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  FWC Enforcement Report April 28-May 4. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 05-08-2017, 02:18 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Nichols and Bear Biologist Green responded to a homeowner who was leaving crushed bread pieces and birdseed in his backyard. Two black bears were using this as a food source. A few days earlier, Lieutenant Clark and Bear Biologist Green spoke to the homeowner at length about removing the food attractant. The homeowner admitted the bears ate the bread and birdseed. The neighborhood is experiencing daily encounters with the two bears. Officer Nichols’ inspection of the homeowner’s back yard revealed more bread and birdseed were placed on the ground. Further, the homeowner had a flatbed trailer in the driveway loaded with expired loaves of bread. The homeowner was issued a notification of non-compliance letter for the violation.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer Pettey attended the annual meeting of the La Floresta Perdida hunt club, which manages more than 40,000 acres of land. Approximately 50 people were in attendance and Officer Pettey answered hunting related questions and discussed issues different club members had this past season.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Nichols provided police presence and public safety at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park for Earth Day. More than a dozen different environmental organizations and agencies participated. The park provided nature activities, games, animals, face painting and booths as well as food, music and fun. Approximately 1,000 people attended the event.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officer Stanley received a call from dispatch about two individuals trespassing while turkey hunting on some private property. The complainant, who had permission to hunt on the property, confronted the trespassers and one of the trespassers battered him, leaving marks on his chest and arm. With the help of Lieutenant Ferguson, the suspects were tracked down and identified. After several weeks of interviews and written statements, a sworn complaint was filed with the state attorney’s office for armed trespass and simple battery. One of the subjects was also written an infraction for not having a valid turkey permit.

CLAY COUNTY

Officer Justus was on patrol in Keystone Heights when he observed a subject fishing from a kayak on Lake Geneva after dark. A fisheries inspection revealed that the subject possessed eight black bass, three over the daily bag limit. The subject did not have any vessel safety equipment, including navigational lights after dark. Officer Justus issued a citation for over the daily bag limit of black bass and warnings for the vessel safety equipment violations.

Officers participated in a BUI of drugs or alcohol targeted enforcement action detail on Black Creek and Doctor’s Lake. A total of 69 vessels and 207 users were checked. There was one BUI arrest and one misdemeanor marijuana arrest. There were also 24 warnings and citations issued. Violations included safety equipment and violation of area manatee zones.

DUVAL COUNTY

Officer Rorer was conducting afternoon Joint Enforcement Agreement (JEA) dockside patrols at the Mayport Boat Ramp in Jacksonville when he encountered a local fisherman in possession of four undersized red snapper. The fisherman stated that they caught the fish at a reef named MR, which is approximately 12 miles east/northeast of the St. Johns River Inlet. The red snapper season is closed for possession in federal waters and have a size limit of at least twenty inches to possess in state waters. The subject was cited accordingly.

LEVY COUNTY

Officer Schulz was on water patrol in Waccasassa Bay when he observed four subjects actively saltwater fishing from an airboat. During a resource and boating safety inspection, he noted that none of the subjects had their fishing licenses on them. While running the subjects through dispatch, he found out that two had their hunting and fishing privileges revoked, one had an active felony warrant, and the captain of the vessel had an expired saltwater fishing license. The subject with the warrant was arrested and the vessel with the other three subjects on board was escorted to the boat ramp. At the ramp, Officer Johnston and Lieutenant Umhoefer assisted with the investigation. As a result of the investigation, the other subject with revoked privileges was arrested for fishing while license was revoked. Officer Schulz issued the captain of the vessel a citation for fishing without a saltwater license and two written warnings for boating safety violations. The two arrested subjects were transported to the Levy County Jail without incident and booked for the warrants and fishing while license privileges were revoked.

Officer Schulz was on water patrol in the Cedar Key area when he saw a commercial oyster vessel in prohibited waters. As he watched from a distance, he could see two people on board actively harvesting oysters. Upon making contact, Officer Schulz saw numerous baskets of oysters in the water from the prohibited area. While speaking with the subjects, they claimed to be relocating the oysters. During a vessel inspection, the officer found the subjects did not have the required boating safety gear, nor a marine sanitation device (MSD) as required to commercially harvest oysters, and one of the subjects did not have a valid saltwater products license (SPL) to commercially harvest oysters. Officer Schulz directed them to return the oysters back to the water and return to the boat ramp where they had launched. Both men were arrested and booked into the Levy County Jail on misdemeanor charges for harvesting from prohibited waters with no MSD on board, and no SPL to commercially harvest oysters. Warnings were issued for the boating safety gear violations.

Officers Schulz and Willis were on water patrol in Cedar Key when they spotted a commercial oyster vessel loading baskets of oysters into a vehicle. The officers stopped and spoke with the individual to perform a commercial fisheries inspection. During the stop, they realized they had dealt with this man in the past few months and issued him misdemeanor citations for commercial oyster violations. The officers found he did not have tags on his oyster baskets showing which area the oysters came from. The subject was in possession of 19% undersized oysters (well over the 5% undersized tolerance), had no SPL in his possession (as warned in the past), and had no proper MSD on board. The officers also noted that throughout the stop, the subject was stumbling and collided with another parked vessel while trying to dock his vessel, as well as other clues indicating the subject was impaired. Officer Willis performed standardized field sobriety tasks on him and determined that he was impaired. The subject was placed under arrest for the criminal violations. Because of a search incident to arrest, the officers also found marijuana (under 20 grams) in the subject’s pocket. The subject was booked on the misdemeanor charges at the Levy County Jail. The untagged oysters were seized and returned to the water alive.

Officer Schulz received information that a man had illegally caught a snook with a cast net off the Cedar Key Pier. On arrival, the officer located a blue bin with a black plastic bag inside near the subject matching the description provided. The man admitted to cast netting the snook and putting it in the blue bin. The snook was over the maximum legal size fillet and the man did not have a valid snook permit. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation for not landing the snook in whole condition and was issued warnings for illegal method, oversized snook, and no snook permit. The snook was seized as evidence.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers are continuing to work area lakes for fish and boating safety violations. With rainfall conditions at low levels, officers are patrolling local hunt clubs and warning members of the high fire danger. After talking to Division of Forestry staff, officers are informing the public of the dangers of operating ATV's and parking them in grassy and dried-out areas.

RESCUES
LEVY COUNTY

Officer Schulz received a phone call about a man on a kayak in a secluded area having medical issues. The call was made by his friend who was kayaking with him. Officer Schulz launched from Fowlers Bluff Boat Ramp with Officer Johnston and Levy EMS. Once on the water, both officers and EMS located the kayaker and EMS provided medical treatment for shock. Both subjects and their kayaks were safely transported back to the boat ramp for further medical evaluation. The subject having the medical issues was released by EMS after receiving treatment.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ALACHUA COUNTY

Lieutenant Ferguson attended a Citizen Support Organization for San Felasco State Park. With nearly fifty people attending, the event honored several members for their volunteer efforts. They also welcomed new members to the citizen support organization.

CLAY COUNTY

Officer Barber attended a Boy Scouts meeting at the First Presbyterian Church in Green Cove Springs. He talked with scouts and their parents about the role and responsibilities of an FWC officer. He also discussed issues with human and wildlife conflict as well as venomous snake identification.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

While patrolling Sebastian Inlet State Park, Officers Hadwin, Graves and Rasey conducted a resource inspection on a fisherman. When asked if he had any luck, the subject responded that he had a “massive 31-inch snook.” After measuring the snook, it was 33 1/8 inches long. The subject was issued a citation for harvesting an oversized snook. Later that night, officers observed a fisherman slide what appeared to be a black garbage bag under his back pack before heading to the parking lot. As the officer approached the subject for a resource inspection, the subject attempted to avoid the officers. The officers stopped the subject and inspected his catch. The fisherman had five ladyfish, one jack crevalle in a five-gallon bucket and a redfish that measured 36 inches in the black plastic garbage bag. The subject was issued a citation for harvesting an over the size limit red drum.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

While conducting marine fisheries inspections in coastal Volusia County, Officer Thornton located a fisherman who was in possession of three fish. The fisherman stated the fish he had in his cooler were pompano, but upon further inspection, the fish were determined to be undersized permit. A citation was issued for the violation of possessing undersized permit and a warning issued for possession of over the bag limit of permit.



Officers North and Haskins were on patrol in a local county park when they encountered a man throwing a cast net in fresh water. A resource inspection found the man in possession of several bream. The man admitted to catching the bream in his cast net and had no other legal fishing apparatus in his possession. He was issued a citation for taking gamefish by unlawful method and a warning for no fishing license.



RESCUES



VOLUSIA COUNTY

FWC received a call from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office (VCSO) that a man had been hunting hogs on a piece of property in Edgewater and had become lost. FWC officers responded to the scene and, along with VCSO and K-9 bloodhound units from Tomoka Correctional Institute, began searching for the individual. The woods were very thick, making the search difficult. A thick canopy hampered efforts to locate the individual from the air as well. Searchers remained on the scene overnight, but efforts were unsuccessful. The next morning, approximately 20 FWC officers along with VCSO deputies, the Volusia County Fire search and rescue team and K-9 bloodhounds from Tomoka Correctional and Central Florida Reception Center arrived on the scene to resume the search. At approximately 3:00 PM that day, FWC officers Teal and Malicoat located some brush that looked as if someone had been laying down in it. FWC K-9 Officer North and K-9 Max, along with Officers Hastings, Teal and Malicoat were deployed to the area and a short time later, the subject was located. He was in good condition and able to walk out of the woods on his own.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
SEMINOLE COUNTY

A year-long task force coordinated between FWC, Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, Seminole County Watershed Management and Seminole County Solid Waste concluded with a large community clean-up of Bookertown in Sanford. Officer Weber and Lieutenant Chase were in the community helping along with approximately 50 volunteers. As part of the clean-up efforts, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection obtained funds for the removal of tires as a proactive response to Zika virus.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Officers Ahlers and Baker received a complaint about a subject keeping an oversized snook while fishing at Williams Park. The officers located the subject described in the complaint and found him to be in possession of one oversized snook. The subject was issued a notice to appear for the violation.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Price and Lieutenant Ruggiero were on water patrol when they stopped a commercial stone crab boat for a resource inspection. During the inspection, Lieutenant Ruggiero noticed a plastic box on the deck of the boat. After asking to look inside the box, one of the fishermen opened it, revealing a container of marijuana and paraphernalia. He was issued two misdemeanors for possession of marijuana under 20 grams and possession of paraphernalia.

Officer Price and Lieutenant Ruggiero stopped a commercial boat coming in from offshore and conducted a fisheries inspection revealing four undersized red grouper. The captain claimed the fish were all legal-sized and must have shrunk while on ice; however, three of the fish measured three-quarters of an inch under the legal size limit. A misdemeanor was issued to the captain for the violation.

Officer Price received information about a commercial business with employees that were feeding alligators on a regular basis. From a concealed location, he saw a man exit the back of the business and begin throwing food into a canal. Shortly thereafter, three alligators came up by the bank of the canal to eat the food, and the man went back inside. Officer Price approached the back of the business and asked the man to come back out. The man initially denied feeding the alligators, but after Officer Price told him what he saw, the man admitted to the violation and stated he had fed the alligators several times before. He was issued a citation for the violation and the alligators had to be trapped because of the potential threat to human safety. Feeding wildlife such as alligators, bears or raccoons is a violation of law and a safety issue for anyone else who may come near those animals.

Officer Bradshaw was called to Koreshan State Historic Site when park employees saw a vehicle driving down some of the walking paths in the park. Upon arrival, Officer Bradshaw located the vehicle abandoned with fresh crash damage to it. He searched for the vehicle’s occupants for about an hour, but was unable to locate them. When a tow truck arrived to remove the illegally parked vehicle, the occupants decided to come out from hiding. When they realized a law enforcement officer was still on the scene, they again tried to flee but were stopped. They were in possession of alcohol and marijuana. The vehicle was towed, and the two occupants were charged appropriately.

Lieutenant Barrett was patrolling the Punta Rassa Boat Ramp when he stopped two men on a boat for a dockside fisheries inspection. The two men claimed they had one 26-inch redfish in a live well. When Lieutenant Barrett measured the fish, the total length was almost 28 ½ inches, over the legal 27-inch size limit. The operator told Lieutenant Barrett that he had grown up fishing in the area and had never been found in violation of fisheries rules. However, a quick check of FWC records showed him to have been caught for a violation of spotted seatrout rules at the same boat ramp a few years previously. The operator was charged with possession of an oversized redfish. The redfish was released alive to the water.

MANATEE COUNTY

While Lieutenant Hinds was on land patrol at the South Skyway Rest Area, he noticed a man who had been spear fishing exiting the water. Upon completion of a resource inspection, he found that the man had shot a 34-inch snook. The subject was charged criminally for possession of oversized snook and snook taken by illegal method. The subject must appear in court for his violations. He was also warned for not having a diver down flag displayed.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Investigator Schefano, Officer Pettifer and a local police officer responded by water to a domestic call on a sailboat near Gulfport. While approaching the sailboat, the officers saw the captain of the vessel trying to leave the area by operating the vessel while dragging the vessel’s anchor. The officers boarded the vessel and immediately detected signs of alcohol impairment on the operator of the sailboat. The domestic issue involving two passengers on board was handled by the local police department. Standardized field sobriety tasks were administered to the operator of the sailboat, who was subsequently arrested for BUI and booked into the Pinellas County Jail.

While on water patrol in John’s Pass, Officers Ludtke and Burks were alerted by a boater that an individual stumbled to his vessel and left from a dock by a waterside bar. The officers located the vessel and initiated a boating safety inspection. During the inspection, signs of impairment were detected. Standardized seated field sobriety tasks were administered to the boat operator, who was subsequently arrested for BUI and transported to the Pinellas County Jail.

Officers Ludtke and Pettifer were on land patrol when they received information from an off-duty police officer regarding two individuals keeping undersized snook near the John’s Pass Bridge. Upon arriving on scene, the officers saw the described vehicle and individual allegedly keeping the undersized snook leave the area. The officers initiated a traffic stop to conduct a resource inspection. The officers obtained consent to search the trunk of the vehicle and found two undersized snook in a cooler. The driver was cited for possession of undersized snook. Officers Ludtke and Pettifer returned to the bridge and located the second individual who was identified as fishing with the driver. Upon interviewing him, he admitted, post Miranda, to catching one of the snook. He gave it to his friend to run it back to his house so they would not be caught with the fish if checked by FWC. That individual was also cited for possession of an undersized snook.

While on patrol, Lieutenant Laskowski saw three individuals fishing under a bridge at the North Skyway. During a resource inspection, one of the individuals said they caught a few fish. One legal- sized mangrove snapper was in their cooler. While dealing with the three men, a green stringer was visible tied to some rocks below the seawall. Three undersized snook were found on it. After being read Miranda, one of the individuals admitted to catching the three snook and putting them on the stringer. The individual was cited for possession of over the bag limit of snook, and issued written warnings for possession of undersized snook and possession of snook without a snook permit.

While on land patrol at Fort Desoto, Officer Bibeau saw an individual wade fishing from the shoreline. From a concealed location, the officer observed and waited for the individual to return to his vehicle. After a resource inspection, the individual was found to be in possession of two out-of-season snook and five trout, one of which was undersized. The subject was cited accordingly.

Officers Godfrey and Martinez were driving on I-275 during a recent night shift and stopped to assist a disabled vehicle that was pulled over on the side of the interstate. When the officers approached the vehicle, the lone occupant exited and approached them. The subject began to act nervously and his answers to the officers’ questions were suspicious and inconsistent. Officer Martinez saw drugs in plain view in the car and asked the subject about them. Moments later, the subject fled on foot and, after trying to jump a fence, was subdued by the officers. After searching the subject and the car, the officers found more drugs including numerous prescription pills and a stolen firearm right where the subject had been sitting. The subject was a convicted felon and had a felony warrant for his arrest as well. The subject was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on numerous felony and misdemeanor charges.

While on patrol near John’s Pass, Officer Pettifer saw an individual fishing from shore. He approached the individual and initiated a resource inspection. The individual admitted to catching one small fish. In a white bucket behind the individual, Officer Pettifer found a 23-inch snook. The individual said he did not know what the regulations were for that fish but sent his wife back to their car to get a copy of the regulations. Shortly after, his wife returned carrying a cooler. When Officer Pettifer asked about the fishing regulations, she reported she had not been asked by her husband to retrieve any fishing regulations. The individual was cited for possession of undersized snook.

SARASOTA COUNTY

Investigator Cooke received information that an individual had altered his required US Coast Guard captain’s license to obtain an FWC charter fishing license. Recently, the individual was adjudicated guilty for uttering a forged/altered instrument and possessing forged/counterfeited FWC license or permit. Both charges are third degree felonies.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
PASCO COUNTY

Officers from Pasco, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties conducted a detail for a large party on North Anclote Sandbar. The officers worked together to ensure boaters were operating safely and conducted several boating safety inspections, issuing several warnings, citations and an arrest for BUI. Additionally, the officers responded to a 911 call and assisted an injured female on a vessel.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
MARTIN COUNTY

While conducting saltwater fisheries inspections, Officer Morrow encountered a group of subjects fishing at the end of a pier. Upon inspection of their coolers, Officer Morrow located an undersized lane snapper and an illegal pufferfish. When questioned about who had caught the fish, all three of the subjects denied having caught them and stated “two guys were here earlier and caught them.” All subjects in the group were issued written warnings for possession of the illegal fish. The illegal fish were then seized and returned to the resource.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officers Allen and Brodbeck were on patrol at Slough Ditch near the Kissimmee River when they observed a male subject fishing from the S-85 South Florida Water Management District water control structure. The man had walked by several “No Trespassing” signs and was leaning against a rail where another posted sign was displayed. He also did not have a fishing license. He was issued a notice to appear in court for the trespassing violation and a warning for not having a fishing license.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Toby and Dial observed an individual fishing in a restricted area on South Florida Water Management District’s property at the Lake Harbor Structure near Lake Okeechobee. They conducted a fisheries inspection and had the individual exit the restricted property. The individual was in possession of undersized black crappie and fishing without a valid freshwater fishing license. The individual was issued two misdemeanor citations for possession of the undersized black crappie and trespassing on the restricted property. Additionally, the individual was issued a written warning for fishing without a valid freshwater fishing license.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Officer Payne was on land patrol in Fort Pierce conducting license and resource inspections. Upon arriving at the Taylor Creek spillway, he observed several individuals fishing. As he was approaching the fishermen, he saw a bucket that contained several snapper, a snook and several sheepshead. The fish were measured and all were found to be undersized except the sheepshead. Several snapper and the snook were still alive and were released. Several others were retained as evidence. One subject admitted to catching the fish and was cited for the violations.

Officer Payne was on land patrol when he observed several people fishing along the shoreline of the Indian River Lagoon by Old Fort Park. As he approached the two subjects, he observed a large snook on the sand. When he asked how big it was, one subject replied “32 inches.” Officer Payne inspected the snook and as he began to measure it for compliance, he noticed that the tail had been deliberately cut. The final measurement was 32.5 inches. One subject was cited for possession and harvest of an oversized snook. The fish was seized as evidence.

Officer Shermetaro was on land patrol near the bridge of the south causeway island when he observed several people in the water cast netting. He approached the subjects and discovered that they were harvesting fish only with a cast net. He then observed a bucket containing two small snook and several other unregulated fish. Asking about the fish in the bucket, both subjects admitted to catching the fish. Both subjects were cited for harvest of undersized snook and harvest of snook by illegal method. During the inspection, both snook appeared to be alive, so they were released back to the water.

Officer Miano responded to a report of criminal mischief occurring at Hawks Bluff Preserve State Park. Park rangers had discovered graffiti on an observation deck and wanted Officer Miano to investigate who might have defaced park property. The rangers determined that the level of graffiti was so extensive that removing the paint would not be cost effective and they would instead have to replace the painted boards. Officer Miano discovered several clues that pointed to a local individual. As more evidence was gathered, a case packet was put together and presented before the state attorney for review. Moving forward, the subject’s address was located and a subsequent interview of the subject was conducted. The subject, when presented with the evidence gathered against him, admitted to defacing park property and was cited for the violation.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
HENDRY COUNTY

Officer Muina responded to an alligator attack involving a dog at a local park and boat ramp located on Lake Okeechobee. After speaking with the owner of the dog and finding out where the attack happened, Officer Muina located the alligator and dog. A licensed alligator trapper was called and, with the assistance of Officer Muina and a deputy sheriff from a bordering county, the alligator was safely caught and turned over to the trapper. The alligator was nearly 11 feet long.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officer Crosby responded to the boat ramp in Okeechobee to investigate the report of an alligator attacking animals and being aggressive to people. Upon arrival, he learned the alligator had attacked a person walking his dogs and had taken a small dog that was not on a leash. The alligator remained in the area and could be seen still holding the deceased dog in its mouth. Due to complaints of the alligator already being aggressive towards people and now attacking animals at the boat ramp, a local trapper was contacted and the 12-foot alligator was captured at the boat ramp.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
BROWARD COUNTY

Officers Albert, Moore and Matthews participated at the “Blue Wild” expo in Fort Lauderdale and set up a booth with educational material for the public. They spoke to approximately 150 people, mostly on fresh and saltwater fishing regulations, boating safety equipment, commercial fisheries, hunting and invasive species. They also had an alligator and a ball python for the public to view. In addition, they made several contacts with potential FWC officer candidates.

Investigator Teems, Officer Wright and K-9 Zoey participated in a career day at a local preparatory academy. There were approximately 50 students in attendance and they discussed the importance of preserving Florida’s natural resources. They displayed several animals and conducted a K-9 demonstration.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Public Information Officers Moore, Matthews and several other FWC officers and dispatchers participated in the Palm Beach County Torch Run to benefit the Special Olympics. Most officers ran the entire length of the 5K run. After the run, the officers spoke with numerous children and their caretakers who were there offering support along the way.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Shortly after midnight, while on patrol in Picayune Strand State Forest, Officer Reams saw a vehicle traveling south on Miller Boulevard. As the vehicle turned onto Stewart Boulevard, Officer Reams observed two subjects in the bed of the truck working lights towards the tree line on either side of the road. The forest is closed to visitors after sunset, so Officer Reams conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle. Officer Reams saw two subjects in the bed of the truck, one with a handheld spotlight and the other with a headlight. The subjects also had a loaded .22 rifle in easy reach of both men. Officer Reams requested Officer Tidwell respond as backup. After speaking to the subjects, the officers discerned that the driver of the truck had a revoked driver’s license. All three subjects were arrested and transported to the Collier County Jail for gun and light violation and the driver was also cited for driving with revoked driver’s license.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

FWC Investigators in Miami identified and returned a stolen PWC to a victim/owner a year after his two PWCs were stolen. The owner, who did not have the PWC insured at the time of the theft, was ecstatic and extremely grateful for the recovered PWC. Each of his PWCs were worth $15,000 when they were stolen in 2016. The victim/owner is hopeful that the companion PWC will also be located and recovered.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Rubenstein was conducting a resource check in the lower Keys and saw a van parked on the side of the road with a few coolers inside. Officer Rubenstein approached one individual that was there fishing and noticed a large amount of snapper in his bucket as well as in coolers in the vehicle. The individual then apologized for not telling the truth about the large amount of snapper in the car. The individual possessed a total of 45 mangrove snapper, 6 of which were undersized, and 2 undersized mutton snapper. The individual was arrested and booked into jail for the major violation.

Officers Wilkins and Larios were patrolling the Channel Two Bridge when they came upon a white minivan with several individuals loading fishing gear into the back. Inside the trunk of the minivan was a cooler with an oversized parrotfish, a black bag with four undersized schoolmaster snapper and a bag containing an undersized mutton snapper. Officer Wilkins then placed the individual under arrest and booked him into the Plantation Key Jail on several misdemeanor charges.

RESCUES
COLLIER COUNTY

Lieutenant Mahoney, Officers Tidwell and Barringer assisted the Collier Fire and Florida Forest Service personnel with a ten-acre fire that occurred at the Jones Mine mulching facility. Their efforts included patrolling the bird rookery located in the south portion of CREW WMA using a side-by-side UTV to clear the hiking trails for visitors, search for hot spots due to the high winds and securing the area where fire personnel attended to the mulch piles.

Officers Yaxley, Kleis, Plussa, Arbogast and Lugg responded to a missing person call on Cape Romano. The 911 caller reported that an elderly male was conducting geological surveys and had lost contact with his group on land. When his group went to search for him, they found his boat beached and half sunk. Lieutenant Sushil provided incident command from land and coordinated the responding units. Officers Yaxley, Kleis and Plussa were dropped off and searched the densely wooded island on foot. Officers Lugg and Arbogast conducted searches from their patrol vessels around the island. The Collier County Sheriff’s deputies also assisted in the search with their helicopter searching from overheard. The subject was located by a civilian transiting the north side of the Cape who saw the man waving him down. The civilian returned the missing person to the officers on the island for first aid due to dehydration and fatigue.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Plussa, Lugg, Arbogast, Kleis and Yaxley participated in two targeted enforcement details over the weekend. The first was aimed at addressing violators of the slow speed and 30 mph manatee speed zones throughout the area. The officers stopped numerous vessels and issued multiple citations and warnings. The second detail involved the officers teaming up with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit to walk Keewaydin Island by foot, interacting with beachgoers and addressing public safety violations such as BUI, underage drinking, and environmental violations such as littering, and violations of the critical wildlife area where protected shorebirds were nesting. The officers interacted with dozens of patrons and educated many on common laws and violations due to the following week’s upcoming canoe race.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
COLLIER COUNTY

Lieutenant Shea and Officer Thurkettle attended the annual Naples High School JROTC Military Ball and program describing the responsibilities of the FWC, the role of an FWC Officer, and how to become an FWC Officer. The students had questions about exotic reptiles, fishing and hunting regulations, general law enforcement, and endangered animals. Both Lieutenant Shea and Officer Thurkettle had attended the Naples High School JROTC program participants during their four years in high school and discussed with the students the value of the leadership training they received in the program and how it could benefit them in their future careers in law enforcement.

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  FWC Enforcement Report April 21-27. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 05-02-2017, 06:50 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

While checking several fishermen on the Bob Sikes Bridge, Officer Manning noticed fresh blood and large scales on the ground. A nearby fisherman denied knowing anything about it and claimed he had not caught anything. While checking the individual’s cooler, Officer Manning found two large fillets. The individual at first insisted the fillets were from a grouper he bought from a fish market. Officer Manning determined the fillets were from a red drum and located a bloody knife. After additional questioning, the individual admitted to catching and cleaning the red drum. The subject was issued a notice to appear citation for the violation.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow, Officers Boyd and Nelson located a vessel approximately 14 miles south of Carrabelle. After boarding the vessel, Officer Nelson located cut-up red snapper on their bait table and hooks. An interview of the occupants reinforced that they had cut up the red snapper and were using it for bait during the closed season. The violations of possession of red snapper during federal closure, not landing in whole condition and using reef fish for bait were addressed with the appropriate warnings and citations.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow, Officers Matechik and Nelson located a vessel approximately 24 miles south of St. George Island. While approaching the vessel from approximately 3 miles away, they saw the occupants moving it around quickly, turning south and coming on plane. Its original location was marked on radar and after the vessel was stopped, the FWC officers boarded the vessel. The Guardian operated the vessel's course and located a goliath grouper floating in the prop wash. The 73-inch goliath grouper had large amounts of fillets removed and still had a metal gaff stuck in its mouth. The officers also located three whole gag grouper, three whole red snapper and two gag grouper fllets in the vessel's cooler. The vessel also had evidence of the goliath grouper on board with large bloody drag marks coming from the stern, through the dive door and into the vessel. Large scales consistent with a goliath grouper were also located. When interviewed, the occupants confessed to possession of the goliath grouper and throwing it overboard. The appropriate federal violations and warnings were issued for the offenses.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico on board the Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow, Officers Boyd and Nelson located a vessel approximately 11 miles south of St. George Island. During the boarding, the officers located two gag grouper in a cooler. The officers addressed the federal violations with the appropriate warnings and citations.

HOLMES COUNTY

Lieutenants Walsingham, Bartlett, Brooks, Investigators Armstrong, Goss and Officers Brooks, Alsobrooks, Gore, White and Cutchin assisted the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office in a manhunt for a burglary suspect that had fled the scene on foot. The suspect had numerous burglary warrants as well as charges stemming from a previous encounter with Officers Jackson and Brooks when he provided a false name and fled on foot. Through the cooperation and teamwork of numerous agencies, the subject was captured approximately ten miles away.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Hutchinson was patrolling near Keyser's Landing and the Escambia River when he observed several men standing beside a truck that was stuck in a mud hole on the edge of the right of way. He approached the men and while speaking with them, he observed fresh tire tracks and deep ruts in front of the truck leading into private property. Officer Hutchinson questioned the men about the damage to the right of way and the private property. Two of the men admitted to purposely mud riding and damaging the property. Officer Hutchinson issued the two men notices to appear for damaging public land with a motor vehicle.

Officers Lewis and Jernigan were patrolling on the beach when they observed a man surf fishing. Officer Lewis asked the man for his fishing license and when he was retrieving it from his wallet, Officer Lewis observed him remove a small baggie containing pills from his wallet and try to conceal it. Inspection of the bag revealed a controlled substance. Another pill was also found in his wallet. The subject voluntarily stated that the pill in the baggie was Sub Oxone. Officer Lewis arrested and charged the subject with two felony counts of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and possession of drug paraphernalia.

WALTON COUNTY

Officer Yates completed an investigation from 2016 involving a bear that was shot in a subject’s yard. The subject stated that the bear was attempting to get his dog, but the investigation revealed that the bear was leaving the area. Lieutenant Walsingham and Officers Brooks, Letcher, and Kinney assisted. Charges have been direct filed with the Walton County state attorney’s office.

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Officer Gore was on patrol at Culpepper Landing on Holmes Creek when he observed a vessel with two occupants returning. As it neared, he smelled the odor of burnt cannabis and asked the male to step out of the vessel. He identified the odor was coming from the subject and asked if he had any cannabis and the subject stated “yes.” A search of his person revealed cannabis and methamphetamine. The subject was arrested and transported to the Washington County Jail for the misdemeanor and felony violations.

Officer Gore was at the same location days later and observed another vessel returning to the ramp. It had an expired registration and when he conducted a safety inspection, he observed grass, mud, scales and a cast net in the bottom of the boat. When he asked the two subjects if they had been fishing, they replied that they had. A check revealed 120 bream, 20 over the daily bag limit. Both subjects were issued citations for taking over the daily bag limit of bream, written warnings for possession of an Illegal fishing device (possession of a cast net while in possession of game fish), and the operator was issued a written warning for an expired registration.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer Long taught the laws section of a hunter’s education class this week. The class was held at the Molino Community Center in Molino.

HOLMES COUNTY

Lieutenant Walsingham, Officers Yates and Kinney assisted with a Holmes County 4-H Youth Fishing Day. The 25 elementary-aged children had completed their classroom portion and spent the afternoon on the water fishing. Valuable skills were learned and everyone had fun in the outdoors.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Pifer and Corbin participated in an outreach event called “Construction Junction,” presented by the Community Police Officers of Fort Walton Beach. This is a community event where kids interact with construction equipment, military, and law enforcement vehicles and personnel in a safe environment.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Land conducted a youth outreach event at Shoreline Park in Gulf Breeze for approximately 100 students from Gulf Breeze Middle School. Officer Land had an FWC vessel on display and educated students about the role and responsibilities of an FWC officer. He had boating safety items on display and explained the importance of safe boating and answered questions from students regarding boating rules, resource regulations, and public safety concerns.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
BAKER COUNTY

Officers Burnsed, Gill and Tyler were working the last weekend of spring turkey season targeting illegal hunting over bait. Shortly after daylight, Officer Burnsed located a vehicle that was parked in a small wooded section of a hunting club. The vehicle had been parked in the same location for three straight weekends. Suspecting the hunter was hunting over bait, K-9 Officer Gill and Officer Tyler arrived to assist. K-9 Friar was deployed on the track of the hunter to locate his hunting area in the wooded lot. After a short track, K-9 Friar located the hunter actively hunting turkeys. The hunter was found to be hunting over bait and was cited for the violation.

CLAY COUNTY

Officers Burnsed and Tyler were on water patrol working a Boating Under Influence (BUI) detail to target unlawful operation of vessels while under the influence. The officers observed a vessel that did not have a proper registration displayed and motioned for the vessel to approach. The operator of the vessel ignored the officers’ instruction and continued to drive away. The officers stopped the vessel to address the violation. While speaking with the operator, the officers could smell a strong odor of alcohol on the operator’s breath and the operator was struggling to maintain normal faculties. The officers performed field sobriety tasks on the operator to determine if he was under the influence. Based on the sobriety tasks, the operator was placed under arrest for BUI and transported to the Clay County Jail. At the jail, the operator blew a .16 and .18 on the breath intoxilizer.

DUVAL COUNTY

Lieutenant Arkin and Officer Culbreth were dispatched to Haulover Creek in Duval County to investigate the report of two subjects using a gill net to fish. Upon arrival, Lieutenant Arkin contacted one of the subjects and Officer Culbreth contacted the other subject. Only one of the subjects had a fishing license. A fisheries inspection revealed a 5-gallon bucket of mullet and unregulated fish. Both officers then checked the nets the two subjects were using. One of the subjects possessed a monofilament entangling net which contained wet saltwater debris. The owner of the net stated that one of his friends gave him the net in Mexico and admitted using it to catch the fish. Officer Culbreth placed the owner of the net under arrest for illegal use of nets/entangling net. Officer Culbreth wrote the other subject a non-criminal infraction for having no saltwater fishing license.

Lieutenant Arkin and Officer Hoover were on vessel patrol in the St. Johns River when they conducted a fisheries inspection. Officer Hoover discovered two redfish hidden in a compartment during the vessel stop/fisheries inspection. The two redfish measured 31 and 39 inches. The legal-size limit for redfish is between 18 and 27 inches. Officer Hoover charged the subject with possession of oversized redfish and issued a notice to appear.

SUWANNEE COUNTY

Officers Johnston, Drew, and Cline recently worked the Suwannee and Santa Fe rivers in response to a request for assistance from the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office anticipated a large crowd with above-average boat traffic due to a large party being held at a bar located on the Santa Fe River. The officers conducted enforcement efforts from the water on the day of the event, checking several vessels and dozens of users. The officers issued three boating citations and thirteen written warnings.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
LAFAYETTE COUNTY

Officers Drew and Britton participated in a Hunter Safety Course held at Daddy’s Gun Shop. Officer Drew spoke on hunting regulations, wildlife management areas (WMAs) and the importance of safety while participating in recreational activities.

SUWANNEE COUNTY

Officers Mobley, Boone, Drew, Nichols, Vazquez and K-9 Officer Wiggins conducted an FWC Day at the Suwannee Intermediate School. The officers spoke to approximately 750 children on several different topics such as boating safety, the Division of Law Enforcement Core Missions, the K-9 program and safety concerns associated with native wildlife.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

While patrolling Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Officer Rasey saw a subject fishing from a nearby walking trail. After several minutes, the fisherman packed up and walked toward a vehicle in a boat ramp parking lot. Officer Rasey then conducted a resource and license inspection and discovered that the individual was in possession of six undersized spotted seatrout, two over the allowable bag limit. The suspect was also fishing without a license and possessed an undersized gray snapper. Two citations and two warnings were issued for the resource violations.

Officer Rasey and Lieutenants Davis and Bonds received Wildlife Alert intel regarding a person with illegal fish on a stringer in Merritt Island. The lieutenants responded by water and located the subject actively fishing in a no trespassing area. Officer Rasey responded to the scene by land where multiple black drum and stone crab violations were discovered. Upon contact, the subject was initially deceptive, but then admitted that the stringer of fish was his. A check revealed the subject had previously been warned for trespassing and had received a federal citation for undersized fish. The subject was issued citations for the offenses and littering and a fishing license violation was also addressed.

Officer Marroquin was conducting resource inspections at Lone Cabbage Boat Ramp when he saw two individuals returning to their vehicle with a bucket and a cast net. An inspection revealed the subject had caught three black bass with the cast net. Black bass can only be caught with rod and reel. Appropriate citations were issued.

Officer Marroquin was conducting off-road patrol when he found a vessel that had been dumped in a wooded area. A vessel hull identification number was found and a Florida registration number was also visible. The registered owner was contacted and advised of the location of the vessel. The owner recovered the vessel that day and hauled it to the local landfill. Appropriate action was taken with the owner.

FWC dispatch received a call about a hit-and-run car accident at Sebastian Inlet State Park. While responding to the scene, Officer Cybula saw a damaged SUV fitting the suspect description traveling north away from the park. The officer conducted a traffic stop and spoke to the woman operating the vehicle. The woman admitted to having hit the vehicle at the park and leaving the area. Further investigation revealed numerous violations of law and the woman was arrested for leaving the scene of an accident with damage, driving with a suspended license with knowledge, a tag not assigned to the vehicle and violation of probation.

Officer R. Miller responded to a report of a man in Melbourne shooting at seagulls in a marina. When he arrived, he saw a man matching the description holding a scoped air rifle and standing near the boat lifts. Several moments later, the man raised the rifle and shot at an osprey that was perched on a beam. The shot missed and hit the beam under the bird. The man was given a citation for attempting to take a migratory bird.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

Officer Marroquin was working at Sebastian Inlet State Park when he saw an individual moving rapidly towards the cleaning station. A resource inspection revealed that the individual possessed an undersized snook. The individual did not have a valid saltwater shoreline license or a snook permit. Officer Marroquin issued appropriate warnings and citations.

Officer Marroquin saw a subject catch a large snook and immediately move towards his vehicle. A resource inspection revealed the individual possessed an oversized snook. The individual was issued a citation for oversized snook and a warning for no snook permit.

Multiple warnings and citations were issued for consuming alcohol in a state park, no snook permit, no saltwater shoreline license, and littering.

LAKE COUNTY

Officer Scrambling was flagged down off CR 439 because a driver of a red truck almost ran another driver off the road. Officer Scrambling saw the truck failing to stay in a single lane and conducted a traffic stop. The subject appeared to be highly intoxicated and was arrested for DUI. The subject submitted to the breathalyzer at the jail where he blew a .310.

PUTNAM COUNTY

Lieutenant Dickson responded to a domestic violence complaint in the Rodman Campground. Upon arrival at the entrance, it was reported that a male subject grabbed his wife by her neck and was choking her when another camper stepped in and confronted the subject. A separate fight then ensued between the husband and the other camper. Lieutenant Dickson responded to the campsite where he was advised that the domestic violence suspect had just fled from the scene in a vehicle. A traffic stop was made near the campground entrance and the suspect was placed under arrest. Officers Guirate, Jones, Mason, Ramsey and deputies from the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office arrived on the scene to complete the investigation. The suspect was charged with domestic violence by strangulation and was booked in the Putnam County Jail. It was determined that the other camper was acting to defend the victim and was not charged.

Officers Guirate and Mason conducted a fisheries inspection on two subjects on Crescent Lake. An investigation revealed that one subject had his fishing privileges revoked for life and the other was in possession of over the bag limit of speckled perch. The violations were appropriately addressed.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY

While working at Guana State Park in the early morning hours, Officer Campbell saw four male subjects catching undersized red drum and keeping over the daily bag limit. He saw one subject catch 11 undersized fish and another catch five undersized fish. Officer Campbell then saw two other subjects catch eight undersized red drum. He approached the first group as they were packing up to leave and found the two subjects possessed 16 undersized red drum. They also failed to pay the park entrance fee and were in the park after permitted hours. The other two subjects were directed to not move or touch the fish they had hidden in a crevice between the sidewalk and the dam structure. As Officer Campbell dealt with the first group, he saw another subject throwing all his red drum over the fence back into the water. Officer Campbell directed him to stop, but the subject continued to throw three more red drum over the fence. All the fish were sucked through the dam structure making it impossible to retrieve them. Officer Campbell charged the subject who threw the fish with failure to allow FWC inspection and being in the park after permitted hours. His partner was charged with no saltwater fishing license and being in the park after permitted hours. A charge of resisting without violence was also filed on the first subject. In total, he charged four subjects with a total count of six misdemeanors, three infractions and six warnings.

Officers Graves and B. Miller were on fisheries patrol in their work truck when they observed two local men fishing in the San Sebastian River on Highway US 1, just west of downtown St. Augustine. In addition to inshore species, this local fishing spot is known habitat for juvenile offshore species. During the fisheries inspection, the officers found that the two men possessed 12 mangrove snapper, nine of which were undersized and two fish over the daily bag limit of five fish per harvester, three undersized and out-of-season gag grouper, and one redfish and one spotted sea trout. The officers issued the fishermen notice to appear citations for the snapper and grouper violations.

Officer Greenier led the inaugural FWC Advanced Conservation Academy (ACA) focusing on the Florida East Coast Shrimp Bed Closure in state waters during the months of April and May. Officer Greenier enlisted the assistance of his squad mates to operate four vessels patrolling the offshore waters north and south of St. Augustine Inlet and receiving enforcement assistance from Pilot Lieutenant Cain in her helicopter, Officer McDonough and his crew in the OPV Osprey, and Lieutenant Givens and his crew out of Duval County in OPV Sentinel. With Lieutenant Cain’s assistance, Officer Greenier and his boarding team located and boarded a Volusia County shrimper 2.7 nautical miles from northern St. Johns County. The captain, a repeat commercial shrimping violator, was cited for trawling within state waters during the closure, while the National Marine Fisheries Service Special Agent Chesler led several of the ACA officers in the inspection of the shrimper’s nets and turtle excluder devices.

SUMTER COUNTY

Officer Sweet was patrolling the Richloam WMA when he discovered numerous boxes containing household materials on a forest road. In the trash were documents with names. The investigation led him to Polk County and after several interviews, Officer Sweet obtained a confession from a subject who was then cited for the violation. The subject returned to Richloam WMA and properly disposed of his trash.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

FWC investigators notified Officer West of a social media posting offering shrimp for sale from a residence in the New Smyrna Beach area. Officer West followed up on the information and, after checking three separate locations, located the seller. The subject was issued a criminal notice to appear for offering to sell saltwater products without the proper licenses and educated her on the prohibitions of recreational harvesters selling saltwater products without the quality control protocols that protect the public and Florida’s seafood industry.

Officers North and Haskins were on vehicle patrol on a county road that runs through the middle of Bulow Creek State Park when they observed a vehicle pulled off onto the shoulder of the road. The occupant of the vehicle took a live raccoon from a trap and released it into the park as the officers watched. The man was given a warning for transporting a live raccoon and issued a citation for releasing wildlife in a state park.

RESCUES
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

While on ATV patrol at Sebastian Inlet State Park, Officer Kearney saw a surfer lying on the shoreline in a remote area. After speaking to the man, it was revealed that he had injured himself and needed emergency medical services. EMS was called and arrived on the scene but were unable to transport the man the long distance back to the ambulance in the soft sand. Using his agency-issued side by side, Officer Kearney transported the injured man and EMS workers to the ambulance.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
LAKE COUNTY

Officers Scrambling and Shaw participated in a public outreach event at Seminole State Forest. The event included boating safety, archery, and fishing information. The approximately 100 members of the community were educated on the importance of conservation and boating safety.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HERNANDO COUNTY

Officer Spradlin was on patrol in the Croom WMA when he observed a vehicle drive off a designated forest trail, passing official signage indicating the area was closed to vehicles. The vehicle’s driver purposely travelled up a steep embankment spinning its tires which caused damage to the environment and forest vegetation. The driver was issued a notice to appear for damage to state land by vehicle.

Officer Spradlin apprehended a subject who set up bush hooks on a small pond on private property and caught an approximately 8-foot alligator. The subject came onto the property to check the hooks, and was in possession of a .22 rifle. The subject was charged with armed trespassing and attempting to take an American alligator. The subject was booked into the Pasco County Jail.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on water patrol near Ben T. Davis Beach in Tampa, Officer Phillippi and Lieutenant Van Trees observed a PWC operating with an expired registration. After stopping the PWC and talking with the operator, he learned that the PWC was rented thru an illegal online livery. After collecting information from the operator, the officers waited for him to return it to the suspect at the Courtney Campbell Causeway Boat Ramp. The officers identified the suspect operating the illegal livery and after confronting him, he admitted to running the illegal livery through several websites. The suspect was cited for not having the proper insurance to operate a PWC livery, and additional charges will be filed with the state attorney’s office.

LEE COUNTY

Officers Stanley and Perry responded to a boating accident on the Caloosahatchee River where a vessel struck a double-piling manatee marker and the operator abandoned the vessel at the Centennial Park Boat Ramp. The manatee marker was broken off at the water line and there was significant damage to the vessel. The officers eventually contacted the owner’s girlfriend, who stated that her boyfriend and his passenger had gotten into a boating accident but had left the scene. Through their investigation, the officers located the operator and charged him for leaving the scene of an accident and for failing to maintain a proper lookout.

Officers Stanley and Winton stopped a commercial charter vessel out of Fort Myers Beach to conduct a marine fisheries inspection. During the inspection, the officers determined the marine sanitation device (MSD) had an open valve directing the sewage overboard. The owner/operator was cited for having an MSD plumbed to direct sewage overboard. The same owner had previously been charged with the same violation in 2006 and 2011.

Officer Hardgrove was on patrol in Bokeelia when he noticed a vessel at the marina that had many fresh oysters lying on the deck and under a wet carpet. Upon approaching the vessel, he noticed an individual was observing him from a distance. He approached the individual and asked him if he had harvested the oysters. The individual stated that he had harvested the oysters earlier that morning. Officer Hardgrove then stated to the individual that he appeared to be over the bag limit for oysters. The individual admitted to knowingly being over the bag limit for oysters because he needed them for a party. Officer Hardgrove allowed him to pick through the oysters and keep the best ones to fill his limit. A total of 9, 5-gallon buckets (approximately 350 pounds) were returned to the resource alive. The subject was issued a notice to appear for possession of over the bag limit of oysters.

Officer Hardgrove responded to a request for assistance from Lee County Sherriff’s Office (LCSO). The LCSO had stopped two subjects commercially fishing and had discovered possible fisheries violations. Officer Hardgrove checked the coolers on board and noticed that they had numerous types of snapper as well as barracuda. When Officer Hardgrove asked for the vessel’s saltwater products license (SPL), the SPL did not show a restricted species endorsement (RS), which is required to harvest certain species such as the yellowtail snapper and mangrove snapper they had on board. Per Florida statute, it’s required to have a RS endorsement in addition to an SPL to commercially harvest species that are considered restricted in the State of Florida. Both subjects were issued a notice to appear for no RS endorsement.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on water patrol in Tierra Verde, Officer Bibeau stopped a vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection, which revealed two zip-lock bags that contained fillets. The operator of the vessel admitted that the fillets were snapper and porgies. The operator was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of reef fish not landed in whole condition. The fillets were submitted to the FWC Forensics Program to be tested to determine the exact species.

Officers Martinez and Bibeau were on water patrol near the Skyway Bridge when they observed two individuals that were actively spear fishing from a paddle board. The officers approached the suspects to conduct a fisheries inspection and found two gag grouper, one of which was only 14 inches. Officer Martinez wrote one of the individuals two misdemeanor citations for possession of undersized and out-of-season gag grouper.

While on water patrol near the North Skyway Relief Bridge, Officers Bibler and Godfrey stopped a vessel returning from offshore. A subsequent resource inspection revealed two undersized scamp grouper and one undersized and out-of-season red snapper. The officers issued a notice to appear for the violations, along with numerous warnings for the resource and registration violations.

While conducting boating safety and resource inspections at a boat ramp in south Pinellas County, Officers Pettifer and Ludtke observed signs of alcohol impairment from a vessel operator. Standardized field sobriety tasks were administered and the operator of the vessel further demonstrated signs of impairment during the tasks. The operator was placed under arrest and transported to the Pinellas County jail for operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol.

While on patrol, Lieutenant Laskowski observed an individual wade fishing with a large fish on a stringer tied around his waist. Lieutenant Laskowski watched the individual fish for approximately an hour from a concealed location. After the individual waded back to the mangroves, waded by his parked vehicle, and then continued fishing, Lieutenant Laskowski initiated a resource inspection. When asked if he caught anything, the individual initially said “no.” When asked about the fish on the stringer, the individual said he was just keeping it so he could take a picture of it when he got back to his vehicle. The fish was identified and measured as an oversized snook. Since the individual was in possession of the fish for over an hour, and waded by his vehicle without stopping to take a picture of it, he was cited for possession of an oversized snook.

RESCUES
LEE COUNTY

Officers Birchfield, Sehl, Stasko, Mitchell, Fogle, Investigator Ruggiero and Lieutenant Ruggiero responded to a wildfire in Lehigh Acres. The fire started small but spread over 400 acres. The officers moved quickly and assisted Lee County Sheriff’s Office and Fire and Rescue to prevent potential injury and loss to residences. The officers performed traffic control, assisted Lee County Animal Services, and guarded a downed powerline. Fire and Rescue got the fire under control after the winds died down and the weekend brought much needed rain to the area.

POLK COUNTY

Officers Tyer, Earls, and Kobs responded to a fire around Indian Lake Estates. Once on the scene, the officers assessed the situation and immediately began evacuating homes that were in the path of the fire. Working alongside Polk County Sheriff’s deputies, the officers assisted families in getting out of their homes as well as removing animals from the houses. After several hours, Polk County Fire Rescue and the Florida Forest Service we able to contain the fire.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
HARDEE COUNTY

Officer Franks responded to an alligator complaint in Fort Green. The complainant reported the alligator to be in a local creek with its mouth taped shut. Officer Franks located the alligator, secured it, then removed the tape from the alligator’s mouth and released it unharmed.

LEE COUNTY

Officers Hazelwood, Thompson and Lieutenant Spoede responded to a beached dwarf sperm whale on the shores of Sanibel Lighthouse. When they arrived on the scene, the whale was already beached and thrashing in the water. Upon arrival of the biologist, the officers assisted in securing the whale and drawing blood samples for further research. Once the samples were taken, the officers, Good Samaritans, and biologists carried the whale to the rescue vehicle where it would be transported to the research lab.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
HERNANDO COUNTY

Officers Fagan, Scinta, and K-9 Officer Wolf participated in an Earth Day outreach event at Fox Chapel Middle School. The officers spoke with approximately 700 students about the duties of an FWC officer and the importance of resource and environmental protection. Officer Wolf completed several canine demonstrations with canine Chaos, and Officer Fagan gave educational presentations with the aid of a live American alligator to the students.

PASCO COUNTY

Officer Pulaski participated in the 2017 Disaster Expo held by Pasco County Office of Emergency Management. He brought an FWC utility vehicle for a static display. Additionally, he provided freshwater fishing, saltwater fishing and hunting regulations, as well as boating safety brochures. He educated approximately 100 individuals and answered several questions on various topics.

Officer Bergwerff, Wildlife Assistance Biologist Parks, and Lieutenant Parisoe addressed members of the Oak Creek Community. They answered questions on fishing and provided information on feeding wildlife and alligators. Approximately 15 individuals attended the presentation.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Officers Ferguson and Godfrey participated in the two-day “Island Earth Days” event at Honeymoon Island State Park, hosted by The Friends of the Island Parks. The event had food, live music, live animal shows, and nature and history displays and many other activities. The officers spoke with more than 900 attendees about fishing, hunting, the environment, local issues and wildlife-human interaction.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officers Ryan, Banks and Holcomb were dispatched to Plantation in response to a report of a five-foot alligator on someone’s front doorstep. Officer Ryan captured and secured the alligator with assistance from Officers Banks and Holcomb. The officers transported the alligator to the Everglades and released it unharmed.

Officer Vacin was on water patrol near the marina located at Mizell-Johnson State Park. He observed an individual fishing with an oversized cast net, and he had just warned the same individual the day before. The oversized cast net was seized as evidence and the individual was issued a criminal citation.

Officers Ryan and Holcomb were on patrol in Mizell-Johnson State Park and observed a vehicle driving recklessly and sounding its horn erratically. Upon contact with the operator of the vehicle, it was determined that the operator had a warrant for his arrest. Officer Holcomb placed the operator under arrest for the warrant and transported him to the Broward County Jail.

Officers Tarr and Holcomb responded to a spillway to investigate information from Officers Banks and Ryan about illegal fishing activity. Officer Holcomb issued one individual a criminal citation for possession of two undersized snook. The fish were seized as evidence.

Officers Brock and Grant were on water patrol in the Hillsboro Inlet and observed two individuals spearfishing next to the north jetty with no dive flag displayed. The officers conducted a marine fisheries inspection on the two individuals and found speared fish in their possession. Officer Grant issued one non-criminal citation to one diver for no diver-down flag displayed and a criminal citation to both divers for diving too close to the jetty. The spear guns were seized as evidence.

Officers Brock, Banks and Grant were on water patrol in Boca Lake. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officers on water patrol asked for their assistance. After consultation, one individual was charged with (underage) BUI. The juvenile was issued a citation and released to his parents.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Godward is working a boating accident that occurred in the ICW near Burt Winters Park. A motor-powered vessel struck two teenage boys that were on a racing Skull. The two boys were taken to the hospital where one was treated for head injuries and the other was released.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

The Investigations Section located a “Craigslist” post advertising a six-foot Alaskan black bear mount for sale. Florida law prohibits the sale or purchase of any taxidermal black bear mount or black bear parts in the State of Florida. Investigator Woolrich, Officer Godward and Officer Turner located the seller and addressed the violation by issuing a criminal citation.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
GLADES COUNTY

Officers Alford and Worrell responded to an alligator incident at the Fisheating Creek campground. The officers arrived on the scene to investigate an incident where a family’s dog was taken by an alligator. The officers met with the nuisance alligator trapper to help identify the alligator involved in the incident. They also took pictures of the scene and documented the GPS coordinates to include in the report.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
BROWARD COUNTY

Lieutenant Laubenberger commanded the Broward Police Multi-Agency Honor Guard at the annual Broward Law Enforcement and K-9 Memorial held at the Broward College/Davie campus. Lieutenant McDonald, Investigator Teems and Officers Coker and Tarr attended the ceremony as well.

Officer Banks was on patrol in Mizell-Johnson State Park when she received reports from the park rangers that a dog was running loose in the park and on the road way. She was flagged down by citizens stating that a dog had run across the road and down an embankment. Officer Banks observed the dog jump into the Intracoastal Waterway and alerted an approaching boat that it was about to hit the dog. The boaters managed to grab it and bring it over to Officer Banks. Officer Banks carried the dog up the embankment. Through contact with the state park rangers, the dog was transferred to a no-kill shelter and awaits claim by its owner or adoption.

GLADES COUNTY

Officers Toby and Dial participated in the Law Enforcement Special Olympics Torch Run alongside officers from the Glades County Sheriff’s Office in Moore Haven.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Environmental Investigator Booth responded to a report of a missing and endangered subject. Information received stated the individual was possibly suicidal and in or near state WMAs. Investigator Booth located a vehicle, matching that of the subject, parked in a WMA. Officer Morrow and local deputies arrived to assist. A semi-conscious subject was located lying down inside the vehicle along with an empty bottle of medication. Fire rescue was called in to respond the subject was transported to a local hospital for treatment. The deputies followed to the hospital to complete the investigation into the incident.

Duty Officer Supervisor Pereira, Duty Officer Stamp, Call Taker Harrass and Officer Mann participated in the Special Olympics Tip-A-Cop event at a Duffy's restaurant. Numerous agencies were there participating and raising money for the Special Olympics.

Numerous duty officers and FWC officers participated in the Law Enforcement Special Olympics Torch Run in Palm Beach County.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Douglas received information of a deer being killed illegally on a licensed hunting preserve and game farm. Investigators Douglas and Doricchi responded to the game farm to investigate the allegations and collect evidence. A knife, blood and soil samples were recovered from this area as well. Recent tire sign from a vehicle was located and documented in a concealed location nearby. Investigators Douglas, Doricchi, Patterson and Officer Gouveia conducted interviews on multiple subjects alleged to be involved in the incident. The information obtained in the interviews indicated where the deer meat was located, and Officer Davis obtained meat samples at the location. One suspect had a truck matching the vehicle in the picture provided, as well as tires matching the tire sign located at the scene. This vehicle was seized to process further and a search warrant was obtained to search the vehicle. Investigators Douglas, Patterson and forensic Biologist Lopez executed the search warrant. Five firearms, blood samples, soil samples and various electronics were collected from the vehicle. Forensic analysis of the evidence collected was completed and confirmed that the blood and meat samples collected at the scene matched the blood recovered from the vehicle, and the meat recovered at the location. The soil samples from the scene and the vehicle also matched. An arrest warrant was obtained for the subject involved for charges including felony grand theft, felony trespass, simple trespass, and taking a deer at night. The subject was booked in to the St. Lucie County Jail the following day.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

While on federal patrol aboard the C.T. Randall, Captain Mravic, Lieutenant Shea, and Officers Thurkettle, Reams, Johnson and Araujo conducted a fishery and TED (turtle escape device) inspection on a shrimp boat. During the inspection, four Bahamian starfish were discovered on board the shrimp boat. The subjects were issued citations for harvest/possession of Bahama starfish.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Two officers on water patrol issued 8 resource misdemeanor citations, 6 uniform boating citations and 2 warnings.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Rubenstein observed a truck and trailer in a parking area by a bridge in the lower keys and recognized it as a known poacher. Officer Rubenstein was then dispatched to a boat on fire and left the area, but alerted plain-clothes Officer Wagner and uniformed Officer Piekenbrock. The two officers sat in an unmarked truck waiting for the individuals to return. Later, plain-clothes Officer Garrison arrived on the scene. When the individuals returned, Officers Wagner and Garrison approached the three males where they returned to shore while they unloaded fishing gear, coolers, and buckets containing fish. Officer Piekenbrock conducted a resource inspection and found four illegally harvested pork fish. A filleted shark in another cooler at their truck and trailer. A hidden hatch contained seven undersized mutton snapper, one undersized hogfish, and one illegally harvested tang. Officer Piekenbrock interviewed all the occupants of the vessel and arrested the operator for multiple resource violations and interference.

Officer Garcia was patrolling near County Road 905 and Card Sound Road in Key Largo when he encountered a male and female in a white SUV. The male subject was in control of the vehicle and appeared very nervous. When Officer Garcia repeatedly directed the driver to put the vehicle in park, the two subjects fled from Officer Garcia and headed northbound towards Ocean Reef community. The driver used the vehicle to ram the gate and trespass into the private community. The vehicle was stopped by Officer Schroth while attempting to exit the community. FHP Trooper Martin and Monroe County Sheriff Deputy Babula also assisted in the apprehension. Officer Garcia placed the driver under arrest and charged the individual with multiple criminal counts including but not limited to DUI, DUI with property damage, reckless driving and fleeing and eluding a law enforcement officer.

Officers Mobley and Wagner were dispatched to a marina in the Lower Keys due to an employee reporting a carcass of a goliath and black grouper in a trash bag. Once on the scene, the employee showed Officers Mobley and Wagner the vessel the bag came from. The officer contacted the owner of the vessel who admitted he had harvested the black grouper and his son had harvested the goliath grouper. The father, as operator of the vessel, was charged with undersized, out-of-season black grouper and possession of a goliath grouper. The father was placed under arrest and booked into the Stock Island Jail.

RESCUES
COLLIER COUNTY

FWC officers assisted with a large wildfire that had broken out in the Golden Gate neighborhood of Naples. A mandatory evacuation order was issued for approximately 7,000 homes in the affected area. FWC officers assisted area law enforcement officers and fire fighters with evacuations as well as traffic control within the evacuation zone. The fire, which burned over 7,400 acres in the heavily populated area, destroyed five homes.

A male subject out of Miami was reported missing by his family. Three days later, the subject’s vehicle was located at the Gator Hook Trail Head on Loop Road in the Big Cypress National Park. The park rangers hiked the trail and found items belonging to the subject, confirming he had been there and may still be in the area. The National Park Service Supervisor Herrin and Park Ranger Radford contacted FWC’s Lieutenant Sushil to request assistance from members of the SOG team and K-9 units. The next day, Lieutenant Sushil, Lieutenant Cox, two SOG members, Officers Reams, Araujo, K-9 Officers Stasko, Cloud and Kirkland met with Big Cypress rangers at the Gator Hook Trail Head and began to hike the trail to search for the subject. SOG and K-9 began the first search with a support team to follow. After hiking harsh terrain, the SOG team members located the subject alive, but severely dehydrated and hungry. They provided him with water and something to eat, then assisted him out of the thick and harsh terrain. The team came out of the woods and delivered the subject to waiting EMS personnel. The round-trip search took approximately 6 hours, and officers traveled about 11 miles on foot during the search.

MONROE COUNTY

Officers Piekenbrock and Mason were dispatched to a vessel that was in distress and drifting without an anchor around midnight near Ramrod Key. The two officers proceeded to a vessel to try and locate the individuals in heavy winds and waves. Officers Wagner and Rubenstein responded by land and were in communication with the subjects on board the distressed vessel. They coordinated with the officers on board the patrol vessel to help find the disabled vessel. The two people were located and brought safely back to shore.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Officer Dube and FWC Commissioner Spottswood attended the release of a manatee on Key Colony Beach that was injured last year. The manatee was injured from a boat strike in the same area and was rescued by FWC and staff from the Miami Seaquarium. The manatee was rehabilitated at the Miami Seaquarium after losing a large portion of its rear paddle. There were approximately 200 people in attendance for the release.

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  FWC Enforcement Report April 14-20. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 05-02-2017, 06:35 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer Hoomes was on land patrol along Gulf Islands National Seashore near Fort Pickens conducting state fisheries inspections when he encountered several people fishing for pompano. He checked one subject who was fishing alone and possessed the daily bag limit of six pompano. Several disturbed areas in the sand were observed near the fisherman’s poles and coolers where fish could possibly have been hidden. Officer Pettey arrived and he and Officer Hoomes uncovered seven more pompano buried in the sand. The fisherman was issued a citation for possession of over the daily bag limit of pompano. All 13 fish were seized as evidence.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Pifer and Investigators Armstrong and Molnar responded to two separate boating accidents with injuries that occurred within an hour of each other. In the first accident, the operator was jumping waves on a PWC in the Gulf of Mexico. While in the air, the operator fell from the PWC and the PWC landed on him. He sustained a compound fracture to his leg below the knee. In the second accident, a female was swimming behind a running outboard engine when the propeller struck her thigh. She sustained a laceration about 12 inches long and 1 inch deep. Both injured parties were transported to a local hospital for treatment. Both cases remain under investigation.

Officers Wilkenson and Bartlett were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety and state fisheries inspections in the Destin Pass area and were dispatched to a complaint of a vessel anchored near the east jetties with individuals on board harvesting/keeping over the bag limit of pompano. When the officers located the vessel, they saw an individual go to the bow and begin counting the number of fish on board. The fisheries inspection revealed the three individuals were in possession of 21 pompano. The bag limit for pompano is six per person. The operator was issued a notice to appear citation.

Officer Corbin was on land patrol conducting a vessel title investigation at a local marina in Fort Walton Beach and saw a vessel owner returning to his vessel docked at the marina. The officer had information that the owner had failed to transfer the vessel title to his name and confirmed from the bill of sale that the vessel was purchased in May 2016. The vessel owner was issued a notice to appear citation for failure to transfer vessel title within 30 days.

Officers Wilkenson and Bartlett were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections in the Destin Harbor/Pass area and received information concerning a hit and run boating accident. The officers located the vessels and during the investigation, they noticed one of the vessels had no state registration displayed. The officers determined the owner failed to transfer title in his name after purchasing the vessel in 2015. The owner was issued a notice to appear citation.

Officer Wilkenson was on land patrol when he was dispatched to a complaint of a bear getting into a homeowner’s garbage can. When the officer arrived, he saw the garbage can knocked over next to the curb. There was a white household garbage bag removed from the can, torn up with its contents spread out. The garbage can did not have any latches to secure the lid. Officer Wilkenson confirmed that, in June 2016, the homeowner was issued a non-compliance notification letter for failure to secure food attractant from bears. The homeowner was then issued a written warning for failure to secure food attractant and was provided latches for the garbage can lid.

Lieutenant Clark and Bear Biologist Green were on land patrol conducting a follow‑up investigation on bear complaints of an individual feeding bears and a homeowner failing to secure their garbage. While in the area, Lieutenant Clark saw a white household garbage bag torn open with its contents spread out. Lieutenant Clark found an envelope with a name and address among the garbage pile, and the address was directly across from where the garbage pile was located. Lieutenant Clark contacted the homeowner. When he explained to the homeowner about a bear getting into her household garbage, she stated, “The bears don’t bother me.” The homeowner was issued a non-compliance letter notification and was provided with latches to secure her garbage can lid.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Lewis received a complaint about vehicles driving on closed roads in Blackwater River State Forest. The officer responded to the area and saw five Jeeps parked on a dirt pile that is a barrier for the closed road where the complaint originated. The officer saw fresh vehicle sign on the closed road and the drivers of the Jeeps all stated they drove on the closed road. Officer Lewis cited all the drivers for operating a vehicle off the established road in a state forest.

Officer Lewis was on patrol in Blackwater River State Forest when he saw a campsite that appeared to have been camped in for a while, with trash and household cleaning items starting to accumulate. Later in the day, he returned and saw a man and woman in the campsite and noticed other minor violations. Officer Lewis discovered that the man had a warrant for violation of probation. He arrested the man for violation of probation and issued him a warning for not having his pets on a leash. The woman cleaned up the campsite and vacated the area.

Officers Lewis and Jernigan were on patrol in Blackwater River State Forest when they saw a vessel approaching a landing. The vessel’s registration had been expired for approximately three years. The operator stated he recently purchased the vessel but could not produce a bill of sale. The woman on board admitted to fishing but did not have a fishing license. Officer Jernigan boarded the vessel to perform a fisheries inspection and saw a small box where the operator was seated. The box resembled a variety that is commonly used to hold drugs and/or paraphernalia with the male subject’s last name on it. Officer Jernigan found small plastic baggies in the box that contained a white powdery residue that appeared to be methamphetamine. The man told the officers the box belonged to him. The officers explained to the male subject that the substance in the baggies tested positive for methamphetamine. Officer Jernigan arrested the man and charged him with possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and possession of drug paraphernalia. He also received a citation for operating a vessel with an expired registration. The woman was cited for fishing without a license.

WALTON COUNTY

Officer Corbin was on land patrol conducting a vessel title investigation at a local marina in Baytowne Wharf and saw a federally documented vessel with no state registration display returning to the dock. The officer contacted the operator and asked if the vessel had a state registration. He stated the vessel was documented through the United States Coast Guard (USCG). The officer arranged to meet the owner of the vessel who failed to get a state registration. The owner was issued a notice to appear citation.

RESCUES
WALTON COUNTY

Officers Letcher and Tison responded to a capsized vessel in Choctawhatchee Bay with three occupants on board. When they arrived, the occupants had made it safely to shore. The occupants reported the vessel took on water due to the wake of another vessel. The vessel was completely submerged and a boating accident investigation is being conducted.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Brooks and J. Rockwell attended an Outdoor Class at Baker High School. The officers displayed a vessel and explained the importance of boating safety. The officers also discussed the core mission as it relates to hunter education and boating safety. There were 22 students in the class.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Ramos took part in FWC’s 75th Wildlife Management Area (WMA) anniversary event at Escribano Point WMA. Officer Ramos spoke to a group of stakeholders at the event about his role as an FWC officer.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
BAKER COUNTY

Officers Burnsed and Tyler were working a hunting club for turkey hunters that had been previously found to be baited for turkeys. At daylight, the officers located a truck parked close to where the bait was located. As they passed the vehicle on foot, they noticed fresh turkey feathers and blood in the bed of the vehicle. The officers went to the area where the bait was located with a hunting blind overlooking the baited area. They could hear turkey calls being used from inside the hunting blind. The officers saw the subject inside the blind using a recorded game call for turkeys well within 100 yards of the baited area and did not have a valid turkey stamp. While inspecting the area, the officers found fresh turkey feathers and a freshly spent shotgun wadding indicating a turkey had been recently killed over the bait. When questioned about the feathers in the bait and in the back of the vehicle, the subject admitted to killing two turkeys over the bait and was attempting to kill another. Violations for attempting to take turkey over the season bag limit, hunting turkeys over a baited area, attempting to take game by use of recorded game calls and no turkey permit were addressed by the officers.

NASSAU COUNTY

Officer Barry was conducting fisheries inspections when she came across a subject fishing from a secluded, private commercial dock at the mouth of Eagen’s Creek. When she approached the subject, she found that he had caught and retained several undersized black sea bass. A records check revealed that the subject had been cited recently for a red drum violation. He admitted that he knew the fish were too small and was cited appropriately.

Officer Barry received a call from dispatch concerning a subject catching and retaining undersized black drum at a fishing pier. She located the subject and found two undersized black drum in a bucket under some legal catfish. The subject was cited appropriately and the person who called in the complaint was grateful for the rapid response from FWC.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers continue to patrol areas of turkey bait sites throughout the county.

The officers continue to patrol area lakes for fishing and boating safety violations. Bass and bream beds are being targeted because of the low water conditions on some lakes.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers Stanley and Troiana attended Archer School for a meet and greet event. Over 200 children saw the airboat and asked questions. Boating safety was the main topic encouraging kids to be boat smart.

Officer Stanley attended two additional school events in Alachua County, one at Itby Elementary and the other at Alachua Middle School. He talked about the role of an FWC officer and discussed boating safety with the children. More than 400 children were present at both schools.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
OSCEOLA COUNTY

Officers received information via Wildlife Alert that two men were hunting from a local roadway. Once on the scene, the officers approached the men and conducted a resource inspection and interview. The two men were issued citations for hunting from the roadway, discharge of a firearm from the roadway and possession of an unbearded turkey hen.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officers Sapp and Hastings were on patrol in Deland when they saw two men walking along the road shoulder. One of the men threw a soda can onto the ground. The officers stopped to address the violation and, during their investigation, discovered that one of the men had an outstanding warrant out of St. Lucie County for violation of probation. The man was arrested and booked into the Volusia County Jail without incident.

Officers North and Haskins were checking fishermen in Bulow Creek State Park when they encountered a man with an active warrant out of Volusia County for failure to appear. He was arrested and booked into the Volusia County Jail without incident.

Officer West was checking fishermen in the New Smyrna Beach area and an adult male was unable to provide his saltwater fishing license to Officer West. A computer check indicated that the fisherman’s fishing privileges had been suspended/revoked due to failure to pay his child support. He was subsequently issued a notice to appear for the violation.

Officer West was checking an area in New Smyrna Beach known for having oysters but does not allow for the harvest of oysters due to water quality issues. Two subjects were seen actively harvesting oysters and had accumulated almost four bushels. Both were issued a notice to appear for the offense.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ORANGE COUNTY

Lieutenants Trusley, Riley, Officers J. Humphrey and Mendelson responded to wildfires in Tosohatchee WMA. FWC officers conducted routine patrols and were available to assist FWC biologists and Division of Forestry (DOF) firefighters as needed.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officers Morrison, Birchfield and Lieutenant Frantz participated in a two-day stone crab enforcement detail in Sarasota, Charlotte, and Lee counties. Commercial and recreational users were inspected for stone crab regulation compliance as well federal reef fish compliance. More than a dozen vessels were inspected and numerus warnings were issued.

LEE COUNTY

A body was located floating approximately 15 feet from shore along Bowditch Park in Fort Myers Beach. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office determined the individual was deceased. A vessel belonging to the individual was found floating in Matanzas Pass, approximately 300 yards south of where the individual was located. This is an ongoing and active boating accident investigation.

While on patrol, Officer Hardgrove saw a subject pulling his vessel from the water and the subject stated he had caught a few fish when asked. A towel in the rear of the vessel move as if something was under it. A sheepshead measuring 11¼ inches in total length was revealed by the subject. Asked a second time if there were any other fish in his possession, he denied any further fish. A resource inspection discovered three black drum, measuring 11¼ inches, 11½ inches, and 11¼ inches respectively. The subject was issued a notice to appear for possession of undersized black drum and possession of undersized sheepshead.

Officer Price was conducting Joint Enforcement Agreement (JEA) patrol approximately 10 miles out of Redfish Pass and stopped a center console fishing boat inbound and conducted a resource inspection. During the inspection, it was discovered that the vessel was for hire (fishing charter). While inspecting the catch, he discovered one undersized red grouper. The operator was issued a notice to appear and the fish was seized as evidence.

ORANGE COUNTY

An FWC captive wildlife investigator conducted an unannounced inspection on a license holder whose licenses were expired and who was believed to still possess wildlife. The inspection revealed that the individual was in possession of a Burmese Python and a Coati Mundi. In addition, the Burmese Python was being kept in an unlocked cage that did not meet standard caging requirements and was unsanitary. The subject was charged with possession of a conditional species without a license, maintaining a conditional species in an unlocked cage, possession of class III wildlife without a permit, and was given warnings for the sanitation conditions in addition to not having the conditional species PIT tagged. The owner is correcting the violations and in the process of renewing permits.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on night-time vessel patrol near the Gulfport Municipal Docks, Officer Bibler noticed a vessel leaving the docks and activated his blue lights to conduct a vessel stop. He saw the operator suddenly switch positions with another occupant and immediately noticed numerous signs of impairment from the operator. After a boating safety inspection was completed, the operator was asked to perform some seated field sobriety tasks. The operator refused and was subsequently arrested for BUI. The operator also refused to give a sample of his breath.

Offshore patrol vessel team members Lieutenant Marlow, Officers Smith, Burks, Nelson and Martin were conducting federal water patrols approximately 51 miles offshore on the Gulf Sentry. Officers Burks and Nelson boarded the commercial longline fishing vessel “Rachelle,” and Officer Burks discovered flounder not in whole condition in the vessel’s bait box. The captain of the vessel has been caught numerous times with federal and state bait violations, and a shark case is still pending in federal court. Upon questioning the captain, he admitted to catching and cutting up the flounder for bait. Officer Burks seized the contraband and issued a notice to appear citation. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) agents were notified of the violation.

RESCUES
PINELLAS COUNTY

Lieutenant Laskowski, Investigator Freemon and Officers Pettifer, Boogaerts and Messman responded to the report of a vessel fire near Pinellas Point in South St. Petersburg. Once on the scene, the officers discovered a 30-foot sailboat at anchor was fully involved in flames. Fire Rescue responded and extinguished the fire. The vessel sank soon after. A Good Samaritan was credited with transporting to shore the two individuals on board at the time of the fire. One of the individuals was transported to a local hospital with second degree burns. The fire reportedly started while one of the individuals on board was trying to light a stove in the vessel’s galley. This incident remains an ongoing reportable boating accident investigation.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officer Sehl responded to a complaint of gopher tortoise burrow destruction. Upon examination, the burrow appeared heavily caved in and her digging efforts were making it impossible to confirm it had been a gopher burrow. Biologist Sievers drove down from Lakeland to confirm that it was a gopher tortoise burrow, so he could direct file on the subjects through the state attorney’s office. Biologist Sievers confirmed there was a tunnel and the gopher was still there trapped under the cave-in. They rescued the gopher and estimated it to be anywhere between 30-60 years of age. Officer Sehl charged each subject with criminal destruction of a gopher tortoise burrow.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
LEE COUNTY

Officers Rogers, Bradshaw, Hardgrove, Furbay and Lieutenant Barrett performed additional patrols over the Easter weekend at Lovers Key State Park. Historically, this weekend draws an unusually high number of visitors to the park. Due in large part to the efforts of park staff, volunteers, and the officers’ patrols, there were no major issues in the park throughout the weekend.

Officer Furbay worked panther zone speed enforcement in a protection area. During the shift, numerous vehicles were stopped for exceeding the speed limit by more than 20 miles per hour (mph). By the end of the shift, three infractions and five written warnings were issued. The fastest speed recorded was 85 mph in the 45-mph posted area.

PASCO COUNTY

Officer Balfour was conducting patrols on state lands to warn individuals about the dry conditions and high risk for forest fires. While on one piece of property, he noticed smoke from a neighboring DOF property. He reported the fire, which was initially small, and personnel from DOF and FWC’s Northeast Region responded. Due to conditions, the fire quickly grew to engulf a very large area. The DOF personnel battled the fire for several days.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Officers Bibler, Dalton, Ferguson, Godfrey and Lieutenant Van Trees worked a BUI detail around Treasure Island over the weekend that ended up being a great success. The officers wrote numerous citations and warnings, and educated a lot of individuals. The community members told the officers how glad they were to see FWC patrolling in their area. The detail also resulted in one BUI arrest that began when the officers noticed an individual running at night in a slow speed zone with no navigation lights on. The subject was arrested and refused to give breath sample. During the detail, the officers had another subject pulled over for violating a speed zone, and then he fled on his vessel. The subject who fled was positively identified and charges are pending.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Lieutenant Frantz gave four presentations to Vineland Elementary School first graders. The students learned about alligator safety and habits. Lieutenant Frantz brought a small alligator for them to see and touch.

LAKE COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator McDaniel, Biologist Dupree and Volunteer Coordinator McDonald conducted outreach at the Trout Lake Nature Center’s Earth Day event. About 125 people visited their display which included the wildlife trailer as well as several critters.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officer Defeo was dispatched in response to a report of people trespassing on the Sewell Lock Spillway. Once on the scene, he saw two subjects fishing inside the fenced-off area. The subjects were escorted back to their vehicle and said that they had each caught a fish which were in a cooler in the vehicle. There were two undersized snook inside the cooler. The two subjects were cited for possession of undersized snook and trespassing.

MARTIN COUNTY

Several FWC officers and investigators responded to a report of two vessels colliding near the Stuart Causeway in Sewall’s Point. Preliminary investigative efforts show the collision occurred on the east side of the waterway approximately one-half mile north of the bridge. One of the vessel operators was transported to Martin Memorial North Hospital and was subsequently pronounced deceased. The incident is currently under investigation.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Morrow and Cobo conducted a random wholesale dealer fisheries inspection and found that the wholesale operation complied with cleanliness and quality control requirements. Freezers where seafood products were being stored complied with adequate temperatures and all licenses were current. Only one warning was given for purchasing fishery products without verifying the current license of a commercial fisherman.

RESCUES
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Investigator Booth, Lieutenant Hayes, Officers Morrow, Merizio, Cobo, Carroll, and Rogers, along with deputies from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, responded to the report of a suicidal subject who was reported as missing endangered and believed to be near or within the JW Corbett WMA. While in route to area, Investigator Booth saw a vehicle matching the description parked at the gate of the Hungryland WEA. Additional units arrived on the scene and encountered the subject, who was found in the back seat of the vehicle. The subject was then transported to the nearest medical facility for treatment. His condition is unknown.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Investigator LaFoy coordinated the assistance of other investigators and officers to initiate contact with 52 non-compliant alligator hunting permit holders throughout the region, resulting in the collection of 54 unused CITES tags and 23 harvest reports. Twenty-three citations and 16 written warnings for violations of non-compliant reporting were issued. Public participation and support of conservation through species management, combined with law enforcement, is crucial to the long‐term well‐being and availability of these resources for public use.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Arbogast was on state water patrol when he was contacted by a Collier County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) marine deputy for assistance with a subject who was suspected of BUI. The deputy stopped the vessel for violating a manatee zone and saw multiple signs of impairment from the operator. Officer Arbogast met the CCSO unit and they stopped the vessel at a local boat ramp. Officer Arbogast immediately noticed that the operator’s eyes were glassy and the odor of alcohol was evident. During the conversation, the operator seemed to have trouble focusing and was slurring his words. While walking down the dock, the operator was seen having trouble with his balance. Officer Arbogast conducted the seated field sobriety tasks and, at one point during the tasks, the operator spontaneously started to explain that he had been drinking a few hours earlier. When asked how much he had to drink, he responded, “about 4-5 beers.” Officers Yaxley and Kleis arrived on the scene to assist. Based on the operator’s performance of the exercises and the other observations, the operator was arrested for BUI and subsequently issued a citation for refusing to submit to a breath test.

Officer Plussa encountered a subject fishing on SR-29 near Copeland and Everglades City. An inspection revealed the subject was in possession of one dozen black bass, more than double the legal bag limit of five. The subject was charged accordingly.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

FWC investigators who have been investigating the illegal trapping and possession of migratory birds seized 20 traps and cages and rescued 43 migratory birds. A total of 7 suspects were charged with 12 misdemeanor violations.

MONROE COUNTY

Officers Swensson and Sutter stopped a vessel in Palo Alto Creek with two subjects on board, one of which appeared to have just gotten out of the water. Upon their first sight of the vessel, a lobster was thrown from the boat into the mangroves. A fisheries inspection yielded a mesh bag with several legal fish on board. After both subjects were identified and a boating safety check was given, they were released. A short time later, a white mesh bag was found sitting on the bottom of the creek in the exact location of where the vessel was first spotted. Inside the bag were 11 wrung lobster tails, nine of which were undersized and one of which was speared. Ten stone crab claws were also found inside the bag, four of which were undersized. The officers were unable to locate the subjects after the bag was found. Officers Swensson and Sutter worked closely with the state attorney and obtained arrest warrants for both subjects. The charges were possession of undersized lobster, out-of-season lobster, speared lobster, wrung tails on the water, molesting lobster in the Card Sound Lobster Sanctuary, and possession of undersized stone crab claws

Officer Mattson received a complaint via FWC dispatch that a Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) trooper had a subject stopped and the subject ran from the FHP trooper, got in a skiff and took off into the area behind the Lorelei Restaurant. Officer Mattson got on water patrol and responded to the area of Lorelei. Officer Mattson was speaking to the troopers when a local man, known to Officer Mattson, was walking in the area. Asked if the man knew the fleeing subject, he responded, “He’s my neighbor.” Officer Mattson knew that he lived in Little Basin and took 2 FHP personnel on board the patrol boat and went into Little Basin. Officers Garcia and Wilkins also responded to the area. The USCG arrived on the scene as well. The skiff that the subject was in was found tied up next to a houseboat in Little Basin. The subject was taken into custody without any issues. The FHP charged the man with DUI, resisting without violence and BUI. Officer Mattson assisted the trooper with the BUI paperwork and helped process the BUI charge. The subject refused the breath test on the DUI and the BUI. He was taken to the Plantation Key Jail with a $25,000 bond.

RESCUES
MONROE COUNTY

Lieutenant Robison and Officer Carroll were dispatched to a possible swimmer in distress near Veterans Point on the south end of the 7-mile Bridge. With Investigator Adams directing from the shore, they located the swimmer who had gotten picked up by a powerful current and wind and was being pulled offshore. Lieutenant Robison picked up the swimmer who was attempting to swim to a local island approximately a mile offshore when he became exhausted and carried by the current. The grateful swimmer was delivered to his girlfriend after he declined to be checked out by medical services.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Janzen and McKay assisted the Manatee Group with a rescue in Key Largo near a local campground. The juvenile manatee had been spotted in the area several days before with numerous fresh propeller scars on the back and tail. Attempts to locate it were unsuccessful until H. Janzen, a Manatee Group volunteer and wife of Officer Janzen, located it along a mangrove-lined canal late in the evening. On the following day, FWC officers and volunteers with the Manatee Group and the Dolphin Research Center Manatee Rescue Team safely netted the creature and brought it to a private boat ramp where a large group of residents and children had gathered. FWC officers took the opportunity to educate the families on how to safely observe and not interfere or harass manatees in the wild. The manatee was taken to the Miami Seaquarium for treatment.

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  FWC Enforcement Report April 7-13. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 04-19-2017, 09:06 AM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
CALHOUN COUNTY

Officers Hayes and Baber were working two separate baited food plots that Officer Hayes had previously identified. Although no subjects were seen at the baited areas, the officers heard a shot close by on the same hunting lease. The officers moved to investigate and located two subjects who had killed a gobbler. After a short interview and inspection of the area where the bird was killed, it was determined that the area was baited. Both subjects were cited for taking turkey over bait and the turkey was seized as evidence.

GULF COUNTY

Officer M. Webb was approximately 16 miles offshore on water patrol in the Gulf of Mexico, when he conducted a vessel stop and fisheries inspection. The captain of the vessel was in possession of four red snapper and was issued a citation for possession of red snapper in federal waters during a closed season.

Officers H. and M. Webb were on water patrol approximately 14 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico when a subject was seen dumping a fish from a vessel. The fish was recovered and determined to be a red snapper. The subject was issued a citation for possession of red snapper in federal waters during a closed season.

JACKSON COUNTY

Officer Burkhead was conducting land-based water patrol at the Jim Woodruff Dam when he noticed a vehicle with vessel in tow that had fishing equipment and several coolers on board. As he approached the vehicle, he noticed a chest containing live bait in the truck. Officer Burkhead received permission from the owner to inspect the cooler. 21 red drum were found in the cooler, 20 of which were under the legal size. The owner was charged with possession of over the bag limit of red drum and several counts of undersized red drum. The fish were taken as evidence.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Jarvis and Maltais were patrolling the coastal shoreline conducting state fisheries and license inspections. One of many resource stops involved two fishermen catching over the bag limit of pompano. The officers counted a total of 19 pompano. One of the individuals was issued a notice to appear citation and both individuals were issued a citation for no saltwater fishing license.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Ramos received information that several men were fishing in Escambia Bay and keeping red snapper. After making his way to the area, the officer saw men actively fishing. When he asked the men if they had caught any fish, they replied that they had not. License and resource inspections revealed that one of the men had caught and kept two red snapper. The fish measured 11 and 10 inches, respectively. One of the men admitted he caught both fish. The fish were seized and the man was charged accordingly.

Officers Mullins and Hutchinson were patrolling the Yellow River Wildlife Management Area (WMA), when they saw a truck damaging the road by spinning out. They stopped the truck and approached the man driving it. While speaking with him, three more trucks with large mud tires pulled up to them covered in fresh mud. The officers discovered that they were all together. During interviews, the men driving the trucks admitted to riding along closed roads and mud riding in a closed clay pit. While the officers were driving back to the pit to access the damage to state lands, they saw more damage to the roadways that was caused by the four trucks. The officers issued each man a notice to appear citation for damage to public lands by a motor vehicle. They were also issued warnings for driving on closed roads.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer Clark attended the Annual Kid’s Fishing Clinic in Pensacola. There were approximately 400 kids in attendance, making it one of the largest in the state. The kids were taught the basic techniques of fishing and were given a rod and reel. Officer Clark answered many fish and wildlife questions from the parents.

Officer McHenry attended the Annual Firefighters Challenge at Pensacola Beach. He displayed a marked patrol truck in a first responder’s area that was set for kids. He also handed out brochures and answered many questions.

HOLMES COUNTY

Lieutenant Walsingham and Officers Yates and Tison attended the At the Park Day at Ponce De Leon State Park. The Holmes County Public Library partnered with Holmes County 4-H Club, schools and the park to host a day of outdoor education for the elementary school children. Approximately 400 people were in attendance, including US Congressman Matt Gaetz. Students were educated on the importance of our environment, conservation and safety. The children learned about the role of FWC and the Division of Law Enforcement. They were shown Officer Yates’ patrol vessel, truck, nature-related items and were provided informational handouts while enjoying the outdoors.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Nichols assisted the staff of Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park with the Annual Mattie Kelly Estuary Family Festival. Activities and exhibits included wildlife displays and shows, kayaking and paddle boarding tours, guided trail hikes by local experts, touch-tanks with Choctawhatchee Bay aquatic species, fish-print shirts, kid-friendly crafts and scavenger hunts. The event was free to the public with approximately 1,800-2,000 guests attending.

WALTON COUNTY

Officers attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the new boat ramp and park at the Highway 331 Bridge. The park was dedicated to Thomas Pilcher, a retired Florida Marine Patrol officer and a member of the Board of Conservation. The FWC representatives were Officers Jarvis, Trueblood, White, P. Rockwell, Lieutenant Clark and Captain Rondeau. The offshore patrol vessel Vigilance was tied to the new boat ramp. The FWC representatives provided an informational booth during the event.

Officer Tison participated in a West DeFuniak Elementary School outreach event. He spoke with approximately 15 students about the importance of fish and wildlife conservation and covered various topics, including the duties of an FWC officer.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Maslo was on patrol when she received a call from FWC dispatch stating a man with an orange bucket was taking undersized mangrove snapper. The officer arrived at a local bridge and found a man fitting the description. A resource inspection revealed the man was in possession of 11 mangrove snapper, seven of which were undersized. The man was also in possession of one undersized spotted sea trout. The man was cited accordingly.

Officer Marroquin was on patrol at Sebastian Inlet State Park when an off-duty officer informed him about a man consuming alcohol in the park. Officer Marroquin approached the man, who was fishing, to address the alcohol violation and conduct a fisheries inspection. The officer’s resource inspection revealed the man was in possession of three undersized sheepshead and confirmed he was violating the park’s alcohol rules. A citation was issued for possession of undersized sheepshead and a warning for consuming alcohol in a state park.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Officer Aswall was conducting late afternoon Joint Enforcement Agreement (JEA) dockside patrols at the Vilano Boat Ramp north of downtown St. Augustine and encountered a local fisherman in possession of scamp, a shallow-water grouper, among his catch. The shallow-water grouper season is closed annually in the Atlantic for recreational harvest and possession from January 1 through April 30 each year. Officer Aswall issued the fisherman a citation for possessing a scamp grouper during the closed season.

Officers Graves and B. Miller were on late afternoon patrol in Anastasia State Park and saw several commercial oystermen harvesting from the conditionally approved area just north of the park’s boundary in Salt Run. A short while later, the officers met with some of the oystermen at the nearby Lighthouse Park Boat Ramp. During an inspection of two oystermen working out of the same vessel, the officers found six bags of oysters, two of which were full of undersized attached oysters. Furthermore, the oystermen admitted to the officers that they did not use nor carry a shellfish harvesting gauge of any kind and did not attempt to cull the attached undersized oysters. The officers issued each harvester a citation for the misdemeanor violation of possessing greater than the 15% tolerance for attached oysters measuring less than three inches.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officer North and Lieutenant Baer were on foot patrol in Clark Bay Hunt Club when they located a pop-up ground blind 43 yards from an active feeder filled with corn and soybeans. Closer inspection of the area revealed a turkey kill site, including feathers that had been cut next to shot, wadding and a shotgun shell just outside of the blind.

As they were walking back to their vehicle, the officers were confronted by a man who claimed the hunting site was his. He told the officers that he had already killed his two-turkey limit on opening weekend and showed them pictures on his phone. He claimed he killed the turkeys at another location in the hunt club. After he was informed of his Miranda rights, the man was interviewed and presented with the evidence located at the scene. He then admitted to killing one of his turkeys on opening day out of the blind that was only 43 yards from the feeder. He also advised that the feeder was in working order and dispensing feed the day the turkey was killed. Officer North prepared a case packet and direct-filed the charge of taking turkey within 100 yards of a feeder with the state attorney’s office.

Acting on information provided by the FWC investigations section, Officer Sapp responded to Seville in response to the report of a man and woman who were advertising tilapia and catfish for sale to the public on Facebook. The man was issued a criminal citation for selling freshwater fish without a retail license and the woman was given a warning for the same offense.

RESCUES
LAKE COUNTY

A hiker called 911 because he was lost somewhere near Alexander Springs Run in the Lake County portion of the Ocala National Forest. He had been hiking for three days and ran out of food and water. Officers Sapp, Belleville, Morrow, Scrambling and Shaw responded. Officers Belleville and Sapp located the hiker by vessel. The subject refused medical treatment and was returned to his vehicle.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MARION COUNTY

Officers Dias, Hargabus, Sweet and Investigator Staub participated in the FWC Youth Turkey Hunt in Halpata Preserve. Prior to the hunt, the officers scouted the area for the optimal blind locations near roost sites and strut zones. In addition to scouting and setting up blinds, the officers sat with the participants and acted as their guides, teaching the kids different tips and tactics of turkey hunting, woodsmanship, and even found several antler sheds. This provided great interaction with the young generation and their parents while sitting with our FWC officers. Many questions were asked and answered while in the blind. The officers’ hard work and dedication was rewarded with a 100% success rate for the youth hunters. All hunters harvested turkeys, with two having 11-inch beard length and one having 1½-inch spur length.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Officer Aswall presented the recreational fisheries laws and basic boating safety portions of the Women’s Saltwater Fishing Clinic, sponsored by the agency’s Division of Marine Fisheries Management and hosted by Biologist Heather Sneed. Officer Aswall spoke to approximately 25 women anglers at Miller’s Boating Center in Ocala and touched on topics such as how to properly measure a fish, size and bag limits, species identification and proper stowage and wear of personal floatation devices.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on patrol in Ruskin, Officer Messman conducted a fisheries inspection on a shoreline fisherman. Through the course of the inspection, the fisherman revealed he caught a snook and placed it in a cooler in his vehicle. The fisherman admitted the snook measured towards the lower end of the slot limit. The snook was measured at 25 inches and the individual was cited for possession of an undersized snook.

The Tampa Police Department requested the help of FWC officers around the Courtney Campbell Causeway and the Hillsborough River due to the ongoing high numbers of jet skiers driving recklessly. Officers Ahlers, Baker, Bibler and Lieutenant Van Trees assisted and made numerous stops and contacts. Many citations and warnings were issued ranging from boating safety violations to possession of illegal drugs.

MANATEE COUNTY

While Officer Davidson was on land patrol around SR 64, he was backing up a Bradenton Police officer that was performing a traffic stop. The officers were parked on the side of SR 64 with their blue lights flashing, when another vehicle passed them at a high rate of speed and failed to move over. Officer Davidson performed a traffic stop on the vehicle that failed to move over and found that the driver was smoking cannabis. The driver was also found to be in possession of a felony amount of cannabis, and the passenger in the car had a warrant out for his arrest. Both the driver and passenger in the car were transported and booked into the Manatee County jail for their violations.

Officer Dalton was dispatched to a complaint that a subject was in possession of a gopher tortoise. After arriving on the scene, he indeed found that the subject was in possession of a gopher tortoise. The individual was cited criminally for possession of a gopher tortoise and given a notice to appear in court.

PASCO COUNTY

Officers Pulaski and Bergwerff were working commercial fisheries in the Hudson Beach area. From a concealed position, the officers monitored a local seafood dealer. They saw two individuals packaging and loading gulf shrimp into a minivan. When the subjects started to leave, the officers conducted a stop and determined the individuals were transporting commercial quantities of saltwater products (gulf shrimp) without proper documentation. The appropriate citations were issued.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on water patrol near Tarpon Key, Officer Bibeau received a call from dispatch advising him of wade fishermen keeping undersized snook near Lassing Park. Officer Bibeau arrived on the scene a short time later and encountered a fisherman who said that he had caught a mangrove snapper, sheepshead and snook, all attached to a stringer. The fish were inspected and the subject was found to be in possession of an undersized sheepshead and snook. The subject was cited accordingly.

Lieutenant Van Trees responded to a call for assistance from the USCG about a vessel that had run aground near Boca Ciega. The USCG advised they were trying to get all the occupants off the vessel that ran aground. There were three individuals, some of which were intoxicated, that refused to leave and kept trying to get the vessel unstuck. Concerned for their safety, the USCG was worried about leaving the intoxicated occupants on the vessel and asked FWC and Pinellas County Sheriff's Office for their assistance. Lieutenant Van Trees, along with the deputies, convinced the remaining occupants they weren't going to move the boat, and they needed to come with the officers to make it back to shore. Lieutenant Van Trees could smell a strong odor of marijuana coming from one of the occupants, and a subsequent search revealed a felony amount of marijuana. The subject was booked into jail by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

RESCUES
HERNANDO COUNTY

Officers from Hernando County assisted with traffic control in response to a 1,100-acre wildfire in the Weeki Wachee Preserve.

LEE COUNTY

Officers Rogers, Hardgrove, Perry, Furbay, Bell and Lieutenant Ruggiero responded to a search and rescue for a missing kayaker. The man failed to return from a fishing trip the night before. The officers worked closely with the USCG, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Cape Coral Police Department and Cape Coral Fire and Rescue, as they covered the area throughout the day, night and continued into the next day searching for the man. Unfortunately, the man was found deceased late that afternoon. This is an ongoing boating accident investigation.

Officers Perry and Salem were on water patrol near Bokeelia when a call for distress was received by FWC dispatch. Two kayakers along with two small children were out kayaking in the Matlacha area, when their kayak began taking on water and sinking. The officers arrived on the scene and took the family back to a local boat ramp. The officers also assisted in pulling the sunken vessel out of the water at the boat ramp.

PASCO COUNTY

Officers Pulaski and Bergwerff were in route to release an alligator on Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) lands when they encountered a K-9 deputy on the property. The K-9 deputy advised they were responding to three hunters lost in the woods. The hunters’ approximate location was four miles away. The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office personnel located the lost individuals and the K-9 deputy and FWC officers assisted the individuals with safely returning to their vehicle, and the alligator was released on the district lands.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Officer Bibler and Lieutenant Van Trees responded to a jet ski accident at the Courtney Campbell Causeway where an 18-month-old was struck by a jet ski. Investigator Freemon, Officers Bibeau and Ferguson also responded to assist in the investigation. The boating accident investigation is still ongoing with the investigations unit.

SOUTH A REGION
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officer Tarr responded to a complaint of a fisherman catching and keeping undersized mutton snapper on the Dania Pier. Officers Tarr, Defeo and Seldomridge walked down the pier and located a subject matching the description of the complaint. They spoke to the subject who advised that he did not have any fish and had not caught any fish all day. During a resource inspection, the officers found two undersized mutton snapper hidden in a bag. The subject had been previously warned for possession of illegal fish and was issued a criminal citation for possession of undersized mutton snapper and a warning for interference with an FWC officer. The fish were seized and submitted into evidence.

Officer Kuester, Investigator Warne and Lieutenant Carcasses responded to a boating accident involving a diver who was seriously injured when he was struck by the propeller of the commercial dive boat he was diving from. A USCG Investigator also responded since it involved a vessel actively involved in commercial activities. The USCG is handling the ongoing investigation.

The FWC received a delayed report of a boating accident which resulted in a fatality. A vessel with six passengers on board began taking on water and eventually capsized and sank. The USCG and a commercial tow boat company responded and retrieved the six occupants from the water. One of the occupants required CPR and was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced deceased. The FWC is handling the boating accident investigation.

Investigator Warne, Lieutenant Ornold, Officers Defeo and Seldomridge worked an undercover livery inspection operation. Investigator Warne was operating in a plain-clothes capacity and approached a personal watercraft rental company to rent a PWC. During the contact, an employee of the company assisted Investigator Warne with the exam. Officers Defeo and Seldomridge responded and issued the employee a citation for the violation.

GLADES COUNTY

Officer Alford responded to a request for an “other than homemade” vessel inspection. He found that the title for the vessel did not match the hull identification numbers and that this title had existed before the current owner had purchased the vessel. He denied the vessel for title reissuance and notified Investigator Lafoy to investigate possible title fraud.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Alford and Nasworth received a call from US Sugar Security involving four subjects trespassing south of Rogers Road. Officer Alford responded and found the subjects fishing near the cultivated field and confirmed that the subjects were not authorized to be on the property. He obtained trespass complaints, signed by a US Sugar representative, and cited the subjects for trespass.

Officers Alford and Worrell received a call from US Sugar Security that three subjects were trespassing in a cultivated field near Hwy 80 in Area 3. Officers Alford and Worrell responded and found the subjects hunting rabbits in the field. They confirmed that the subjects were not authorized to be on the property and obtained trespass complaints, signed by a US Sugar representative, and cited the subjects accordingly.

Officers Alford, Worrell, Nasworth, and Lieutenant Brown responded to a trespass complaint on US Sugar Property with nine subjects hunting rabbits. The officers located the subjects and escorted them from the property.

Officers Alford, Nasworth, Worrell, Toby and Lieutenant Brown all participated in special detail on Torry Island. The purpose of the detail was public safety, public outreach, boating safety and assisting the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Officers Fretwell and Arnold were traveling Southbound on the ICW when they saw a vessel traveling in the opposite direction on a full plane in a slow speed manatee zone. A vessel stop was initiated and Officer Fretwell saw the operator having a hard time keeping his eyes open and using the console to keep steady and help him stand. He was also smiling and talking to himself. Officer Fretwell requested that the subject perform field sobriety tasks to determine if the subject was impaired. At a local boat ramp, the tasks were performed by the subject and the results indicated impairment. The subject was transported and booked into jail without incident. The subject was also issued a citation for the manatee zone speed violation and for refusing to provide a breath sample.

RESCUES
OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

A tornadic event occurred in the morning on April 6, starting in Kissimmee Prairie State Park campground and destroying two RVs. One female victim was transported to the hospital for breathing difficulties after her RV flipped over with her inside. Minor cuts and bruises were sustained by two male victims who both refused transport by EMS. The tornado then traveled in a northeastern direction and hit the Fort Drum Ranchettes, located North of Highway 68 along SR 441. Multiple mobile homes were destroyed or sustained significant damage. Several other houses sustained minor damage. Trees and powerlines were down across major and secondary roads and Florida Power and Light was on the scene dealing with the powerline issues. Officers from the FWC, Okeechobee Sheriffs’ Office and Okeechobee Fire Department helped clear debris along roadways and went door to door checking on the welfare of the residents. No injuries were reported at the Ranchettes and all occupants were accounted for.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
HENDRY COUNTY

Officers Alford and Worrell responded to a panther complaint near Hwy 835 and Dooley Grade. A female panther was found in the road earlier that morning with fatal injuries from an apparent vehicle collision. Once on the scene, Officers Alford and Worrell found the deceased panther on the east shoulder of the road. The officers photographed the scene, took GPS coordinates and stood by for an FWC biologist to pick up the panther for further evaluation.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officer Allen attended court on his “taking turkey over bait” case that he made on the opening morning of spring gobbler season. The results were a plea of guilty and a fine, court costs and payment to the Wildlife Alert Fund totaling $800.00 dollars.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Rogers, Carroll, Moss and Norbrothen conducted a detail on board an offshore patrol vessel during the full moon. The officers conducted fisheries inspections enforcing snapper and grouper species south of the Jupiter Inlet. As a result, the officers found multiple violations including undersized triggerfish, vermillion snapper, and out-of-season grouper. All violations were handled accordingly.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
PALM BEACH COUNTY

FWC officers were present at the annual Black Gold Jubilee to answer questions and educate the public about the agency’s mission. Officers Alford and Toby were approached by a 9-year-old-girl who had lost her parents. The officers found the child’s family and returned her to their custody.

SOUTH B REGION
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Reams and Araujo responded to a complaint about a subject cleaning a deer out of season. They arrived on the scene and saw a male subject outside and deer fat on and around a table. When they got closer to the table, they found more meat and fat, along with fat on the knife. Looking through the screen on the back porch, they saw a closed trash can with dry blood and meat on it, a cooler with bloody water leaking out of the drain plug, and a pair of shorts with blood on them in another trash can. They searched the surrounding area and into the neighbors’ properties and found more dry blood in several spots. Officer Collazo and K-9 Rosco were called for assistance and K-9 Rosco indicated at several areas. Officers Reams and Araujo then located the subject at another address where he admitted to killing three whitetail deer (2 does, 1 buck) that morning in the front yard. The subject was arrested for three counts of deer out of season and one count of trespass by projectile.

Officers Arbogast and Kleis approached two individuals who were actively fishing to conduct a resource and license inspection. The individuals told the officers that the people across the waterway were catching a lot of snook. The officers looked across the waterway and saw two individuals packing up their fishing gear, and quickly making their way towards a parking lot. Officer Kleis made his way to the parking lot, while Officer Arbogast kept visual on the subjects and radioed the information to Officer Kleis. Officer Kleis saw the two subjects packing fishing gear into a car, and heard what appeared to be a fish thrashing in a cooler. Officer Kleis asked the subjects if they had caught any fish, to which they admitted to catching and keeping a large snook. Officer Kleis located an approximately 36-inch snook in the cooler. To be legal to keep, snook must between 28 and 33 inches. The subject was issued a notice to appear for the violation and the snook was returned to the resource alive.

Officer Kleis and Investigator White were on water patrol conducting BUI enforcement when they received a call about a grounded vessel with possibly intoxicated occupants. They responded to the scene and saw a vessel grounded on a mud bank that was exposed due to the low tide. There were two occupants on board the vessel, both of which were obviously impaired. Officers Plussa and Arbogast also arrived on the scene to assist and located multiple witnesses who provided sworn statements. The owner of the boat claimed to be operating the boat when it became grounded. The second occupant also stated that the owner of the boat was driving the boat. However, there were multiple witnesses that stated the other occupant was driving the vessel when it became grounded. The investigation determined that both occupants were operating the vessel, and both were highly intoxicated. Both subjects were subsequently arrested for BUI and refused to provide breath samples. The subjects were booked into the Collier County Jail.

Officer Curbelo received a call about individuals shooting in the Picayune Strand State Forest. Three subjects were located and were not displaying the use fee placard in their vehicle. They admitted they had been shooting in the forest and that their guns were in the rear of the vehicle. The rear hatch was opened and an AK-47 rifle and a short-barreled shotgun were found. One subject was placed under arrest for possession of a short-barreled shotgun. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is investigating where the subject acquired the short-barreled shotgun.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

FWC officers conducted a vessel stop near the Gables Waterway while patrolling South Biscayne Bay. A resource inspection revealed the occupants had fish fillets on board. The occupants stated they had returned from the Bahamas and had filleted the fish in another location. The officers explained to the individuals that all fish returning from the Bahamas must have the skin intact. The operator of the vessel took responsibility of the filleted fish and was cited accordingly.

FWC officers stopped a vessel for a fisheries inspection while patrolling Biscayne Channel and discovered an undersized sailfish. The subject also did not have any federal permits to harvest the sailfish they possessed. The boat operator was cited accordingly.

An officer saw a vessel leaving the marina while conducting resources inspections at Matheson Hammock Boat Ramp. Approximately 45 minutes later, the same vessel returned speeding through the manatee zone and approaching the dock in an apparent emergency manner. The vessel had extensive damage to the port side. The officer approached the operator who stated he had been involved in an accident with a channel marker. The vessel was taking on water quickly while docked. The operator removed his vessel out of the water before it sank. The operator then provided a statement to the officer who cited the operator for operating the vessel in a careless manner.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Mattson was on water patrol in Whale Harbor Channel when he saw a rental PWC doing doughnuts in the slow speed zone. Upon speaking with the 25-year-old subject, Officer Mattson learned the subject had not been given a boater’s safety exam as required by law. Officer Mattson brought the PWC into the rental company and he cited the subject for a speed zone violation. He cited the rental operator the misdemeanor violation of not giving the operator the boater’s safety test.

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  FWC Enforcement Report April 7-13. All Regions
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NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
CALHOUN COUNTY

Officers Hayes and Baber were working two separate baited food plots that Officer Hayes had previously identified. Although no subjects were seen at the baited areas, the officers heard a shot close by on the same hunting lease. The officers moved to investigate and located two subjects who had killed a gobbler. After a short interview and inspection of the area where the bird was killed, it was determined that the area was baited. Both subjects were cited for taking turkey over bait and the turkey was seized as evidence.

GULF COUNTY

Officer M. Webb was approximately 16 miles offshore on water patrol in the Gulf of Mexico, when he conducted a vessel stop and fisheries inspection. The captain of the vessel was in possession of four red snapper and was issued a citation for possession of red snapper in federal waters during a closed season.

Officers H. and M. Webb were on water patrol approximately 14 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico when a subject was seen dumping a fish from a vessel. The fish was recovered and determined to be a red snapper. The subject was issued a citation for possession of red snapper in federal waters during a closed season.

JACKSON COUNTY

Officer Burkhead was conducting land-based water patrol at the Jim Woodruff Dam when he noticed a vehicle with vessel in tow that had fishing equipment and several coolers on board. As he approached the vehicle, he noticed a chest containing live bait in the truck. Officer Burkhead received permission from the owner to inspect the cooler. 21 red drum were found in the cooler, 20 of which were under the legal size. The owner was charged with possession of over the bag limit of red drum and several counts of undersized red drum. The fish were taken as evidence.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Jarvis and Maltais were patrolling the coastal shoreline conducting state fisheries and license inspections. One of many resource stops involved two fishermen catching over the bag limit of pompano. The officers counted a total of 19 pompano. One of the individuals was issued a notice to appear citation and both individuals were issued a citation for no saltwater fishing license.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Ramos received information that several men were fishing in Escambia Bay and keeping red snapper. After making his way to the area, the officer saw men actively fishing. When he asked the men if they had caught any fish, they replied that they had not. License and resource inspections revealed that one of the men had caught and kept two red snapper. The fish measured 11 and 10 inches, respectively. One of the men admitted he caught both fish. The fish were seized and the man was charged accordingly.

Officers Mullins and Hutchinson were patrolling the Yellow River Wildlife Management Area (WMA), when they saw a truck damaging the road by spinning out. They stopped the truck and approached the man driving it. While speaking with him, three more trucks with large mud tires pulled up to them covered in fresh mud. The officers discovered that they were all together. During interviews, the men driving the trucks admitted to riding along closed roads and mud riding in a closed clay pit. While the officers were driving back to the pit to access the damage to state lands, they saw more damage to the roadways that was caused by the four trucks. The officers issued each man a notice to appear citation for damage to public lands by a motor vehicle. They were also issued warnings for driving on closed roads.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer Clark attended the Annual Kid’s Fishing Clinic in Pensacola. There were approximately 400 kids in attendance, making it one of the largest in the state. The kids were taught the basic techniques of fishing and were given a rod and reel. Officer Clark answered many fish and wildlife questions from the parents.

Officer McHenry attended the Annual Firefighters Challenge at Pensacola Beach. He displayed a marked patrol truck in a first responder’s area that was set for kids. He also handed out brochures and answered many questions.

HOLMES COUNTY

Lieutenant Walsingham and Officers Yates and Tison attended the At the Park Day at Ponce De Leon State Park. The Holmes County Public Library partnered with Holmes County 4-H Club, schools and the park to host a day of outdoor education for the elementary school children. Approximately 400 people were in attendance, including US Congressman Matt Gaetz. Students were educated on the importance of our environment, conservation and safety. The children learned about the role of FWC and the Division of Law Enforcement. They were shown Officer Yates’ patrol vessel, truck, nature-related items and were provided informational handouts while enjoying the outdoors.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Nichols assisted the staff of Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park with the Annual Mattie Kelly Estuary Family Festival. Activities and exhibits included wildlife displays and shows, kayaking and paddle boarding tours, guided trail hikes by local experts, touch-tanks with Choctawhatchee Bay aquatic species, fish-print shirts, kid-friendly crafts and scavenger hunts. The event was free to the public with approximately 1,800-2,000 guests attending.

WALTON COUNTY

Officers attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the new boat ramp and park at the Highway 331 Bridge. The park was dedicated to Thomas Pilcher, a retired Florida Marine Patrol officer and a member of the Board of Conservation. The FWC representatives were Officers Jarvis, Trueblood, White, P. Rockwell, Lieutenant Clark and Captain Rondeau. The offshore patrol vessel Vigilance was tied to the new boat ramp. The FWC representatives provided an informational booth during the event.

Officer Tison participated in a West DeFuniak Elementary School outreach event. He spoke with approximately 15 students about the importance of fish and wildlife conservation and covered various topics, including the duties of an FWC officer.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Maslo was on patrol when she received a call from FWC dispatch stating a man with an orange bucket was taking undersized mangrove snapper. The officer arrived at a local bridge and found a man fitting the description. A resource inspection revealed the man was in possession of 11 mangrove snapper, seven of which were undersized. The man was also in possession of one undersized spotted sea trout. The man was cited accordingly.

Officer Marroquin was on patrol at Sebastian Inlet State Park when an off-duty officer informed him about a man consuming alcohol in the park. Officer Marroquin approached the man, who was fishing, to address the alcohol violation and conduct a fisheries inspection. The officer’s resource inspection revealed the man was in possession of three undersized sheepshead and confirmed he was violating the park’s alcohol rules. A citation was issued for possession of undersized sheepshead and a warning for consuming alcohol in a state park.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Officer Aswall was conducting late afternoon Joint Enforcement Agreement (JEA) dockside patrols at the Vilano Boat Ramp north of downtown St. Augustine and encountered a local fisherman in possession of scamp, a shallow-water grouper, among his catch. The shallow-water grouper season is closed annually in the Atlantic for recreational harvest and possession from January 1 through April 30 each year. Officer Aswall issued the fisherman a citation for possessing a scamp grouper during the closed season.

Officers Graves and B. Miller were on late afternoon patrol in Anastasia State Park and saw several commercial oystermen harvesting from the conditionally approved area just north of the park’s boundary in Salt Run. A short while later, the officers met with some of the oystermen at the nearby Lighthouse Park Boat Ramp. During an inspection of two oystermen working out of the same vessel, the officers found six bags of oysters, two of which were full of undersized attached oysters. Furthermore, the oystermen admitted to the officers that they did not use nor carry a shellfish harvesting gauge of any kind and did not attempt to cull the attached undersized oysters. The officers issued each harvester a citation for the misdemeanor violation of possessing greater than the 15% tolerance for attached oysters measuring less than three inches.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officer North and Lieutenant Baer were on foot patrol in Clark Bay Hunt Club when they located a pop-up ground blind 43 yards from an active feeder filled with corn and soybeans. Closer inspection of the area revealed a turkey kill site, including feathers that had been cut next to shot, wadding and a shotgun shell just outside of the blind.

As they were walking back to their vehicle, the officers were confronted by a man who claimed the hunting site was his. He told the officers that he had already killed his two-turkey limit on opening weekend and showed them pictures on his phone. He claimed he killed the turkeys at another location in the hunt club. After he was informed of his Miranda rights, the man was interviewed and presented with the evidence located at the scene. He then admitted to killing one of his turkeys on opening day out of the blind that was only 43 yards from the feeder. He also advised that the feeder was in working order and dispensing feed the day the turkey was killed. Officer North prepared a case packet and direct-filed the charge of taking turkey within 100 yards of a feeder with the state attorney’s office.

Acting on information provided by the FWC investigations section, Officer Sapp responded to Seville in response to the report of a man and woman who were advertising tilapia and catfish for sale to the public on Facebook. The man was issued a criminal citation for selling freshwater fish without a retail license and the woman was given a warning for the same offense.

RESCUES
LAKE COUNTY

A hiker called 911 because he was lost somewhere near Alexander Springs Run in the Lake County portion of the Ocala National Forest. He had been hiking for three days and ran out of food and water. Officers Sapp, Belleville, Morrow, Scrambling and Shaw responded. Officers Belleville and Sapp located the hiker by vessel. The subject refused medical treatment and was returned to his vehicle.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MARION COUNTY

Officers Dias, Hargabus, Sweet and Investigator Staub participated in the FWC Youth Turkey Hunt in Halpata Preserve. Prior to the hunt, the officers scouted the area for the optimal blind locations near roost sites and strut zones. In addition to scouting and setting up blinds, the officers sat with the participants and acted as their guides, teaching the kids different tips and tactics of turkey hunting, woodsmanship, and even found several antler sheds. This provided great interaction with the young generation and their parents while sitting with our FWC officers. Many questions were asked and answered while in the blind. The officers’ hard work and dedication was rewarded with a 100% success rate for the youth hunters. All hunters harvested turkeys, with two having 11-inch beard length and one having 1½-inch spur length.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Officer Aswall presented the recreational fisheries laws and basic boating safety portions of the Women’s Saltwater Fishing Clinic, sponsored by the agency’s Division of Marine Fisheries Management and hosted by Biologist Heather Sneed. Officer Aswall spoke to approximately 25 women anglers at Miller’s Boating Center in Ocala and touched on topics such as how to properly measure a fish, size and bag limits, species identification and proper stowage and wear of personal floatation devices.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on patrol in Ruskin, Officer Messman conducted a fisheries inspection on a shoreline fisherman. Through the course of the inspection, the fisherman revealed he caught a snook and placed it in a cooler in his vehicle. The fisherman admitted the snook measured towards the lower end of the slot limit. The snook was measured at 25 inches and the individual was cited for possession of an undersized snook.

The Tampa Police Department requested the help of FWC officers around the Courtney Campbell Causeway and the Hillsborough River due to the ongoing high numbers of jet skiers driving recklessly. Officers Ahlers, Baker, Bibler and Lieutenant Van Trees assisted and made numerous stops and contacts. Many citations and warnings were issued ranging from boating safety violations to possession of illegal drugs.

MANATEE COUNTY

While Officer Davidson was on land patrol around SR 64, he was backing up a Bradenton Police officer that was performing a traffic stop. The officers were parked on the side of SR 64 with their blue lights flashing, when another vehicle passed them at a high rate of speed and failed to move over. Officer Davidson performed a traffic stop on the vehicle that failed to move over and found that the driver was smoking cannabis. The driver was also found to be in possession of a felony amount of cannabis, and the passenger in the car had a warrant out for his arrest. Both the driver and passenger in the car were transported and booked into the Manatee County jail for their violations.

Officer Dalton was dispatched to a complaint that a subject was in possession of a gopher tortoise. After arriving on the scene, he indeed found that the subject was in possession of a gopher tortoise. The individual was cited criminally for possession of a gopher tortoise and given a notice to appear in court.

PASCO COUNTY

Officers Pulaski and Bergwerff were working commercial fisheries in the Hudson Beach area. From a concealed position, the officers monitored a local seafood dealer. They saw two individuals packaging and loading gulf shrimp into a minivan. When the subjects started to leave, the officers conducted a stop and determined the individuals were transporting commercial quantities of saltwater products (gulf shrimp) without proper documentation. The appropriate citations were issued.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on water patrol near Tarpon Key, Officer Bibeau received a call from dispatch advising him of wade fishermen keeping undersized snook near Lassing Park. Officer Bibeau arrived on the scene a short time later and encountered a fisherman who said that he had caught a mangrove snapper, sheepshead and snook, all attached to a stringer. The fish were inspected and the subject was found to be in possession of an undersized sheepshead and snook. The subject was cited accordingly.

Lieutenant Van Trees responded to a call for assistance from the USCG about a vessel that had run aground near Boca Ciega. The USCG advised they were trying to get all the occupants off the vessel that ran aground. There were three individuals, some of which were intoxicated, that refused to leave and kept trying to get the vessel unstuck. Concerned for their safety, the USCG was worried about leaving the intoxicated occupants on the vessel and asked FWC and Pinellas County Sheriff's Office for their assistance. Lieutenant Van Trees, along with the deputies, convinced the remaining occupants they weren't going to move the boat, and they needed to come with the officers to make it back to shore. Lieutenant Van Trees could smell a strong odor of marijuana coming from one of the occupants, and a subsequent search revealed a felony amount of marijuana. The subject was booked into jail by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

RESCUES
HERNANDO COUNTY

Officers from Hernando County assisted with traffic control in response to a 1,100-acre wildfire in the Weeki Wachee Preserve.

LEE COUNTY

Officers Rogers, Hardgrove, Perry, Furbay, Bell and Lieutenant Ruggiero responded to a search and rescue for a missing kayaker. The man failed to return from a fishing trip the night before. The officers worked closely with the USCG, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Cape Coral Police Department and Cape Coral Fire and Rescue, as they covered the area throughout the day, night and continued into the next day searching for the man. Unfortunately, the man was found deceased late that afternoon. This is an ongoing boating accident investigation.

Officers Perry and Salem were on water patrol near Bokeelia when a call for distress was received by FWC dispatch. Two kayakers along with two small children were out kayaking in the Matlacha area, when their kayak began taking on water and sinking. The officers arrived on the scene and took the family back to a local boat ramp. The officers also assisted in pulling the sunken vessel out of the water at the boat ramp.

PASCO COUNTY

Officers Pulaski and Bergwerff were in route to release an alligator on Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) lands when they encountered a K-9 deputy on the property. The K-9 deputy advised they were responding to three hunters lost in the woods. The hunters’ approximate location was four miles away. The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office personnel located the lost individuals and the K-9 deputy and FWC officers assisted the individuals with safely returning to their vehicle, and the alligator was released on the district lands.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Officer Bibler and Lieutenant Van Trees responded to a jet ski accident at the Courtney Campbell Causeway where an 18-month-old was struck by a jet ski. Investigator Freemon, Officers Bibeau and Ferguson also responded to assist in the investigation. The boating accident investigation is still ongoing with the investigations unit.

SOUTH A REGION
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officer Tarr responded to a complaint of a fisherman catching and keeping undersized mutton snapper on the Dania Pier. Officers Tarr, Defeo and Seldomridge walked down the pier and located a subject matching the description of the complaint. They spoke to the subject who advised that he did not have any fish and had not caught any fish all day. During a resource inspection, the officers found two undersized mutton snapper hidden in a bag. The subject had been previously warned for possession of illegal fish and was issued a criminal citation for possession of undersized mutton snapper and a warning for interference with an FWC officer. The fish were seized and submitted into evidence.

Officer Kuester, Investigator Warne and Lieutenant Carcasses responded to a boating accident involving a diver who was seriously injured when he was struck by the propeller of the commercial dive boat he was diving from. A USCG Investigator also responded since it involved a vessel actively involved in commercial activities. The USCG is handling the ongoing investigation.

The FWC received a delayed report of a boating accident which resulted in a fatality. A vessel with six passengers on board began taking on water and eventually capsized and sank. The USCG and a commercial tow boat company responded and retrieved the six occupants from the water. One of the occupants required CPR and was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced deceased. The FWC is handling the boating accident investigation.

Investigator Warne, Lieutenant Ornold, Officers Defeo and Seldomridge worked an undercover livery inspection operation. Investigator Warne was operating in a plain-clothes capacity and approached a personal watercraft rental company to rent a PWC. During the contact, an employee of the company assisted Investigator Warne with the exam. Officers Defeo and Seldomridge responded and issued the employee a citation for the violation.

GLADES COUNTY

Officer Alford responded to a request for an “other than homemade” vessel inspection. He found that the title for the vessel did not match the hull identification numbers and that this title had existed before the current owner had purchased the vessel. He denied the vessel for title reissuance and notified Investigator Lafoy to investigate possible title fraud.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Alford and Nasworth received a call from US Sugar Security involving four subjects trespassing south of Rogers Road. Officer Alford responded and found the subjects fishing near the cultivated field and confirmed that the subjects were not authorized to be on the property. He obtained trespass complaints, signed by a US Sugar representative, and cited the subjects for trespass.

Officers Alford and Worrell received a call from US Sugar Security that three subjects were trespassing in a cultivated field near Hwy 80 in Area 3. Officers Alford and Worrell responded and found the subjects hunting rabbits in the field. They confirmed that the subjects were not authorized to be on the property and obtained trespass complaints, signed by a US Sugar representative, and cited the subjects accordingly.

Officers Alford, Worrell, Nasworth, and Lieutenant Brown responded to a trespass complaint on US Sugar Property with nine subjects hunting rabbits. The officers located the subjects and escorted them from the property.

Officers Alford, Nasworth, Worrell, Toby and Lieutenant Brown all participated in special detail on Torry Island. The purpose of the detail was public safety, public outreach, boating safety and assisting the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Officers Fretwell and Arnold were traveling Southbound on the ICW when they saw a vessel traveling in the opposite direction on a full plane in a slow speed manatee zone. A vessel stop was initiated and Officer Fretwell saw the operator having a hard time keeping his eyes open and using the console to keep steady and help him stand. He was also smiling and talking to himself. Officer Fretwell requested that the subject perform field sobriety tasks to determine if the subject was impaired. At a local boat ramp, the tasks were performed by the subject and the results indicated impairment. The subject was transported and booked into jail without incident. The subject was also issued a citation for the manatee zone speed violation and for refusing to provide a breath sample.

RESCUES
OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

A tornadic event occurred in the morning on April 6, starting in Kissimmee Prairie State Park campground and destroying two RVs. One female victim was transported to the hospital for breathing difficulties after her RV flipped over with her inside. Minor cuts and bruises were sustained by two male victims who both refused transport by EMS. The tornado then traveled in a northeastern direction and hit the Fort Drum Ranchettes, located North of Highway 68 along SR 441. Multiple mobile homes were destroyed or sustained significant damage. Several other houses sustained minor damage. Trees and powerlines were down across major and secondary roads and Florida Power and Light was on the scene dealing with the powerline issues. Officers from the FWC, Okeechobee Sheriffs’ Office and Okeechobee Fire Department helped clear debris along roadways and went door to door checking on the welfare of the residents. No injuries were reported at the Ranchettes and all occupants were accounted for.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
HENDRY COUNTY

Officers Alford and Worrell responded to a panther complaint near Hwy 835 and Dooley Grade. A female panther was found in the road earlier that morning with fatal injuries from an apparent vehicle collision. Once on the scene, Officers Alford and Worrell found the deceased panther on the east shoulder of the road. The officers photographed the scene, took GPS coordinates and stood by for an FWC biologist to pick up the panther for further evaluation.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officer Allen attended court on his “taking turkey over bait” case that he made on the opening morning of spring gobbler season. The results were a plea of guilty and a fine, court costs and payment to the Wildlife Alert Fund totaling $800.00 dollars.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Rogers, Carroll, Moss and Norbrothen conducted a detail on board an offshore patrol vessel during the full moon. The officers conducted fisheries inspections enforcing snapper and grouper species south of the Jupiter Inlet. As a result, the officers found multiple violations including undersized triggerfish, vermillion snapper, and out-of-season grouper. All violations were handled accordingly.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
PALM BEACH COUNTY

FWC officers were present at the annual Black Gold Jubilee to answer questions and educate the public about the agency’s mission. Officers Alford and Toby were approached by a 9-year-old-girl who had lost her parents. The officers found the child’s family and returned her to their custody.

SOUTH B REGION
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Reams and Araujo responded to a complaint about a subject cleaning a deer out of season. They arrived on the scene and saw a male subject outside and deer fat on and around a table. When they got closer to the table, they found more meat and fat, along with fat on the knife. Looking through the screen on the back porch, they saw a closed trash can with dry blood and meat on it, a cooler with bloody water leaking out of the drain plug, and a pair of shorts with blood on them in another trash can. They searched the surrounding area and into the neighbors’ properties and found more dry blood in several spots. Officer Collazo and K-9 Rosco were called for assistance and K-9 Rosco indicated at several areas. Officers Reams and Araujo then located the subject at another address where he admitted to killing three whitetail deer (2 does, 1 buck) that morning in the front yard. The subject was arrested for three counts of deer out of season and one count of trespass by projectile.

Officers Arbogast and Kleis approached two individuals who were actively fishing to conduct a resource and license inspection. The individuals told the officers that the people across the waterway were catching a lot of snook. The officers looked across the waterway and saw two individuals packing up their fishing gear, and quickly making their way towards a parking lot. Officer Kleis made his way to the parking lot, while Officer Arbogast kept visual on the subjects and radioed the information to Officer Kleis. Officer Kleis saw the two subjects packing fishing gear into a car, and heard what appeared to be a fish thrashing in a cooler. Officer Kleis asked the subjects if they had caught any fish, to which they admitted to catching and keeping a large snook. Officer Kleis located an approximately 36-inch snook in the cooler. To be legal to keep, snook must between 28 and 33 inches. The subject was issued a notice to appear for the violation and the snook was returned to the resource alive.

Officer Kleis and Investigator White were on water patrol conducting BUI enforcement when they received a call about a grounded vessel with possibly intoxicated occupants. They responded to the scene and saw a vessel grounded on a mud bank that was exposed due to the low tide. There were two occupants on board the vessel, both of which were obviously impaired. Officers Plussa and Arbogast also arrived on the scene to assist and located multiple witnesses who provided sworn statements. The owner of the boat claimed to be operating the boat when it became grounded. The second occupant also stated that the owner of the boat was driving the boat. However, there were multiple witnesses that stated the other occupant was driving the vessel when it became grounded. The investigation determined that both occupants were operating the vessel, and both were highly intoxicated. Both subjects were subsequently arrested for BUI and refused to provide breath samples. The subjects were booked into the Collier County Jail.

Officer Curbelo received a call about individuals shooting in the Picayune Strand State Forest. Three subjects were located and were not displaying the use fee placard in their vehicle. They admitted they had been shooting in the forest and that their guns were in the rear of the vehicle. The rear hatch was opened and an AK-47 rifle and a short-barreled shotgun were found. One subject was placed under arrest for possession of a short-barreled shotgun. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is investigating where the subject acquired the short-barreled shotgun.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

FWC officers conducted a vessel stop near the Gables Waterway while patrolling South Biscayne Bay. A resource inspection revealed the occupants had fish fillets on board. The occupants stated they had returned from the Bahamas and had filleted the fish in another location. The officers explained to the individuals that all fish returning from the Bahamas must have the skin intact. The operator of the vessel took responsibility of the filleted fish and was cited accordingly.

FWC officers stopped a vessel for a fisheries inspection while patrolling Biscayne Channel and discovered an undersized sailfish. The subject also did not have any federal permits to harvest the sailfish they possessed. The boat operator was cited accordingly.

An officer saw a vessel leaving the marina while conducting resources inspections at Matheson Hammock Boat Ramp. Approximately 45 minutes later, the same vessel returned speeding through the manatee zone and approaching the dock in an apparent emergency manner. The vessel had extensive damage to the port side. The officer approached the operator who stated he had been involved in an accident with a channel marker. The vessel was taking on water quickly while docked. The operator removed his vessel out of the water before it sank. The operator then provided a statement to the officer who cited the operator for operating the vessel in a careless manner.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Mattson was on water patrol in Whale Harbor Channel when he saw a rental PWC doing doughnuts in the slow speed zone. Upon speaking with the 25-year-old subject, Officer Mattson learned the subject had not been given a boater’s safety exam as required by law. Officer Mattson brought the PWC into the rental company and he cited the subject for a speed zone violation. He cited the rental operator the misdemeanor violation of not giving the operator the boater’s safety test.

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  Horseshoe Beach inshore 4/18
Posted by: bigefromlc - 04-18-2017, 11:41 PM - Forum: Fishing Reports - Replies (2)

Haven't been fishing in forever various boat issues and conflicts with other stuff. Tried to go last Thursday but had a disaster when I left my wallet on the ice machine in Branford. Whoever found it was nice enough to mail me it back. I got it on Monday. Everything was there except for some $300 in cash which apparently was compensation for him to mail it back . The only thing useful In the wallet was my Sam's Club card .

Anyway, today was just ideal. High tide was at 8 o'clock Low at one; wind from the southeast at 5 knots all day except late in the afternoon when it switched over to the west . Water temperature was 78 1/2°.

Despite long period of no use the big Johnson started right up and we headed out to do some trout fishing . Stopped in the middle of nowhere and started catching fish immediately and kept doing it all day long . Vast majority of the fish were short; we ended up with eight keeper trout , a big mackerel, and about a 3 pound Pompano on a popping cork! I jumped about a 40 inch Cobia which got off immediately due to a broken line . We didn't catch any lizard fish or any gurnards and no pig fish but we caught just about everything else in the water. We certainly caught well over hundred fish all day.

Just a beautiful day on the water was really glad to get out .

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  FWC Enforcement Report March 31-April 6 All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 04-11-2017, 10:44 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
BAY COUNTY

Officer Gore saw a vehicle operating in a careless manner and weaving out of its lane. During a traffic stop, it was discovered that the subject was in possession of cannabis, several different non-prescribed pills that are considered controlled substances and was consuming alcohol. He was arrested and transported to the Bay County Jail for the felony and misdemeanor charges.

CALHOUN COUNTY

Officer Hayes located two turkey blinds with cracked corn spread within 20 yards and three active feeders within 50 yards. Over the weekend, Officers Hayes and Little checked the blinds and found two subjects actively calling and hunting for turkey. Both hunters were charged with hunting turkey over bait.

ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer Allgood was on vessel patrol in the Big Lagoon when he saw a vessel on plane in violation of the idle speed zone. He stopped the vessel and spoke to the operator, noticing several signs of impairment. After performing poorly on the field sobriety exercises, the operator was arrested for BUI. The operator agreed to give a breath sample and the result was .152 g /210L. The operator was booked into the Escambia County Jail.

Officer Manning received information about illegal redfish being harvested at the Bob Sikes Fishing Bridge. As one individual was leaving the bridge, and inspection of his cooler revealed two redfish measuring 30 and 32 inches. The individual was cited for possession of oversized redfish and over the bag limit of redfish.

Officers Long and Manning were on patrol on the Bob Sikes Fishing Bridge when they stopped to speak to a group of fishermen and discovered a recently cleaned redfish. After questioning, one of the fishermen admitted to catching and cleaning the fish. The fisherman was issued a notice to appear citation for failure to maintain the redfish in whole condition.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

While patrolling in state waters on board the offshore patrol vessel Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow and Officers Matechik and Nelson located a commercial shrimping vessel inside the nearshore/inshore boundary line in St. George Sound trawling with more than two shrimp nets, which is an unlawful practice. The nets also measured too large, exceeding the 500‑square foot legal limit. The nets were seized as evidence and the captain of the vessel was issued the appropriate citations and warnings for the offenses.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Arnette was working private land where the landowner had been having problems with hunters trespassing from the adjoining Blackwater Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Two young subjects were found trespassing while turkey hunting. The landowner agreed to a trespass warning for the subjects, despite the seriousness of the offense of armed trespass. The young mens’ parents were contacted as well.

Officer Corbin saw a 16‑foot vessel returning from a fishing trip to a local marina off the Santa Rosa Sound near Brooks Bridge. A resource inspection revealed the operator was in possession of two undersized spotted seatrout. The operator was cited and issued a notice to appear citation.

Officers Pifer and Corbin were on vessel patrol conducting saltwater fisheries and license inspections in the Destin Pass on the east side of Crab Island and saw a vessel displaying rods and reels returning to a local marina/dock. In conversation with the owner/operator, it was determined a cobia was harvested and filleted. The officers inspected two clear plastic bags containing cobia fillets. The operator was issued a notice to appear citation for failure to land the cobia in whole condition.

Officers Pifer and Corbin were on vessel patrol conducting saltwater fisheries and license inspections in Cinco Bayou and saw two kayaks with individuals on board who were actively engaged in fishing the dock lights in the area. The officers initiated a vessel stop on the two kayaks and a resource inspection on one of the kayaks revealed three undersized spotted seatrout. The operator was issued a notice to appear citation.

Officers Pifer and Corbin were on vessel patrol conducting saltwater fisheries and license inspections in the Destin Harbor and saw a local charter boat displaying harvested fish at the Fisherman’s CO-OP. The officers saw what appeared to be undersized scamp and undersized vermilion snapper. Upon closer inspection, the scamp and one of the vermillion snapper were undersized. The operator was issued a notice to appear citation for the undersized scamp and a warning for the undersized vermillion snapper.

Officers Pifer and Corbin were on vessel patrol conducting saltwater fisheries and license inspections in Cinco Bayou and conducted a vessel stop on two kayaks actively fishing near lighted docks. A resource inspection on one of the kayaks revealed an oversized red drum, an undersized spotted seatrout, and an undersized gray mangrove snapper. The operator was issued a notice to appear citation for the oversized red drum and a warning for the undersized spotted seatrout and undersized gray mangrove snapper.

Officers Pifer and Corbin conducted a vessel stop on two kayaks actively fishing by the Cinco Bayou Bridge. On one of the kayaks, the operator did have the required U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) safety gear, a life jacket and a sound-producing device. The officers asked the operator for his saltwater fishing license and the individual stated he did not have one. The individual stated he attempted to buy one at a local vendor, but was informed his fishing and hunting licenses were suspended. The individual explained his licenses were suspended in the State of Maryland for harvesting a striped bass in a closed area. Florida and Maryland are both part of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, an interstate compact to provide reciprocal sharing of information regarding sportsman fishing, hunting, and trapping violations and allows for recognition of suspension or revocation. The individual was issued a notice to appear citation for fishing with a suspended/revoked license and two written warnings for no life jacket and no sound-producing device.

Officer Corbin was conducting state fisheries and boating safety inspections at Marler Park and saw a vessel return to the boat ramp with an expired vessel registration. The officer confirmed the operator was the owner of the vessel. The individual had been the owner of the vessel for two years, but had failed to transfer the vessel title into his name within the required 30 days. The owner issued a notice to appear citation for failure to transfer vessel title.

Officer Nichols and Investigators Armstrong and Molnar responded to a boating accident with injuries, involving two PWCs, in Joe’s Bayou. One of the PWCs collided with the starboard stern of the other, ejecting both operators. A boating accident investigation is ongoing.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

While conducting resource inspections at Archie Glover Boat Ramp, Officer Land noticed two individuals with cast nets on the dock. He approached the two men and asked if they had caught anything. One of them replied, “Just finger mullet,” as he pointed to a five‑gallon bucket. Officer Land looked in the bucket filled with mullet and upon closer inspection, discovered a 13‑inch striped bass. It is illegal to possess striped bass under 18 inches and to harvest them with a cast net. The appropriate citations and warnings were issued for the violations.

Throughout the weekend in Blackwater River State Forest, Officer Lewis issued various citations and warnings for operating a vehicle off the established road in a state forest, possession of alcoholic beverages where posted as prohibited, and possession of glass containers in and around waterways. One of the cases he made was at Krul Lake where he saw a man in possession of a glass bottle of beer. Glass containers and alcoholic beverages are prohibited in that area. A woman was sitting next to the man and smoking cannabis. When he approached the couple, the woman attempted to conceal the cannabis cigarette she was smoking but eventually gave it to the officer. Additional cannabis was seized as evidence from the woman. The man was cited for possessing the glass container and alcoholic beverage. The woman was issued a notice to appear for possession of cannabis not more than 20 grams and drug paraphernalia.

Officer Hutchinson was patrolling a primitive camping area when he saw a man and a woman walking towards a vehicle from the creek. He saw the man carrying a drug pipe and cannabis grinder. The man admitted that he and his girlfriend just finished smoking marijuana with the pipe. When attempting to identify the man and woman, the woman provided a false name. After searching the vehicle and identifying the woman by her identification that was found during the search, two active warrants for her arrest came back. Officer Hutchinson issued the man a notice to appear for the possession of cannabis and drug paraphernalia. The woman was placed under arrest and transported to jail.

Officer Jones was checking fishermen on the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier and contacted a subject who had eight pompano in his possession. The daily bag limit is six fish per day. A citation was issued with a mandatory court appearance. The illegal fish were returned to the water.

WALTON COUNTY

Officer Brooks checked a subject fishing on the Choctawhatchee Bay who was in possession of a legal redfish in a cooler. The subject was asked about another cooler he had in his possession and he stated it only contained his lunch. An inspection of that cooler revealed undersized redfish and gray snapper. The subject was cited for the resource violations.

RESCUES
WASHINGTON COUNTY

Lieutenant Walsingham and Officer Greene responded to assist the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in a search and rescue on Holmes Creek. At approximately 9:00 PM, the Sheriff’s Office received a call that a 70‑year‑old resident of an assisted living facility, who has dementia and was new to the area, walked down to Holmes Creek and had not been seen since 2:00 PM. The banks of the creek were searched for extended distances up and down the creek, a Department of Corrections K-9 team was utilized, and the Bay County Sheriff’s Office deployed their helicopter with FLIR. Shortly after daylight, the subject was found in good condition at an elementary school a short distance from the assisted living facility.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
The following cases were made this past week in federal Gulf of Mexico waters.

Officers Morales, Nelson, and Pekerol stopped several vessels throughout the day. During one stop, a red snapper that was found not landed in whole condition and being used as bait. During another stop, vermillion snapper and lane snapper were found not landed in whole condition and being used as bait. The captains and occupants of those vessels were issued the appropriate citations and warnings for the offenses.

Lieutenant Marlow and Officers Fletcher, Hughes, and Richardson were on board the offshore patrol vessel Guardian when they located a vessel approximately 11 miles south of Dog Island. After boarding the vessel, the captain explained that his GPS was not working properly. A resource inspection was conducted and the officers located gag grouper on board the vessel during federal closure. The GPS worked when powered on and the individual had also marked his fishing location with a marker buoy using his GPS prior to the officers’ arrival. The captain and occupants of the vessel were issued the appropriate federal citations and warnings for the offense.

The crew of OPV Guardian located a vessel approximately 18 miles south of St. George Island. Upon the officers’ approach, the occupants reeled in their lines and the officers saw Spanish mackerel being used for bait. Upon further inspection of the vessel, the officers located bluefish and more Spanish mackerel not landed in whole condition and prepared as bait, spotted sea trout not landed in whole condition and gag grouper on board during federal closure. The vessel was also short multiple life jackets. The captain and occupants of the vessel were issued the appropriate federal and state citations and warnings for the offenses.

The crew of OPV Guardian located a vessel approximately 22 miles south of St. George Island. While approaching the vessel from several miles away, it temporarily stopped then came back on plane and headed north. Due to the rough conditions, the Guardian caught up to the vessel quickly. The officers boarded the vessel and located 14 vermillion snapper, which was over the vessel’s bag limit. The captain and occupants of the vessel were issued the appropriate federal citations and warnings for offenses.

Lieutenant Marlow and Officers Rockwell, Trueblood and Nelson, on board the offshore patrol vessel Vigilance, located a commercial vessel southeast of the Madison and Swanson Marine Protected Area. The officers boarded the vessel and during their inspection located 21 pieces of cut up regulated amberjack on three of their bait tables. The occupants admitted to failure to land in whole condition and using it for bait. The captain and crew of the vessel were issued the appropriate federal citations and warnings for offenses.

The crew of OPV Vigilance located a commercial vessel approximately 50 miles southwest of Apalachicola. The officers boarded the vessel and during their inspection located seven undersized lane snapper, two undersized red snapper and two undersized gray triggerfish. The captain of the vessel was issued the appropriate federal citations and warnings for offenses.

During other vessel stops of commercial and recreational vessels, Lieutenant Marlow and Officers Rockwell, Trueblood and Nelson, on board the Vigilance, issued multiple warnings and citations for not having the appropriate turtle mitigation gear for commercial vessels, failure to land fish in whole condition, littering, use of reef fish for bait and boating safety violations.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officers Long and Manning attended the 2017 Annual Anglers Night Outreach Event at the Pensacola Fairgrounds where more than 300 were in attendance. Numerous questions regarding resource and conservation were answered.

WALTON COUNTY

Lieutenant Clark coordinated with Topsail Hill Preserve State Park with an outreach event at the park. FWC Imperiled Species Biologist Moyers presented a PowerPoint presentation and a static display on sea turtles for the staff, volunteers, campers and members of the surrounding communities. The focus of the outreach event was sea turtle identification, the importance of reducing lighting at night and not disturbing nesting areas. Officer Jarvis attended the presentation. Approximately 30 people attended.

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Officer Kinney attended Heritage Day at Falling Water State Park. Approximately 5,000 people attended the two‑day event, Officer Kinney answered questions and spoke with numerous groups throughout the event.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officer Troiano saw a vehicle parked near a bait site he located the week before the opening of turkey season. The officer entered the area and heard two different hunters calling for turkeys. The two subjects were hunting from different ground blinds but over the same baited area. After identifying both suspects, the two men were charged with attempting to take turkey within 100 yards of a baited area.

Officers Troiano and Stanley worked a boating safety and fishing detail on area lakes. After checking a woman for a fishing license, they determined that she did not possess a valid freshwater license and had a warrant from Putnam County. She was cited for not having a fishing license and was transported to the Alachua County Jail for the warrant.

While driving to area lakes, Officer Troiano saw an individual sitting on the side of the road with a “fish for sale” sign behind his truck. After a resource inspection, it was determined the man was selling freshwater fish without a valid freshwater commercial license and was cited appropriately.

Officers continued to work baited areas throughout the week and have located several new bait stations. They have also been working area lakes for freshwater fishing compliance and boating safety regulations.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Officers Johnston, Cline and Drew recently worked two bass fishing tournaments on the Santa Fe and Suwannee Rivers in response to complaints of wake zone violations from recreational boaters, business owners and tournament participants. During the two details, the officers issued four boating citations, several written and verbal warnings for a variety of boating safety violations including wake zone and navigation light violations. One subject blatantly violated the no wake zone without required navigation lights after receiving a pre-tournament briefing/warning regarding boating violations from the tournament president. Appropriate paperwork was issued.

DUVAL COUNTY

The Jacksonville Resource Protection Unit Squad coordinated a targeted enforcement detail focusing on patrol in and near the Talbot Island State Park. Plain-clothes surveillance and observation led to nine resource citations, 31 warnings and two boating citations.

A large amount of illegally discarded litter consisting of mostly furniture, cardboard and children’s toys was found next to a dirt road on property owned by the City of Jacksonville. Mail in the debris led to a Jacksonville residence and a subsequent investigation revealed that the homeowner had hired someone from an online website to haul away the debris and dispose of the items at a landfill. Environmental Investigators Terrones and Starling interviewed the suspect who confessed and agreed to clean up the site and properly dispose of the litter at a landfill. Felony charges will be filed with the state attorney’s office.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
CITRUS AND HERNANDO COUNTIES

The offshore patrol vessel, Fincat, along with local officers from Citrus and Hernando counties, conducted a targeted enforcement detail looking for shrimp vessels operating in closed areas revealing two violations.The Fincat crew saw a shrimp vessel that appeared to be in a closed area. This was confirmed after continued surveillance revealed the vessel was actively trawling for shrimp in a closed area. A citation was issued to the operator of the vessel for operating trawls in a closed area. Later that evening, Lieutenant Jones and Officer VanNess saw another shrimp vessel trawling in a closed area. Continued surveillance revealed the vessel was actively trawling in a closed area. A citation was issued to the operator of the vessel for operating trawls in a closed area.

During Fincat patrols in federal waters from Dixie to Pasco County, 16 vessel inspections were completed. During one inspection, Officer Suttles located three undersized mangrove snappers. A federal warning was issued and a case package will be forwarded to NOAA. During another inspection, Officer Boyer located an undersized and out-of-season gag grouper. A citation was issued. During an inspection on a commercial fishing vessel, Officer Boyer located an undersized gag grouper and amberjack filets on board. Further inspection revealed the fishermen were using the amberjack as bait. The captain of the vessel was issued a federal citation for undersized gag grouper, amberjack not in whole condition and using reef fish as bait. A case package will be forwarded to NOAA for further action.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Maslo was on patrol when she received a call from FWC dispatch stating a man with an orange bucket was taking undersized mangrove snapper. The officer arrived at a local bridge and found a man fitting the description. A resource inspection revealed the man was in possession of 11 mangrove snapper, seven of which were undersized. The man was also in possession of one undersized spotted sea trout. The man was issued a citation for possession of undersized mangrove snapper, possession of over the bag limit of mangrove snapper, and a warning for possession of undersized sea trout.

Officer Marroquin was on patrol at Sebastian Inlet State Park when an off-duty officer advised him a man was consuming alcohol in the park. Officer Marroquin approached the man, who was fishing, to address the alcohol violation and conduct a fisheries inspection. The officer’s resource inspection revealed the man was in possession of three undersized sheepshead and was violating the park’s alcohol rules. A citation was issued for possession of undersized sheepshead and a warning for consuming alcohol in a state park.

LAKE COUNTY

Officer Scrambling received information regarding people possibly hunting turkey over bait. He located corn, cracked corn and bird seed on private property and on Seminole State Forest Management Area, adjacent to the private property. The next morning, Officer Scrambling saw a subject in a tree stand using a slate turkey call in attempt to call turkey. The tree stand was 56 yards away from the bait. The subject was cited for the resource violation of attempting to take wild turkey within 100 yards of bait.

SUMTER COUNTY

The FWC and several other agencies responded to a wildfire within Withlacoochee State Forest. FWC officers responded to ensure public safety and assist as needed until the fire was contained. This is the second fire in the same vicinity and the FWC is assisting the Department of Agriculture Investigations and State Forestry with determining the cause of the file.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officer Ward was on foot patrol monitoring a baited turkey blind during the first week of spring turkey season. About an hour before dark, he heard calling coming from an area nearby, but not in the blind. He approached and saw two men sitting under an oak tree with a decoy about 15 yards in front of them. Both men admitted to calling and said they were turkey hunting. Although they were not in the baited blind, they were set up and hunting only 72 yards from the bait. Both were issued notices to appear for the violation.

Lieutenant Eason and Officer LaRoche responded to Central Florida Regional Hospital regarding the report of a small child that had been bitten by a venomous snake. Once at the hospital, the snake was identified by Investigator McDaniel as a large adult pigmy rattlesnake. The small child had been playing in a sandbox in the back yard of his residence with adult supervision. When the child encountered the snake, the snake struck the child on the right index finger. The snake was then killed by an adult and the child was transported to the hospital by EMS.

Officer LaRoche was called to the front gate of Blue Springs State Park regarding a disturbance. Once on the scene, he found that a male and female couple had been fighting and the male subject had thrown the female victim’s cell phone into the woods, thrown a car seat out of the vehicle into the woods and had struck the female victim in the face while she was holding a child. The male subject was arrested and transported to the Volusia County Branch Jail for domestic violence.

Lieutenant Eason was on patrol within Blue Springs State Park near the boat ramp (French Landing) and saw, from a concealed position, a white male walking around the river holding a can of beer. He then saw the subject get into a black Jeep with a female companion. The male subject began driving the vehicle east on French Avenue towards the park entrance. Lieutenant Eason conducted a traffic stop to address the open container violation. The subject agreed to perform sobriety tasks, performed poorly and was placed under arrest for DUI. The subject subsequently provided a breath sample administered by Officer Thornton. The results of the breath test were .181G/210L and .177 G/210L, respectively. Additionally, the subject was issued an open container citation.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Environmental Investigator Hough received information regarding approximately 1,000 waste tires being stored behind a home in Tampa. Upon arrival, stacks of waste tires were visible from the roadway. Investigator Hough contacted the suspect who gave consent to enter his backyard area where some 600 waste tires were discovered. The suspect was culling through these waste tires and selling any that could be used. He was also cutting the sidewall out of the waste tires he could not use and placing them in heavy-duty trash bags, which were then taken to the landfill. The suspect was charged with felony dumping over 500 pounds, storage of tires in an open-top trailer for more than seven days, and storage of waste tires at a unpermitted facility. He was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Salem was on patrol in Boca Grande when he received information about some people spearfishing near the phosphate docks. He saw four people, two PWCs, and some spearfishing gear before he attempted to stop them for a resource inspection. When Officer Salem asked the men if they had any fish, they said they had a sheepshead and “some other fish.” The other fish was an oversized redfish. One of the men admitted to spearing the redfish. Misdemeanor charges were issued for illegal method of taking redfish and for possession of an oversized redfish.

While patrolling the bridges around Lovers Key State Park late at night, Officer Bradshaw noticed a group throwing a cast net in an area normally populated by regulated fish. Officer Bradshaw watched the group as one of the men threw the net time and again. All the fish caught were kept, and none were measured. During a resource inspection, they were found to have more than a dozen fish, including snapper, snook, and sheepshead, only four being legally harvested. The appropriate citations were issued.

Officer Hardgrove was on patrol around Matlacha when he encountered two subjects actively fishing from shore. He asked if they had caught any fish, and one of the subjects stated that they had not caught anything. An inspection of the subject’s cooler revealed an undersized redfish, an undersized mangrove snapper, and an undersized sheepshead. One subject admitted to catching and keeping all the fish. The subject was cited appropriately. Both subjects were also issued an up-to-date Florida Saltwater Regulations Handbook.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Miller was conducting fishery inspections along the south side of the Skyway Bridge when he approached a subject and asked if he had caught any fish. The subject replied that he caught a few sheepshead but threw them all back. He then asked if he could look in the subject’s cooler and the subject complied. Officer Miller discovered 12 undersized sheepshead, six undersized gag grouper and four undersized mangrove snapper. Officer Miller cited the subject appropriately.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on land patrol at the Sand Key Bridge, Officer Bibeau saw two individuals carrying a large bucket while returning to their vehicle from fishing. As the officer approached the subjects to conduct a fisheries inspection, he saw them attempt to conceal the bucket. One of the individuals admitted that they had three snook in the bucket and should only have two. An inspection of the bucket revealed three legal-sized snook and seven trout; three of which were undersized. The subject that claimed two snook and undersized trout was cited appropriately.

While on water patrol near John’s Pass, Officers Bibler and Godfrey stopped a vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection, which found the occupants in possession of an undersized red grouper and an out-of-season triggerfish. A notice to appear was issued for the out-of-season triggerfish and a warning for the undersized grouper.

While on water patrol near the Seminole Boat Ramp, Officer Ferguson was notified by a Good Samaritan that a woman was having medical issues on a nearby dock. The woman was moaning and clearly in distress when she fell into the water. The woman’s head was under the water when Officer Ferguson and some good Samaritans retrieved her from the water and got her onto a pontoon boat. Officer Ferguson provided first aid until EMS arrived and transported the woman to a nearby hospital.

POLK COUNTY

Officer Carter was patrolling the Saddle Creek Fish Management Area when he saw an individual cast netting. A fisheries inspection revealed the subject had been taking game fish. The subject was cited appropriately.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
LEE COUNTY

Officer Collazo and Lieutenant Barrett assisted the FWRI Charlotte County manatee lab with the rescue of an injured female manatee and her calf in the Caloosahatchee River. Although it was a very complicated rescue with high winds and tight quarters, both animals were successfully recovered and evaluated. The calf was found to be old enough and healthy enough to be released back into the water right away. The mother was turned over to veterinary staff from the Lowry Park Zoo for treatment.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officers Salem, Goggin and Furbay located an illegal abandoned gill net in Charlotte Harbor. This was a very large net that had the potential to kill thousands of fish. The officers retrieved the entire net before it could do any significant damage, and properly disposed of the net.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Over a two-day period, investigators teamed up with patrol on the Alafia River to
conduct a BUI detail. There were no violations for BUI’s, but 7 boating safety/manatee zone violations were cited, and 10 written warnings for safety equipment violations. The “designated operator” was the story of the day, and many residents along the river thanked the team for their patrols.

PASCO COUNTY

Numerous FWC officers conducted a boating safety detail on the Pithlachascotee River, in support of New Port Richey’s annual Chasco Fiesta Boat Parade. During the detail, vessels were inspected for compliance which resulted in several warnings and citations being issued.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
LEE COUNTY

Officer Bradshaw and Lieutenant Barrett attended the 2nd Annual Flea Market and Boat Show at Lovers Key State Park. The two officers worked with other members of the Lee County Marine Law Enforcement Task Force to answer questions about boating safety and fishing regulations.

POLK COUNTY

Officers Tyer and Infante attended an open house at the Colt Creek State Park. The officers discussed the roles of FWC Law Enforcement and answered questions from approximately 1,000 stakeholders.

SOUTH A REGION
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

While on patrol in the Dr. Von D Mizell–Eula Johnson State Park, Officer Tarr saw a vessel pull into the marina. During the inspection, he checked both occupants through dispatch and one of the subjects came back as a registered gang member with two outstanding warrants out of Broward and Miami-Dade counties. The subject was placed in handcuffs and transported to the Broward County Jail.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officer Davis received information from a local ranch owner about poachers coming on to his ranch. Officer Davis, along with the landowner, found vehicle tracks in the dirt along the fence line and foot prints going into the ranch. While on patrol a week later, a vehicle was found parked in the bushes along the ranch fence line. Officer Davis took a position of concealment on the ranch, while Officer Allen and Lieutenant Strenth conducted surveillance of the fence line and waited for the subject to return to the vehicle. The subject was spotted walking out of a slough located on the ranch. Officers Davis and Allen made encountered the subject who was in possession of a .22 rifle. While processing the subject at the scene, two more individuals approached the officers’ location, one of which was armed with a 20-gauge shotgun. The two individuals stated they were with the subject that the officers had detained and admitted to hunting on the ranch that morning. K-9 Officer Payne and Lieutenant Strenth tracked the path the subjects had taken through the ranch and confirmed, through sworn statements and foot prints, that all subjects had been on the ranch. Two of the subjects were arrested for felony trespass and taken to the Okeechobee County Jail. A charge of misdemeanor trespass will be pursued through the state attorney’s office for the third subject.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

While conducting land patrol in the JW Corbett WMA, Officers Morrow and Gamage encountered a group of subjects who were illegally camping. The officers noticed the odor of marijuana coming from the tent where the subjects were sitting. When asked, one of the subjects admitted to possession of cannabis. A search of the site revealed that the subject was in possession of three small containers of marijuana, two glass smoking pipes, and other paraphernalia. The subject was then issued a misdemeanor citation for the illegal drugs. All subjects were issued warnings for the illegal camping. The contraband was seized and placed into evidence.

Environmental Investigator Luher was traveling southbound on the turnpike when she saw an 18-wheeler truck with a rear brake on fire. She radioed for fire rescue, and got the truck pulled over. She ran up to the cab and told both occupants to get out of the cab due to a fire. The driver indicated he was unaware of the fire. Investigator Luher extinguished the fire with her fire extinguisher and no persons were injured and the cargo was not damaged.

Environmental Investigator Luher discovered numerous five-gallon buckets containing used oil near a dumpster at a marina. The containers were placed directly on the ground, with no secondary containment and no labels as required. She located the general manager and discussed the violation with him. The oil was from the customers at the marina. An inspection of additional larger containers of used oil revealed that those also did not contain the required secondary containment and labeling. The marina was issued warnings for these violations, and was given a pamphlet on the regulations pertaining to used oil management. This location will be inspected in the future to ensure compliance.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Officer Fretwell was approached by two individuals while at the Treasure Coast Boat Rentals, who stated that they had just witnessed a subject catch and keep what appeared to be an undersized snook. They stated that the snook was approximately 18 inches long. They provided Officer Fretwell with a detailed description of the subject and then pointed out his parked vehicle at the nearby Black Pearl Boat Ramp fish cleaning table. Proceeding to the area in a marked patrol vehicle, Officer Fretwell encountered the subject who matched the description given to him earlier. Approaching the vehicle, the driver rolled his window down. Officer Fretwell asked the subject if he was in possession of an undersized snook. The driver hesitated and then stated, "well, yes.” Officer Fretwell asked him to exit the vehicle and retrieve the snook for inspection. The subject retrieved a one-gallon style bait bucket and proceeded to remove a 15.5-inch snook with the head cut off. Snook must be 28-32 inches to possess. The snook was seized as evidence and the subject was cited for the violation.

RESCUES
ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Officer Fretwell, as well as the St. Lucie County SO, U.S. Coast Guard and Sea Tow, responded to reports of a capsized vessel approximately seven miles offshore of the Fort Pierce Inlet. There was communication with the vessel through a cell phone. Sea Tow was the first to arrive on the scene and secured all five occupants of the vessel. The occupants had used the capsized vessel to stay afloat. Upon arrival of USCG and FWC, they secured and collected the passengers and their personal belongings. The cause of the boat capsizing is under investigation.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
HENDRY COUNTY

Officer Toby taught the laws and ethics portion of a Hunter Safety class at the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office range.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officer Boulware conducted patrol at the Okeechobee Battlefield State Park for the Seminole War Re-Enactment. Approximately 3,500 people attended the three-day event.

SOUTH B REGION
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Plussa was conducting surveillance in an unmarked patrol vehicle near Goodland when he saw a previously marked, posted, and approved-to-remove derelict vessels with a new vessel moored up to it with a subject moving items around the posted vessel. Officer Plussa contacted the Collier County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit and asked for their assistance in accompanying him to the derelict vessels to investigate. When they arrived at the vessel, they found it occupied by the owner and a female who claimed to be his daughter. The subject produced a title for the vessel but stated he was unable to transfer or register it because he had been a victim of identity theft. Officer Plussa asked him if he was aware that the vessel was marked and posted as derelict. The subject stated he was and that he was the one who removed the derelict notice. Officer Plussa issued him three criminal misdemeanor charges for operating, using and storing a derelict vessel on state waters, failure to transfer title, and failure to transfer registration within 30 days of ownership change. The subject was advised that the derelict vessel removal process was ongoing and that the vessel was in que for removal.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Garcia recently responded to a complaint of a monkey loose at a marina. He captured the monkey which was identified as a marmoset monkey. The monkey was turned over to Captive Wildlife Investigator Smith for placement and further investigation. Two days later, Investigator Smith located the owner and returned the monkey. The owner was issued a misdemeanor citation for the escape.

Officer Baumgartner was patrolling through Card Sound Road when she noticed a vessel nosed up into the mangroves. Upon approaching the vessel by land, she saw one individual removing fishing gear from the vessel. When asked, they responded by saying they were dropping off a friend and some gear and then going back out fishing. Officer Rafter arrived and assisted by land and Officer Sutter arrived by water. Upon conducting a resource inspection, the individuals were found to be in possession of over the vessel limit in barracuda, undersized hogfish, undersized mutton snapper and undersized out-of-season red grouper. Officer Baumgartner issued five misdemeanor citations to the fisherman and one infraction citation to an individual for no valid fishing license.

RESCUES
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Baumgartner, Garcia and Sutter responded to two calls for service back to back in the Upper Keys. The first was for an overdue personal watercraft. The operator had partially sunk the personal watercraft in Matecumbe Bight before swimming to a nearby liveaboard and phoning for help. The second was a medical emergency aboard a vessel that had run aground near Rock Harbor. Both individuals were escorted back to shore safely.

Two tourists rented a two-person kayak from a local livery on the bay side of Key Largo and paddled southbound near the shoreline of Blackwater Sound. The wind speed was near 20 mph from the east-southeast. Once they reached the entrance to Dusenbury Creek, they decided to go back. The couple found themselves two miles offshore in Blackwater Sound and were becoming victim of the pounding choppy waters, paddling against a strong wind and waves in a sinking kayak. Once they realized the gravity of their situation, they called 911 and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO). The MCSO dispatcher transferred the call to a FWC Dispatcher who dispatched the emergency call to all officers in the area. Officer Maldonado responded right away to the emergency. The couple on the kayak were now with a half-submerged kayak and were unable to clearly communicate their position. Officer Maldonado ran the entire length of Blackwater Sound easterly shoreline in a futile attempt to locate the distressed pair. The MCSO and FWC dispatchers could ping the location of the cell signal and communicated the same to Officer Maldonado. Through his binoculars, he saw a small yellow object near the surface and found the couple clinging to their now sunken kayak. Both persons in the water were wearing their life jackets, and holding their phones out of the water. The couple were brought aboard his patrol vessel and returned back to the rental company. Both persons were very stressed but relieved to be rescued finally. The USCG arrived on scene shortly afterwards and assisted by recovering the sunken kayak.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
MONROE COUNTY

Officer Sapp received information regarding a pelican in distress on an island near Cudjoe Key. Once on scene, he saw a brown pelican that was hanging upside down from a mangrove branch. The pelican had braided fishing line wrapped around his foot, and was partially submerged. The pelican was struggling to keep his head above water, and could not free himself. Performing exceptional boat handling skills, the pelican was brought safely onto land and turned over to the Bird Rehabilitation Center in Key West. The pelican is expected to make a full recovery.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

FWC officers participated in a youth outreach event at Columbus High School in Miami. It was the 1st Annual Bass Fishing Tournament for the school’s Angler’s Club. FWC officers answered many questions the students had as well as educated them on the FWC's role in relation to fishing and conservation.

Officer Ingellis participated in the 10th Annual Career Day at the Miami Country Day School, along with representatives of the Guy Harvey Institute and the Florida Fishing Academy. More than 125 students participated in the event, and topics included boating safety, fishing regulations and environmental issues. The students then boarded several charter vessels out the Bayside Marina for a fun day of fishing in Biscayne Bay.

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  FWC Enforcement Report March 24-30. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 04-05-2017, 12:17 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

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FWC

Division of Law Enforcement

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Bartlett was dispatched to a complaint reporting that a blue heron was intentionally shot in a community in Destin. When Officer Bartlett arrived, he spoke with the complainant and captured the injured bird. The officer saw the bird’s left wing was injured and it was actively bleeding. Officer Brooks transported the blue heron to a local wildlife rehabilitation center. Key information was gathered that led to a residence where the shooter lived. He spoke with a 19‑year‑old male who admitted shooting the bird with a pellet gun. The individual was issued a notice to appear citation.

Officer Pifer was dispatched to a complaint of an individual catching freshwater turtles, turning them over on their backs and leaving them to die in a Fort Walton Beach community. Information was received about the residence where the turtles were being harvested. When the officer arrived, he saw an individual matching the description provided by the complainant in the driveway getting into a vehicle. After an interview, with consent from the homeowner, Officer Pifer went to the backyard which backs up to a pond. Two turtles were lying upside down on the dock. The individual was issued a notice to appear citation for taking over the bag limit of freshwater turtles and given a citation for no freshwater fishing license.

Officer Bartlett was on land patrol after hours on the Eglin Wildlife Management Area (WMA) targeting after‑hours access violations and saw a familiar vehicle parked off the shoulder of a road. He had previously issued the owner of the vehicle a written warning for being on the management area without a permit. There was a female outside the vehicle leaning on the hood of the truck. He asked where the owner of the vehicle was and she stated that he was in the woods. She guided the officer to the location of the driver/owner of the truck. The subject was issued a notice to appear citation for accessing Eglin WMA after hours.

Officers Bartlett and Nichols responded to a request from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office concerning a possible domestic violence disturbance off Highway 85 just south of Crestview. The vehicle matching the description was located traveling north on Highway 85. The driver was the only occupant in the vehicle. It was determined no physical altercation had occurred between the two individuals. However, during the investigation, Officer Bartlett had cause to believe the driver was impaired. After field sobriety tasks were performed, the driver was arrested for DUI and taken to the Okaloosa County Jail where he refused to provide a breath sample.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Jones encountered an oysterman returning to a boat ramp on the shore of East Bay near the community of Holley. There were oysters on the cull board of the boat and a routine inspection of the catch was conducted. He found that more than 10% of the oysters were less than the 3‑inch minimum size limit allowed by state law. A citation was issued to the oysterman with a mandatory court appearance.

While off duty, Officer Hutchinson received a call late at night from a Santa Rosa County deputy about a large group of people riding ATVs at Keyser's Landing in the Escambia River WMA. He went on duty and headed to the landing and met the deputy who was speaking with a group of teenagers who were riding ATVs. Several of the teenagers told the officers that a man and his girlfriend were in a truck spinning out and tearing up the campsites at Keyser's Landing. The officers then saw a truck coming towards them from the landing. The teens identified the truck as being the one that was destroying the campsites. Officer Hutchinson encountered the man driving the truck and recognized him as a person about whom several complaints have been reported. The subject was under the age of 21 and was in possession of alcoholic beverages. While conducting his investigation, fresh tire ruts in the middle of a campsite and dirt thrown from the ruts onto a nearby picnic table were observed. The subject admitted to spinning out in the campsite and was issued a notice to appear for destruction of state lands by a motor vehicle and possession of alcohol by a person under 21. The group riding the ATVs were warned for operating ATVs on a public roadway.

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Officers Gore and Hellett were patrolling the Choctawhatchee River WMA when they encountered four subjects hunting hogs with dogs from the river. The subjects were cited for attempting to take game during a closed season and issued written warnings for numerous other violations.

Officer Alsobrooks was off duty when he heard a feeder go off on adjacent private property. A few minutes later, the officer heard someone calling turkeys at the same location. Suspecting a violation, he came on duty, approached the location and discovered an individual and two juveniles hunting turkeys approximately ten yards from the feeder. The subject was cited for attempting to take turkey within 100 yards of bait.

RESCUES
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Arnette and J. Rockwell responded to a call regarding two kayakers on Shoal River in need of assistance. One of the subjects was diabetic and overturned his kayak and lost his paddle. The officers located the subjects and returned them to safety.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
OKALOOSA COUNTY


Officers Pifer and Corbin provided a ride-along for a reporter with the Northwest Florida Daily News who was writing an article on the day‑to‑day life of an FWC officer. The officers took the reporter on vessel patrol on Choctawhatchee Bay, Crab Island, Destin Pass and Destin Harbor. The officers made numerous boating safety vessel and resource inspections. The Northwest Florida Daily News posted the article and video on their website.

WALTON COUNTY

Lieutenant Clark coordinated with Topsail Hill Preserve State Park in an outreach event at the park. The FWC’s Habitat and Species Biologist, Ms. Manis, presented a coastal PowerPoint presentation for the staff, volunteers, campers and members of the surrounding communities. The focus was how to identify shorebirds, sea turtles and other coastal wildlife and the importance in protecting their natural habitat. Approximately 30 people attended.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
COLUMBIA COUNTY

Officer Johnston was on patrol at the Alligator Lake Fish Management Area conducting boating safety and resource inspections when he located a subject who had an active warrant. Officer Johnston checked registration information and discovered that the registered owner of the vehicle had a “no bond” active warrant for violation of probation in Holmes County. The warrant was confirmed and Officer Johnston arrested and transported the subject to the Columbia County Jail.

DUVAL COUNTY

The FWC’s Jacksonville Resource Protection Service (RPS) Squad worked a trespass complaint at a small local airport where a fence was found cut. Three baited blinds were identified and a subject was located calling turkeys near one of the feeders. The subject lives in a house adjacent to the airport and admitted to regularly hunting in the area. He was cited for trespassing and attempting to take turkey over bait. He was also issued warnings for license violations.

Officer Christmas was on routine patrol when he contacted two subjects trespassing on railroad property off Zoo Parkway. The subjects were fishing, so Officer Christmas conducted a resource inspection of their catch. One subject had seven red drum, six of which were undersized, and one undersized black drum. This subject was from Georgia and did not have a non-resident fishing license. The other subject was in possession of two undersized red drum. The fish were seized and the subjects were cited accordingly.

LAFAYETTE COUNTY

Officer Davenport was on patrol when he saw a truck exiting a hunt club. During a conversation with the two subjects sitting in the vehicle, they admitted that they had been turkey hunting. Further investigation revealed cannabis stored in the case of a turkey call that was in the possession of one of the subjects. The information was filed with the state attorney.

NASSAU COUNTY

Officers Griffis and Waldo were on land patrol on private property looking for turkey baits when they saw two parked vehicles further down the road. In the back of one of the trucks was a bag with remnants of feed with corn. As the officers followed the foot sign, they heard a shot. An individual was encountered shortly thereafter with a gobbler. Officer Griffis stayed with the individual while Officer Waldo walked in the direction of the shot. Turkey feathers and fresh blood were found close to an active feeder filled with corn. Officer Waldo located the spot where the individual was hunting which was less than 100 yards from the feeder. The subject gave a post-Miranda confession about shooting the gobbler over bait and was issued a notice to appear for taking turkey over bait.

SUWANNEE COUNTY

Officer Mobley located two turkey bait sites baited with cracked and whole corn and witnessed an adult with a 14-year-old female walking into the baited area and began calling turkeys with a push button turkey call. The adult hunter was cited for taking or attempting to take turkeys over bait.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

While on late-night patrol at Sebastian Inlet State Park, Officer Cybula and Lieutenant Lightsey saw a vehicle operating in a careless manner. A stop of the vehicle revealed the operator had a suspended driver’s license and no insurance. While speaking to the man, the officers smelled cannabis coming from the vehicle and saw a glass pipe in plain view. A search of the vehicle revealed two bags containing cannabis and multiple pieces of drug paraphernalia. The man was issued a notice to appear for the violations.

During a resource and records inspection at a local bait shop. During the inspection, Officers Maslo and Kearney saw an 18-inch snook swimming in a large bait well. After speaking with the shop owner, a citation was issued for possession of undersized snook. The snook was released alive in a nearby local waterway.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

While Officers Hallsten, Lejarzar and Eller conducted foot patrols on the west end of Indian River County targeting illegal turkey hunting in the area, Officer Hallsten saw an individual actively hunting turkeys near a bait site. A resource inspection was conducted which confirmed that the individual was hunting turkeys over feed. A citation was issued for the violation and the subject’s shotgun was seized.

Officers Balgo and Hallsten were conducting water patrol at night in the Indian River south of Sebastian Inlet when they saw a commercial fishing vessel with no navigation lights. They conducted a vessel stop and, as they were pulling up to the other vessel, the operator threw a fish overboard. A fisheries inspection revealed six undersized sheepshead and one puffer fish. Citations were issued for the violations.

OSCEOLA COUNTY

Officer Mendez responded to private property to assist the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office. His investigation determined that a subject had illegally exited Three Lakes WMA to harvest a turkey on the private property. The subject was issued a notice to appear for the violation.

Officer Mendez received information about individuals that jumped the fence into Three Lakes WMA. Officer Mendez waited for the three subjects to return and approached them to address the violation of illegal entry/illegal exit of a WMA. The subjects were issued notice to appear citations for the violations.

While working a baited turkey hunting site, Officer Balgo and Lieutenant Davis saw a hunter fire a rifle while sitting within 30 yards of an active feeder. The officers tracked the hunter back to his camp after he attempted to locate the turkey. It was determined the hunter had shot at a turkey, but missed. He was issued one citation for attempting to take a turkey within 100 yards of a game feeder. He was also issued a warning for not having a valid turkey permit.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officers Malicoat, West, Bellville and K-9 Officer North were watching a large piece of property in the New Smyrna Beach area in the early morning hours to enforce turkey hunting laws. At daybreak, an adult male was found attempting to take turkeys within 100 yards of bait. He was issued the criminal notice to appear citation for that offense and was issued additional citations for not having the appropriate licenses. While conducting this investigation, gunshots were heard nearby. Officer West located where someone had shot and killed a turkey over a baited area. Meanwhile, Officers Sapp and Thornton met a hunter leaving the area by vehicle and asked how successful his hunt had been. He claimed to have shot and killed a hog. Upon further investigation, he was subsequently charged with the intentional take of turkey over the bait that Officer West had discovered.

COMMUMITY ORIENTED POLICING
BREVARD COUNTY

Officers Balgo and Humphrey worked a two-day public outreach event at the Harbortown Marina Flea Market. The event had more than 2,000 visitors over the weekend. The officers manned a booth representing the FWC and answered various questions about boating safety, hunting, fishing, manatees and derelict vessels.

Officer Kearney spoke to a group of 25 anglers at the Ladies Fishing Clinic at Sebastian Inlet State Park. During the event, many topics were discussed including saltwater fishing regulations and boating safety.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

While on patrol in Gasparilla Island State Park, Officer Morrison found three subjects fishing in the park after hours. None of them had an after-hours state park pass and they were in possession of alcohol in a state park. Furthermore, after a fisheries inspection, a snook measuring 33 inches exactly was discovered. A closer examination of the fish revealed that the tail had been trimmed to meet the slot requirement. After questioning, one subject admitted to cutting the tail and took full responsibility. A criminal citation was issued for the illegal snook and appropriate warnings were issued for park violations.

HARDEE COUNTY

On opening weekend of spring turkey season, Officer Infante charged an individual who was attempting to harvest an Osceola turkey 18 feet from a bait station.

HERNANDO COUNTY

Officer Wolff responded to a complaint in Hernando Beach of a large vessel which pulled up to a dock at an empty lot, offloaded a large cooler and left the area. K-9 Chaos was deployed to the location, located the cooler and gave a final response on it. Inside the cooler were multiple Spanish mackerel and king mackerel. Surveillance was set up in the area and a black truck soon backed into the lot. There were multiple visual indicators that the vehicle’s occupants had been fishing. They must have seen the surveillance vehicle and quickly exited the lot without retrieving the cooler. The vehicle was stopped and contact was made with the occupants who fit the description of the subjects in the vessel. With assistance from Officer Scinta, the vessel was located at the Hernando Beach Marina in dry storage. The registered owner of the vehicle and vessel were the same person. While interviewing the subjects, they admitted to fishing that day and placing the cooler at the dock. The operator was advised that K-9 Chaos would be deployed again to conduct a free air sniff around the vehicle. The operator then admitted that there was a fish in the bed of the truck. The fish was a very large gag grouper. All of the fish were seized as evidence and the subjects were cited for taking over the daily bag limit of king mackerel and for taking gag grouper out of season.

HIGHLANDS COUNTY

Officers Kobs, Bontrager, and Reserve Officer Johnson were watching an area where someone had placed a large amount of corn on the ground during opening day of spring turkey season. Approximately 45 minutes before scheduled sunrise, the officers saw an individual walking through the woods with a headlamp on. The individual sat in an improvised blind made from palmetto fronds he had assembled the week before. Shortly before sunrise, the individual attempted to call in a gobbler turkey with various turkey calls. Officer Kobs announced himself as an FWC officer and instructed the individual to come out of the turkey blind. The individual admitted he knew that he was hunting over turkey bait, and that it was illegal to hunt turkey within 100 yards of the bait. The individual was given a notice to appear for hunting turkey over bait, and his shotgun was seized as evidence.

LEE COUNTY

Officers Furbay, Zampella and McColgin received information from a landowner about trespassing and poaching problems on his property. After some time of getting to know the area, the officers figured out where the issues were happening and set up a camera to catch the trespassers in the act. A couple of days after installing the camera, they caught two men armed with rifles entering the property. The men vandalized the chain around the camera and attempted to steal it. When the men saw a sticker on the back of the camera that said “property of FWC,” they decided to leave an apology note instead of stealing the camera. The officers located one of the men in a nearby residential neighborhood and received a full confession about the crimes. The officers were also able to identify the second subject, who later admitted to the crime. Both subjects admitted to stealing the property owner’s personal game camera on a previous visit. The officers returned the camera to the owner, and the two men will have to appear in court for the trespass violations.

Officer Hardgrove was patrolling in the northern Matlacha Pass area when he attempted to stop a commercial mullet skiff and the subject refused to stop. When the vessel finally stopped, he noticed that there were numerous Spanish mackerel and pompano on board with gill net marks on them, and they were not properly iced down. A search of the area where the subject refused to stop revealed discarded pompano that matched those on board. The subject was issued multiple citations and must appear in court.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on water patrol near Pass-a-Grille, Officer Bibeau stopped a vessel returning from offshore to conduct a fisheries inspection. During the inspection, a triggerfish and a red snapper were located. After reading all the occupants on board their Miranda Rights, two of the occupants admitted to catching the triggerfish and red snapper. Both individuals were issued a misdemeanor citation for harvesting the fish during the closed season.

SARASOTA COUNTY

While on land patrol in Myakka River State Park, Officer Davidson performed a fisheries inspection on an individual who was returning from fishing. The subject had two largemouth bass, both over 16 inches. One bass was 18 inches and the other was 17 inches. The subject was cited for possession of more than one black bass over 16 inches and issued a warning for fishing without a valid freshwater fishing license.

RESCUES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officers Perry and Hardgrove received a call in the middle of the night from a commercial shrimping vessel, stating that one of the crew members had fallen into the water and was missing in the middle of Charlotte Harbor. The officers responded to the area and began searching for the missing fisherman along with the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, USCG, and numerus other agencies. The other crew members didn’t realize he was missing for quite some time. They were unsure where and when the person fell in, which made it difficult to know exactly where to search. The officers factored in the wind and tides and started searching in an area with night vision. Around 1:00 am, within 25 minutes of searching, the officers located the missing fisherman alive in the water and pulled him to safety. He was not wearing a life vest and is believed to have been treading water for almost two hours before being found. Aside from being cold and exhausted, the fisherman was uninjured.

POLK COUNTY

The Southwest Dive Team members had just completed cavern diving training at Jackson Blue Springs in Jackson County when they saw a large brush fire. The team members used their fire extinguishers to control the spread of the fire until Division of Forestry and Marianna Fire Department could extinguish the fire.

The Southwest Dive Team members had just completed training for the day at FSU in Bay County, when they saw a subject that had jumped from a moving vehicle. They provided first aid to the subject until EMS arrived on the scene and transported the subject to the hospital.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
LEE COUNTY

Officers Price, Furbay and Bradshaw worked panther zone enforcement in the Lee County protection areas. The officers performed speed enforcement as an effort to reduce speeding and protect the panthers when they are most likely to be moving. After several hours of enforcement, the officers issued seven written warnings and nine citations for violations. The highest speed was 79 miles per hour in the 45 miles per hour posted area.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officers from Lee, Charlotte and Sarasota counties participated in a Boating Safety Campaign to educate boaters about the importance of being alert while on the water. The campaign included television and radio media coverage to help spread the word. Officers focused water patrols on high-traffic areas looking for careless operators, boating under the influence and inattentive operators.

HARDEE COUNTY

Officer Cloud and K-9 participated in an outreach for Peace River Electric. There were approximately 400 people in attendance. Officer Cloud talked about the FWC K-9 program, and the job FWC is tasked with.

POLK COUNTY

Officer Young participated in the Heritage Festival Day. He handed out regulation handbooks and talked about boating safety, game and fish regulations, and new rule changes. More than 150 citizens attended the event.

SOUTH A REGION
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officer Vacin was on patrol near Fort Lauderdale and responded to a tip of a subject taking an undersized snook near a water flow structure in Davie. He arrived on the scene and spoke to several individuals fishing in the area. With information gathered, he issued one individual a citation for possession of over the bag limit of snook and possession of undersized snook. One undersized snook was released back into the water alive.

GLADES COUNTY

Officer Nasworth was dispatched to a report of a sinking tug boat in the rim canal of Lake Okeechobee. When he arrived on scene, he saw a tug boat which was partially submerged and tied off in the Moore Haven wake zone. Officers Nasworth and Crosby launched a vessel at the Alvin Ward Boat Ramp and responded. They saw a sheen in the water behind the vessel and could smell diesel fuel. They docked next to the tug and boarded it and during an inspection of the vessel, located a piece of paper with the name of a subject and phone number. Officer Nasworth contacted the owner who said that the vessel was used the day prior and was afloat. The owner told Officer Nasworh that he didn’t know how the vessel began to sink and that it was mechanically sound. The owner said that he would have crew members respond to pump the water out and he would contact SeaTow to get booms to contain the diesel fuel. Officer Nasworth contact the State Warning Point (Department of Emergency Management) to inform them of the situation and then completed a boating accident report for the incident.

HENDRY COUNTY

Officer DeWeese saw a turkey hunter on a private hunting lease. After some surveillance, he witnessed the hunter attempting to take turkey within 100 yards of bait. The subject was issued a citation for attempting to take turkey within 100 yards of bait.

MARTIN COUNTY

Officers Carroll, Cobo and Morrow, along with the Martin County Sheriff’s Office and Stuart Police Department, responded to the report of a subject possibly in the water in the St Lucie River near the Roosevelt Bridge. An unoccupied dinghy had been found adrift and eyewitnesses had seen the vessel occupied a short time earlier. The officers began searching the area and spoke with the subject that had located the dinghy who provided a vessel registration number. The sailboat that the dinghy was registered to was located a subject on board that vessel was contacted. He said that the dinghy had come disconnected and that he was stranded on his sailboat. The officers then provided the subject with assistance getting to the dock, so that he could retrieve his dinghy from the reporting party.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

On the opening day of spring turkey season, Officer Allen conducted surveillance on an area north of State Road 70 where he had previously found corn and milo set out as bait. An adult and a child arrived just before dawn and, approximately one-half hour later, the adult shot a male wild turkey over the bait. He was issued a notice to appear citation for the violation. The turkey was seized as evidence then donated to a local wildlife rehabilitator.

Lieutenant Harris, Investigator Lafoy, Officers Davis, Allen and Boulware conducted surveillance targeting recreational fresh water fisheries violations in the Lake Okeechobee and Kissimmee River areas. Reports indicated fisherman specifically near Highway 78 in the Kissimmee River were violating the regulations for black crappie. A subject was seen fishing in the area and storing his catch in a cooler on land. The subject resumed fishing and was later seen passing his catch to an unidentified subject on land and returning to fishing again. When he returned in the late afternoon, a fisheries inspection was conducted revealing that he was in possession of 24 black crappie. The subject was then seen retrieving the white cooler stored on land. The subject was subsequently stopped for numerous traffic violations in Glades County. During the traffic stop, the subject verbally consented to an inspection of his vessel/vehicle and admitted he was over the daily bag limit of black crappie (daily bag limit 25). The subject was in possession of 45 black crappie and was issued a notice to appear citation for the fisheries violation. He was also issued written warnings for the traffic violations. The 45 black crappie were seized and photographed.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

The Martin County Sheriff’s Office was involved in a pursuit that ended with the fleeing vehicle hitting a civilian vehicle near the West Palm Beach FWC Regional Office. The subject fled on foot after the crash into the Grassy Waters Preserve, which is a very wet marsh. Numerous Palm Beach County deputies responded to assist the Martin County deputies in locating the subject. Due to the swampy conditions, the FWC was asked to assist in the search. A swamp buggy and UTV were deployed and seven FWC officers assisted in the search. Shortly after dark, the suspect was located with the aid of a drone equipped with a FLIR. He was apprehended a short time later and arrested on multiple charges.

Officers Brock, Banks, Vacin and Lieutenant Laubenberger were on patrol in Boca Lake and saw a vessel pulling into the Silver Palms Park Boat Ramp. Officer Brock conducted a boating safety inspection of the vessel and issued the operator a BUI citation for underage drinking. The individual must appear in court.

Officer Nasworth was flagged down at the Pahokee Marina parking lot by a citizen who informed him that SeaTow had just pulled in a vessel that had been stranded on Lake Okeechobee. At the dock, the operator said that the vessel hit a big wave coming across the lake and knocked out their GPS, causing them to get off course. When he saw the Pahokee Marina, he drove straight towards it and ran onto the rocks. The operator said that he called the U.S. Coast Guard and the local sheriff’s office who did not send any units to assist, and his vessel started to take on water. He then called SeaTow for assistance. The accident is under investigation.

Officer Toby saw an individual fishing on Lake Okeechobee with a cast net at the Belle Glade Structure and conducted a fisheries inspection. The individual was in possession of nine bluegill and two black crappie, one of which was undersized. After examining the fish, they showed evidence of having been taken by a cast net, which is illegal as they are all freshwater game fish. The individual was issued a misdemeanor citation for the possession of the one undersized black crappie and a misdemeanor citation for taking the game fish by illegal method. Additionally, the individual was issued a written warning for fishing without a valid freshwater fishing license.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officer Boulware conducted patrol in the Okeechobee Battlefield State Park for the Seminole War reenactment. Attendance was approximately 3,500 people for the three-day event.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Stone, Payne, Leblanc and Morrow attended the annual Becoming an Outdoors Woman seminar at JW Corbett WMA. During the three-day event, the officers instructed students on archery and firearms, hunter safety, hunting basics, and reading/interpreting the woods.

SOUTH B REGION
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Plussa was conducting water patrol near Gordon Pass and Naples Bay when he saw a vessel exit the channel and enter a slow speed manatee zone while on full plane. Because of the ensuing investigation by the officer, the subject was eventually charged with BUI, providing false name/identity to law enforcement, failure to transfer registration within 30 days change of vessel ownership, and failure to apply for vessel title within 30 days of change of ownership. Six citations for boating safety equipment violations and a seventh citation for violation of the Manatee zone were also issued. He was booked in the Collier County Jail on a $6,000 bond for the four charges.

Officers Kleis and Arbogast were on water patrol on the Marco River when they saw a vessel create a large “rooster tail,” attempting to spray the docks at a water front restaurant. The vessel was also improperly displaying its registration decal. The vessel was stopped to address the violation and to conduct a safety inspection. Multiple signs of impairment were observed from the operator during the encounter. Seated field sobriety tasks on the operator were conducted, on which he performed poorly. Officer Kleis placed the subject under arrest for BUI. The subject, who has two previous convictions for DUI, refused to provide a breath sample. The subject was transported to the Collier County Jail.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Lieutenant Haney was on patrol at a boat ramp in Miami and conducted an inspection on a PWC. During the inspection, he determined that the HIN on the PWC had been altered. The trailer was confirmed to be stolen and had been fraudulently registered. The owner was interviewed and subsequently arrested and charged with 4 felonies and 1 misdemeanor relating to the theft and fraud of the trailer and PWC. The PWC and trailer were seized as evidence.

MONROE COUNTY

Investigator J. Munkelt was observing marine life collectors in an unmarked patrol vehicle snorkeling on a flat in the lower keys. Due to the length of time they were in the water he concluded that they might be over their daily bag limit and called a nearby uniformed officer to conduct a routine fisheries inspection. Officer Mason arrived on scene and checked their licenses and catch when they came back to shore. The individuals were found to be over their commercial bag limit of star snails (commonly referred to as “Turbo Snails”). Officer Wagner assisted with evidence collection and documentation.

Officer Mattson saw a man selling “premium fish dip” on the side of US Highway 1 in Tavernier. Officer Mattson had dealt with the man in July 2016 and issued him a warning for no retail license. Officer Mattson asked the subject if he had his license and had come into compliance. The man said that he was “going through the process” of getting his license. He did not have a current license to sell retail to the public and he was issued a misdemeanor citation for the violation.

Officers Wagner and Piekenbrock were on water patrol in an unmarked vessel when they saw a vessel with divers in the water under a bridge in the lower keys. They watched one diver hand a spear gun into the vessel and the other hand a lobster net, tickle stick, and lobster bag with what appeared to be lobster in the bag. The officers waited for the individuals to get in the vessel and then approached and announced themselves as law enforcement officers. Officer Piekenbrock asked the individuals if they had any fish or lobster on board, and they replied that they did not. While checking registration and fishing licenses, Officer Wagner asked again if they had any fish or lobster, and they again replied that they did not. Officer Wagner approached the gunwale and asked if he could come on board to conduct a fisheries inspection. One man handed Officer Wagner the lobster bag and said he did have lobster in a bag, but had not measured them yet. Seven lobster were in the bag, and six of them were undersized. One more legal lobster was discovered in a cooler on the vessel. The man was charged with undersized and over the bag limit of spiny lobster. He was warned for not carrying a measuring device while harvesting lobster.

RESCUES
COLLIER COUNTY

While responding to a call, Officer Plussa saw a car several vehicles ahead of him quickly exit the travel lane and stop off the roadway in a rapid and panicked manner. When the vehicle stopped, the occupants exited and smoke began emitting from under the vehicle. Officer Plussa quickly advised dispatch to send Fire Rescue Services, stopped his patrol truck in a manner that would block the travel lanes, and exited with his fire extinguisher. As he approached, he could see large flames coming from underneath and inside the vehicle. Due to the possibility of an explosion with the vehicle’s fuel tank, he repositioned his patrol truck further back from the burning vehicle to block all travel lanes and stop traffic at a safe distance. Marco Island and Naples Fire Rescue units quickly arrived on the scene and put out the fire. Collier County Sheriff’s deputies and FWC Lieutenants Sushil and Mahoney arrived on the scene to assist with traffic and scene management. The deputy on the scene confirmed that no injuries were reported.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Osorio and Lieutenant Mahoney conducted patrols during the 70th anniversary celebration at Collier-Seminole State Park. The event consisted of free admission to the park, live music, local vendors and a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the campground re-opening after the remodeling and upgrades. During the event, FWC officers had the opportunity to answer many questions about fishing and hunting as well as their role as FWC law enforcement officers.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Dube took a local newspaper reporter out on vessel patrol for a ride-along to write a story on FWC officers. He conducted recreational and commercial vessel checks which included a sponge vessel, stone crab and lobster vessels. Officer Dube described to the reporter all the different areas that FWC officers patrol such as state and federal parks such as the Everglades National Park, protected areas, environmental and management areas, areas managed by the county and city. Officer Dube was also dispatched to multiple vessel groundings in the state park at the end of his shift. The reporter from Pennsylvania enjoyed her day out on water patrol with Officer Dube.

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  Cedar Key 3/30/2017
Posted by: sinbad - 03-30-2017, 10:53 PM - Forum: Fishing Reports - Replies (1)

A friend took me fishing today out of Cedar Key in hopes of catching a few trout before the front moved in.  We left the dock at around 0745 and headed out off North Key.  Water was muddy and 71°F with an outgoing tide.  The grass flat that we both remembered was not there, the grass was either gone or in bad shape.  Using a mix of live shrimp and artificial jigs under corks/cajun thunders, we managed quite a few catfish and no trout.  Time to move.  After relocating more to the North, we again had our baits out and again, only managed catfish.

Next stop was South side of North Key.  This time we boated 2 keeper Spanish Macks and had one too small trout that went back in with all the catfish that we couldn't seem to shake.  Lost one trout to a shark that left just the head on the hook.

Moving on, we worked our way toward Seahorse Key and again, the grass was in bad shape.  We were able to boat two keeper trout 17" & 19" and one sand trout.  This time we were hitting a few too small trout, but not many.  By this time, the incoming tide had crested and was about to turn.  The wind was also starting to build so we called it a day and headed for the barn.

Grand total was 2 Spanish Macks, 2 Spec Trout, and 1 Sand Trout.

The Specs ended up being full of worms when they were cleaned.

sinbad

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  FWC Enforcement Report March 17-23. All Regions.
Posted by: bigefromlc - 03-28-2017, 12:12 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
CALHOUN COUNTY

Officers Forehand and Hayes located two turkey blinds with cracked corn and millet seeds scattered within 30 yards of the blinds prior to turkey season. On opening morning, they witnessed two hunters actively calling and hunting for turkeys from the baited blinds. Both hunters were cited for taking or attempting to take turkeys over bait.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Lieutenant Marlow and Officers Boyd and Nelson located a vessel in the south end of the Middle Grounds Habitat Area of Particular Concern, 95 nautical miles south of Carrabelle. While approaching the vessel, the captain of the vessel ran from the port side to the starboard side and began throwing fish into the water. The fish were recovered and the officers found the occupants to be in possession of reef fish not landed in whole condition (fillets), undersized gag grouper, gag grouper during closed season, over the bag limit of vermillion snapper, along with the use of “J” hooks with natural bait and the violation of throwing fish overboard as law enforcement approached. The occupants admitted to the violations and were issued the appropriate citations and warnings for the violations.

GULF COUNTY

Officer M. Webb was on patrol in the Gulf of Mexico when he conducted a federal marine fisheries inspection on a vessel 11.5 nautical miles offshore. The captain of the vessel was actively fishing and had in his possession six gray triggerfish. A federal resource citation was issued for possession of gray triggerfish during closed season.

Officer H. Webb responded to a complaint of anglers harvesting over the daily bag limit and possession of undersized red and black drum under the Highland View Bridge. He arrived at the location and saw a man loading a stringer of what appeared to be undersized black drum into the back of his truck. Officer Webb conducted a fisheries inspection on the man and discovered that he was in possession of eight undersized black drum. A citation was issued for the violation. Following that stop, Officer Webb saw more anglers on the shoreline with a large stringer of fish. He conducted a fisheries inspection on the group and discovered that they were in possession of several black and red drum. Two of the red drum and one of the black drum were undersized. A citation was issued to the responsible party for possession of undersized red drum and a written warning was issued for possession of undersized black drum.

WAKULLA COUNTY

Officer Boyd was working the area of Mashes Sands when he saw a vessel inbound with two occupants. After conducting boating safety and resource inspections, Officer Boyd located three red snapper in a cooler. A citation was issued for possession of red snapper during closed season.

On opening morning of spring turkey season, Officers Nelson and Mandrick located a blind that was approximately 15 yards from and overlooking corn that had recently been distributed. The officers saw a shotgun barrel protruding from an opening in the blind. The officers approached the blind and made contact with the individual inside. When asked about the bait present in front of the blind, the individual denied having any knowledge of the bait present in the location he was hunting, even though the bait was clearly visible from the blind. After conducting a short interview, the individual admitted to knowing the bait was present and that he was hunting turkeys over bait. The appropriate action was taken in regards to the violation.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officers Manning and Allgood concentrated their efforts on offshore fisheries inspections in the Gulf of Mexico. Four vessel operators were found in possession of undersized greater amberjack. Notice to appear citations were issued for these violations. Later that day as they approached another vessel, they noticed the operator throw some fish into the water. As Officer Allgood boarded the vessel, Officer Manning retrieved two gray triggerfish that were still floating. Officer Allgood questioned the operator of the vessel about the triggerfish and he admitted to throwing them. During his inspection, a strong odor of marijuana was present. One of the passengers admitted to having a small amount of marijuana and a pipe. The pipe and marijuana were seized and notice to appear citations were issued for possession of undersized gray triggerfish, possession of cannabis, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
WASHINGTON COUNTY

Officer Greene attended a Hunter Safety class at Hard Labor Creek Plantation, where he taught the law portion of the class to approximately 12 individuals. Numerous questions relating to legal aspects of hunting were answered.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
BAKER COUNTY

Lieutenant Huff and Officer Gill worked two bait sites for turkeys that Officer Burnsed had found the previous week. After daylight, a hunter came into one of the bait sites, placed a decoy in the bait site and began to call for turkeys. The officers located the hunter who admitted to knowing the bait was there. The hunter was cited for attempting to take turkey over bait.

HAMILTON COUNTY

Officer Nichols was on patrol in a remote area of Hamilton County when he saw fresh tire marks entering a farm field where he had previously located a site baited with cracked corn and a whole corn feeder. He decided to check the area for turkey hunting activity. From a concealed location, he saw several turkey hunting decoys set up in the baited area. Approximately 20 minutes later, he saw one hunter emerge from the wood line of the baited area. He had crossed a fence onto the adjacent private property. Officer Nichols watched as the hunter entered the wood line of the private property carrying a pair of binoculars. He then saw two more hunters emerge from the wood line of the baited area. After approximately 10 minutes, the first hunter returned and climbed back over the fence. The three hunters began to gather their decoys, shot guns, and other hunting equipment. Officer Nichols decided to return to his vehicle and conduct a turkey hunting inspection on the three subjects. Upon inspection, it was found that all three hunters were adults hunting during the youth-only hunting season. The three men had been turkey hunting approximately 5 yards from the whole corn feeder and 10 yards from the cracked corn. It was also found that none of the hunters had permission to be across the fence on the adjacent private property. All three hunters were issued citations for adults hunting during the youth turkey hunting season and hunting turkeys within 100 yards of a baited area. The three subjects also received citations for non-resident hunting license violations. After speaking with the owner of the fenced private property, one hunter was issued a warning for trespassing.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Lieutenant Kiss was off duty when he saw two suspicious vehicles parked on the edge of private property in Lake City. The area in which the vehicles were parked is known for trespassing as well as hunting and fishing related violations. Lieutenant Kiss notified Officer Johnston who was on duty a few miles away, who arrived and located the four individuals shortly after dark as they returned to their vehicles. All subjects were seen trespassing on the private property and admitted to accessing the property to go fishing. One subject appeared nervous as Officer Johnston was educating him on trespass laws. The subject gave consent to search his person and spontaneously admitted to having a marijuana pipe. He also admitted to having marijuana in his vehicle. Officer Johnston successfully located the marijuana pipe and a bag of cannabis. All four subjects were issued trespass warnings while the one subject was issued a notice to appear for possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis and possession of drug paraphernalia.

K-9 Officer Gill received a call for assistance about a subject fleeing from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office while deputies were trying to serve a warrant. K-9 Friar was deployed on the subject’s last known location. The officer and his K-9 tracked the subject a lengthy distance until the track ended at a residence. K-9 Friar alerted that the subject had fled into a garage at the residence. The deputies entered the residence and located the subject hiding in a closed room. After the subject was arrested, K-9 Friar also recovered a deputy’s lost cell phone.

Officer Johnston received a call from dispatch about a hawk being shot with a pellet rifle. The hawk was taken to a rehab facility where a pellet was removed from the wing of the hawk. The original complainant provided the names of likely suspects which included one adult and one juvenile. Both subjects were located shortly after receiving the call and admitted to being involved and present when the hawk was shot. The adult stated the juvenile was the one who shot the hawk while the juvenile stated the adult shot the hawk. After consulting with the local state attorney’s office, Officer Johnston will file charges on both subjects. The hawk is currently undergoing rehab and is expected to survive.

Officer McDonald was on foot patrol on private land checking for illegal turkey hunting activity when he went to a field where he had located bait at an elevated hunting blind. As he neared the field, he saw two turkey decoys in front of the blind. Officer McDonald set up surveillance of the area and after approximately one hour, he saw two hunters entering the field and walking toward the blind. A short time later, Officer McDonald found one hunter in the blind. The hunter was armed with a bow and a rifle and admitted to attempting to harvest turkey. The hunter was cited for attempting to take turkey over bait.

UNION COUNTY

Captain Redmond, Reserve Captain Lee, Lieutenant Huff and Officer Gill worked a hunting club detail for turkey hunters on opening morning where Officer Gill had previously found numerous baited sites for turkeys. The officers went into the club in the early morning to begin surveillance on the baited sites. Shortly before daylight, several hunters came into the bait sites and, at daybreak, began calling for turkeys. The officers located the hunters who admitted to trying to kill turkeys on the baited sites. A total of three hunters were cited for attempting to take turkey over a baited area.

Officer Burnsed worked a hunting club detail where he had previously found several baited sites for turkeys. After setting up surveillance, he saw three hunters go to the different bait sites and, after daylight, began to call turkeys. Officer Burnsed contacted he hunters who all admitted to hunting the turkeys over the bait. The three subjects were cited for attempting to take turkey over a baited area.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
LAFAYETTE COUNTY

FWC Day at Lafayette Elementary went well with approximately 650 students in attendance. Officers Dwain, Drew, Vazquez, Aubrey, Wiggins and K-9 Friar, along with Lieutenant Humphries, attended the event. Officer Dwain brought a 5-foot alligator, Officers Drew and Vazquez spoke on boating safety and the work of FWC officers, while Lieutenant Humphries described hunting decoys.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Eller received information from an informant about an individual who was keeping gopher tortoises to eat. Officer Eller contacted Lieutenant Bonds and they made their way to the residence to investigate. Upon arrival at the residence, the owner was very nervous and confrontational. Officer Eller developed a dialogue with the suspect and got consent to look around the property. Officer Eller located a gopher tortoise penned up in the subject’s backyard. The owner was notified of the violation and issued a criminal citation for possession of a protected species, specifically a gopher tortoise. The gopher tortoise was seized and relocated back into the wild.

LAKE COUNTY

Officer Scrambling was working turkey hunting on private property adjacent to a closed portion of Seminole Forest Wildlife Management Area (WMA), when he saw a subject using a turkey call with two turkey decoys approximately 60 yards from his blind. Bait had also been placed on the ground less than 100 yards from where the hunter was hunting. The subject was given a notice to appear for the violation.

PUTNAM COUNTY

Officers Simpson and Guirate received information about a baited blind in Crescent City and went to the location in the early morning of the opening day of turkey season. They came upon a subject from Ohio and a guide from Massachusetts, who were issued citations for hunting turkey over bait. The guide was then questioned about his guide service and locations of other subjects. The guide provided directions to another piece of property. Officers Jones, Ward and Lieutenant Baer responded to their request for assistance. They arrived at the next piece of property where they saw foot sign leading into the woods. Officer Simpson deployed K-9 Moose who tracked straight to a baited blind with two subjects inside. The guide was from Virginia and the subject was from South Florida. They again issued citations for hunting turkey over bait. Officer Jones had obtained more information as to where other subjects were. The officers then relocated to a separate piece of property where another individual from South Florida was found to have killed a turkey over bait. None of the guides had a hunting license or turkey permit. A total of five citations were written for hunting turkey over bait, two warnings for no hunting license, and all parties involved were educated on the bait rule in the State of Florida.

SUMTER COUNTY

Officers Teal and Phillips were on patrol in Richloam WMA a few days before opening weekend of turkey season, when they found a truck parked near a closed area of the WMA. They saw turkey decoys in the back of the truck and heard someone using a turkey call not far from them. The officers followed foot sign from the truck where they saw two individuals, dressed in camo and holding shotguns, actively calling turkeys. After a post Miranda interview, the subjects admitted to trying to kill turkeys for the past few days. Both individuals were cited for hunting turkeys during closed season.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Lieutenant Eason and Officer Thornton walked through an area near Venetian Bay Estates looking for possible turkey bait violations prior to the opening of the season. They found cracked corn and bird seed just outside of a construction area within an 800-acre private hunt lease. On opening morning, Officers Thornton and Sapp worked the area and saw a subject attempting to take turkey within 100 yards of the bait. The subject was issued a criminal citation for the violation.

RESCUES
MARION COUNTY

Investigator Sumpter responded by land to a report that a vessel had overturned and two people were holding onto it. When he arrived on the scene, there was one person holding onto the overturned vessel. He communicated with the person via PA and provided reassurance. While scanning the debris field for the other occupant, he saw a person standing on the far shore. A U.S. Forest Service (USFS) employee said he could get a kayak on the scene in 20 minutes. Once the kayak arrived, Investigator Sumpter and a Marion County firefighter paddled to the person holding onto the boat. The 66-year-old man was hypothermic and exhausted, but still alive because he had managed to put on a lifejacket after he went into the water. Investigator Sumpter tied a rope around the man and towed him to shore with the kayak. Officer Dias arrived with a patrol vessel and he and Investigator Sumpter went to look for the other subject that was now lost in the woods. He was found a short time later, hypothermic, exhausted, and having trouble breathing. Marion County firefighters joined the FWC officers and carried the 69-year-old man out of the woods. USFS Officer Stokes transported him to a waiting ambulance. Investigator Sumpter and Officer Dias recovered the vessel and debris from the water, including the fishermen’s cooler with the fish still in it. Both men were treated on the scene and released. They returned home that day because they had PFDs and used them.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officer Birchfield was on water patrol when he saw two individuals catching multiple sheepshead from a local railroad trestle. A resource inspection revealed one of the individuals was over the bag limit and in possession of undersized sheepshead. A notice to appear was issued.

Officers Norris, Zampella, Sehl and Pilot Fields patrolled multiple nights in the Cecil Webb WMA. They encountered multiple vehicles in the area after hours and operating on closed roads. A total of seven citations and five warnings were issued for various violations.

HIGHLANDS COUNTY

Investigator Ervin saw a subject hunting turkey over bait on private property. The area had been baited with cracked corn, and the subject was operating a turkey call from a ground blind. An early morning resource inspection was conducted and the subject admitted to hunting turkey over bait. The subject gave a sworn written statement and was given a notice to appear for the violation.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Lieutenant DeLacure saw a truck at a gas station in north Tampa with the truck bed containing approximately 25 used/waste tires and noticed an expired waste tire collector permit displayed on truck. The lieutenant approached the occupants of the truck after they exited the store and requested identification and a valid waste tire collector permit. Neither subject could produce any documentation. Investigators Hough and Holcomb were in the immediate area and responded to the gas station to assist. Investigator Hough took over the lead upon arrival due to his extensive knowledge of environmental crimes and charged the female driver for driving with a suspended license with knowledge and failure to produce a valid waste tire collector permit. Investigator Hough transported the female subject to the Hillsborough County Jail on the charges and the vehicle was impounded because the accompanying subject did not have a valid driver’s license.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Officer Martin was on land patrol near Bicentennial Park in Oldsmar when he witnessed multiple subjects cast netting the park ponds. Upon inspection, a 20-inch snook was discovered in a plastic bag. The subject admitted to catching the snook with the cast net and did not have a fishing license. The subject was cited for multiple violations.

POLK COUNTY

Officer Carter was on land patrol at the Saddle Creed Park Fishing Management Area when he saw two subjects fishing from a bank. He approached them and asked if they caught anything and both subjects said they did not. When asked for their fishing licenses, neither subject had one. Both subjects were issued a citation for no fishing license.

Officer Cristofaro patrolled multiple days at Alafia River State Park. During this time, he issued 13 traffic warnings and one traffic citation for traffic-related offenses.

SARASOTA COUNTY

Officer Polaszek was conducting fishery inspections along the North Venice Jetty and encountered an individual in possession of six undersized sheepshead. The subject was cited appropriately and the fish were photographed and seized.

Officers Hughes and Ridgway were on water patrol near the Ken Thompson Boat Ramp and noticed a group of people collecting some sort of marine life out of the waters of Sarasota Bay. During a resource inspection, they found that the group had collected several bags of sea urchins. After conducting interviews, two members of the group were given criminal citations for possession of over the bag limit of marine life; they are required to appear in court.

RESCUES
LEE COUNTY

Officers Stasko, Thompson, Curbelo, Thurkettle and Lieutenant Ruggiero responded to a search and rescue late one evening after a hiker was reported missing. The hiker was supposed to be back to his vehicle by 9 p.m., but by midnight he had not returned. The FWC K-9 began tracking, and around 2 a.m., the sheriff’s department helicopter located the man deep in the woods. An ambulance was called to the scene just in case the man was injured. After being rescued, the man was evaluated by medical staff, given a blanket to prevent hypothermia, and released. The man was very grateful for the response and happy to be out of the woods.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Sierra was off duty at his residence when he heard frantic screaming coming from his neighbor’s residence. Knowing that there were young children at the residence, Officer Sierra rushed over to find a one year old child had fallen into the pool and was unresponsive, not breathing, and had no pulse. Officer Sierra started CPR and continued until EMS arrived. The child was transported to All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburgh and is reported to be in critical condition.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officer Salem and K-9 Officer Stasko participated in the Youth Turkey Hunt at the RV Griffin Reserve in southwest DeSoto County. Six youth hunters from around the state had the opportunity to take a turkey and a hog during the two-day hunt. A total of four turkeys and two hogs were harvested. The officers gave a brief overview of the agency and provided a K-9 demonstration.

HERNANDO COUNTY

Lieutenant Grover conducted a presentation to a local group of Weeki Wachee residents. He spoke about the FWC mission, capabilities, and enforcement efforts on the Weeki Wachee River. He followed up with a question-and-answer session by the residents.

POLK COUNTY

Officer Sweat did an outreach at the Davenport School of the Arts and had approximately 90 attendees. He talked about the duties of an FWC officer, and he brought an alligator. At the end, everyone was given the opportunity to ask questions.


SOUTH A REGION
RESCUES
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Hankinson, Brevik, Morrow, Kirkland, Godward, Investigator Phillips and the Palm Beach County Fire Rescue responded to the JW Corbett WMA regarding an elderly male experiencing chest pains. Upon arrival, the officers encountered the patient and directed rescue to his location. The patient was then transferred to rescue personnel for evaluation and transportation.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
MARTIN COUNTY

Officer Cobo responded to an anonymous complaint of a raccoon which had been inside an animal trap for more than 24 hours. After further investigation, it was determined that the owner had trapped the raccoon legally but was not aware of the legalities of leaving the animal with no food or water for more than 24 hours. The owner was given a warning and directed to MyFWC.com for information on nuisance animals.

SOUTH B REGION
CASES
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Smith responded to a possible theft of a Marmoset Monkey. The complainant stated that the local police department investigated the theft and made an arrest. She also stated that they returned the monkey to her. A search of the license database indicated the complainant did not possess a valid license for the monkey and was also exhibiting the monkey at her place of business. Further investigation determined that she had a license for the monkey that expired nearly a year ago. She was issued warnings for possessing and exhibiting the animal without a valid license and is in the process of license renewal.

MONROE COUNTY

A Good Samaritan south of Key West found a kayak with personal effects on board but no occupants. The USCG and FWC started a search of the area to look for a possible swimmer/diver with no success. Officers Garrison and Piekenbrock encountered a swimmer near shore who claimed he had just lost a kayak earlier in the day. Officers Messier and Way met up with the Good Samaritan to return the kayak to its possible owner only to find contraband in the kayak. The investigation led to misdemeanor citations to the swimmer for harvesting live rock, over the limit of ornamental sponges, over the limit of octocorals and other marine life violations.

Officer Mattson responded by water to a complaint of a vessel with two occupants that were possibly diving on lobster traps offshore of Tavernier. When Officer Mattson arrived on the scene, the boat had left the area. Officer Mattson located the vessel a short time later and stopped the vessel and performed a fisheries inspection of the boat. The inspection revealed that the operator was in possession of five undersized spiny lobster. He was cited accordingly.

RESCUES
COLLIER COUNTY

While performing license and fisheries inspections near the Jetport in Collier County, Officer Araujo was approached by a subject who stated that he had a camp nearby in the Big Cypress National Preserve, and that when he arrived at his camp earlier that day, there was a subject who had taken up residence. The complainant showed Officer Araujo a picture of the subject on his phone, and stated that the subject had walked to the camp after getting his vehicle stuck. Officer Araujo located the subject’s car nearby and ran the license plate. The registered owner came back as missing/endangered out of Miami-Dade County. Officer Araujo contacted Lieutenant Bulger as well as the National Park Service (NPS) and updated them of the situation. Using an FWC swamp buggy and a NPS swamp buggy, Officer Araujo, Lieutenant Bulger, and five NPS rangers proceeded to the camp to locate the individual. Upon arriving at the camp, the subject was located and transported back to waiting EMS units. The subject stated that he had gotten stuck and “just started walking” and that he had been in the Big Cypress for six days when the officers located him.

Officers Curbelo and Thurkettle were notified of a missing hiker within the Crew WMA. The subject had been riding the trails with a companion when he decided to go off trail, advising his companion that he would catch up with them later. Near dusk, the subject got a message to his companion that he could not find his way back, and relayed his coordinates before his phone died. Officers Curbelo and Thurkettle, Lee County officers, Collier County Sheriff’s Office deputies and their helicopter joined in the search. The helicopter located the subject near his last location where Officers Curbelo and Thurkettle found him. The individual was checked out by EMS and released.

Officer Arbogast and his fiancé were enjoying their evening off duty when they saw a 5- year-old boy in the middle of a busy, four-lane road near midnight in Greater Naples. Officer Arbogast saw the boy crying and waving his arms hysterically. Officer Arbogast immediately recognized that the boy's safety was in danger and that he needed to act immediately. Officer Arbogast approached the boy, and identified himself as a “policeman.” Once Officer Arbogast showed the boy his badge, the five-year-old relaxed and began to explain that he could not find his mother and was "scared of monsters he saw.” Officer Arbogast contacted the Collier County Sheriff's Office for assistance. FWC Officer Lugg, who was also off-duty but near the scene, also responded to assist. Once investigators arrived, they found that the boy's 1-year-old sister was also in the residence alone in a baby crib. They waited for the mother to return. Sheriff's investigators arrested her for felony driving on a suspended/revoked driver's license and felony child neglect. The children were left in the care of a family member and the Florida Department of Children and Families was informed.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Way responded to a 911 call of two persons on a small sailing vessel that took on water and sank just south of Big Coppit Key near Key West. A nearby Good Samaritan on a nearby vessel took one passenger on board and to shore, while Officer Way recovered the vessel and the operator, who was still clinging to the sunken vessel a short time later. There were no sustained injuries and the vessel was later removed by commercial salvage.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROL
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

The FWC, US Coast Guard and Miami Police participated in Operation Picnic Basket during the weekend. The goal of the operation was to enhance boater safety during the busy spring break boating season throughout the county. FWC Officers issued 163 boating citations, 68 warnings, 2 BUIs, and one misdemeanor citation for out-of-season red grouper. They also arrested one subject with an attempted murder warrant, another for felony fleeing and eluding, and recovered one stolen PWC which led to a subsequent arrest.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Garrison, Mobley and Carroll worked with the Marathon Turtle Hospital to release six different species of turtles, one of which was a 330-pound green turtle that Officers Adams and Carroll rescued a month prior. All the turtles were released offshore of Marathon. The event was attended by photographers, a video crew from The Weather Channel and representatives from several other organizations. It attracted several media outlets allowing more opportunity to relay our message of protecting our natural resources and sea creatures that live in them.

Officers Sapp, Martino and Carroll worked the FWC and NOAA information booth at the “Original Marathon Seafood Festival” in the middle keys. Officers spoke with roughly 250+ people and educated everyone about fishing regulations and boating safety. Officers also recruited multiple people who had interest in becoming an FWC officer.

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