the Fort Desoto Bridge, Officer Bibeau contacted two individuals to conduct a fisheries inspection. During the inspection, a 15-inch gag grouper was located. One of the suspects took ownership of the grouper. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of an undersized gag grouper.

Officer Martinez was just starting his day of water patrol when he noticed a vessel violating a speed zone near the War Veterans Memorial. Officer Martinez stopped the vessel and noticed signs of impairment from the operator who stated he was returning from a night of fishing. Officer Bibler arrived to assist and, after completing field sobriety exercises, Officer Martinez arrested the subject for boating under the influence and refusal to give a sample of his breath.

Officers Bibler, Bibeau and Wilkins were on water patrol near Indian Key when they observed a vessel violating a slow speed zone and conducted a stop. During the stop, the occupants were acting nervous. When the subjects were asked if they had any fish on board, the men conceded they did. Three undersized red grouper (all under 15-inches), an undersized and out of season red snapper and one shark not in whole condition were located. The men were read their Miranda Rights and two of the subjects admitted to their respective violations. The two subjects were cited accordingly for all the violations.

Officer Martinez was on road patrol when he observed a vehicle failing to maintain its lane numerous times and initiated a traffic stop. Upon speaking with the operator, numerous signs of impairment were observed and field sobriety exercises were conducted. It was determined the subject was impaired and placed under arrest for driving under the influence. Officers Bibeau, Ferguson and Phillippi arrived to assist and searches of the subject and his vehicle revealed drug paraphernalia and cocaine. The subject refused to give a sample of his breath and was charged for the refusal, driving under the influence, possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Officers Baker, Godfrey and Lieutenant Trees were on water patrol near the Gandy Bridge when they observed numerous subjects fishing under the bridge. Officer Baker dropped off Officer Godfrey and Lieutenant Trees on the seawall to complete a resource inspection. As they approached, Lieutenant Trees observed half of the group actively frying fish while the other half continued to fish. The first group had an undersized mangrove snapper they were about to fry, and the other group had multiple undersized sheepshead and a spotted sea trout that was not in whole condition. It was determined that the two groups were together, and the subject preparing all the fish was also the person responsible for the mangrove snapper, sheepshead and spotted sea trout. Officers Phillippi and Ferguson arrived by land to help issue the appropriate citations and warnings.

POLK COUNTY

Officer Carter was on water patrol in Winter Haven Chain of Lakes when he observed a vessel violating the no wake restriction in a canal. When the vessel was stopped, the operator and passenger switched seats. While addressing the no wake violation, operator showed signs of impairment. After conducting field sobriety tests, the operator was placed under arrest. The subject was transported to the Polk County Jail without incident.

SARASOTA COUNTY

Officer Hinds was on land patrol around Pansy Bayou and performed a resource inspection on an individual fishing from the relief bridge at Pansy Bayou Cut. During the course of his inspection, he found that the subject had caught and kept one 12-inch gag grouper and two undersized mangrove snapper. The subject was cited for possession of undersized gag grouper and given a warning for possession of undersized mangrove snapper. He must appear in court for his violation.

RESCUES
DESOTO COUNTY

Officers DeWeese and Earls responded to a call of an elderly female who fell out of a canoe in a flooded neighborhood near the Peace River. Officer DeWeese launched his powered canoe and both officers began searching for the distressed person. When they located the elderly person, she was not wearing a life jacket and could barely keep her head above water. Officer DeWeese maneuvered his canoe against the swift moving current to get close to the individual in the water. Officer Earls placed the elderly person into the boat and took her to safety where she was treated by emergency personnel.

Officer Adams and Franks responded to a call in a flooded neighborhood near the Peace River. Once on scene, the officers learned that an individual’s canoe had overturned while he was trying to paddle to his residence. Officers Adams and Franks launched their powered canoe and began searching for the individual by yelling out his name. The individual was found clinging to a fence post in the swift moving current. Officer Franks had to motor past the individual and come back upstream because the river current was moving so fast. Eventually, Officer Franks maneuvered the vessel near the individual, and Officer Adams got the person into the vessel. The person was taken to high ground where he was met by fire rescue for further treatment.

HARDEE COUNTY

FWC officers in the southwest region responded to many calls of service after Hurricane Irma passed through. FWC officers responded to areas flooded along the Peace River, Charlie Creek and Horse Creek. Officers evacuated individuals that were stranded in their homes. In all, FWC officers evacuated 12 people using various types of vessels.

SOUTH REGION A

Forty-two officers responded to Marathon Key in Monroe County to conduct law enforcement patrols in response to the devastation from Hurricane Irma. Officers worked 12-hour shifts, conducting a variety of assignments. There were countless humanitarian missions providing food and water to citizens throughout the Keys. There were also security patrols, check points and waterborne patrols to prevent looting and unauthorized access to residential communities. They worked several vehicle accidents, directed traffic, handled assorted medical issues, enforced curfew restrictions, relocated a 10-foot crocodile and an alligator from the roadway and made an arrest for felony possession of cocaine.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
BROWARD COUNTY

Lt. Laubenberger and Officer Brock responded by vessel, while Officer’s Vacin and Grant responded by vehicle to Surf Road in Hollywood. The call was about a 12-foot beached beaked whale. The Officers that arrived by land met up with a team from M.A.R.S. (Marine Animal Rescue Society). That team was performing a necropsy (animal autopsy) to determine a possible cause of death. The other officers arrived by vessel and took the whale in tow offshore. The cause of death for this whale is believed to be natural causes.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Officers responded to a crocodile call in Little Havana. Upon contacting the home owner, Officers observed in plain view four speckled caimans; two hatchlings, a one-year-old and a two-year-old. The Officers escorted the man inside to obtain his identification and found a pound and a half of marijuana on the man’s bed. The speckled caimans were transported to the Miami Zoo. The man was charged with possession of non-native wildlife without a permit. The Miami Police Department arrived to assist with an investigation into charges for the possession of marijuana.

RESCUES
COLLIER COUNTY

All Officers are currently participating in disaster relief for all areas affected during Hurricane Irma in Collier County.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Officers are currently participating in disaster relief for all areas affected during Hurricane Irma in Monroe County.

MONROE COUNTY

All Officers are currently participating in disaster relief for all areas affected during Hurricane Irma.

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  FWC Enforcement Report Sept 1-14. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 09-22-2017, 10:06 AM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Arnette received a call from a complainant advising there were subjects night hunting near his property in Blackman. The complainant got a tag number and gave it to Officer Arnette. Officer Rockwell located the registered owner and determined that her son and two of his friends were in the truck. She called them to come home to speak with Officer Rockwell. Lieutenant Hollinhead arrived to assist. After questioning, all three subjects admitted to attempting to take deer at night. Officer Rockwell issued each subject a notice to appear citation for attempting to take deer at night with a gun and light.

Officer Nichols responded to a single vessel accident that occurred in Rocky Bayou. The accident involved a privately owned personal watercraft (PWC). The investigation revealed the operator of the PWC struck the Rocky Bayou Bridge piling. The impact caused the operator to be ejected off the PWC. The operator was transported to a local hospital for treatment for minor injuries.

Officer Nichols was on vehicle/land patrol at Henderson Beach State Park. While traveling the eastern parking lot, the officer observed damage to a protected dune system. The officer observed large aggressive tire imprints on the protected sand dune, which led from the asphalt, over the concrete curb, over established protected dune vegetation and up the sand dune towards the top. As the officer continued along the curb, he observed a blue Jeep leaving the area. The Jeep had large tires with an aggressive tire pattern, which was like the tire imprints on the protected sand dune. As the officer got closer to the Jeep, he observed white beach sand from the sand dune attached to the interior of the rear tires. Officer Nichols initiated a traffic stop on the Jeep and observed white beach sand attached to the outer side walls of the tires. The officer determined this was the Jeep that drove on the dunes damaging this important ecosystem. The driver was issued notice to appear citations for leaving the designated roads and damaging plant life.

Officer Bartlett and Investigators Molnar and Armstrong were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections in the Crab Island area and observed a pontoon in violation of the idle speed/no wake zone. Officer Bartlett stopped the pontoon to address the violation and conduct a safety equipment check. The inspection revealed the pontoon was rented from a livery company. A boating safety inspection revealed that a screwdriver was being used to steer the vessel because the steering wheel had become inoperable the previous day. Officer Bartlett determined the vessel was not in seaworthy condition. The officer contacted the livery company and met them at a pre-determined location. An individual with the livery was issued a notice to appear citation for renting a vessel that was not seaworthy and not displaying boating safety information. A warning was issued for failure to provide pre-ride safety instructions.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Mullins received a call of a derelict vessel in the Peterson Point area. Officer Mullins worked the investigation and identified and located the last registered owner for the vessel, met the subject and provided him information regarding his derelict vessel. The subject was issued a citation for leaving a vessel in derelict condition.

Officer Mullins was on patrol in Yellow River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) when he observed a subject fishing in a creek. Officer Mullins began checking the subject and spoke with another subject standing by a vehicle. Officer Hutchinson arrived on scene to assist. During the inspection, the officers discovered that the subjects were in possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), drug paraphernalia and cannabis. The subjects were placed under arrest and booked into the Santa Rosa County Jail.

Officers Hoomes and Roberson were loading their patrol vessel from a local boat ramp when they observed two subjects seated in a vehicle in the parking area. The officers observed one subject continually attempting to light a pipe. As the officers approached, the subject attempted to conceal the pipe. The officers determined the pipe contained cannabis. An additional bag of cannabis and other drug paraphernalia were in the vehicle. Both subjects were issued the appropriate citations.

Officer Hutchinson was patrolling the Blackwater State Forest when he observed a truck turn onto a dirt road next to where he was conducting a traffic stop. The truck began spinning the tires, throwing dirt and gravel in the roadway. While the truck continued along the dead-end dirt road, Officer Hutchinson could hear his engine accelerating as he was spinning out. After completing the traffic stop, he drove along the dirt road and observed several places in the roadway where the truck had spun out causing ruts and throwing mud in the roadway. Officer Hutchinson located the truck and observed it spinning its tires in a small mud hole. When asked why he was tearing up the roadway, the driver stated, “I just put new tires on my truck and wanted to see if they would spin out.” Officer Hutchinson charged the man with destruction of state lands by a motor vehicle.

Officer Hutchinson was on foot patrol within the Blackwater State Forest. While patrolling near a creek and a recreation area, he observed a large group of people recreating. He contacted the group and immediately observed a container, commonly used to conceal illegal narcotics, sitting on a chair. He located a plastic bag containing cannabis inside of it along with a marijuana smoking pipe. While continuing his search, he discovered a marijuana cigarette inside of an ice chest. Two men admitted ownership of the illegal items. Both men were issued the appropriate citations and given a court date.

Lieutenant Hahr was observing a man and woman on the bank of a small creek in the Blackwater State Forest when the man suddenly began walking towards him. Lieutenant Hahr greeted the man who apparently didn’t recognize him immediately. As the man attempted to walk past him, Lieutenant Hahr saw a burning clump of cannabis fall to the ground. The man immediately handed the remainder of his cannabis cigarette to Lieutenant Hahr and received a notice to appear for possession of not more than 20 grams of cannabis.

Officer Lewis was working in the Blackwater State Forest when he observed a large group of campers along Juniper Creek. Upon contacting the campers, he immediately discovered one of them in possession of cannabis and drug paraphernalia. The man was issued a notice to appear for the violations.

Officers Cushing, Pettey and Land worked multiple days offshore in the Gulf of Mexico while aboard the NW Fincat. They were enforcing both state and federal marine fisheries regulations during the trips during Labor Day weekend. The crew conducted 45 offshore marine fisheries inspections, in which 16 different vessels were found to be in violation of federal rules. The vessel captains were cited for being in possession of gray triggerfish during a closed season. Additionally, a Florida state charter vessel captain was cited for operating a charter trip in federal waters without the proper federal permit.

Officers Cushing and Pettey responded to the report of a capsized vessel 30 miles offshore of Pensacola while aboard the NW Fincat. When they arrived on scene, the three subjects had already been picked up by a Good Samaritan vessel without injury. A report of the accident was taken.

WALTON COUNTY

Lieutenant Clark responded to a single vessel boating accident near the Mid-Bay Bridge in Choctawhatchee Bay. Two individuals were pulled from the water by a Good Samaritan vessel. The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) arrived on scene and placed the individuals on their patrol vessel. They were transported to a local marina. Lieutenant Clark interviewed the operator and passenger. The vessel was a 32‑foot pontoon houseboat. The pontoon was returning to Pensacola from a five‑day trip. The operator stated he had concerns about the path Hurricane Irma was taking and decided to travel back home to Pensacola. The seas at the time of the accident were three to four feet in the bay with winds blowing approximately 20 mph. Due to the weather and the vessel being top heavy, the pontoon capsized. The husband and wife were not injured and were wearing their life jackets.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officers Lugg and Ramos teamed up with local FWC Bear Biologist Green with a canvassing effort in an area where there have been ongoing bear issues. The officers issued five notices of non-compliance to residents with egregious trash violations and educated those who were following good bear awareness practices. Bear-proof trash can retrofit kits were issued to every house in the area at no cost to help alleviate the ongoing bear and trash can issues.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
CLAY/BRADFORD COUNTIES

Investigator Doricchi and Officer Starling responded to a complaint involving the disturbance of an eagle’s nest. They investigated and determined a contractor debris clearing company for a new subdivision was committing violations. They ordered him to cease operations and contacted United States Fish & Wildlife Services (USFWS). The case was turned over to USFWS investigators for enforcement action.

Officer Barber and Lieutenant Haney were on water patrol during the Labor Day holiday weekend when they conducted a stop on a vessel that violated a no wake zone. They detected signs of impairment from the operator and conducted a BUI investigation. The operator was found to be impaired and was arrested. He was transported to jail where he refused to submit to a lawful breath test.

Officer Barber and Lieutenant Haney were on water patrol during the Labor Day holiday weekend and conducted a vessel stop on a personal watercraft that had violated a no wake zone. The operator had numerous boating safety violations and exhibited signs of impairment. After a BUI investigation was conducted, the operator was arrested for BUI. He was transported to jail and booked for felony BUI due to multiple prior DUI arrests. He refused to submit to a lawful breath test and was also cited for eight boating safety violations.

Officer Justus was on water patrol during the Labor Day holiday weekend and conducted a stop on a vessel with a juvenile operator. He observed that one of the passengers appeared to be intoxicated. A short time later, he observed the same vessel with the previous intoxicated passenger operating the vessel. He conducted a vessel stop and determined the operator to in fact be impaired. The operator was arrested for BUI and transported to jail.

Lieutenant Haney was on water patrol during the Labor Day holiday weekend and during a vessel stop, detected signs of impairment from the operator. Following a BUI investigation, the subject was arrested for BUI. He also had a previous DUI. He was transported to jail where he refused to submit to a lawful breath test.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Officer McDonald encountered several individuals under a local bridge consuming alcoholic beverages. Officer McDonald gathered identification and conducted warrant checks. One subject was wanted for violation of probation. The subject was arrested and booked into the Columbia County Jail.

DUVAL/NASSAU COUNTIES

During the last few weeks, Officer Sweat received complaints from private landowners about trespassing and theft by palmetto berry pickers. The areas of concern were in both Nassau and Duval Counties. Early Saturday morning, Officers Sweat and Christmas located a drop off location where several pickers began their day, illegally harvesting the berries on city property in Duval County. After several hours searching the property, air and K-9 support were requested. Lieutenant Cain arrived with air support and K-9 Officer Gill and partner “Friar” arrived to assist. Investigator Holleman and Officer Waldo also arrived to assist. After getting on a track in Duval County, a landowner spotted several subjects cross a dirt road onto his property in Nassau County. Officer Gill and K-9 “Friar” relocated inside Nassau County where a fresh track was available. Thirty minutes later, the three subjects were in custody and were later booked into the Nassau County Jail for trespassing and resisting arrest.

LEVY COUNTY

Officers Starling and Willis were conducting resource and boating safety inspections when an individual was found to be over his daily bag limit of sharks. During the inspection, the officers also learned that the individual had an active warrant for his arrest. Officer Starling issued a misdemeanor citation for over the daily bag limit of sharks and placed the individual under arrest. The subject was later turned over to the Levy County Sheriff’s Office for booking on the arrest warrant.

Officer Starling received a call about two people illegally picking palmetto berries on Waccasassa State Preserve and Cedar Key Scrub WMA. After speaking with staff from the preserve who witnessed the picking, Officer Starling located two people walking along the road nearby. They admitted to being dropped off earlier in the day to pick berries and started walking down the road when they saw the employees from the state preserve. Lieutenant Umhoefer arrived on scene and explained to them the laws pertaining to palmetto berries while Officer Starling issued two notices to appear for removing palmetto berries from state land.

Lieutenant Jones, Officers Browning and Fox were conducting vessel safety/resource inspections on commercial shrimp vessels when they discovered that a commercial shrimping vessel did not possess a saltwater products license and the vessel’s registration was expired. Officer Fox issued the captain a misdemeanor citation for not possessing a saltwater products license and two uniform boating citations for registration/boating safety violations. Officer Fox also issued the captain four written warnings for various boating safety violations.

Officers Fox and Hilliard were on patrol and conducting vessel safety/resource inspections at the Waccasassa Boat Ramp in Gulf Hammock during the Labor Day holiday weekend. During one inspection, Officers Fox and Hilliard observed an individual in possession of an undersized black drum measuring 12 inches. Officer Fox issued the individual a misdemeanor citation for possession of undersized black drum and one written warning for no vessel registration certificate onboard.

Officer Fox conducted safety and resource checks at the main boat ramp in Cedar Key during the Labor Day holiday weekend. One inspection revealed two undersized gray snapper and one undersized spotted seatrout. The captain admitted to catching the two undersized gray snapper and spotted seatrout. Officer Fox issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of undersized gray snapper and one written warning for undersized spotted seatrout. Officer Fox also issued the captain two written warnings for various boating safety/registration violations.

Officer Fox was conducting safety and resource checks at the main boat ramp in Cedar Key during the Labor Day holiday weekend when one inspection revealed a grossly undersized gag grouper measuring 10 inches. The individual was also found to be in possession of one undersized gray snapper measuring 8 inches. Officer Fox issued the captain of the vessel a misdemeanor citation for possession of undersized gag grouper and a written warning for possession of undersized gray snapper. Officer Fox also issued the captain two written warnings for various boating safety violations.

Officers Hilliard and Johnston were patrolling in Cedar Key during the Labor Day holiday weekend when they came upon an individual paddling a small aluminum boat across a shallow area. The officers instructed the individual to come to the officer’s location for a boating safety and fisheries inspection. The man delayed obeying the officers, exited his boat in shallow water, and turned the boat blocking the view of the officers. He then removed what later proved to be a baggie of drugs. He placed it on the mud near the boat and stepped on it, pressing it into the mud. The officers told the man to retrieve the baggie and come to them and he did not. When the officers walked toward the boat, the man admitted to having dumped the contraband and said he was gathering oysters to sell. A check of the licensing system shows that the subject did not have a Saltwater Products License (SPL) commercial harvesting license. The subject was cited for interference with officers in performance of their duties and illegal harvest of oysters with no SPL. The subject was also issued warnings for multiple boating safety violations and a warning for commercial harvest of oysters in a closed area. He was placed under arrest and transported to the Levy County Jail for booking.

Officers Johnston and Willis were on water patrol on the Withlacoochee River when they observed a vessel violating a slow speed zone. The vessel was stopped and a boating safety and saltwater fisheries inspection was conducted. During the inspection, it was found that the vessel had an undersized hogfish onboard. Officer Johnston searched the vessel and found an undersized black drum as well. Officer Willis documented the evidence and charged the boat captain accordingly.

NASSAU COUNTY

Officer Lentz was on routine patrol when he observed a vehicle driving erratically. During a traffic stop, signs of impairment of the driver were observed and the driver was asked to submit to field sobriety tests. The driver refused and Officer Lentz placed the driver under arrest for DUI. A subsequent breath test revealed the driver was almost three times the legal limit.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

While patrolling the Buck Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA), Officer Marroquin observed multiple individuals carrying large bags and other equipment commonly used to harvest saw palmetto berries. Four citations were issued for removing saw palmetto berries from a WMA.

While conducting water patrol on the barge canal in the Merritt Island area, Officer Eller observed a large vessel operating in an erratic manner; the vessel almost struck the shoreline. During the subsequent vessel stop, the operator ignored many of the officer’s requests and appeared intoxicated. Seated field sobriety exercises were administered and the operator performed poorly on all the tasks. The operator was arrested for BUI and transported to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.

ORANGE COUNTY

While conducting enforcement of the statewide alligator harvest program during the opening weeks of the season, Officer Marroquin conducted approximately 15 resource inspections resulting in two BUIs, one DUI and multiple other safety violations. The operator stopped for DUI provided a breath sample of .162 g/210L BAC.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officer North was on patrol in Tiger Bay State Forest when he encountered a man illegally harvesting saw palmetto berries. A computer check revealed the man had an active warrant for violation of probation and a writ of bodily attachment with a $500.00 purge. The man was arrested and transported to the Volusia County Jail without incident.

Officer Haskins responded to a disturbance involving three juvenile males at Deleon Springs State Park over the Labor Day holiday weekend. The juveniles were creating a disturbance, using vulgar language and refusing to obey park staff. One juvenile actively resisted Officer Haskins and was placed in handcuffs. He refused to identify himself. Officers Sapp and Edson arrived as back up and observed one of the other juveniles litter. He refused to pick up the litter so Officer Edson began to issue him a citation. The juvenile refused to identify himself, so he was also placed in handcuffs. Through acquaintances of the juveniles, officers were finally able to contact their parents who arrived at the park and identified them to the officers. Both detained juveniles were charged with disorderly conduct, resisting without violence and released to the custody of their parents. One was also cited for littering. All three of them were trespassed from Deleon Springs State Park.

Lieutenant Baer was on patrol in Tiger Bay State Forest when he encountered a man illegally harvesting saw palmetto berries. A computer check revealed an active felony warrant for possession of methamphetamine and paraphernalia. The man was arrested and transported to the Volusia County Jail without incident. He was given a warning for unlawful berry harvesting.

Over the past week, FWC officers issued nine criminal citations for harvesting saw palmetto berries on state lands, including Tiger Bay State Forest, Lake George State Forest, and Heart Island Conservation Area.

Officer Thornton was on water patrol around Lake Dexter and the St. Johns River when he observed a subject in a small vessel fishing on Lake Dexter. He conducted a fisheries inspection which revealed the subject to be in possession of 60 panfish (bream/blue bluegill). The subject was given a criminal citation and the fish were returned to the resource.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officer Salem and Lieutenant Ruggiero worked plain clothes patrol in Charlotte Harbor when they observed a commercial fishing vessel near the mangroves. The officers positioned themselves to observe what was going on. After a few minutes, the vessel took off and struck some nets out of the back. The officers quickly approached to conduct a marine fisheries inspection. As the officers approached, they observed the men pulling in sein nets full of mullet. During their inspection, the officers determined that the men struck four seine nets from a single vessel among other violations. The fisherman was charged with fishing with more than two nets from a single vessel and issued seven warnings for the other violations.

Officer Zampella and Officer Birchfield conducted a vessel inspection in Lemon Bay on a vessel returning from fishing offshore. Upon inspection, they found undersized and over the bag limit of red grouper. The subjects were issued appropriate criminal citations.

Officers Salem and Goggin were on water patrol and observed a group of vessels catching redfish. They observed a female who had caught multiple fish and put some fish in the live well. After a while, the female left the area and began fishing in another spot. The officers approached her to conduct a fisheries inspection. When they asked if she had caught anything, she said she had kept a trout and a redfish that was just under the 27-inch maximum size limit. Further inspection of the fish revealed the redfish was over 28 ½ inches long. She was issued a notice to appear for possession of over the slot size limit of redfish.

LEE COUNTY

Captain Carpenter and Officer Winton were on water patrol in Estero Bay when they conducted a vessel stop to determine compliance with boater safety regulations. During the boater safety inspection, the vessel operator showed signs of impairment. Field sobriety tasks were conducted and it was determined that the operator had been boating while his normal faculties were impaired. The operator was booked into the Lee County jail and faces boating under the influence charges and a $500 citation for failure to submit to a breath test.

Officer Winton was on fisheries patrol in Cape Coral when he came across several individuals fishing at a bridge. During a fisheries inspection, an undersized spotted seatrout and black drum were discovered. The individual in possession of the fish was issued a notice to appear for the undersized seatrout, and a warning for the undersized black drum. The subject was also provided with a copy of the Florida fishing regulations.

Officer Winton was on fisheries patrol in Cape Coral when he conducted a fisheries inspection on several individuals fishing from a seawall. Initially, the subjects were hesitant to talk and denied catching fish. During the investigation, one of the individuals admitted to catching several fish, which were found in a cooler. Two of the sheepshead in the cooler were undersized, for which a notice to appear was issued. The individual was also issued a warning for failure to have a saltwater fishing license.

MANATEE COUNTY

While on water patrol around Jew Fish Key, Officers Hinds, Gonzales and Lieutenant Hinds were flagged down by a boater who said there was a young man trying to start a fight with other boaters on the sandbar. The officers located the individual who was causing trouble and spoke with him about his behavior. While speaking with the subject, another man approached the officers and claimed that the subject who was trying to start fights had punched him in the face. When asked if the allegation was true, the subject freely admitted to punching the man. The subject was charged with simple battery and taken to the Manatee County jail.

While on water patrol around Jew Fish Key, Officers Hinds, Gonzales and Lieutenant Hinds stopped a boat to perform a boating safety inspection after they witnessed the operator of the vessel operating the boat carelessly. During the course of the inspection it became apparent that the operator was under the influence of alcohol. After giving the operator some field sobriety tasks to check his level of impairment, the operator was placed under arrest for boating under the influence and taken to the Manatee County jail.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on land patrol near the North Skyway Toll Plaza, Officer Bibeau observed two individuals that were wade fishing from the shoreline. While conducting a resource inspection, a bait bucket was observed in the water with a snook attached to a blue stringer, which one of the subjects admitted catching. The snook measured 24 inches and the subject did not have a valid snook permit. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation and a warning for the fisheries violations.

While on land patrol at the Pinellas Bayway Bridge, Officer Bibeau encountered an individual that was loading up his vehicle with fishing equipment. During a resource inspection, the subject was found to be in possession of nine mangrove snapper, three of which were under the minimum size limit of 10 inches. After further investigation, Officer Bibeau found that the same subject had received warnings in the past for undersized mangrove snapper. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of undersized mangrove snapper and a warning for exceeding the bag limit of mangrove snapper.

While on land patrol near the Skyway Bridge, Officer Bibeau observed two individuals that were wading in the water attempting to catch blue crab with a net. During a resource inspection, one of the subjects was found to be in possession of a 9-inch gag grouper and a 5-inch sheepshead. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation and warning for the fisheries violations.

While on land patrol at the Fort Desoto Bridge, Officer Bibeau performed a resource inspection on two individuals and located a 15-inch gag grouper. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of an undersized gag grouper.

While patrolling the bridges on Dunedin Causeway, Officer Ferguson observed two subjects fishing on the north side of the bridge. Upon approach, one of the subjects left the area. After completing a fisheries inspection with the first subject, Officer Ferguson found the second subject smoking marijuana in his car. The subject was searched and found to have a small quantity of marijuana in a baggie in his shorts pocket. A subsequent search of his vehicle revealed a 17 ½ inch gag grouper in a plastic crate in the back seat. The subject told Officer Ferguson that his friend caught the grouper. The first subject then admitted to having caught the gag grouper a few hours ago, and was given a citation for the possession of an undersized gag grouper. His friend was given a warning for the possession of marijuana under 20 grams.

SARASOTA COUNTY

Officers Ridgway and Grenz were on water patrol in the area of Roberts Bay, and stopped a boat to perform a boating safety inspection. They noticed that the operator seemed to be impaired by either alcohol or drugs. After performing some field sobriety tasks to gauge the level of impairment, the operator of the vessel was placed under arrest for boating under the influence and taken to Sarasota County jail.

Lieutenant Hinds was on land patrol in the area of New Pass Bridge and stopped and performed a fisheries inspection on a husband and wife that had been fishing from the bridge. During the course of the inspection, he found out that the wife had caught and kept one 20-inch snook. She was cited criminally for possession of undersized snook and will have to appear in court for her violation.

SOUTH REGION A

The entire region has been dealing with hurricane Irma this week. Days of preparation beforehand, relocating equipment and securing facilities transitioned into post hurricane issues. FWC staff have assessed the damages to FWC facilities and to our personal properties and many are still without power.

The dispatch center in Lake Worth operated through the storm with a skeleton crew of three that stayed in the facility for two days. Communication towers were failing and modifications were being made rapidly to make sure that officers could reach a dispatch center, even if it wasn’t in their own region.

A large amount of seaweed washed up onto the beaches throughout several coastal counties. FWC started receiving calls and seeing news reports that a lot of the seaweed contained dozens of sea turtle hatchlings. Beachgoers were digging through the massive piles of seaweed and retrieving the hatchlings. They were quickly gathering dozens and dozens of hatchlings in buckets and whatever else they could find. Officers were dispatched and relayed instructions on what to do with the hatchlings from FWC’s regional sea turtle biologist. Officers transported many hatchlings that seemed lethargic and too weak to swim to the FWC biologist for rehabilitation. The rest of the hatchlings were returned to the shoreline where they crawled back into the surf.

Meanwhile, officers were patrolling the region, assisting the public with a variety of hazards left by the hurricane debris. They did everything from rescues related to flooding, to traffic management due to power outages, and many calls related to vessels that had broken free and drifted into areas of concern. These calls are ongoing and will be dealt with for many days to come.

A 41-officer team, including Special Operations Group members has been deployed from South Region A to assist with Monroe County Hurricane Irma response efforts.

CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Corteguera conducted an investigation regarding the illegal possession of wildlife. He found a subject to be in possession of two adult raccoons without the required license. Further investigation revealed the raccoons were taken from the wild and possessed for approximately five years. The subject was cited for the illegal possession. Four warnings were issued for additional captive wildlife violations relating to the raccoons. Officer Armstrong assisted with this incident.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Officers Payne and Fretwell were conducting license and resource inspections at a popular boat ramp in Fort Pierce. While there, they observed a vessel returning to the ramp with diving equipment on board. During a resource inspection, a subject was found to be in possession of two undersized sheepshead, two whole live conch and one speared Florida spiny lobster. The owner of the vessel stated that he had speared the lobster and claimed responsibility for the fish and other saltwater resource. The subject was issued a citation for the violations.

Officers Fretwell and Miano were on land patrol in the Savannas State Park Preserve focusing on illegal saw palmetto berry harvesting. While in the area on patrol, Pilot Simons observed a suspicious parked U-Haul vehicle and directed Officer Fretwell to the location. The tag was checked and it was confirmed as a stolen vehicle. Two subjects with the vehicle were detained for further investigation. The driver was the leasee, but had failed to return the rental and continued to use it without making the proper payments. When the vehicle was not returned on time, it was then reported as stolen. The second subject was just a passenger and was permitted to leave. The driver was arrested for grand theft with additional charges for drug possession and drug paraphernalia.

Officer Payne was conducting license and resource inspections at a local boat ramp. A vessel returning from fishing, with several subjects on board, was inspected. Upon inspection of the cooler on board the vessel, the subject was found to be in possession of eight mutton snapper. The fish were measured for compliance and all were found to be undersized. The subject was issued a citation for the violation.

Officer Payne and Fretwell were on water patrol when a vessel was observed coming into the dock. The vessel nearly caused a boating accident when coming up behind another vessel that was tying up to the dock and only struck the stern light of the vessel before quickly reversing. Once the vessel was at the dock, Officer Payne approached the operator of the vessel to conduct a vessel safety inspection. During the vessel safety inspection, the operator showed signs of impairment and was asked to complete field sobriety tasks. The subject agreed and performed poorly on the tasks. He was then arrested for impairment and transported to the Saint Lucie County Jail. At the jail, the subject refused to provide a breath sample.

Officer Fretwell and Lieutenant Rogerson, while on water patrol, conducted a license and resource inspection on a pontoon boat around Taylor Creek and the ICW channel. Subjects on board were actively fishing. Upon conducting an inspection of the catch, the individuals were found to be in possession of three undersized mutton snapper and four undersized sheepshead. The owner took responsibility for all harvested fish and was cited for the violations. He was also educated on the importance of identifying and measuring fish.

Officers Fretwell and Payne assisted the Fort Pierce Police Department with recovery efforts at the Sable Chase apartment complex in Fort Pierce. The area flooded due to Hurricane Irma. Residents, especially on the first floor, were trapped and unable to leave due to the high-water levels and flooded vehicles. Recovery efforts totaled approximately 100 residents, some of which had medical issues and special needs.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Plussa was conducting water patrol in the Naples area over the Labor Day holiday weekend when a USCG vessel called for law enforcement assistance with a possible impaired vessel operator. Officer Plussa responded to assist and took over the investigation at the request of the USCG crew. After the investigation, the suspect was arrested and booked into the Collier County Jail for BUI. While in route to the jail, the suspect spontaneously admitted to the officer that she was driving the vessel because she was the “least drunk” of the occupants onboard.

Officer Plussa conducted targeted boating safety enforcement patrol in the Naples area over the Labor Day holiday weekend. He checked a total of 128 people onboard a total of 38 vessels, issuing a total of 24 citations, 40 written warnings, and 69 verbal educations for violations encountered involving life jackets, registrations and wake zone violations.

Officers Kleis and Arbogast were on water patrol during the Labor Day holiday weekend conducting general boating safety and BUI enforcement. They stopped a vessel to perform a boating safety inspection and immediately noticed multiple signs of impairment from the operator including bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. The operator consented to field sobriety tasks, which Officer Kleis administered. The operator was subsequently arrested for BUI, and booked into the Collier County Jail.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Officers were on water patrol when they stopped a vessel returning from the Bahamas with four subjects on board. Upon inspection, officers discovered two baggies full of conch meat and three baggies of fish fillets, one of which contained fillets with no skin. After questioning, the owner/operator of the vessel said the conch meat had been bought while in the Bahamas and the skinned fish fillets were yellowtail snapper. The subject was cited for the violations.

Two officers were on water patrol when they observed three snorkelers along the rocks/seawall at Cape Florida State Park. They appeared to be harvesting saltwater products so the officers asked the subjects to show them their hands and then to climb out of the water. While maneuvering the patrol vessel, one of the officers spotted a dive bag lying on the bay bottom near the rocks where the subjects had been snorkeling. The bag was recovered revealing a speared moray eel and an undersized crawfish. As the three subjects exited the water, one began to walk away despite being told not to do so. He then ran from the area as one officer jumped from the patrol vessel to pursue the subject while the second officer secured the vessel to join in the foot chase. Approximately three hours later, and with the assistance of two other nearby officers, the subject was tracked down and taken into custody without incident. He was arrested and taken to jail on multiple resource violations as well as resisting an officer without violence.

MONROE COUNTY

A man was bully netting near 47th Street in Marathon. A man was awoken from his sailboat and began to have words with the bully netter. The bully netter began to leave the marina area. The suspect got into his 16-foot boat and began to chase after the bully netter. The boats went back and forth and eventually crashed into each other causing one vessel to take on water. The suspect went back to his sailboat and the bully netter went home. Investigator Mattson was dispatched to interview the victim. Investigator Mattson took photos of the boat and noted the transfer of blue bottom paint. The victim stated that he was in fear for his life and felt that he was “lucky to escape.” Investigator Mattson went to the Black Fin Resort where he interviewed and received a statement from the suspect who admitted to chasing after the bully net boat and that he made a mistake in judgment by taking things into his own hands. Investigator Mattson received a signed warrant for the suspect’s arrest and booked him into jail. He was charged with reckless operation of a vessel and simple assault.

Officer Wagner, a plain clothes unit with the resource protection unit, was on water patrol when he noticed a kayak with two snorkelers carrying spear guns in the Lower Keys. He observed the individuals spearfishing for a short while and watched them put fish in a cooler on the kayak. A resource inspection revealed an undersized black grouper and undersized mutton snapper. The spear fishermen said they knew the size limits and didn’t have something to correctly measure onboard. One individual took credit for both undersized fish and was cited accordingly.

Investigator Mattson was on water patrol around Indian Key Channel Bridge and observed a man scaling a fish on the rocks. He put the fish in a bucket next to him. When Investigator Mattson asked how he had done fishing, the man responded with “only grunts” and held up a grunt. Investigator Mattson took a closer look in the bucket and saw there were many types of fish. He called Officer Garcia on the phone and he read the two men Miranda Warnings in Spanish. They agreed to answer questions. They stated they were the only one’s fishing in their group and had caught all the fish. In total, they had 17 mangrove snapper, 15 of which were undersized. They were also over the bag limit of 5 mangrove snapper per person, per day. They had 5 undersized schoolmaster snapper and 1 undersized yellowtail snapper. They were also over the aggregate limit of snapper. The two men were arrested and transported to jail by Investigator Hein. In total, they were charged with five misdemeanors each and one infraction each for no fishing license.

Officers Richards, Foell and Wagner were onboard offshore patrol vessel Interceptor in Rebecca Channel near the Dry Tortugas when they observed a multiple day fishing charter boat. The officers boarded the vessel to conduct a marine fisheries inspection and located 14 out of season hogfish, two of which were undersized. The captain then became very aggressive and argumentative. The officers took him into custody. The captain stated he wanted to commit suicide and attempted to jump off his boat into the water. The captain was transported to Lower Keys Medical Center by Lieutenant Robison and Officer Lopez for medical clearance then booked into the Monroe County Jail. Three felonies, one misdemeanor and two federal fisheries violations were documented and sent to NOAA.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MONROE COUNTY

Officer Dube was the guest speaker along with Hada Herring of the FWC at the University of Miami Rosenstiel’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Science on Key Biscayne. Officer Dube spoke to the graduate students about FWC‘s core missions, officer responsibilities and the efforts to protect marine mammals in the State of Florida. Officer Dube also spoke about past marine mammal cases that happened in his tenure in the Keys.

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