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  FWC Enforcement Report September 7-20. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 10-07-2018, 11:30 AM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
BAY COUNTY

Officer Alsobrooks received a phone call regarding two subjects picking saw palmetto berries on private property adjacent to US Highway 98 in Panama City Beach. He arrived on scene and contacted the two subjects. They did not have written permission from the landowner to be on the property and did not have the required permit to harvest saw palmetto berries. They were in possession of three bags of berries with an estimated weight of 200 pounds. Both subjects were issued warnings for not possessing written permission from the landowner and one of the subjects was issued a citation for the permit violation.

Officer Brady and Reserve Officer Chesser were on water patrol in East Bay when they conducted a safety inspection on a rental pontoon vessel. During the inspection, the officers located multiple bags of palmetto berries in the vessel. The four occupants were charged appropriately for not having permits to possess the berries. The berries were returned to the habitat.

Lieutenant Allen was on patrol in Econfina Creek Wildlife Management Area when he noticed several individuals consuming alcohol at Wiliford Spring. Consumption of alcohol is prohibited on the management area. While issuing citations for the alcohol violations, Lieutenant Allen obtained consent to search a backpack belonging to one of the individuals. During the search, Lieutenant Allen found a small metal box which contained several straws and three small bags of a white powdery substance. The substance field tested positive for cocaine. The owner of the backpack took responsibility for the drugs and was arrested and booked into the Washington County Jail.

Officer Basford was working plain clothes when he saw an individual wade fishing in East Bay. As he was watching the individual, he saw him keep what appeared to be two redfish. One of the fish appeared to be oversized. Once the individual returned to shore, Officer Basford identified himself and conducted a resource inspection. During the inspection, Officer Basford found the individual in possession of two redfish, one of which was oversized. The individual was issued a citation for possession of oversized redfish as well as a warning for over the bag limit of redfish and for no saltwater fishing license. The oversized fish was returned to the water.

ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officers Manning and Allgood patrolled offshore concentrating on fisheries enforcement utilizing the newly arrived Safe Boat in Pensacola. They found occupants from five different vessels in violation of federal fisheries regulations. Five federal citations were issued for charges including possession of triggerfish during closed season and for possession of red snapper in a closed season. The officers also charged one vessel operator with interference with an FWC officer for attempting to throw illegally harvested triggerfish and red snapper overboard.

Officer Allgood assisted FWC captive wildlife investigators with a subject who was attempting to keep a whitetail deer as a pet. Officer Allgood issued a citation to the subject who was keeping the deer in an enclosure. The individual had previously applied for a permit but was denied.

JACKSON COUNTY

Officer Little pulled up to a boat ramp along Merritt’s Mill Pond as a boat was approaching the ramp shining a spotlight. When the vessel operator saw Officer Little, he turned the vessel around and began heading back out to the lake. Officer Little initiated his patrol vehicle’s emergency lights and gave several commands for the vessel operator to come to shore. The vessel operator stated he did not want to be checked and left the area. A truck arrived at the ramp with an empty boat trailer. The truck operator stated he was there to pick up his friend and load a boat that was left at his residence. Officer Little followed the truck to the residence in question where he found the vessel moored to a dock. Inside the vessel was a wallet, keys and cell phone. Approximately 30 minutes later, the vessel operator emerged from a nearby wooded area. After reviewing the case with the Assistant State Attorney, charges of fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer by vessel and obstruction of an FWC officer were direct filed.

Officer Little located three suspects trespassing on a landowner’s property. At the landowner’s request, all three suspects were cited for trespass.

Officers Hayes and Gerber were on night vessel patrol on the Apalachicola River when they saw a vessel at the shore with four subjects standing next to the vessel. One of the subjects was holding a cast net. When the officers arrived, the subject dropped the cast net. The officers found 25 bream and two crappie inside a live well. None of the fish had hook marks and they had missing scales indicating they had been caught in the cast net. The officers found the wet cast net in a bucket with one hybrid bass in the net. One of the subjects admitted to catching all the fish with the cast net. One count of taking game fish by an illegal method was direct filed through the State Attorney’s Office.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Bartlett and Investigator Molnar were on vessel patrol at Crab Island. The officers conducted a vessel stop on two personal watercraft (PWC) for violating the idle speed/no wake zone near the Destin Marler Bridge. One of the PWCs was being operated by a 14-year-old who failed to carry the temporary boater safety card. After the vessel inspection, Investigator Molnar conducted a livery inspection of the rental company who rented the PWC. Investigator Molnar determined the livery was in violation of the FWC temporary certificate program for contractors.

Officer Pifer was on land patrol when he conducted a saltwater license inspection of an individual who had just concluded fishing and was walking back to his vehicle. The individual told the officer his license was in his vehicle and Officer Pifer followed the individual to his van. The individual produced a valid license and when asked stated there were coolers in his van which contained fish. An inspection of the coolers revealed multiple species of regulated fish inside. Officer Pifer’s inspection revealed a total of eight redfish, two of which were oversized, and an undersized Spanish mackerel. The individual stated he was in town for ten days and only caught one redfish a day. Redfish has an off the water transportation limit of six. The individual’s information was checked through FWC dispatch who advised the individual had an active arrest warrant for larceny out of Okaloosa County. Officer Pifer placed the individual under arrest and booked him into the Okaloosa County Jail for the active warrant. The individual was additionally cited for possession of oversized redfish, over the transportation limit of redfish, and undersized Spanish mackerel.

Officer Pifer was dispatched to the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier regarding individuals harvesting undersized pompano. Once on the pier, Officer Pifer located the group described by the complainant. A resource inspection of their cooler revealed one pompano inside which was under the 11-inch size limit. The owner of the cooler was identified. The individual was cited for possession of undersized pompano. While investigating this complaint, Officer Pifer conducted a resource inspection of another cooler on the pier which contained three bluefish under the 12-inch size limit. The owner was identified and cited for possession of undersized bluefish.

Officer Corbin was on land patrol at the Cinco Bayou Boat Ramp conducting boating safety and resource inspections. The officer saw four kayaks returning to the boat ramp with rods and reels and coolers displayed. Officer Corbin asked if they had caught any fish, to which one of the boaters responded yes. Upon inspection of the cooler, Officer Corbin saw an undersized red drum. The operator was issued a notice to appear citation.

Officer Corbin was dispatched to a complaint regarding an individual keeping undersized pompano on the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier. Based on the description received from the complainant, Officer Corbin located the individual leaving the pier pulling a blue cooler and holding fishing rods. With consent, the officer inspected the contents of the cooler and saw several unregulated species of fish and one pompano. The pompano measured nine inches in total length. The legal size is 11 inches or greater. The individual was issued a notice to appear citation.

Officer Corbin was on foot patrol at the Okaloosa Island Pier in Fort Walton Beach. The officer saw an individual sitting in a chair, with fishing poles in front of him and lines in the water, right next to a cooler. In conversation with the individual, the subject stated he had caught some fish. The officer’s inspection of the cooler revealed two undersized pompano with a fork length of 7 ¾ inches. The individual was issued a notice to appear citation.

Officer Corbin saw an individual sitting on the seawall behind Mariner Plaza with two fishing poles in front of him with the lines in the water. During a fisheries/license inspection, the Tallahassee Regional Communication Center confirmed there was an active warrant out of Okaloosa County. Further, there was another warrant (non-extraditable) out of Palatka. The individual was arrested and transported to the Okaloosa County Jail.

WALTON COUNTY

Officer Brooks stopped a vessel returning from fishing on Black Creek for operating after sunset with no operational navigational lights. A fishery inspection revealed the subjects were over the daily bag limit of redfish. One of the occupants admitted to catching the fish and was cited for possession of over the daily bag limit of redfish.

Officer Tison identified three subjects who exited Grayton Beach State Park after harvesting saw palmetto berries. The subjects were in violation of harvesting berries in the state park and they did not have a permit as required from the Department of Agriculture. The subjects were cited for the state park and permit violations.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

Officer Sauls was on patrol in the Eastpoint area targeting illegal harvest of undersized oysters. She stopped a vessel returning from harvesting oysters to conduct a resource inspection. Officer Sauls inspected a bag of oysters and after counting and measuring each oyster, she determined it contained 46% undersized oysters. The subject was cited, and the undersized oysters were returned to the bay alive.

JEFFERSON COUNTY

Officer Specialist Anderson saw a vehicle parked in Aucilla Wildlife Management Area in the Western Sloughs. He deployed K-9 Scout around the vehicle and located a crossbow arrow that appeared to have fallen from the subject’s crossbow that morning. He deployed K-9 Scout, who tracked the subject approximately 250 yards through a swamp to the subject’s tripod stand. Once Officer Anderson located the subject, he identified himself as an FWC officer and instructed the subject to come down from his stand. When the subject came down, Officer Anderson saw a firearm on his side. A check through dispatch revealed the subject had seven prior felony convictions. Officer Anderson canvased the area for possible bait and located an area where a mineral block and milo was scattered, approximately 25 yards away from the subject’s stand. Also, around the stand were several items of trash that the subject admitted discarding in past hunting seasons. A rotation wrecker was requested. Officer Wilcox and Lieutenant Kilpatrick arrived to assist. Officer Wilcox photographed evidence (crossbow, bait, and a firearm) and Lieutenant Kilpatrick took inventory of the subject’s vehicle. The subject was booked into the Jefferson County Jail and was cited for possession of firearm by convicted felon, hunting with a crossbow during archery season, placing bait in a management area, and littering.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officers Hoomes, Roberson, Ramos, Hutchison and Pilot Tolbert have been working a ring of illegal palmetto berry pickers on Eglin Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The officers found evidence of the illegal activity and caught up with four subjects who had picked over 600 pounds of palmetto berries from Eglin WMA. All four subjects were cited for 13 misdemeanors which included harvesting live plants from a management area, entering a closed area, and no Department of Defense permit. One subject, who fled but was later located, was cited for resisting arrest without violence.

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Officers Hellett and Gore saw a vehicle traveling in the Econfina Creek Wildlife Management Area. After following the vehicle for a short distance, the officers conducted a traffic stop to check the driver for impairment as the vehicle was being operated carelessly and weaving. Upon stopping the vehicle, the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage was detected, and the subject did poorly on field sobriety tasks. He admitted to drinking a few beers and was arrested for DUI and transported to the Washington County Jail.

FEDERAL WATERS

While aboard the Offshore Patrol Vessel “Vigilance,” Officers Rockwell, Matechik, and Pifer saw a kayak fishing in waters south of Grayton Beach. Upon contacting the subject and performing a resource inspection, he was found to be in possession of undersized triple tail. The appropriate action was taken to address the violation.

While aboard the Offshore Patrol Vessel “Vigilance,” Officers Rockwell and Matechik were conducting federal fisheries patrols south of Santa Rosa County. They saw a charter fishing vessel relocating to another location. Upon boarding the vessel to conduct a resource inspection, they found a cooler that contained a gray triggerfish. Gray triggerfish is closed to harvest in federal waters. The appropriate action was taken to address the violation.

While aboard the Offshore Patrol Vessel “Vigilance,” Officers Rockwell and Matechik were conducting federal fisheries patrols south of Destin Pass. They saw a fishing vessel with four subjects on board actively bottom fishing. Upon boarding the vessel to conduct a resource inspection, it was found that there were four gray triggerfish on board. Harvest of gray triggerfish is closed in federal waters. Furthermore, all four of the fish were below the 15-inch minimum size limit. The appropriate action was taken to address the violations.

While aboard the Offshore Patrol Vessel “Vigilance,” Officers Rockwell and Matechik were conducting federal fisheries patrols south of Destin. They saw a center console fishing boat with four subjects on board. After boarding the vessel to conduct a resource inspection, the officer was told that they were not having much luck fishing. Inside the cooler were two out of season gray triggerfish. The appropriate action was taken to address the violations.

While aboard the Offshore Patrol Vessel “Vigilance,” Officers Rockwell, Matechik, and Pifer were conducting federal fisheries patrols south of Panama City. They saw a vessel with two subjects on board fishing. As they approached, the vessel got on plane and maneuvered in a northerly direction. Upon stopping the vessel, they saw fishing equipment and blood visible on the boat. The officers boarded the vessel to conduct a resource inspection and found one gray triggerfish and 23 vermillion snapper. Gray triggerfish is closed to harvest in federal waters and the bag limit for vermillion snapper is ten per person. Additionally, there were undersized vermillion snapper. The appropriate actions were taken to address the violations.

While aboard the Offshore Patrol Vessel “Vigilance,” Officers Rockwell, Matechik, and Pifer were conducting federal fisheries patrols south of Panama City. They saw a small cabin fishing vessel with two subjects on board. Upon boarding the vessel to conduct a resource inspection, the officers located gray triggerfish in the cooler. Gray triggerfish is closed to harvest in federal waters. The appropriate action was taken to address the violation.

RESCUES
LEON COUNTY

Leon County Sheriff’s Office conducted a search for a missing FSU student in the eastern portion of the county. On Sunday, Officers Anderson, Wilcox and Brookes joined the search along with Lieutenants Wass de Czege and Field. Officer Brookes searched along the western shoreline of Lake Miccosukee in an airboat. Officers Anderson and Wilcox and Lieutenant Wass de Czege focused their efforts in a different location further from the lake. Officer Anderson was on his ATV searching in a low-lying area several hundred yards away from other search teams when he located the subject. Officer Anderson was able to get the student onto his ATV and get him back to an assembly area where he was taken to the hospital for medical evaluation. The student had been missing for three nights.

WALTON COUNTY

Officers White and Maltais searched for and located a stranded boater in Choctawhatchee Bay after his family reported he was hours overdue. The subject was stranded in the bay due to mechanical failure and was accompanied safely back to shore.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
HOLMES COUNTY

Officer Yates, with assistance from Officers Homan, Parrish, Greene, and Lieutenant Walsingham participated in the Holmes County Outdoor Expo. A booth with informational materials and a vehicle/vessel static display generated a lot of public interest, which included questions and comments, meeting new landowners, and recruitment. Approximately 700 people attended the two-day event.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
GILCHRIST COUNTY

Officer Allen saw hunting equipment, including a corn feeder, tree stand and game camera in a local WMA last year. The equipment was removed prior to the season and he was unable to make a case. He returned this year and discovered the equipment was back in the WMA. He obtained a search warrant for the game camera and identified the owner. Officer Allen will be direct filing six misdemeanor charges through the Gilchrist County State Attorney’s Office.

Officer Cooper received information that a subject captured an alligator and was keeping it at his residence. Officer Cooper arrived on the scene and saw an alligator in a water trough in the backyard. Officer Cooper contacted the subject and conducted an interview. The subject was issued a notice to appear for the violation and the alligator was released back into the wild.

CITRUS COUNTY

Officer Reid and Lieutenant Jones were on patrol offshore of Crystal River. They saw a vessel at anchor with several occupants on board. The officers watched with binoculars and noticed the vessel occupants were not fishing or conducting any other activities consistent with being anchored. There was no dive flag displayed and the lack of activity on the boat raised suspicion that there may be divers in the water. As the officers approached the vessel, they saw a bubble trail from one diver. The officers tied off to the vessel and asked the occupants where their dive flag was located. The occupants stated they did not have a dive flag. The diver heard the patrol boats’ engines and surfaced nearby. Lieutenant Jones motioned for the diver to return to the boat. Once the diver was on board, Officer Reid conducted a fisheries inspection and located four gray trigger fish and one undersized hog snapper. The operator was issued a citation for possession of four gray trigger fish out of season and one citation for no display of a divers down flag.

ALACHUA COUNTY

Officer Stanley and Officer Troiano were patrolling private property with known trespassing complaints. The officers saw two males in a green canoe fishing in the private pond. Officer Stanley asked the two individuals if they had permission to be on the property and they replied no. The officers issued citations for trespass and no fishing license. Warnings were issued for boating safety violations.

Officer Stanley received information about a buck deer that was killed on property that had an active deer depredating permit. Officer Stanley contacted the permit holder and was able to identify the suspected person. After a short interview, Officer Stanley determined that the deer’s head was in a freezer belonging to another member of the suspect’s family. The deer was being kept so that they could have it mounted. Officer Stanley traveled to the family member’s home and retrieved the deer head. Officer Stanley issued two citations for violating of deer depredating permit rules.

BRADFORD COUNTY

Officers Gill, Tyler, and Fanelli were working a private deer dog hunting club, listening for free running deer dogs when the officers saw a subject cast his dogs on deer tracks. They watched the dogs actively chase a deer. The officers addressed the violation with the subject and cited him accordingly.

LEVY COUNTY

Officer Fox was conducting land patrol near Cedar Key when he saw a truck traveling north on County Road 347. He knew the driver of the truck had a suspended Florida driver’s license from previous resource inspections. Officer Fox stopped the vehicle and explained the laws and penalties to the operator and issued him a notice to appear in the Levy County Court for knowingly driving with a suspended license.

Officer Fox was conducting land patrol in Goethe State Forest when he saw a white pickup truck traveling north on Ten Mile Road after the legal entry hours for the public. While explaining the violation, he saw a beer bottle stuffed in the passenger side door panel. The occupants were cited for entry after legal hours and possession of an open container of alcohol while operating a motor vehicle.

Officer Fox was conducting water patrol by land at the Shell Mound Boat Ramp in Cedar Key when he saw a black airboat with two individuals approaching the boat ramp. Officer Fox saw a large quantity of mullet on board the vessel. Officer Fox’s resource inspection revealed two legal-sized red drums and 76 striped mullets. Officer Fox cited the individuals for over the vessel limit of striped mullet.

Offficer Johnston was dispatched to a gopher tortoise complaint at the Levy County Courthouse in Bronson. When he arrived and looked inside the bed of the truck, he saw a large gopher tortoise in a bucket. Officer Johnston cited him for possession of a protected species.

NASSAU COUNTY

Officers Stuhr and Waldo received a call from dispatch about a gunshot heard by a complainant sitting in a hunting stand during archery season. The officers proceeded to private land off Murhee road where they met three subjects. After asking about the shot, the father said his son shot at a dove. Officer Stuhr seized one dove breast. Dove season was not open and a citation was issued for harvesting dove out of season. The father also told Officer Stuhr that his other son shot a spike deer the night before. After meeting with the son about the deer, it was confirmed the son shot the deer. The deer was harvested out of season. The officers seized the deer and issued a citation for harvesting deer out of season.

DUVAL COUNTY

Officers Stuhr and Griffis responded to a call concerning two men picking saw palmetto berries at the Big Talbot Island State Park, just south of Black Rock Trail on A1A. Officer Griffis contacted the first man. After a few questions, the man took the officers to his friend. Officer Stuhr entered the wood line where the second man exited and found a bucket half filled with berries along with the first man’s backpack. Officer Stuhr saw a burlap sack in some bushes next to where the backpacks had been found. This bag also contained saw palmetto berries. The backpacks were filled with food, water, and extra burlap sacks. The two men did not have a native plant harvesting permit nor did they receive permission from state park staff to harvest berries. Both men were placed under arrest for violation of state park rules and the harvest/possession of saw palmetto berries without a permit.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
MADISON COUNTY

Officers Ransom, Cline and Vazquez responded to a drowning in Cherry Lake near Pinetta. Working closely with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office by providing vessel support along with sonar imaging, the missing subject was located, and the family was notified.

TAYLOR COUNTY

Officers Colasanti, Robson, and Lieutenant Loyed responded to a vessel taking on water 13 miles off-shore of the Steinhatchee River. There were three people in the water, including a child, when the officers arrived on scene. The occupants were pulled out of the water and transported back to shore by Officer Robson. Sea Tow was also on scene and towed the vessel back to shore. Officer Colasanti conducted the boating accident investigation.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
SUWANNEE COUNTY

Officer Boone participated in the law portion of a hunter education class in Live Oak. There were several students with parents in attendance for the class. Numerous related questions were answered on the topics of conservational enforcement, public safety and various hunting related questions.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Officers Campbell and Graves were working an alligator hunting detail on the St. Johns River when they inspected a group of subjects and found them to be hunting in the fourth phase using a second phase permit. Citations were issued for the violations.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officer Laroche was on patrol in Blue Springs State Park at French Landing when he saw a subject harvest an alligator within the state park by snagging it and dragging it alongside the vessel. The alligator was not immediately killed upon capture as required. He contacted the subject, who provided a permit for the recreational harvest which showed he was out of his area. One criminal citation was issued for taking an alligator within a state park. The subject was issued warnings for other violations.


Officer Bertolami saw two adult males in the very early morning hours fishing from the north jetty of Ponce Inlet. An inspection of their catch resulted in both men being issued notices to appear for the criminal violations for possession of out of slot size limit red drum, black drum and over the daily bag limit of red drum.

Officer West checked two adult male’s shoreline fishing in the New Smyrna Beach area. After checking the area where they had been fishing, Officer West found multiple bags concealed containing illegal fish. Both men were issued notices to appear for the criminal violations of possession of under the legal size of mangrove snapper and out of slot size limit of red drum.

Officer Pelzel was checking subjects in the area of the Tomoka River and after inspecting the catch of an adult male, issued a notice to appear for the criminal violations of possession of over the daily bag limit of mangrove snapper and under the legal size limit for mangrove snapper.

Officers Pelzel and Ward were on water patrol in Ormond Beach when they received a complaint of aggravated assault with a firearm which was reported to have just occurred nearby. The officers located the suspect vessel and collected statements from all parties involved. After completing their investigation, the officers forwarded a charge of three counts of aggravated assault with a firearm to the State Attorney’s Office for prosecution.

Officers West and Malicoat were observing fishing activity at the Ponce Inlet jetty. Three adult males were actively using a cast net and when checked, showed the officers the legal fish in their cooler. A more thorough check of the surrounding area disclosed another container with fish that they had attempted to hide. Two of the adult males were issued the criminal notices to appear for possession of out of slot size snook, illegal method of harvesting snook, out of slot size limit black drum and out of slot size limit of sheepshead.

SUMTER COUNTY

Officers Scrambling and Fahnestock were on patrol in Jumper Creek when they came across a parked vehicle. An open bag of deer food was in the cab of the vehicle. Two subjects came out of the wooded area and Officers Scrambling and Fahnestock contacted them. One of the subjects had a backpack. With consent, Officer Fahnestock inspected the bag and located a mostly empty bottle, which contained the same material as the deer food bag. The subjects admitted to placing deer food on the Wildlife Management Area and took the officers to the site. Both were cited appropriately.

PUTNAM COUNTY

Officer Bernard was conducting fisheries inspections at the Palatka City Docks when he checked the catch of a male subject that was cast netting. Upon inspecting his catch, it was found that the subject was in possession of a black crappie that was caught by the cast net. The subject was cited for possession of a game fish caught by an unlawful method.

BREVARD COUNTY

Officers Eller, Summers, Hadwin, and K9 Blue received information of an illegal deer harvested out of the upper St. Johns River Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The three officers contacted two individuals inside the WMA that met the description of the potential suspects. After investigation, one subject admitted to shooting an illegal deer. Officer Hadwin and K9 Blue tracked the deer from where it had been shot, to the spot where the subject had hidden the deer in the woods. The subject admitted to shooting the deer and hiding it. He was cited for harvesting an antlered deer not meeting the minimum antler restrictions.

Officers Delano and Balgo were on patrol when they saw subjects fishing at a nearby causeway. The officers approached the group and conducted a resource inspection. The inspection revealed ten undersized mangrove snapper. Citations were issued for the violation.

While on foot patrol at the Eau Gallie Causeway, Officer Balgo saw an individual fishing near the rocks. A resource inspection located nine mangrove snapper in a cooler, three of which were undersized. The individual was issued a citation for possession of undersized mangrove snapper and issued a warning for over the bag limit.

While on foot patrol along the relief bridge near the Eau Gallie Causeway, Officer Balgo saw an individual placing fish in a bucket. A resource inspection was conducted and Officer Balgo located several undersized mangrove snapper. The individual was cited accordingly.

While on foot patrol at the Pineda Causeway, Officer Balgo located a truck parked along the water. After locating the owner, the officer inspected a cooler in bed of the truck. The resource inspection revealed one undersized red drum. The individual was cited accordingly.

While on foot patrol, Officer Humphrey saw a man fishing from a pier under a causeway. Officer Humphrey watched the man put several mangrove snapper in a plastic bag and place the bag in the bottom of a cooler. During the inspection the subject stated to Officer Humphrey that he hadn’t caught anything all day. A check of the cooler revealed eight mangrove snapper with seven of them being undersized. The subject was cited accordingly.

While on land patrol of Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Officer Rasey stopped to speak with two subjects to see how their fishing was going. A resource inspection revealed six undersized black drum. A resource citation and several warnings were issued for the violations.

While on land patrol in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Officer Rasey contacted a group of subjects fishing. After conducting license checks, a resource inspection revealed one subject in possession of a 12 3/8-inch red drum. A citation for undersized red drum was issued.

OSCEOLA COUNTY

Officers Summers, Hadwin, and K9 Blue were on surveillance of Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and Prairie Lakes WMA. While watching the fence line bordering the two management areas, Officer Summers witnessed a subject cross into Prairie Lakes WMA and then cross back over into Three Lakes WMA. Officer Hadwin and K9 Blue followed the subject from his last entrance into Three Lakes to his tree stand, about a quarter mile in. The subject was cited for illegally entering/exiting a wildlife management area.

OSCEOLA/POLK COUNTY

Officer McLendon responded to a complaint on Kicco Wildlife Management Area involving the take of hogs during closed season. He located a large white cooler at the suspect’s camp. Inside the cooler were three freshly killed hogs, two wild turkeys, three rabbits, and an armadillo. A 20-gauge shotgun and wildlife were seized as evidence and the subject was cited for hunting on South Florida Water Management District property during closed season, taking wild hogs out of season, and taking wild turkey out of season.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
MARION COUNTY

FWC Officers Dias and Wester, and Lieutenant Yetter responded with Marion County Sheriff’s Office to the Ocklawaha River for two men stranded and lost on the river somewhere between CR316 and the Rodman Reservoir. One of the men had a history of cardiac problems and was without his medicine. The Marion County helicopter quickly located the two men drifting on the river near the reservoir and relayed their location to ground units. Within minutes FWC officers deployed a vessel and found the men who were exhausted and on the verge of dehydration. The two were given water and brought to Hog Valley Boat Ramp with their vessel. Lieutenant Yetter transported them back to their vehicle and trailer at Eureka Boat Ramp.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HERNANDO COUNTY

Officer Canamero and Officer Fagan responded to a gopher tortoise complaint. They located an active burrow that had been crushed by several rocks. After further investigation, they located the offending subject who admitted to putting the rocks inside the burrow and causing the damage. The subject was cited accordingly.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on patrol in East Hillsborough County, Officer Rivard saw a truck parked on the side of the road. He saw an individual walking along a tree line. Upon conducting a resource inspection, he found the individual to be actively harvesting and in possession of saw palmetto berries on private land. It was discovered the individual did not have permission to harvest the palmetto berries from the landowner. The individual was cited for the violation.

While on water patrol, Lieutenant Holcomb and Officer Rivard saw an individual fishing from a vessel. Upon conducting a resource inspection, it was discovered the individual was in possession of five undersized spotted seatrout. The individual was cited for possession of undersized and over the bag limit of spotted seatrout.

While on land patrol in Hillsborough County, Officer Godfrey and Officer Specialist Phillippi watched a popular fishing location from two different vantage points. As the officers sat and watched, they saw a subject fishing with a cast net from a vessel. Officer Specialist Phillippi tried contacting the subject but he kept trolling along the canal, ignoring the officer. Officer Godfrey was able to get the subject stopped further down the canal and found him to be in possession of an undersized snook and a grass carp. The subject was cited for possession of undersized snook, illegal method of taking snook, and possession of grass carp without a permit. The subject was issued citations for no saltwater fishing license, no personal flotation device and no sound producing device. The subject was issued five warnings for other boating safety and registration violations as well.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Hardgrove was patrolling popular local fishing locations when he encountered a man harvesting mullet with a fishing rod. Officer Hardgrove checked the man’s fishing license and discovered it had been suspended. Fishing while recreational license privileges are suspended is a criminal violation. The subject was charged appropriately.

Officer Hardgrove was checking vessels returning to a local marina when he saw a group of men filleting red grouper. As he watched them, he noticed one of the grouper appeared to be less than the twenty-inch total length minimum size. Officer Hargrove measured the fish using his issued measuring device and found it to be 18 ¼ inches. The boat’s captain stated the fish was much closer to twenty inches in length on his measuring tape. Officer Hardgrove let the captain measure the fish with his own tape, and it showed the fish over nineteen inches in length. The officer noticed that the first inch of the boat captains tape had been cut off to make fish appear bigger when measured on his device. The man was cited for a possession of an undersized red grouper.

Officer Hardgrove was observing two men fishing at a popular bridge when one of the men caught a large snook. After the two men took pictures of the snook, they released it. When Officer Hardgrove approached the men to conduct a fisheries inspection, one of them admitted that he had caught a larger snook that evening and that the other man had kept it. The other man admitted to having the thirty-inch snook in a cooler in his truck. Both men stated that they knew that snook were catch and release only due to an emergency closure. Appropriate citations were issued.

Officer Winton was on patrol at Koreshan State Park when he saw a vehicle violating the posted speed limit in the campground. A query of the vehicle’s license plate revealed that the owner had a suspended driver’s license. A traffic stop was conducted, and a subsequent vehicle search revealed that the driver was in possession of prescription medication that did not belong to him. The driver was issued a notice to appear, a traffic citation and multiple warnings for the related violations.

Officer Winton was on vessel patrol in Matanzas Pass when he saw a vessel that did not display a current registration decal. A vessel stop was conducted, at which time it was determined that the subject had owned the vessel for over a year and had never transferred the title/registration. Additional violations pertaining to registration and safety gear were also discovered. The subject was issued a notice to appear for failure to transfer title within thirty days of purchase, a boating citation for failure to register the vessel within thirty days of purchase and multiple warnings for the other violations.

Officer Winton, Officer Garcia and Lieutenant Spoede were on offshore patrol in FWC’s SAFE Boat when they saw a fishing vessel returning from offshore waters. The officers stopped the vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection. The officers discovered that the operator was in possession of an undersized tripletail and did not have a current registration. The operator, a commercial fisherman, had an expired SPL and no recreational fishing license. The operator was issued a notice to appear for possession of undersized tripletail and warnings for the additional violations.

Officer Winton, Officer Garcia and Lieutenant Spoede were on offshore patrol in FWC’s SAFE Boat when they saw a commercial head boat charter vessel returning from offshore waters. The officers boarded the vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection and found it to be in compliance. A subsequent marine sanitation device (MSD) inspection revealed that the vessel’s toilet was plumbed overboard, meaning that waste was traveling directly from the toilet into state waters. The operator of the vessel was cited accordingly for the violation.

Officer Winton was on offshore patrol off the coast of Bonita Springs when he saw a fishing vessel returning from offshore waters. A vessel stop was conducted, at which time it was discovered that the subjects onboard were in possession of multiple wrung lobster tails as well as multiple species of reef fish not in whole condition. The captain of the vessel was issued a notice to appear as well as several warnings for the related violations.

Officer Winton, Officer Hazelwood and Lieutenant Spoede arrested a subject wanted by FWC for title fraud. The subject was booked into the Lee County Jail on charges for title fraud, operating a vessel without a hull identification number, purchasing a vessel without a title, and unlawful use of a transporter tag.

Officer Winton assisted the U.S. Coast Guard with a vessel stop at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River. The vessel was initially stopped for being operated at night without navigation lights and the officers later determined that it was a livery vessel. Officer Winton contacted the livery owner, who stated that he did not check the navigation lights prior to renting the vessel. The owner was issued a notice to appear for renting a vessel without the required safety gear.

Officer Winton was on patrol in Cape Coral when he noticed a vehicle driving erratically and failing to maintain its lane. A traffic stop was conducted, at which time Officer Winton noticed that the driver showed signs of impairment. Field sobriety tasks were conducted, and the driver was placed under arrest for driving under the influence. At the jail, the driver provided breath samples of .090 and .085.

While heading off-shore on the 29’ SAFE boat to conduct patrol in federal waters, Officer Bell, Officer Stapleton and Officer Gray saw a commercial fishing vessel returning from off-shore. Officer Bell stopped the vessel approximately three miles from Fort Myers beach and a resource inspection was conducted by Officer Stapleton and Officer Grey. Once onboard the officers inspected some of the catch and discovered six undersized red grouper. With additional ice boxes left to check, Officer Bell made the decision to escort the vessel back to the dock. Once at the dock, the officers inspected the entire catch and discovered a total of twenty-three undersized red grouper. The captain of the vessel and deck mate admitted to catching and measuring the fish. The captain and mate were issued appropriate citations and the fish where donated to a local wildlife rehabilitation center.

MANATEE COUNTY

In cooperation with the Attorney General’s Office and State Attorney’s Office, Lieutenant Laskowski obtained an arrest warrant for the charge of filing a false application for vessel title. The warrant came after a lengthy criminal investigation from civil forfeiture proceedings regarding a commercial fishing vessel. The warrant was successfully served by Lieutenant Laskowski, Officer Babauta and Officer Hinds.

Resource Protection Squad Officer Hinds was working the South Skyway Bridge area in Manatee County. Officer Hinds saw a group of subjects changing out of wet clothes and loading spear guns into the back of two vehicles. All the subjects quickly loaded into one vehicle except the driver of the second vehicle. Hinds stopped the first vehicle before it could leave the scene and asked if they had caught any fish. They all stated no. Officer Hinds told them to wait as he checked the second vehicle. Officer Hinds approached the second vehicle and saw dive gear and a cooler in the vehicle. He inspected the cooler and found twenty-three stone crab claws, twenty of which were undersized. Three subjects from the two vehicles were cited for possession of stone crabs during closed season. They also received written warnings for possession of undersized stone crab claws.

Officer Nicholas Hudson was on land patrol around Coquina Boat Ramp. He performed a fisheries inspection on a vessel that had just returned from a fishing trip off shore. During the inspection, Officer Hudson found that the captain of the vessel had caught and kept three red snapper out of season. The subject was cited for the violation and will have to appear in court.

PASCO COUNTY

Investigator DallaRosa and Officer Specialist Pulaski conducted a buy/bust on a local subject selling black-tip shark fillets. The officers received information that the person was operating without proper licensing. The subject attempted to sell three pounds of shark fillets for twenty dollars. Officer Specialist Pulaski issued a citation for no saltwater products license and the commercial harvesting of shark without a federal permit.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on offshore water patrol, Officer Bibeau stopped a vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection. Officer Bibeau located a thirteen-inch red grouper. One of the subjects onboard the vessel admitted to catching the red grouper and was issued a misdemeanor citation for harvesting an undersized red grouper.

While on water patrol in South Pinellas County, Officer Bibeau saw an individual actively fishing. Officer Bibeau contacted the individual to conduct a fisheries inspection. By the end of the inspection, he had located multiple whole stone crab along with undersized stone crab claws. Officer Bibeau wrote the individual a misdemeanor citation for possession of stone crab during closed season and two warnings for possession of undersized stone crab claws and possession of whole stone crabs.

Officer Caldwell and Officer Pettifer conducted a resource inspection near the Tierra Verde Bridge. The officers found one individual to be in possession of an undersized gag grouper and undersized mangrove snapper. The individual was cited for possession of an undersized gag grouper and issued a warning for possession of an undersized mangrove snapper.

While on water patrol in South Pinellas County, Officer Specialist Bibeau and Lieutenant VanTrees saw two individuals actively fishing from a small paddleboat under a bridge. The officers waited for the individuals to begin rowing back to shore before conducting a fisheries inspection. The inspection located a fifteen-inch redfish. One of the individuals admitted to catching the undersized redfish and Officer Specialist Bibeau issued the subject a misdemeanor citation for the fisheries violation.

While on water patrol in South Pinellas County, Officer Specialist Bibeau and Lieutenant VanTrees saw a vessel returning from offshore with spear guns visible. The officers stopped the vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection and located nine undersized hogfish. Officer Specialist Bibeau issued a misdemeanor citation to the operator of the vessel for the fisheries violations.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Winton was on offshore patrol off the coast of Bonita Springs when he saw a fishing vessel returning from offshore waters. A vessel stop was conducted, at which time it was discovered that the subjects onboard were in possession of multiple wrung lobster tails as well as multiple species of reef fish not in whole condition. Officer Winton issued the captain of the vessel a notice to appear as well as several warnings for the related violations.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
POLK COUNTY

Officer Livingston saw a man lying on the sidewalk near the road. He turned his vehicle around and quickly approached the subject to render aid. When Officer Livingston realized the person was beginning to have a seizure, he instructed bystanders to give the person room and made sure the subject would not hurt himself. He called for EMS and monitored the subject as he continued to have the seizures. EMS quickly arrived and was able to provide advanced care for the man.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
LEE COUNTY

Officer Winton received information that an unlicensed seafood retail company was selling fish at a local parking lot. He monitored the area and saw two subjects actively selling saltwater products. An inspection was conducted, at which time it was determined that the subjects were selling seafood without a valid retail license. They also did not have invoices showing the origins of most of the seafood. The subjects were issued notices to appear and several warnings for the violations.

HIGHLANDS COUNTY

Officer Geeraerts and Officer Infante were participating in a night hunting directed conservation patrol detail. They noticed a truck moving slowly on the road and saw a light shine out of the side window. While the officers were following the vehicle, it suddenly made a U-turn and was facing them. Officer Geeraerts activated her emergency lights and stopped the truck. When the officers searched the vehicle, they found a loaded shotgun and two spot lights. The three subjects that were in the truck were given a notice to appear for hunting with a gun and light. The shotgun and spotlights were seized for evidence.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Zimmerman received a complaint about two subjects who were in possession of a raccoon inside of their hotel room in Sebring. Investigator Zimmerman responded and contacted the defendant who appeared to be under the influence of controlled substances. The subject was arrested, transported to the Highlands County Jail and cited for unlawful possession of Class III wildlife without a valid ESC License and failure to maintain source of supplier documentation. The raccoon was seized and placed at a local permitted wildlife rehabilitation center for evaluation.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officer Salem led the legal portion of the hunter safety course in Charlotte County. The course is designed to give future hunters the chance to meet a local officer and learn the laws that apply to hunting on private and public lands. It also gives participants a chance to ask questions and learn more about the many opportunities available to them through public land hunting. Approximately thirty people attended the course.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Furbay led the legal portion of the hunter safety course in Fort Myers. The course is designed to give future hunters the chance to meet a local officer and learn the laws that apply to hunting on private and public lands. It also gives participants a chance to ask questions and learn more about the many opportunities available to them through public land hunting. Approximately ten people attended the course.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
MARTIN COUNTY

Officer Norbrothen was on patrol in Jonathan Dickinson State Park when park staff told him subjects were spotted in the park illegally harvesting saw palmetto berries from the property. Officer Norbrothen saw a male exiting the park through a non-designated exit. After questioning, the subject said that he and another individual were in the park picking saw palmetto berries. The officer addressed the issues of entering/exiting a state park through a non-designated entrance, evasion of state park fees, removing plant life from a state park, and possessing saw palmetto berries without a permit. The subjects were cited accordingly.

Officers McLeod and Pecko were conducting land-based fisheries inspections. They contacted a subject in possession of an oversize snook that was tied off to a stringer, being kept in the water. The subject did not have a snook permit. The officers issued a notice to appear in court citation for the illegal snook and an infraction for possessing a snook without a snook permit.

Officers Brevik and Carroll were patrolling in the Dupuis Wildlife Environmental Area. Officer Brevik saw a vehicle illegally parked off trail in the area known as the Governor’s House. The officers saw the vehicle pull out of the area and proceed to exit the WEA. Neither occupant of the vehicle was wearing their seat belts while the vehicle was in motion. The officers conducted a traffic stop to address the violations. As Officers Brevik and Carroll approached the vehicle, they detected a strong odor of saw palmetto berries. When questioned, both subjects admitted to illegally taking the berries from the WEA. The operator was found to have multiple prior charges and warnings for illegally harvesting saw palmetto berries and was found to be wanted out of Hendry County on unrelated charges. Both subjects were arrested and booked into the Martin County Jail for the violations.

BROWARD COUNTY

Officer Matthews saw a person at the Pioneer Park public boat ramp filleting fish at the fish cleaning station. Upon further inspection, a total of 46 undersized mangrove snapper were found inside the subject’s cooler. The fish were seized, photographed as evidence and brought to the FWC evidence facility. The subject was cited accordingly for multiple violations including bag and size limit violations pertaining to snapper.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Corteguera responded to a complaint about a red fox that was tethered outdoors and causing a threat to public safety. Investigator Corteguera met with the owner of the fox who was cited for keeping wildlife tethered outdoors while unsupervised, not having proper caging for his fox, keeping wildlife in an unsafe & neglectful condition, keeping wildlife in a manner that causes a threat to public safety, and not having the required critical incident plan filled out. A follow up inspection will occur to ensure necessary corrections are made.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Brodbeck was on patrol in the JW Corbett WMA when he saw a vehicle with an expired tag. The vehicle was like one suspected of picking saw palmetto berries the day before. A traffic stop was initiated to address the tag violation. Upon contacting the occupants of the vehicle, it was determined that neither had a valid driver’s license. In plain view in the vehicle were shears, buckets, and white bags consistent with the harvest of saw palmetto berries. Officers Stone, Webb, Morrow, and Pecko arrived on scene as backup. After receiving consent to search the vehicle, saw palmetto berries were in the trunk, as well as numerous syringes and prescription medications. The passenger was cited for harvesting saw palmetto berries in a WMA, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The driver was cited for harvesting saw palmetto berries in a WMA and driving while license suspended with knowledge. The vehicle tag was seized, and the vehicle was towed. Both subjects were transported to the Palm Beach County Jail.

Officer Brodbeck was on foot patrol at Phil Foster Park in Riviera Beach conducting resource inspections. A vehicle was in the parking lot near the playground area with two subjects involved in sexual activity. The officer contacted both subjects to address the situation. The female passenger initially gave Officer Brodbeck a false name and date of birth. Officer Brodbeck placed the female subject in handcuffs and asked her if she had warrants, and she replied that she did. After running her correct name and date of birth through law enforcement databases, the subject had an active warrant for two counts of failure to appear. Officer Brodbeck placed her under arrest and transported her to the Palm Beach County Jail.

Officer Brodbeck was on vessel patrol in the Jupiter Inlet. A vessel was coming through the inlet with fishing equipment in plain view, and a vessel stop was initiated to conduct a boating safety and resource inspection. Upon contacting the operator, multiple signs of impairment were evident. After completing field sobriety tasks, the operator was placed under arrest for BUI. Officer Pecko arrived on scene to transport the subject to the Palm Beach County Jail, where he refused to provide a breath sample.

Officer Brodbeck responded to a call regarding a hit and run boating accident in Jupiter. After arriving on scene and speaking with the occupants of the struck vessel, a suspect vessel and operator description were obtained. After speaking with several other witnesses, the operator of the vessel was located at a residence in Jupiter. At the end of the boating accident investigation, Officer Brodbeck placed the subject under arrest for leaving the scene of a boating accident with greater than $2,000 in damage and failing to report a boating accident to law enforcement. The subject was transported to the Palm Beach County Jail.

Officer Brodbeck was on patrol when a black SUV was operating in a reckless manner on I-95. He advised FWC dispatch of the vehicle description and direction of travel and followed the vehicle. Once the vehicle exited the highway, it ran a red light and a vehicle stop was initiated to address the violations. Palm Beach Gardens Police arrived on scene as backup with a K-9 unit. After detaining the driver and passenger, the K-9 alerted to contraband inside the vehicle. A probable cause search of the vehicle revealed approximately 500 grams of marijuana, 9 grams of cocaine, 9 grams of methamphetamine, a loaded .40 caliber handgun, THC oil, and $1000 in cash. Both subjects were convicted felons and prohibited from having firearms. Officer Brodbeck issued the driver of the vehicle uniform traffic citations for careless driving, running a red light, and driving while license suspended with knowledge. The passenger received a citation for an open container of alcohol. The criminal investigation was turned over to Palm Beach Gardens Police.

Officers Schroer and Merizio were conducting night-time vessel patrol in Lantana. The officers conducted a vessel stop on a 15-foot Jon-boat they saw on plane in a slow speed zone. During the vessel stop, the vessel owner was found to have improper navigation lights, improper display of Florida registration numbers, no proof of registration paperwork onboard, expired vessel registration, no personal floatation devices, no sound producing device and no fire extinguisher, all as required by Florida law. The owner of the vessel was cited for the above violations and escorted back to the boat ramp.

While on patrol in the town of Palm Beach, Officers Merizio and Trawinski noticed individuals free-diving from the beach. The officers waited for the individuals to exit the water to perform a fisheries inspection. After a few minutes, the officers approached the two divers as they exited the water. Upon inspection, officers discovered 8 spiny lobster, three of which were undersize. Also, one of the divers did not have a saltwater fishing license or lobster endorsement. Both were cited accordingly.

Officer Trawinski responded to a call for assistance from the United States Coast Guard involving a vessel stop at the Phil Foster boat ramp. During the stop, USCG personnel noticed the vessel operator showing signs of impairment. Officer Trawinski responded and determined through the seated field sobriety tasks that the operator was impaired. The operator was placed under arrest and taken to the Palm Beach County Jail.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

While on land patrol, Officer Arnold saw four individuals wading in the water of the Indian River Lagoon while one of them was fishing with a cast net. Once ashore, he conducted a license and resource inspection. It was found that all individuals did not have a fishing license. An inspection of a cooler revealed 3 snook and an under-size sheepshead. The subject who was using the cast net was also found to have an active warrant out of Martin County. Citations were issued for snook out of season, under size, over the bag limit and taken by illegal method. The three snook harvested also constituted a major violation which have enhanced penalties.

Officer Shermetaro had been investigating a derelict vessel which was left across from a local boat ramp in St. Lucie County. After hearing from the original owner of the vessel, Officer Shermetaro began working it as a littering case. After multiple leads and interviews, he was able to track down and receive a confession from the person who dumped the boat in the river. Officer Shermetaro got a signed arrest warrant from a judge and arrested the subject for felony littering. The vessel was removed from the Indian River by FWC personnel and the St. Lucie County Environmental Resource Division. The vessel was taken to the landfill and destroyed.

Officers Shermetaro and Miano were on water patrol. They stopped a vessel to conduct a resource and boating safety inspection. Upon further examination, the operator of the vessel showed signs of impairment. Officer Shermetaro conducted field sobriety tasks at the dock and after the subject performed poorly, he arrested the subject for operating a vessel while under the influence. The operator of the vessel refused to give a breath sample at the jail and was also cited for failure to submit to a lawful breath test.

While on land patrol near the Savannas State Park, Officer Miano saw a suspicious vehicle exit an off-road trail. Contacting the driver, she saw him to be in possession of an open container of alcohol. His information was checked with dispatch to confirm his identity and returned multiple out of state warrants. All were for in state pickup only. Further contact with the subject determined he might be impaired. Roadside field sobriety tasks were initiated which the subject performed poorly. The subject was taken into custody and booked in jail for operating a vehicle while impaired. The subject refused to provide a breath sample. His vehicle was towed from the scene.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Toby contacted an individual whose license to possess conditional species expired over two years ago. Upon making contact, he learned the individual was still in possession of a Burmese python and two reticulated pythons. One misdemeanor citation and two warnings were issued for the illegal possession and related violations.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MIAMI DADE COUNTY

Lieutenant Yanez and Investigator Taboas stopped a vessel for fisheries inspections. Fish were spread out across the deck and the occupants advised that was all they had caught. An inspection of a 5-gallon bucket revealed several other undersized fish to include 2 undersized red grouper. Appropriate action was taken for the violations.

Lieutenant Yanez and Investigator Taboas stopped a vessel returning to the boat ramp at night with no navigation lights. After watching the operator struggle with docking the vessel, a safety inspection was conducted. The operator/captain showed signs of impairment and was asked to conduct standard field sobriety tasks, SFSTs. Based on the observations of the captain during the inspection and the clues presented during the SFSTs, the operator was arrested for boating under the influence.

While on patrol in a marked vessel Officers Mckinley and Saavedra saw a 37-foot vessel heading into Cape Florida Channel from offshore. Fishing equipment was in plain view and the vessel was stopped for a safety/resource inspection. The inspection revealed 2 undersized mahi and 4 mahi filets. The operator was cited accordingly.

Officer Mckinley saw a PWC traveling through a well posted no entry zone in the Virginia Key area. The PWC was approximately five hundred yards inside of the no entry zone. He conducted a vessel stop on the PWC which had no FL registration displayed. He issued a notice to appear to the operator for the no-entry zone violation and the absence of Florida registration numbers.

Officer Delgado coordinated targeted enforcement action to address resource violations in the Cape Florida/Biscayne Channel area. Over the course of 5 days, 11 misdemeanor citations were issued for possession of Nassau grouper, possession of 6 over the bag limit hogfish, possession of 3 undersized hogfish, harvesting 142 lobster within sanctuary, possession 5 undersized spiny lobster, possession of wrung tails returning from Bahamas, possession of filets with skin not intact from Bahamas, and several UBC’s/warnings.

Officer Sarmiento and Officer Moschiano were on vessel patrol when they stopped a vessel returning to Homestead Bayfront Marina from Bahamian waters. The officers conducted a fisheries inspection and discovered 6 wrung tails of spiny lobster. There were also two bags of snapper fillets that had skins removed. Although the subject on-board had his proper cruising permits and Bahamian licenses, he had not stowed away his fishing gear and continued to fish in state waters where he caught mahi. The subject was cited for possessing wrung tails and for failing to keep the skins intact on the fillets.

Officer Raul Perez was on land-based water patrol when he conducted a fisheries inspection on a boat coming in to Crandon Park Boat Ramp. The operator of the vessel was in possession of two undersize mutton snapper and one undersize mangrove snapper. The subject was cited accordingly.

While on water patrol Officer Sample and Officer Delgado conducted surveillance on a commercial vessel possibly harvesting lobster in the lobster sanctuary. The officers conducted a vessel stop and determined the vessel was well inside the lobster sanctuary. A marine resource inspection was conducted, and it was determined the commercial subject had several undersized lobsters on board. The subject was cited for the undersized lobster, lobstering inside the sanctuary, improper display of commercial markings and improper commercial safety gear.

MONROE COUNTY

Officers Richards, Foell and NMFS Officers Robb and Weidner conducted a three-day Dry Tortugas patrol onboard FWC offshore patrol vessel Trident. While patrolling to the Tortugas, the officers conducted an inspection on a vessel fis

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NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
FRANKLIN COUNTY

Officers Swindell and Pino were on patrol in St. George Island State Park when they encountered three individuals exiting the east end fishing area. The officers noticed the truck contained multiple fishing rods and conducted a resource inspection. During the inspection, they discovered 24 egg bearing blue crabs. The appropriate action was taken for the violation.

Officer Travis was on patrol near the Apalachicola Bridge when he saw several subjects fishing under the bridge. After checking multiple subjects and coolers, Officer Travis located two undersized redfish and one undersized spotted sea trout. The owner was cited for possession of undersized redfish and issued a written warning for possession of the undersized spotted sea trout.

LEON COUNTY

Officer Pekerol received a complaint of possible hunting during a closed season on the Ochlockonee River WMA. During his investigation, he located a vehicle that had hunting equipment inside. Officer Pekerol was able to contact the vehicle owner who was dressed in camouflaged clothing and carrying a crossbow. The individual stated that he was hog hunting. Officer Pekerol issued the subject a citation for hunting in the WMA during a closed season.

GADSDEN COUNTY

Officer Brower was on land patrol just after midnight when he saw a car weave back and forth, cross the center line, and drive the center line for approximately 200 yards before returning into the correct lane. The driver of the vehicle then initiated the vehicle’s left turn signal a quarter mile before the stop sign. Officer Brower conducted a traffic stop. Upon approaching the vehicle, he saw a female driver, a male passenger and a small child sleeping on the back seat. Officer Brower could smell the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from inside the vehicle. He saw a beer can stuck in the center console and the driver was sweating and her eyes appeared bloodshot. The driver was not able to produce a valid driver’s license. Officer Brower saw signs of impairment and provided the driver an opportunity to do field sobriety tasks and she declined. Officer Brower arrested the driver and transported her to the Gadsden County Jail. Upon arrival, the driver consented to a breath test sample which resulted in a 0.185 breath alcohol content, more than double the legal limit of 0.08 blood alcohol content. Charges for the driver were careless driving, knowingly driving while license is suspended, revoked, or canceled, Florida seatbelt law (passenger/operator under 18 years not belted or in a device), possession of open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle (driver) and DUI.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Bartlett was on land patrol working boating safety and resource protection at Joe’s Bayou Boat Ramp. The officer saw a 20-foot pontoon vessel returning to the ramp with two people onboard. Officer Bartlett saw the vessel’s green starboard bow navigation light was not operational, and the Alabama vessel registration sticker displayed had expired on August 31, 2017. When the officer asked for the vessel’s registration, the operator explained that he did not have a copy, and he had purchased the vessel in June 2017. The officer explained he had to title the boat in his name within 30 days per state law. Officer Bartlett cited the owner/operator for failure to transfer a vessel title within 30 days.

Officer Jarvis was patrolling Henderson Beach State Park and received information regarding a man illegally camping in an open grass area between the beach and the campground. When Officer Jarvis arrived, he saw an individual sitting on a park bench speaking with a park ranger. The officer saw a bed sheet, comforter and pillow on the ground next to him. It was determined the individual entered the park illegally from the beach side of the park. Throughout Officer Jarvis’ communication with the individual, the individual was belligerent, argumentative, and spoke profanity. Officer Jarvis issued a citation for evasion of park fees and a warning for illegally camping. At the request of the park manager, the individual was given a trespass warning.

Officer Pifer responded to a boating accident at Crab Island involving a rental personal watercraft (PWC) and a 33-foot vessel. Officer Pifer’s investigation determined that the PWC struck the anchored 33-foot vessel. An eyewitness stated prior to the accident that the PWC was doing circles in the no wake/idle speed zone at Crab Island. At some point, the operator of the PWC traveled straight at approximately 20 mph and struck the anchored vessel at mid-range portside causing $20,000 in damage. The operator of the PWC was found at fault and was issued a navigational rule citation for unsafe speed. No one was injured in the accident.

Officer Pifer and Lieutenant Clark were called-out to respond to a boating accident near the Mid-Bay Bridge. Information was received that a single vessel was swamped and capsized with five people in the water with only three life jackets. Destin Fire and Rescue personnel arrived on-scene first and were able to recover all five occupants and transported them to Joe’s Bayou Boat Ramp. No one was injured. Officer Pifer arrived at the boat ramp and began the boating accident investigation. During his communication with the operator, he smelled a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the operator. After the boating accident investigation was completed, Officer Pifer requested the operator to perform field sobriety tasks (FST). Based on the FST performed, the operator was arrested for BUI. The operator was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail.

Officers Matechik, Wilkenson, and Corbin were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections on the east side of Crab Island. The officers saw a pontoon in violation of the idle speed/no wake zone. The officers stopped the pontoon to address the violation and during the boating safety inspection, the operator displayed indicators of impairment. Officer Corbin requested the operator to perform field sobriety task (FST). Based on the FST performed, the operator was arrested for BUI. The operator refused to provide a breath and blood sample. The operator was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail. The operator had three prior DUI arrests.

Officers Corbin, Matechik and Pifer were on vessel patrol in the Destin Harbor. The officers saw a 27-foot Boston Whaler traveling west bound in the harbor with no registration numbers or decal displayed on the port (left) side. A vessel stop was initiated to address the violation. They determined the operator was the owner of the boat and that he bought it several months ago. The owner was cited and issued a notice to appear citation for failure to transfer vessel title in his name within 30 days.

Officers Matechik, Wilkenson and Corbin were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections when they saw a pontoon style vessel underway on the east side of Crab Island. The vessel had several adults, one child, and one infant on-board. The infant was not wearing a lifejacket. Any child under the age of 6 is required to wear a lifejacket while the vessel is underway. A vessel stop was made to address the violation. The officers determined the vessel was rented and was not provided the proper life jackets for the children and infant. The officers went to the livery and spoke to the employee who provided the safety equipment. The livery personnel were cited and issued a notice to appear citation for failure to provide the required safety equipment.

Officer Corbin was on vessel patrol in the Destin Harbor when he identified a derelict vessel anchored on state waters. The vessel does not have a means of propulsion, no sail or motor, is extremely barnacle laden, has approximately one foot of standing water inside of the cabin and stern, no active means to dewater, and has an anchor light that is not sufficient (bright). The vessel has continued to deteriorate in condition since being anchored in the Destin Harbor. Officer Corbin contacted the registered owner and confirmed that he was still the owner of the vessel. He issued a notice to appear citation to the owner for the derelict vessel.

Officer Corbin was on land patrol in Shalimar conducting boating safety and resource inspections. The officer saw several individuals fishing from the Shalimar Bridge. As he was walking along the bridge, he saw two individuals, one male and one female begin packing up their fishing equipment and walk in his direction to the parking lot. As they approached each other, the officer saw the tail of a large red drum sticking out of a five-gallon bucket. The red drum measured 29 inches in total length. The legal slot size is 18 to 27 inches in total length. One of the individuals took responsibility for harvesting the oversized red drum and was issued a notice to appear citation.

A bear education initiative was conducted in the community off Brian Circle in Mary Esther. This initiative was generated through complaints received from home owners reference a female bear and her three cubs roaming the neighborhood and feeding from garbage cans. The female bear entered a fenced backyard to access the garbage can when the homeowner let the dog out. The bear attacked the dog. The dog was injured but survived. An unsuccessful attempt was made to capture the bear with the use of a trap. A total of 96 homes were contacted and provided bear brochures explaining the law requiring homeowners to secure their garbage. Nineteen non-compliance letters were issued to homeowners.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Lewis was checking users in the Blackwater State Forest when he saw a gopher tortoise in the bed of a truck. He identified the owner of the truck and evidence indicated that it had been in the truck for a while, and the man was far from where he picked the tortoise up. Officer Lewis charged the man with the unlawful possession of a threatened species.

Officer Hutchinson and Lieutenant Hahr were patrolling near the Escambia River when they saw a boat with alligator hunters. After watching the subjects attempting to take alligators, they contacted them to check their permits. Two of the three men onboard were permitted to take alligators, but their permits were not for Escambia County, which included the tributary where they were located. The two men were cited for attempting to take alligator outside their harvest area.

WALTON COUNTY

Officers Letcher, Tison and Bradshaw received a call from the Walton County Sheriff’s Office regarding a traffic stop that uncovered a large amount of saw palmetto berries. The officers responded and ascertained that the berries were illegally harvested from Topsail Hill State Park by five different individuals. The individuals were in violation of multiple state park rules and laws regarding the harvest and transportation of saw palmetto berries. The individuals were cited for the violations.

Officer Tison was on patrol when he saw several individuals at an intersection loading a truck with large sacks. Surrounding the intersection on all sides was private property that is heavily wooded with palmetto plants. After a closer look, Officer Tison saw palmetto berries in buckets in the back of the vehicle. The harvesting of saw palmetto berries requires permits from the Department of Agriculture for harvest on private lands, written landowner permission, and permits to transport for sale saw palmetto berries. Officer Tison conducted a traffic stop and found the driver of the vehicle to be operating the vehicle without a valid driver’s license, and the individuals possessed no permits or landowner permission. The individuals were warned for the violations, the berries were seized, and the driver was arrested for driving without a license.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officers Hoomes, Lugg and Roberson responded by vessel to an aircraft crash with a single occupant in the Santa Rosa Sound. The officers assisted local first responders and maintained security of the site until FAA investigators arrived and took over the investigation.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Wilkenson participated in a freshwater fishing rodeo event at Anderson Pond on Eglin Wildlife Management Area for the Cub Scouts. The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation held the event. An FWC freshwater biologist assisted with this important youth initiative. Material such as fish identification and regulations were passed out. There were 115 youth who participated and earned scout patches.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
DUVAL COUNTY

Officer Christmas was on routine patrol when he saw four male subjects in a vessel at Simpson Creek. A resource inspection of their catch revealed nine undersized red drum, twenty-one undersized black drum and two undersized spotted sea trout. Officer Barry responded to assist with the investigation. It was also determined there was no safety gear onboard the vessel. The fish were seized and all the subjects were issued the appropriate misdemeanor citations for the illegal fish and a uniform boating citation for not having the required safety equipment onboard.

Officers Geib and Read received information that an individual was keeping an alligator at his residence without proper licensing. They conducted an inspection and found evidence that the alligator was at the house and in the subject’s vehicle. It was determined that the alligator was taken from a pond. Investigator Doricchi assisted when it was found that the subject had possession of several snakes. After consulting with the Duval County State Attorney’s Office, the officers issued a citation for unlawful possession of alligator.

Officer Johnston was parked at a gas station in Lake City when a concerned citizen walked over and pointed out what he believed to be an impaired driver. Officer Johnston looked over and saw the driver sitting stationary at a traffic light that had turned green. The subject eventually drove off after the vehicle behind him began honking its horn. Officer Johnston followed the subject to another gas station and contacted the operator. Officer Johnston noticed the subject was exhibiting physical signs of impairment. Officer Johnston could also smell the odor of cannabis coming from the vehicle. The subject performed poorly on field sobriety exercises and was transported to the Columbia County Jail. At the jail, the subject refused to provide a urine sample as requested by Officer Johnston. He was booked into jail for DUI while normal faculties impaired and possession of cannabis less than 20 grams.

A Jacksonville resident paid several people to cut down a tree on her property. A witness saw them illegally dispose of a large portion of the debris several blocks away on property owned by the City of Jacksonville. Environmental Investigators Terrones and Starling interviewed one of the workers who admitted to the dumping. The subject agreed to dispose of the litter properly and was cited accordingly.

TAYLOR COUNTY


Officer Colasanti was on patrol at Hickory Mound Impoundment and Cow Creek Grade when he saw a vehicle parked on the side of the road. He approached the two male subjects who were gigging frogs in the creek. Officer Colasanti completed a resource inspection and found an alligator tail under the subject’s toolbox. The driver of the vehicle claimed ownership of the alligator tail and was cited accordingly.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
CITRUS COUNTY

Officers Ulrich and Browning were on water patrol in Crystal River when they received a call about an elderly subject in a canoe who was having difficulty breathing. The officers responded to the location and located the individual with the medical emergency. The subject was gasping and complaining of breathing difficulty. The officers quickly relocated the individual onto the patrol vessel and transported him to a nearby boat ramp where EMS was standing by to assist.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
MARION COUNTY

Officer Seiler was on foot patrol around Salt Springs Marina when he saw a vessel alligator hunting on the waterway near Salt Springs. Officer Seiler made contact for a resource inspection. The vessel operator provided a permit for Lake George Unit. The permit specifically described the permitted area as Lake George only, not the connecting waterways. Officer Seiler issued the subject a notice to appear for hunting outside of the permitted area.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officer West was on patrol when he saw a vehicle being operated and unable to remain in its lane. After getting the vehicle stopped, a driving under the influence (DUI) investigation resulted in the arrest of the adult female operator. She was booked into the Volusia County Jail.

While on water patrol on the St. Johns River, Officer Thornton saw a vessel occupied by two subjects violating a posted speed zone. He conducted a vessel stop to address the violation. During the stop, Officer Thornton developed reasonable suspicion to believe the vessel operator was impaired by alcohol or drugs. He conducted a boating under the influence (BUI) investigation and placed the vessel operator under arrest for BUI. The subject declined to provide a breath sample.

While on water patrol near Lake Monroe Park on the St. Johns River, Officers Cameron and Muina saw a vessel occupied by five adults violating the posted slow speed zone. The officers conducted a vessel stop to address the violation. During the stop, Officer Cameron developed reasonable suspicion to believe the vessel operator was impaired by alcohol or drugs. He conducted a boating under the influence (BUI) investigation and placed the vessel operator under arrest. The subject declined to provide a breath sample.

Officers Bertolami, McDonough and Demeter worked a joint operational detail with United States Coast Guard personnel from Station Ponce and Mayport. The focus was to enforce rules and laws pertaining to reports of the operation of charter boats without the properly licensed operators and/or vessels not carrying the required safety equipment.

Officer Pelzel, Investigator Cogburn and Lieutenant Riley were patrolling the Edgewater area over the holiday weekend. After stopping a vessel for a safety equipment inspection, Officer Pelzel arrested the adult male operator for boating under the influence (BUI) and refusing to submit to a breath test. He was booked into the Volusia County Jail.

FWC officers, investigators and other agencies responded to a reported single vessel accident in the Edgewater area. A juvenile male with multiple lacerations was transported by helicopter to an Orlando hospital. An ongoing investigation into the cause of this accident is being conducted by FWC Investigations.

Officer Bertolami was checking vessels returning from fishing in the Port Orange and New Smyrna Beach area. An adult male was found to be in possession of out of slot size limit of black drum and another adult male had an out of slot size limit of red drum – and an out of slot size limit snook hidden in a compartment within his boat. Both were issued criminal citations for the violations.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Officer Graves has been consistently inspecting Inlet Bridge over the past two weeks with the annual late summer/early fall finger mullet run in full force at the Matanzas Inlet area. Redfish and sheepshead fishing has been particularly strong and on four separate days Officer Graves has issued a combination of citations and written warnings for the following violations: possession of oversized redfish (three violations), possession of undersized redfish, possession of undersized sheepshead (three violations), exceeding the daily bag limit of sheepshead (two violations), possession of undersized mangrove snapper, and exceeding the daily bag limit of mangrove snapper.

While patrolling the Intracoastal Waterway near the Bridge of Lions in downtown St. Augustine, Officers Thomas and Lawrence saw a personal watercraft (PWC) travel on a plane through the slow speed bridge zone. The officers conducted a vessel stop to address the violation. The operator’s two minor children were onboard the PWC sitting behind the man. A boating safety inspection and Standardized Field Sobriety Tasks (SFSTs) revealed the man was operating the PWC while impaired. The subject was arrested for boating under the influence (BUI) and was transported to the St. Johns County Jail. He refused to provide a breath sample and Officer Thomas booked him into the jail on the enhanced charge of operating a vessel while impaired with passengers under the age of 18.

Officers Thomas and Lawrence responded to a boating accident in the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) at the State Road 312 Bridge. Two vessels were heading in opposite directions just before dusk and the southbound vessel struck the one northbound. While speaking with the two parties, Officer Lawrence determined the southbound vessel operator may have been impaired. After a series of afloat Standardized Field Sobriety Tasks (SFSTs), Officer Lawrence arrested the man and transported him to the St. Johns County Jail. The vessel operator provided breath samples of .157 and .156 and Officer Lawrence booked him into the jail on the enhanced charge of operating a vessel with a breath alcohol content (BAC) of greater than .15.

Officers Harris and Greenier were on patrol in Anastasia State Park when they saw a man fishing a seine net in Salt Run. During their resource inspection, the officers found that the net was entirely constructed of monofilament; thereby classifying it as an entangling net. In addition, the net had a mesh area of 622 square feet and therefore exceeded the maximum square footage allowed by 122 feet. Officer Harris seized the net and placed it into evidence at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office compound. He issued the subject a misdemeanor citation for the major resource violation of fishing a monofilament net in inshore waters and a written warning for exceeding the maximum square footage of 500 feet.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

Officers Hadwin and Marroquin were working the statewide alligator hunt in the Stickmarsh when they saw two vessels alligator hunting. One of the vessels and subjects were found to not have an alligator harvest permit, along with several boating violations. A citation and warnings were issued.

While on vessel patrol Officer Stephenson conducted a resource inspection on a vessel returning from offshore. The inspection revealed the operator was in possession of one undersized black seabass and one gray triggerfish. A citation and warning were issued for the offense.

Officer Matthews was on patrol at a local boat ramp when he saw a vessel approach and dock. After speaking with the man and asking him about his catch, a resource inspection was conducted. Officer Matthews discovered one undersized gag grouper and two undersized mangrove snapper. A citation was issued for possession of undersized gag grouper and a warning for undersized mangrove snapper.

While on patrol Lieutenant Lightsey and Officer Delano saw a vessel returning from offshore. A resource inspection was conducted. The operator was found to be in possession of five cobia, two of which were under the legal size. Officer Delano issued a notice to appear for the violations.

While on patrol at a local boat ramp, Lieutenant Lightsey saw a jet ski operating carelessly in a congested area. While conducting a vessel safety inspection and addressing the violations the officer saw signs of impairment. After performing poorly on Standardized Field Sobriety Tasks, the operator was placed under arrest for operating a vessel while normal faculties were impaired. At the Indian River County Jail, a breath sample of .138 was recorded.

FLAGLER COUNTY

Officer Meade was at the Flagler County Court House taking care of paper work when he noticed out of a window two adult males fishing in a pond behind the court house. Officer Meade watched the men fish and catch some bass. His inspection of the subjects revealed they were using bream to catch the bass and they used a cast net to catch the bream. One subject was issued a citation.

LAKE COUNTY

Officer Teal was patrolling Richloam Wildlife Management Area (WMA) when he found several individuals with two vehicles stuck. A check of the individuals revealed that one had a warrant out of Missouri for numerous violent crimes with full extradition. The subjects were cited appropriately and the one subject was arrested for the outstanding warrant.

BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Platt and Lieutenant Zamonis were on airboat patrol in Lake Hell N Blazes when they saw a subject catching an alligator. Once the alligator was secured on the vessel and they began to pull away from the area, the officers conducted a resource check. The alligator was not yet tagged with a CITES tag and one subject was not properly licensed. The subjects were cited for taking alligator without a license and warned for not immediately tagging the alligator.

While on late night patrol Officer Matthews heard a vessel returning to a private dock. The vessel did not have proper navigation lights displayed and was playing loud music. Officer Matthews approached to address the navigation light violation. While speaking to the operator, Officer Matthews smelled the strong odor of alcoholic beverages and the operator fell inside the vessel. The operator refused to perform standardized field sobriety tasks and stated he was not operating the vessel. As Officer Matthews spoke to one of the other passengers that had already exited the vessel, the operator exited the vessel and ran. Officer Matthews was able to secure the operator and placed him under arrest for operating a vessel while normal faculties were impaired and resisting arrest without violence.

While on foot patrol on SR 528 and the Indian River, Officer Balgo saw an individual cast netting along the seawall. A resource inspection located five undersized mangrove snapper in a mesh bag. The individual was cited for possession of undersized mangrove snapper and warned for illegal method of take for mangrove snapper.

While on foot patrol on the Pineda Causeway and Indian River, Officer Balgo saw two individuals carrying buckets to their vehicles. A resource inspection revealed 20 sheepshead, 18 of which were undersized. The two individuals were cited for possession of undersized sheepshead and received two warnings for over the bag limit of sheepshead and no fishing license.

While patrolling near the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge off Hall Road, Officer Balgo saw a suspicious vehicle parked off the road. Officer Balgo was able to locate an individual harvesting saw palmetto berries. US Fish and Wildlife Officer Prescott issued the individual one federal citation for harvesting saw palmetto berries without a permit and one warning for trespassing.

While on water patrol in Haulover Canal, Officers Balgo and Humphrey saw three individuals fishing along the shoreline. Officer Humphrey beached the vessel so Officer Balgo could perform a resource inspection. The officers found a 10.5-inch snook in a bucket. After interviewing the subjects, one admitted to catching the snook. The individual was cited for possession of an undersized snook.

Officer Balgo created a targeted enforcement detail for the recent blue crab trap closure for Brevard County. Officers Balgo, Delano, Humphrey, Wehner, and Lieutenant Davis patrolled the Banana and Indian River from US 192 to the Mosquito Lagoon. The detail found several trap violations including traps placed during closed season buoy violations, name and address not affixed, no biodegradable panel, escape ring violations, and traps placed in a navigable channel. Thirty resource warnings were issued, and four misdemeanor charges were filed with the Brevard County State’s Attorney Office.

While on land patrol Officer Rasey responded to a report of a resident keeping raccoons as pets. Upon arrival, he noticed deplorable conditions to include garbage everywhere, fresh pet food on the driveway, raccoons and a heavy presence of flies due to animal fecal matter. Additionally, there were open holes in the home’s structure. In the week that followed, Officer Rasey returned with County Code Enforcement, Department of Health, Animal Services, and the Sheriff’s Office to do a joint inspection of the property. The home was condemned by the county and the following criminal violations were addressed: creating or maintaining a public nuisance, placing food or garbage in a manner which attracts raccoons, and littering on private property which results in a public nuisance.

During the two-weekend red snapper season Officer Humphrey participated in a detail targeting boats coming into Freddy Patrick Park boat ramp from offshore at Port Canaveral. Officer Humphrey inspected multiple vessels including a vessel where he located undersized vermilion snapper and vessel where he located an undersized cobia. Each subject in possession of the undersized fish were cited accordingly.

OSCEOLA COUNTY

Officer Stelzer was on land patrol off West Lake Toho when he witnessed five individuals alligator hunting prior to 5:00 PM. Officer Stelzer watched from land while the individuals harvested an alligator. Officer Summers was picked up Officer Stelzer by airboat and the officers contacted the subjects. The alligator was still not tagged when the inspection was made, despite the time lapse between the take and inspection. The individuals were charged for hunting prior to 5:00 PM and for not immediately tagging the alligator.

Officer Stelzer was on patrol of Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and saw three individuals alligator hunting in a canal south of Lake Jackson. The individuals were over 500 yards outside of the Lake Jackson Alligator Management Unit. Officer Stelzer and Lieutenant Trusley contacted the subjects and conducted a resource inspection. The subjects did not have tags allowing them to hunt the area. The subjects were cited for hunting alligators out of their designated area.

PUTNAM COUNTY

Officer Wester conducted a fisheries inspection on a male subject fishing in Crescent Lake. It was found that the subject was in possession of 33 black crappie, which was eight over the bag limit. The subject was cited for possession of over the bag limit of crappie.

Officer Jones conducted a resource inspection on a vessel that was alligator hunting on the St. Johns River. The inspection revealed that two subjects were using baited hooks to catch alligators. Both subjects were cited for attempting to take alligators by illegal method.

Lieutenant Dickson and Officer Bernard were on boat ramp patrol at Johnson’s Landing when a vessel approached with two subjects that had been alligator hunting. A check of their license revealed that they were hunting over one week before their assigned phase. Both subjects were cited for attempting to take alligators out of phase.

Lieutenant Dickson was on patrol at Salt Springs Marina when he saw a vehicle that was parked blocking a section roped off for emergency vehicles. He also noticed that the boat trailer had a license plate and the truck did not. When the owners returned he contacted them and found that they had removed the tag from the truck and attached it to the boat trailer. One subject was cited for attaching a tag that was not assigned to the vehicle.

Officer Jones was on river patrol when he saw a subject urinating off the back of his vessel with no regard to his surroundings. A vessel stop was conducted, and the operator was found to be intoxicated. The subject refused all sobriety tasks and a breath test. He was cited for operating a vessel with normal faculties impaired.

Officer Cheshire was on patrol on Subject Road near Caravelle Wildlife Management Area when he saw corn thrown on the side of the road. A vehicle appeared a short time later with no taillights that was using a spotlight to look for game. Officer Cheshire watched this activity for a while before initiating a traffic stop. The investigation revealed that the subjects had a loaded rifle in the vehicle and all were under 21 years of age and were consuming alcoholic beverages. All three subjects were cited for attempting to take deer with gun and light. The driver was cited for driving under the influence and both passengers were cited for possession of alcohol under 21 years of age.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
OSCEOLA COUNTY

Officers Stelzer and Summers were on water patrol on West Lake Toho when they noticed two individuals in the water with an overturned canoe. The officers responded and helped the two subjects onto their patrol boat and were able to get the canoe upright. Both subjects had life jackets on and were brought safely back to the boat ramp.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officer Goodreau and Investigator McKinney responded to the Mosquito Lagoon area to assist in locating two adult females and two juvenile males who had become disoriented and lost while kayaking. The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office (VCSO) helicopter was able to locate them after sunset and put out a crew member. Officer Goodreau and Investigator McKinney arrived by boat and ferried all back safely to shore.

Four adult males were on board a small center console style fishing boat in Mosquito Lagoon and became lost after dark. The VCSO helicopter was able to locate and direct Officer Goodreau to their location. Because of the low tide, two separate trips were needed to transport them safely to the shoreline.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HERNANDO COUNTY

Officer Canamero was flagged down by a male subject who stated that he had been involved in an altercation with the mother of his child. Suicidal statements had been made by the female subject, to include their child. Officer Canamero ensured the well-being of the female and child and requested assistance from the local Hernando County Sheriff’s Department. The male subject had visible injuries that had occurred during the altercation. The Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived and after further investigation, the female subject was taken into custody on domestic battery charges.

Officer Canamero saw a vehicle parked near the edge of some private land. The officer contacted a female subject and during the interview, a gunshot was heard. Three additional subjects were located. Upon further investigation, one subject was found to be in possession of a concealed firearm without a permit and another subject was on felony probation. The subject with the concealed firearm, who also admitted to shooting the firearm, was taken into custody. During the inventory search of the subject’s vehicle, one additional firearm was located along with a significant amount of synthetic marijuana (“Spice”). Additional charges are pending.

Officer Canamero and Officer Sehl stopped a vessel and conducted a fisheries inspection. The operator was found to be in possession of over the bag limit and not in whole condition of shark, and an undersized and not in whole condition spotted sea trout. The subject was cited accordingly.

Officer Canamero and Officer Sehl stopped a vessel running without navigation lights. A fisheries inspection of the catch revealed the operator was in possession of over the bag limit of redfish. The subject was cited accordingly.

Officer Little was conducting resource inspections of vessels returning to the Aripeka Boat Ramp. Upon checking one vessel, the operator was found to be in possession of four undersized hogfish. The operator was charged accordingly.

Officer Little and Officer Canamero conducted a resource inspection of a subject returning to shore in his canoe near Pine Island. Upon inspection, the subject was found to be in possession of an oversized redfish. He was cited accordingly.

Officer Scinta was conducting fisheries inspections of subjects along Bayou Drive. He located a subject who had several undersized black drum. The subject was cited accordingly.

Officer Little and Officer Canamero were on water patrol near Aripeka when they stopped a vessel for a routine check. The subject on board was found to be in violation of net transit laws. Lieutenant Grover met them at the boat ramp where the nets were seized as evidence. The subject will be charged accordingly.

HIGHLANDS COUNTY

Officer Catalano and Lieutenant Fugate stopped an individual who was shining a spotlight in a rural farm area from a roadway. A search of his truck determined that the father and his son were in possession of a rifle. The father was issued a citation for displaying a light in a manner of disclosing deer while possessing a firearm.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Lieutenant Holcomb, K9 Handler/Officer Gaudion and “K9 Rita” were conducting open K9 air sniffs of a vehicle located west of the Courtney Campbell Boat Ramp. “K9 Rita” was deployed near a Ford F-150 where she located a bucket concealed next to a tree beside the vehicle. The K9 gave a final point of detection/ final response on the bucket indicating the presence of fish or game. The bucket was found to contain an undersized snook that measured thirteen inches. From a concealed location the officers saw the owner of the white truck return to the vehicle a brief time later. The subject took ice out of his cooler from his truck and placed it on the snook. The subject admitted to possession of the snook and was issued misdemeanor court appearance for undersized snook and possession of snook during closed season.

K9 Handler Officer Gaudion and his K-9 “Rita” were on patrol near Cockroach Bay Road. They saw multiple subjects jumping a fence while in possession of a cast net. While the K9 and Officer Gaudion were conducting a resource inspection on the subjects’ vehicle, they located a tarpon in a bucket that one of the subjects admitted to catching with the cast net. The subject was issued a criminal court date in Hillsborough County for possession of a tarpon without a tag and tarpon taken by illegal method.

While on water patrol on the Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa, Officer Wilkins and Officer Specialist LaRosa stopped a vessel that was violating a slow speed zone. The officers intended to address the speeding issue as well as conduct a boating safety inspection. When the officers started the boating safety inspection, the operator handed Officer Wilkins a credit card when he was asked for his driver’s license. He was also slurring his words and forgot to produce numerous items Officer Wilkins had asked for as a part of the inspection. Officer Wilkins conducted seated field sobriety exercises with the subject and after the subject performed poorly, he was arrested for boating under the influence (BUI). The subject agreed to give a sample of his breath, so Officer Wilkins (who is a breath test operator) began the twenty-minute observation period with the subject at the Hillsborough County Marine Unit substation. Immediately prior to the start of the breath test, the subject changed his mind and refused to give a sample. A criminal history check revealed that this was the subject’s third refusal to submit to a breath test which makes him a habitual offender. The subject was arrested for BUI and refusal to submit to a breath test (third offense) and was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail.

While on water patrol in downtown Tampa, Officer Specialist Martinez saw a vessel operating at night with improper navigation lights. Officer Specialist Martinez stopped the vessel to address the lighting issue and saw the operator was hyperactive and overexcited. During a boating safety inspection, the operator had a difficult time following instruction and was forgetful when asked for safety items. Officer Specialist Martinez smelled an odor of alcohol coming from the operator and noticed that he had glassy eyes. Officer Martinez performed seated field sobriety exercises on the subject. The subject performed poorly on the exercises and was arrested for boating under the influence (BUI). The subject refused to give a sample of his breath. A background check revealed that this was the subject’s second refusal of a breath test and he was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail for his violations.

FWC officers teamed up with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) Marine Unit out of their substation on the water to conduct a targeted detail in reference to boating under the influence (BUI) enforcement. FWC officers staged a truck for prisoner transport and a breath test machine at the substation to streamline the logistics of any BUI arrests. During a night shift where HCSO officers were the main agency in charge of the detail, FWC officers were called for assistance with regard to a BUI stop they were currently working in downtown Tampa. The operator of the vessel and its passengers were being extremely combative and refused to listen to commands. Officer Wilkins and Officer Specialist LaRosa responded by vessel to assist and aid in getting the vessel and its occupants towed to safety so that HSCO could proceed with arresting the operator for BUI. Once back on land with the operator, Officer Godfrey transported him to the Hillsborough County Jail for HCSO, where he was booked into jail for BUI and refusal to submit to a breath test.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Davidson, Lieutenant Hinds and Captain Carpenter were on water patrol in the Manatee River near the Palmetto Boat Ramp. While on patrol, they saw a vessel violating a slow speed area and stopped the vessel to address the violation. During the inspection, the officers got indicators from the operator of the vessel that he might be under the influence of alcohol. Officer Davidson had the operator perform a series of field sobriety tasks to determine the level of his impairment. After Officer Davidson concluded his investigation, the operator was arrested for boating under the influence and was taken to the Manatee County Jail. He will have to appear in court for his violation.

Officer Dalton was on water patrol in the area of the Manatee River near the CXS train tracks. He saw a vessel violating a slow speed zone and operating without the use of its navigational lights. Officer Dalton stopped the vessel to address the violations and quickly realized that the operator appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. Officer Dalton asked the operator to perform a series of field sobriety tasks to determine his level of impairment and the operator refused. Officer Dalton informed the operator that if he refused to perform any tasks he would be taken to jail for refusal to submit to field sobriety tasks. At this point the encounter became violent. The operator of the vessel tried to push him off the boat into the river. After an intense altercation, Officer Dalton was able to keep himself on the vessel and get the suspect off him. The suspect jumped into the Manatee River and started swimming towards the shoreline. Officer Dalton followed him as he swam and offered him a life jacket, so he would not drown. The suspect refused. Bradenton Police Department had been alerted and was waiting at the shoreline for the suspect. With their help, the man was apprehended without further incident. The suspect was booked into Manatee County Jail for two felony charges, six misdemeanor charges and several infractions. He will appear in court for his violations.

Officer Gonzales was on land patrol in the area of Fort Hammer Boat Ramp in Manatee County. He performed a boating safety inspection on a vessel that had just pulled into the ramp. Officer Gonzales got indicators from the operator of the vessel that he may be under the influence of alcohol. He had the operator perform some field sobriety tasks to determine his level of impairment. After Officer Gonzales’ investigation was completed, the operator was booked into the Manatee County Jail for boating under the influence of alcohol. The suspect was given the opportunity to submit to a breath sample test and he blew well over the legal limit.

While on foot patrol at the South Skyway Fishing Pier State Park, Officer Bibeau contacted an individual that was actively fishing. The individual told Officer Bibeau that he caught some mangrove snapper. Officer Bibeau conducted a fisheries inspection and located fifteen mangrove snapper. Officer Bibeau wrote the individual a misdemeanor citation for possession of over the daily bag-limit of mangrove snapper.

PASCO COUNTY

Officer Specialist Pulaski and Lieutenant Parisoe were on land patrol conducting fishery inspections around Fillman’s Bayou. The officers saw an individual inside a vehicle throw something into the water. During their inspection, they learned the subject had marijuana inside the vehicle. The marijuana was seized as evidence and Officer Specialist Pulaski issued the individual a citation for possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Hardgrove and Officer Rarick were patrolling near a residential channel when they spotted two men on a boat returning from a day of fishing. When the officers activated their emergency lights and attempted to stop the boat for a fisheries inspection, the boat turned completely around and sped off. The officers followed and watched as one of the men threw a clearly undersized bull shark overboard. The men made a wrong turn in their flight and ran into a mangrove-lined cove with only one way in and out. During the inspection of the boat, the officers found an undersized spotted seatrout and a bluefish that had been cut up for bait instead of being maintained in whole condition. The two men were cited for the fisheries violations and interference with an inspection.

Officer Winton and Officer Hazelwood were on water patrol in Matlacha Pass when they saw a commercial blue crab vessel operator actively tending blue crab traps. The officers stopped the vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection – at which time they discovered that the subject had an expired saltwater products license (SPL). The SPL is required to commercially harvest saltwater products. The officers also determined that the subject had been written two prior warnings for the same violation. The subject was issued a notice to appear for commercially fishing without a saltwater products license, and a warning for improper marking of blue crab trap buoys.

Officer Winton and Officer Hazelwood conducted a wholesale/retail fisheries inspection at a business on Pine Island. During the inspection, it was determined that the company had not maintained the proper documentation of the purchases/sales of their saltwater products and had purchased saltwater products from a producer that did not have a valid saltwater products license. The investigation has been continued and multiple charges are being filed with the State Attorney's Office.

Officer Winton was on water patrol in Estero Bay when he saw an unmarked vessel with an operator actively pulling commercial quantities of blue crab traps. Officer Winton conducted a vessel stop, at which time additional violations were discovered pertaining to registration, safety gear, commercial licensing, and blue crab trap construction/marking. The captain of the vessel was issued a notice to appear, a boating citation and multiple warnings for the related violations.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Officer Bibeau stopped a vessel which had a person nearby actively engaged in spearfishing to conduct a fisheries inspection. Officer Bibeau located an undersized gag grouper and an undersized tripletail. Officer Bibeau found that the operator of the vessel had previously been cited for gag grouper violations. Officer Bibeau wrote the individual a misdemeanor citation for possession of an undersized gag grouper and a warning for the other fisheries violation.

Officer Bibler saw two people on PWCs violating a slow speed zone and made contact with the operators to address the issue. As he contacted the operators, he realized he had stopped the same PWCs in the past and believed they were being used in an illegal livery. Officer Bibler previously told the subject (owner) he suspected of illegally renting the PWCs, specifically what he needed to do to become a legal livery. Officer Bibler warned him he needed to be in compliance before he conducted any more business. Officer Bibler confirmed with the two operators that they rented the PWCs from the same subject Officer Bibler had spoken to before. Back at the boat ramp, Officer Bibler interviewed the subject running the illegal livery and cited him for three misdemeanor violations of livery laws.

Officer Bibeau, Officer Martinez and Lieutenant VanTrees stopped a vessel for a restricted area violation. While conducting the boating safety inspection the officers located dozens of scallops along with a half-pint of scallop meat. The owner of the vessel took responsibility for the scallops onboard the vessel and Officer Bibeau wrote the subject a misdemeanor citation for possession of scallops in a closed area.

Officer Bibeau saw an individual that was actively fishing from a bridge. Officer Bibeau watched the individual fish from a concealed location. Officer Bibeau lost sight of the individual as he walked down from the bridge and waited for the individual to return to his vehicle before making contact to conduct a fisheries inspection. The individual stated that he hadn’t caught any fish and was preparing to go to another spot. Officer Bibeau conducted a fisheries inspection on the individual’s cooler and located a large snook. Not only was the snook out of season, but Officer Bibeau found that the snook was also oversized and the individual admitted to catching it with a cast net. Officer Bibeau wrote the individual multiple misdemeanor citations for the fisheries violations and the snook was returned to the water alive.

Officer Bibeau saw an individual actively fishing from beneath a bridge. He watched the individual fish from a concealed location and waited until the individual began to pack up his belongings prior to making contact to conduct a fisheries inspection. At the end of the inspection, Officer Bibeau located 10 mangrove snappers, 3 of which were undersized, and 1 undersized sheepshead. Officer Bibeau wrote the individual one misdemeanor citation and two warnings for the fisheries violations.

Officer Nick Guerin conducted a fisheries inspection on a group of individuals on the northwest side of the Gandy Bridge. During the inspection, Officer Guerin located two undersized redfish (12.5 and 13 inches), an undersized sheepshead (10 inches) and an undersized mangrove snapper (8 inches). One of the subjects admitted to catching and possessing all the undersized fish. The individual was issued a notice to appear in court for the redfish violations and issued warnings for the other violations.


Officer Rorer and Officer Pettifer conducted a resource inspection. They discovered an individual to be in possession of nine mangrove snapper, six of which were undersized. The individual was cited for possession of undersized and over the bag limit of mangrove snapper.

Officer Bibeau saw an individual actively fishing from underneath a bridge. He watched the individual fish from a concealed location and saw the individual catch multiple fish and hide them in a small blue bag. Officer Bibeau waited for the individual to begin packing up his belongings before making contact to conduct a fisheries inspection. The individual told Officer Bibeau that he hadn’t caught any fish. When Officer Bibeau asked about the fish that the man had hidden in the blue bag, the individual admitted to lying because he believed he had kept an illegal fish. Officer Bibeau conducted an inspection of the bag and located a fifteen-inch gag grouper. Officer Bibeau wrote the individual a misdemeanor citation for possession of an undersized gag grouper.

Officer Bibeau and Officer Ferguson stopped a vessel returning from offshore to conduct a fisheries inspection. At the end of the inspection, Officer Bibeau located ten undersized hogfish. One of the individuals on board the boat took responsibility for the fisheries violation and was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of undersized hogfish.

Lieutenant Van Trees and Officer Specialist Bibeau were on water patrol offshore of St. Pete Beach when they stopped a vessel to conduct a resource and safety inspection. The officers noticed signs of impairment from the operator to include slurring of words and a strong odor of alcohol. After completing a safety inspection with the operator, Lieutenant Van Trees conducted seated field sobriety tasks with him. The operator performed poorly on these tests. Lieutenant Van Trees arrested the operator for boating under the influence (BUI). The subject also agreed to submit to a test of his breath. The officers were able to get the subject to a breath test machine quickly and Officer Specialist Bibeau (who is a breath tech operator) was about to begin the test when the operator changed his mind and refused to give a sample of his breath. Through a communications center check, it was discovered that this was the operator’s second refusal of a breath test, and he was booked into the Pinellas County Jail for BUI and refusal of breath test (second offense).

Lieutenant Van Trees was on land patrol when he stopped to inspect a local market that sold produce, vegetables and fish. Lieutenant Van Trees had been to the market before after receiving complaints of violations at the market – which resulted in the owner being cited for his violations. Upon inspecting the fish at the market, Lieutenant Van Trees found that the owner did not possess the proper documentation for the fish as required by law. The owner was also in possession of an undersized red snapper. The owner had been told nearly a year prior to this inspection about all of the rules and regulations he needed to abide by and he was cited again for the same violations. The owner was issued a notice to appear for his violations and will be mandated to attend a court date.

SARASOTA COUNTY

Officer Grenz was on land patrol in the area of the North Siesta Key Bridge in Sarasota County. While on patrol, she performed a fisheries inspection on a charter fishing captain that was dropping off his customers. During the inspection, Officer Grenz found that the captain had allowed his customers to keep two undersized red grouper. The captain was cited criminally for possession of undersized red grouper and will have to appear in court for his violation.


SEARCH AND RESCUE
HERNANDO COUNTY

Lieutenant Grover and Officer Canamero were on patrol on PWCs in the Weeki Wachee River when they encountered a subject who had flipped his kayak and was holding onto a vine under overhanging branches. His wife told Officer Canamero that he could not swim. Officer Canamero jumped in and swam to the subject and began to pull him to a shallow area of the river. Lieutenant Grover maneuvered his PWC to both subjects and towed them to where they could safely touch the river’s shore. The subject was shaken up, but otherwise okay.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
LEE COUNTY

Lieutenant Spoede responded by boat to a reported “manatee in distress” near Fort Myers Beach. Upon arrival he found a juvenile manatee having trouble breathing and appeared to be having seizures. A large manatee (possibly its mother) was assisting the juvenile by pushing it to the surface to breathe. FWC biologists and volunteers as well as Lee County deputies arrived on scene to help capture the animal. Lieutenant Spoede was able to maneuver his patrol vessel so that the distressed manatee could be captured in a net. The manatee was transported to Sea World’s Rehabilitation Center where it will be treated and allowed to recover before it is released back into the wild.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
HIGHLANDS COUNTY

Officer Adams was participating in a targeted enforcement action regarding Highlands County lakes and waterways. He saw a vessel with two subjects in it at the Hart’s Bridge boat ramp on Arbuckle Creek. While conducting a boating safety inspection, a computer inquiry through dispatch revealed that one of the subjects had an outstanding warrant in Hardee County. The subject was arrested and booked into the Highlands County Jail.

POLK COUNTY

Officer Earls and Officer Deweese along with Osceola County Sherriff’s deputies conducted directed and proactive patrols to ensure safe boating and resource law compliance within the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes. Officer Earls’ and Officer Deweese’s efforts revealed a vessel with five occupants participating in the alligator hunt at approximately 3:00 a.m. The occupants were hunting with a county-wide alligator hunting permit and were in a restricted alligator management area. The permit holder was issued a misdemeanor notice to appear for hunting outside of the designated hunt area.

Officer Earls and Officer Deweese conducted a vessel stop while patrolling the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes. They found two occupants under twenty-one years of age in possession of alcoholic beverages. Both occupants received a misdemeanor notice to appear for possession of alcohol by a person under twenty-one years of age.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
PINELLAS COUNTY

Investigator DallaRosa gave a presentation on Florida’s Statewide Boating Accident statistics and the critical missions of the FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement Investigations Unit at Halifax Hospital’s yearly “Trauma Talks” conference in Daytona Beach. The audience consisted of nearly 200 healthcare professionals including doctors, nurses and paramedics. Other presenters included trauma surgeons, emergency room doctors and the Deputy Chief of the Orlando Police Department. The audience was surprised to learn how significant boating accident occurrences are statewide, as well as the challenges that the FWC faces in promoting boating safety as a tool to prevent future vessel collisions on our waterways.

CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officer Price was on land patrol when he conducted a resource inspection on an individual who was in a wildlife management area. During the inspection, Officer Price discovered what appeared to be deer meat in the subject’s vehicle. After interviewing the subject, Officer Price discovered the man had shot the deer at another nearby management area. None of the deer meat was properly tagged and there was no proof of the sex of the deer. After further investigation, Officer Price determined the man had shot the deer on Babcock Ranch. Babcock Ranch has special permit requirements that need to be closely followed. Officer Salem, Officer Furbay and Lieutenant Ruggiero were working the ranch and went to the camp to determine if the man had properly documented the deer harvest. The officers determined the deer harvest was not properly recorded and the jawbone was not saved so FWC biologists could age the deer. The man was issued four misdemeanors and the deer meat was seized as evidence.

Officer Salem received information about a group of people picking palmetto berries in a wildlife management area. He went to the area where he located a female in a vehicle who said she was just looking for wildlife. Officer Salem asked to look in the trunk of the vehicle and found loose palmetto berries and twigs. The female was adamant that she was not picking palmetto berries and was by herself looking for wildlife. After speaking with her for a few more minutes, the female admitted she had two men with her who were in the bushes picking the berries. The female called the men and they came out of the bushes from where they were hiding. They were issued misdemeanors for taking plants from a wildlife management area.

Officer Salem received information about people picking palmetto berries in a management area. He located a vehicle with one person inside driving around. The man driving the vehicle said he was just looking around. Officer Salem did not see anyone or anything in the vehicle, so he let the man go and searched the area. Unable to locate anyone, Officer Salem called Officer Goggin and Officer Morrison to assist. The three officers set up surveillance and waited. They stopped the vehicle just after dark before the driver could leave the area. This time, there were two people hiding in the back seat of the vehicle along with several hundred pounds of palmetto berries. They were issued misdemeanors for taking plants from a management area.

RESCUES
PASCO COUNTY

Officer Smith, Officer Hughes, Officer Alvis and Lieutenant Wells were called out from their residences at approximately 5:30 a.m. for a search and rescue mission thirty miles west of Hudson. The officers met at the 85’ Offshore Patrol Vessel, Gulf Sentry, in St. Petersburg. The officers headed out to the coordinates of where one of the lost divers had last been seen. The officers were working closely with USCG and they received a parallel search pattern from them. Approximately five minutes before the officers started their search on the designated grid, which was approximately twenty miles west of Anclote Island, Officer Smith noticed something in the water several hundred yards away. Lieutenant Wells turned the Gulf Sentry and headed towards the object in the water. When the vessel got close, the crew realized that the object was the missing diver. They retrieved the exhausted diver from the water and performed a first aid assessment. The diver was rehydrated, kept warm and was able to call his wife. When the officers arrived in St. Petersburg, the diver disembarked from the Gulf Sentry and was reunited with his wife. The media was present at the dock and took statements from Lieutenant Wells which were used for a broadcast about the FWC’s successful rescue and recovery of the diver.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officer Lejarzar, Officer Birchfield and Lieutenant Ruggiero were participating in a directed offshore fisheries detail when they stopped a vessel about twenty miles offshore. During a resource inspection, Officer Lejarzar found several plastic bags containing fish fillets of red and gag grouper. The operator of the boat claimed he had caught all the fish. The officers also determined the man was not fishing with circle hooks as required for reef fish and he did not have a valid gulf reef fish permit. He was issued misdemeanor charges for failing to land reef fish in whole condition and for not using circle hooks.

Officer Lejarzar, Officer Birchfield and Lieutenant Ruggiero stopped a charter boat with several people on board. During the inspection the officers noticed the captain did not have any of the poles rigged with circle hooks as required for catching reef fish. The officers politely brought it to the captain’s attention. The captain said he had circle hooks on board but refused to use them because they kill fish. After a brief conversation with the captain about the violation, he still refused to use the required circle hooks. The captain and the passengers cast their lines out and started fishing for reef fish even though they had not corrected the violation. Since it was obvious the captain had no intention to correct the violation, he was issued a misdemeanor notice to appear.

DESOTO COUNTY

FWC Pilot Fields and Officer Alvis were able to direct Officer Geeraerts, Officer Cloud and Officer Kobs onto private property where several individuals were shining spotlights from their moving vehicles. Officers Geeraerts and Officer Cloud arrived on the property first and were able to stop one vehicle with four subjects inside. There were three loaded rifles, two handguns and a spotlight in the vehicle. Pilot Fields radioed to the officers on the ground that he had seen the subjects dump what looked like large animal several hundred feet from their location. Officer Cloud was able to locate and recover a male deer from information provided by one of the subjects in the truck. Pilot Fields was also able to guide Officer Kobs to a fifth subject who had escaped from the truck and was hiding near some buildings prior to the other officers arriving. Officer Kobs was able to detain the subject without incident. The subjects admitted to shooting and killing the deer with the aid of a spotlight. All subjects were given a notice to appear for hunting with a gun and light. The three rifles were seized by the officers and placed into evidence.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
PASCO COUNTY

Officer Specialist Phillippi and Officer Specialist Pulaski recently taught the boater safety class to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office Junior Explorer program. The students enjoyed learning about safe boating and will soon be sending in their tests to hopefully get their Boater I.D. cards. Officer Specialist Phillippi has partnered with the Pasco Sheriff’s Offi

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  FWC Enforcement Report August 17-23. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 09-13-2018, 12:20 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer Allgood made several saltwater fisheries cases over the past week. He issued notice to appear citations for undersized triggerfish and spotted sea trout. He also cited a different subject for possession of red snapper during a closed season.

Officers Allgood and Long were on a vessel stop when they noticed a vessel dock at a residence. Officer Allgood knew who lived at the residence and did not recognize the vessel or individuals as the owner of the property. As they approached the vessel, two of the occupants got out of the vessel and quickly walked away. After confirming with the residents that the individuals were trespassing, Officer Allgood exited the vessel and confronted the individuals. One of the individuals was compliant but the other refused to identify himself and walked away. Officer Allgood gave loud verbal commands to stop and the subject refused. The officer then attempted to place the subject in handcuffs. The subject resisted and both Officer Allgood and the subject ended up on the ground. Officer Allgood gained control of the subject after a short struggle. Officer Allgood arrested the subject and charged him with resisting an officer with violence, possession of a concealed weapon, armed trespass, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Officer Long arrested the second subject on an active warrant out of Arkansas.

As Officer Allgood was driving to a commercial fisheries offload inspection, he noticed a vehicle swerving out of its lane and off the road. He stopped the vehicle and spoke to the driver. The driver showed several signs of impairment and was asked to perform several field sobriety exercises. He did poorly on the exercises and was arrested for DUI. A breath sample was given, and the results were .175 blood alcohol content. The driver was booked into the Escambia County Jail.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

Officer Specialist (SPC) Anderson and Major Duval were working an alligator hunting detail. They were at Abercrombie Landing when they heard two gunshots from downriver. About 20 minutes later, a vessel with three people on board came to the ramp and dropped two of the occupants off before heading back downriver. A short time later, the vessel returned, the operator got out and one of the previous occupants got back in the boat and went back downriver while the first operator backed the trailer into the water. Once the boat was loaded, SPC Anderson and Major Duval contacted the three individuals. An inspection of their vessel revealed several raccoons that had been killed illegally. SPC Anderson issued one misdemeanor citation for illegally killing the raccoons and several infractions and warnings for other resource and boating violations.

GULF COUNTY

During the opening weekend for bay scallops, Officer M. Webb noticed a pontoon boat with five people onboard returning from fishing. An inspection revealed they were in possession of over 12 gallons of whole scallops. The captain out of Georgia was issued a citation. Over two gallons of whole scallops was returned to the water alive. The remaining ten was returned to the captain.

Officer M. Webb saw two subjects returning from fishing. During a resource inspection, it was discovered that they were in possession of over four gallons of whole scallops and nearly one pint of meat (three bag limits). The captain was issued a citation. Two gallons of whole scallops was returned to the water alive. The rest were returned to the captain.

Officer Gerber was on vessel patrol in St. Joe Bay and saw a vessel traveling towards the marina. There were three people on board. A resource inspection was conducted, and four pints of scallop meat were located in an ice chest. The owner of the vessel was issued a citation for over the bag limit of bay scallops.

Officer H. Webb was on vessel patrol in St. Joe Bay conducting marine fisheries inspections when he stopped a recreational vessel returning from harvesting bay scallops. The vessel was occupied by two individuals, and upon inspection of their harvest, Officer Webb discovered that they had in their possession five pints of shucked scallop meat inside their cooler, three pints over their legal daily bag limit. The captain of the vessel took responsibility for the violation, and Officer Webb cited him for over the daily bag limit of bay scallops.

Officer H. Webb was on vessel patrol in St. Joe Bay conducting marine fisheries inspections when he stopped a recreational vessel returning from harvesting bay scallops. The vessel was occupied by two individuals, and upon inspection of their harvest, Officer Webb discovered that they had in their possession six gallons of whole bay scallops inside their two dive bags, two gallons over their legal daily bag limit. The captain of the vessel took responsibility for the violation, and Officer Webb cited him for over the daily bag limit of bay scallops.

HOLMES COUNTY

Officers Greene and Yates were on patrol when they encountered a group fishing from the shore on Choctawhatchee River. A check revealed two subjects fishing without a license and one subject who had two felony warrants. Appropriate citations were issued, and the subject was arrested for the warrants.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Corbin and Wilkenson were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections in the Destin Harbor. The officers stopped a 24-foot pontoon vessel with nine passengers onboard. As the officers approached the pontoon, they were unable to see the vessel’s registration numbers, only the decal. The officers determined the pontoon was rented. After establishing communication with the operator and passengers, Officer Corbin detected a strong odor of alcohol coming from the vessel. Several passengers on board the vessel appeared to have been consuming alcohol. The operator had a red Solo cup in a cup holder next to him at the helm and the officers saw the individual drink from the cup. The red Solo cup contained what appeared to be alcohol. The operator had a strong odor of an unknown alcoholic beverage coming from his mouth and his speech was slurred. During the safety inspection, the operator displayed indicators of impairment. Field sobriety tasks (FSTs) were performed on the operator. Based on the indicators on the FSTs, the operator was arrested for BUI. The operator provided a breath sample resulting in 0.096 blood alcohol content and 0.095 blood alcohol content. The operator was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail where the intake process was completed.

Officers Corbin, Matechik, and Mullins were on vessel patrol in the Destin Pass and Destin Harbor conducting boating safety and resource inspections. The officers saw a 22-foot pontoon vessel in violation of the idle speed / no wake zone. The officers stopped the vessel to address the violation. The operator was instructed to place his vessel in neutral. The operator looked in the direction of the officers and was slow to respond. Again, he was instructed to place his vessel in neutral and he pulled back on the throttle but did not place the vessel in neutral. The operator explained he was late returning the rental pontoon back to the livery. During the safety inspection and addressing the violation, the operator displayed indicators of impairment. Field sobriety tasks (FSTs) were performed on the operator. Based on the indicators on the FSTs, the operator was arrested for BUI. The operator provided a breath sample resulting in 0.184 blood alcohol content and 0.181 blood alcohol content. The operator was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail where the intake process was completed.

Officer Corbin was on vessel patrol in the Destin Pass conducting boating safety and resource inspections. The officer saw a vessel with two individuals onboard returning from the Gulf of Mexico with fishing equipment displayed. Officer Corbin stopped the vessel to conduct a boating safety and resource inspection. The fisheries inspection revealed a harvested red snapper during closed season and an undersized gray triggerfish. Throughout the fisheries inspection and boating safety inspection, the operator displayed signs of impairment. Field sobriety tasks (FSTs) were performed on the operator. Based on the indicators on the FSTs, the operator was arrested for BUI. The operator refused to provide a breath sample. The operator was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail where the intake process was completed. The operator was cited and issued a notice to appear citation for harvesting red snapper during closed season and for possession of an undersized gray triggerfish.

Officers Corbin, Matechik, and Mullins were on vessel patrol in the Destin Pass and Destin Harbor conducting boating safety and resource inspections. The officers saw a local charter vessel returning from the Gulf of Mexico into the Destin Pass with six people onboard and fishing equipment displayed. The fisheries inspection revealed two undersized greater amberjack. The deckhand accepted responsibility and was issued a notice to appear citation.

Officers Corbin and Mullins were on vessel patrol in the Destin Pass and Destin Harbor conducting boating safety and resource inspections. The officers saw a vessel returning from the Gulf of Mexico with fishing equipment displayed. The fisheries inspection revealed two undersized greater amberjack. The operator was cited and issued a notice to appear citation.

Officer Corbin was on vessel patrol in the Destin Pass conducting boating safety and resource inspections. The officer saw a vessel returning from the Gulf of Mexico with fishing equipment displayed. The fisheries inspection revealed an undersized gray triggerfish. The operator was cited and issued a notice to appear citation.

Officers Wilkenson and Lugg were on vessel patrol near Crab Island. The officers saw a pontoon boat traveling on plane in violation of the idle speed / no wake zone. A vessel stop was conducted to address the violation. During the identification process of the operator, the Tallahassee Regional Communication Center confirmed there was an active out of county warrant for violation of probation. The operator was arrested and transported to the Okaloosa County Jail.

Officer Corbin investigated two derelict sailboats in Boggy Bayou and Joe’s Bayou. One sailboat was in deteriorating condition, completed gutted and the other was sunk. Both owners were located and issued notice to appear citations.

Lieutenants Golloher and Tolbert were flying when they noticed vacant land being used for solid waste disposal. A subsequent site inspection by Environmental Investigator Hughes revealed solid waste to include household trash, waste tires, plastics, bedding, and other solid waste. A second pile onsite consisted primarily of white goods. Both piles were approximately 80’ x 15’ x 5’ in size. The source of the waste was from a subject who owned forty-one rental properties, and after tenants moved out he would remove the waste and take it to another one of his properties and burn it. During the site inspection, the property owner advised that he would have the solid waste disposed of properly. The following week, FWC aviation units saw the solid waste being burned. Investigator Hughes obtained two arrest affidavits on two individuals for collecting solid waste and burning it.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Wilkenson was on vessel patrol in Santa Rosa Sound near the Navarre Beach Boat Ramp. The officer saw a PWC being operated in Santa Rosa Sound by an individual that appeared to under the age of 14 years old with a passenger onboard. A vessel stop was conducted to determine the age of the operator. Officer Wilkenson saw the PWC kill-switch attached to the operator and he was the only person whose hands were on the handle/steering column. The officer determined the operator was 12 years old. The minimum age to operate a PWC is 14 years old. Further, the operator did not have a boater safety card. The PWC was a private vessel and owned by the parents of the operator. It was determined the mother allowed her underage son to operate the PWC. The parent was issued a notice to appear citation.

Officer Hutchinson was patrolling in the Escambia River Wildlife Management Area when he saw a vessel from his position at Keyser Landing. As he watched, the two men worked bush hooks and a trotline, and while doing so, they baited the lines with live bream. When they returned to the ramp, Officer Hutchison contacted them and they admitted to using bream for bait on the lines. Both men were cited for using bream for bait

WAKULLA COUNTY

Officers Swindell, Hughes and Korade were on water patrol near St. Marks when they saw a vessel returning from fishing offshore. They stopped the vessel and the operator stated they had caught a lot of fish and pointed out the compartment where they were located. An inspection of the compartment revealed a total of 50 black sea bass, 46 of which were undersized. The officers also located two undersized gag grouper and one undersized red grouper in the compartment. Officer Hughes also located a bucket near the back of the vessel which contained a shark that had been filleted to be used as bait. All the undersized fish and the shark were seized, and the occupants of the vessel were issued citations for the violations.

Officer Carr was dispatched to Wakulla Springs State Park regarding a vehicle burglary at the Cherokee Sink parking lot. The complainant was the state park ranger, who noticed a window was smashed on an SUV parked in the lot and glass was still falling on the ground beside the vehicle. Officer Carr contacted the only two people still at the park. He investigated the vehicle burglary and documented the information provided by the victims in an incident report.

Officer Hofheinz saw a vessel traveling towards Wakulla Beach from the east. Officer Hofheinz contacted the operator and upon inspection of the commercially registered vessel, he saw four nets that were wet in the rear of the vessel. Three of the nets had a stretch mesh of 2 ¾ inches, and one had a stretch mesh of three inches. Officers Morales and Carr arrived on scene to assist. Upon further inspection, one of the nets was not legibly marked on both ends and one had two different numbers on both ends. The nets were measured by Officers Carr and Morales for square footage. All the nets measured greater than the allowable limit. The operator was issued citations accordingly and the nets were seized as evidence.

Officer Morales was patrolling the Gulf of Mexico in the waters south of Carrabelle with Officer Carr. As they approached an anchored vessel to conduct a resource inspection, they were advised by the person on board that he had a diver in the water. Neither officer saw a dive flag displayed on the vessel. While Officer Carr maneuvered the patrol vessel alongside the subject's vessel, Officer Morales asked the subject if he had any fish on board. The subject advised the officers that he had two gag grouper on board. The officers continued with their resource inspection, which concluded with Officer Morales issuing one subject a notice to appear citation for harvesting a gag grouper under the minimum size limit of 24 inches and Officer Carr issuing a warning for not having a dive flag displayed. The undersized gag grouper was seized as evidence.

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Officer Gore completed an investigation into possible deer depredation permit violations after discovering a buck deer that had the head cut off in a field that was under a deer depredation permit. Upon completion of the investigation, charges were filed for three counts of violation of permit for removing antlers from field and two counts of removing deer from the field without tagging, as well as numerous written warnings for additional permit violations.

FEDERAL WATERS

The NW FINCAT with Officers Cushing, Land and Matechik on board worked across the Gulf of Mexico from Pensacola to the Dry Tortugas. The officers traveled more than 1900 miles conducting 114 hours of fisheries patrol. They made ports of call in Panama City, St. Petersburg, Key West and the Dry Tortugas. While underway, they focused on several marine protected areas including the Madison Swanson, Steamboat Lumps, Middle Grounds and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. In addition to those areas, the crew spent several days prior to and during lobster mini season patrolling the Lower Keys. During the patrols, many violations were found for the following: closed season gray triggerfish, failure to allow inspection, use of reef fish as bait, closed season red snapper (South Atlantic), undersized spiny lobster, speared spiny lobster, undersized hogfish, undersized mangrove snapper, speared permit, and bottom fishing in a closed area (Madison & Swanson Marine Protected Area). Additionally, officers located several violations related to boating safety and dive flag laws. The appropriate action was taken for the violations.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
WASHINGTON COUNTY

Officers Homan and Parrish attended the annual Back to School Bash at Live Oak Church. Approximately 300 people were in attendance and informational materials were distributed, questions were answered, and the officers had a small alligator that all enjoyed holding and having pictures taken.

Numerous FWC officers from the area participated in the Active Shooter Training at Vernon and Chipley High School conducted by Washington County Sheriff’s Office. It was a collaborative effort by WCSO, CSO, FHP, CPD, EMS, and local fire departments, Training Department from Chipola College and Washington/Holmes Safety Institute, and FWC. It involved training for law enforcement as well as teachers in response to an active shooter situation.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officer Reith saw several people on a vessel attempting to hunt alligators on Orange Lake. When he stopped to check permits and required boating safety gear, he noticed the individuals were hunting out of their assigned area. Officer Reith issued a citation for hunting out of area.

Officers Troiano and Stanley were monitoring alligator hunting on Watermelon Pond when they found a vehicle hidden in the trees off CR337. The two officers found foot tracks and dog tracks heading into the wildlife management area. After a long walk, they located individuals who had caught a hog and were trying to get it back to their vehicle. Officers Troiano and Stanley issued several citations for various violations to three subjects to include: hunting during closed season in area after legal hours, and illegal entry/driving in closed area of wildlife management area.

Officer Drew saw an individual attempting to take alligators on Lochloosa Lake. After several hours of waiting, the subjects headed to the boat ramp. Officer Drew checked for permits and boating safety gear and found the individuals to be hunting out of their assigned area. Officer Drew issued citations for hunting out of assigned area.

CLAY/BRADFORD COUNTIES

Officers J. Barber, E. Barber and Lieutenant Haney were patrolling Jennings State Forest after hours and saw two ATVs operating illegally. The operators attempted to flee from the officers but were apprehended. Both operators were arrested and booked into jail for fleeing/eluding law enforcement. One 19-year old subject was carrying an illegally concealed firearm and was charged accordingly. Both subjects were also cited for numerous state forest violations.

Officers J. Barber, E. Barber and Lieutenant Haney were patrolling Jennings State Forest and saw a vehicle with a male and female occupant illegally in the forest late at night. A search of the vehicle revealed alcohol and numerous drug paraphernalia. The female subject had an active warrant for drug charges. She was arrested and booked into the Clay County Jail.

Officer Davenport responded to a boating accident on the Santa Fe River. The operator of a jet ski hit a wake which threw the operator from the vessel. The vessel continued to run until it hit the nearby bank where it came to rest in the trees. The operator suffered no injuries and the boat had minor damage. The operator was given associated paperwork to file about the boating accident.

Officer Ransom investigated a boating accident on the Suwannee River. The operator of a bass boat hit a partially floating submerged log that extended across the river which caused complete loss of vessel control. The vessel continued to move until it hit a nearby boat tied to the bank where it came to rest. The operator and passenger suffered no injuries.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Officer Johnston was on patrol in Ichetucknee Springs State Park when he received a call in reference to a state park contract employee stealing money from the park’s general store. The complainant stated $200.00 was supposedly stolen. Officer Johnston contacted the employee who denied taking any money. However, the suspect inadvertently provided Officer Johnston with information that would later prove to be incriminating. Officer Johnston waited for the employee to leave work and once again made contact as she was walking to her vehicle with her boyfriend. Both subjects granted Officer Johnston consent to conduct a pat down search. During the search, Officer Johnston located $200.00 in the boyfriend’s possession. The female suspect admitted to stealing the money from her employer and gave it to her boyfriend for safekeeping. The boyfriend denied having any knowledge the money was stolen. Charges were filed on the female subject for petit theft.

HAMILTON COUNTY

Officers Johnston and Yates recently concluded an investigation originating from last hunting season. The officers received a trespass call which led them to a group of dog hunters at a camp, one of which had a recently washed truck bed. Another subject was cutting up deer meat with no sex evidence. Additionally, the subjects would not cooperate and tell the officers where the sex evidence could be located. The officers were able to retrieve DNA evidence from the bed of the truck and a blood sample from the seized deer meat. The officers continued to canvas the surrounding area and found a freshly dumped antlerless deer carcass. The DNA evidence was taken to the University of Florida veterinary forensics lab for analysis. The results were recently returned showing the DNA evidence taken from the suspect’s vehicle and seized deer meat was from a female deer. Charges are being direct filed on two subjects for criminal conspiracy and take/possession of an antlerless deer.

CITRUS COUNTY

Lieutenant Jones, Investigator Thomason and Officer Vanness responded to an alligator attack on Lake Hernando within Citrus County. A homeless female was swimming at the county park when she was attacked by a 5 to 6-foot alligator as she was exiting the water. The alligator grabbed her left arm and attempted to drag her back into the lake. The victim was able to fight off the alligator and contacted 911 for medical assistance. FWC’s SNAP was contacted and the local alligator trapper was able to locate and catch a 6’ 8” alligator that was in the same location where the victim was attacked. The incident is being investigated by the FWC’s Investigations Section.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
LAFAYETTE COUNTY

Officer Davenport participated in the law portion of a hunter education class in Mayo. There were several students with parents in attendance for the class. Numerous related questions were answered on the topics of conservation enforcement, public safety and various hunting related questions.

ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers Troiano and Stanley worked the annual buck scoring event at Alachua Farm and Lumber. A total of 14 deer heads were scored and many questions were answered throughout the day.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Officers Harris and B. Miller, along with Lieutenant Yetter, were on Joint Enforcement Agreement (JEA) patrol about 12 miles east of St. Augustine Inlet during the second weekend on the federal red snapper open season on the Atlantic coast. During one fisheries inspection, the team discovered two redfish on the boat. The officers issued federal citations to the two men who each admitted to harvesting the redfish in violation of the redfish closure in federal waters.

During the second weekend of the red snapper opening in Atlantic waters, Officers Lawrence and Thomas uncovered multiple fisheries and permit violations while conducting several boardings in federal and state waters. All unlawful catch was returned to the water. The violations included:

Federal waters – A charter captain who was found to be in possession of an expired Florida vessel (charter) license, an expired federal (charter) snapper/grouper permit and failed to register his vessel commercially. Citations were issued.
State waters – A recreational subject who harvested two undersized black sea bass and two undersized red snapper from state waters. A citation was issued.
State waters – Possession of undersized cobia. A citation was issued.
State waters – Exceeding the vermillion snapper bag limit (by two fish). A warning was issued.
State waters – Possession of two undersized black sea bass. A warning was issued.

PUTNAM COUNTY

Officer Cheshire was checking boat ramps on Lake Crescent when he ran a vehicle tag at Leonard’s Landing. The registered owner had Statewide Alligator Harvest Permits for the Lake Crescent Alligator Management Unit. Upon further investigation, Officer Cheshire found previous resource violations and Facebook pictures of the registered owner with alligators taken from the same location without CITES tags attached. Officer Cheshire surveilled the area until the subject returned to the boat ramp late at night. There were two people onboard and an approximately 8-foot alligator in plain view on the deck of the boat. Officer Cheshire contacted the subject and conducted a resource inspection. The CITES tag attached to the alligator appeared to be secured, but with a light pull, the tag came undone. A misdemeanor citation was issued to the registered owner for failure to secure and lock a CITES tag. A written warning was issued to the passenger for no alligator agent license.

MARION COUNTY

While on water patrol on the Withlacoochee River west of Highway 41 near Dunnellon, Officer Seiler saw a vessel with two subjects alligator hunting. One was holding a long fishing rod, and the other a bang stick. Officer Seiler contacted the vessel for a resource inspection. Upon contact, the operator advised they were getting ready to hunt the river. Officer Seiler asked the subject if he had a permit and he produced an alligator permit which was for Alligator Management Unit #809 in Citrus County. The opening paragraph of this permit states that this management unit specifically does not include Lake Rousseau west of the US Highway 41 bridge. Officer Seiler found that the subject had a Lake Rousseau permit for a later phase of the hunt. Officer Seiler issued the subject a notice to appear for hunting alligator outside his permitted area.

Marion County Solid Waste Code Enforcement requested assistance regarding a popular dumping area in North Marion County. After a three-month investigation, Environmental Investigator Miller and Officer Rice interviewed a female suspect regarding illegal dumping of waste tires. An arrest warrant was obtained for 4 felony counts of commercial dumping and 1 misdemeanor count for storing waste tires without a permit.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HIGHLANDS COUNTY

While on water patrol, Officer Smith and Officer Resendez checked a vessel returning to the Veterans Beach Boat Ramp on Lake Jackson in Highlands County. Officer Resendez conducted a safety inspection of the vessel and determined the vessel operator showed clues of impairment. Officer Resendez performed Seated Battery of Standard Field Sobriety Tasks (SFST’s) and determined the vessel operator’s normal faculties were impaired. Officer Resendez placed the vessel operator under arrest for boating under the influence (BUI) and transported him to Highlands County Jail to be processed. The vessel operator refused to provide a sample of his breath and was issued a Uniform Boating Citation (UBC) for BUI and one UBC for refusal to submit to blood/breath/urine test.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Winton, Officer Hazelwood and Lieutenant Spoede concluded an investigation into the destruction of six burrowing owl burrows in Cape Coral and arrested the suspect for the violation. The suspect was booked into the Lee County Jail and was cited for destruction of a threatened species nest and eggs, a third-degree felony.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Miller was on land patrol in north Manatee County off U.S. 41 near the Hillsborough County line. While on patrol, he noticed a group of women that were trespassing on Southwest Florida Water Management District property. He stopped them to address the violation and see what they were doing on the property. During the investigation, he discovered that the women had been removing many plants from the area. Officer Miller cited the women criminally for removing plants from management district property without permits. They will have to appear in court for their violations.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on water patrol at the Fort DeSoto boat ramp, Officer Bibler conducted a resource inspection of a vessel that had been towed in by a commercial tow company from twenty miles offshore due to engine trouble. During his inspection, the occupants said they only had mackerel and grunts and was shown a cooler where the fish were located. While inspecting the cooler, Officer Bibler found a black bag underneath the other fish that contained eight undersized red grouper. The captain of the vessel was cited for possession of undersized red grouper.

POLK COUNTY

Officer DeWeese and Officer Karr received a complaint about a possible gill net on the Peace River in Polk County. As the officers attempted to locate the gill net, they saw two individuals throwing cast nets. A resource inspection revealed the individuals were in possession of bream. Taking of bream by cast net is illegal. The officers also conducted a vessel safety inspection and found their vessel to have multiple violations. The individuals were issued infractions for the vessel safety violations and were each issued a notice to appear for taking of game fish by illegal method. The bream was seized and photographed for evidence.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
LEE COUNTY

Officer Winton was on patrol watching for illegal palmetto berry picking in Estero Bay Preserve State Park when he saw three subjects picking palmetto berries on a nearby section of private land. Officer Winton conducted surveillance on the subjects and approached them when they returned to their vehicle. Upon interviewing the subjects, it was determined that they did not have permission to be on the property and did not have a permit to harvest the palmetto berries. The subjects were issued notices to appear for harvesting palmetto berries without permission/permit, warnings for littering on private property and trespass warnings for the involved property.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Officer Specialist Pulaski, Officer Specialist Ferguson, Officer Canamero, and Lieutenant Parisoe set up a targeted BUI enforcement detail on the Anclote River. The officers conducted multiple stops of vessels which were in violation of the idle speed zone. During one stop, Officer Specialist Pulaski noticed indicators of impairment from the vessel operator. The operator performed poorly on the Seated Battery of Standard Field Sobriety Tasks (SFST’s) and was subsequently arrested for BUI. Officer Specialist Pulaski transported the individual to the Pinellas County Jail, where he provided a breath sample that measured .122 and .128.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Rogers, Moss, Schroer, Trawinski and Brevik conducted patrol on the JEA offshore patrol vessel. The officers stopped multiple vessels and conducted multiple federal fisheries inspections. They issued four federal citations involving fish filets with no skin attached in transit back from the Bahamas and charter/head boats with no federal dolphin/wahoo snapper/grouper permits and undersized fish. The officers also wrote multiple citations and warnings for possession of undersized lobster and vessels without required safety gear.

Investigator Warne received information regarding five Jeeps in the J.W. Corbett WMA during the annual pre-hunt closure. Investigator Warne, Officer Kirkland and Officer Hudson arrived on scene in J.W. Corbett and found where the Jeeps had gone through a wooded area to get around the locked gate. When the Jeeps tried to leave the closed area, the officers located them and issued the drivers a misdemeanor citation for being in a closed area.

While on patrol of the Jupiter waterways, Officer Norbrothen saw a vessel operating at night without navigation lights and operating in violation of the posted slow speed zone. The officer stopped the vessel to address the issues. During the stop, the officer saw several indicators of impairment from the operator. The operator was arrested for BUI.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Howell and Environmental Investigator Booth responded to a complaint regarding the illegal possession of a skunk. Upon arrival, they learned the individual was previously licensed for the skunk but allowed the license to expire. One citation was issued, and information was provided on how to renew her license.

BROWARD COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Corteguera responded to a complaint regarding the illegal possession of a raccoon. He contacted and educated the individual alleged to be in possession of the raccoon on the relevant regulations. The individual stated she turned the raccoon over to a licensed facility and did not have it anymore. A couple weeks later he performed an unannounced inspection at her residence, where he found her in possession of a raccoon. One misdemeanor citation and eight warnings were issued. The raccoon was placed at a licensed facility.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Corteguera recently responded to a complaint regarding the illegal possession of an alligator gar in an aquarium. He verified the illegal possession and learned it was purchased from a pet store. He contacted the pet store and educated them on the regulations pertaining to possessing and selling alligator gar, and learned they were being purchased from an out of state supplier. The pet store removed all alligator gar from their inventory and will not be ordering more. The fish was seized, and warnings were issued regarding the illegal possession and sale.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Toby responded to a complaint regarding the illegal possession of a raccoon. Upon arrival, he found one individual illegally in possession of a raccoon. He learned the individual applied for a license for the animal, but the request was denied, as it was obtained illegally from the wild. After the license was denied and the regulations provided, the subject knowingly kept the animal illegally. One misdemeanor citation and two warnings were issued for the violations. The raccoon was turned over to a licensed facility.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Lieutenant Fillip, Lieutenant Russo, as well as Officers Brodbeck, Godward, and Morrow responded to a boat fire at Jupiter’s Loggerhead Marina. The FWC assisted Palm Beach Fire Rescue with putting out the fire by providing the use of an agency patrol vessel. They also helped in deploying booms to keep diesel fuel and debris from spilling into the Intracoastal Waterway. Two vessels were destroyed, and two other vessels were damaged. Palm Beach Fire Rescue is investigating the cause of the fire.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MIAMI DADE COUNTY

Working on a tip from Investigators Rodriguez and Martin, Officer Dunn and McKinley stopped a commercial vessel actively bully netting just north of Biscayne Channel. Upon conducting a resource inspection, the vessel was found to have two spiny lobster on board. The vessel was actively fishing inside of the Biscayne Bay-Card Sound Spiny Lobster Sanctuary. The vessel captain admitted to being inside the sanctuary and claimed responsibility. He was cited for lobstering inside the sanctuary.

Officers Cosculluela and Sample were on water patrol when they saw a boat returning inshore while flying a diver down flag with no persons in the water. They initiated a stop on the vessel to conduct a boating safety and resource inspection. Upon inspection, the operator did not have enough life jackets for the number of people on board and produced an expired fire extinguisher. The subject was also found to be in possession of 4 undersized spiny lobster. The subject was cited accordingly.

MONROE COUNTY

While on night patrol, Investigator Williams saw four individuals lobstering the rocks at Vaca Cut with flashlights. After watching the individuals fail to capture any lobster, one of the subjects was heard saying “bring me the spear.” The same subject was seen spearing one lobster while the other subjects held flashlights for the man with the spear. Investigator Williams contacted the four subjects, placing the man in handcuffs that had speared the lobster. Investigator Williams directed the other three men to retrieve their IDs from their vehicles. While writing a citation for the speared lobster, Officers Rubenstein and Conrad arrived on scene and began to gather the IDs when they discovered one of the subjects had left the area without providing his identification. The subject that speared the lobster was written a notice to appear and released. One of the other men was able to give information as where the subject that had left was staying and the officers began searching the area en route to the subject’s motel. The subject was located several miles from the incident location and was placed in handcuffs. A computer check revealed the subject had a warrant for failure to pay child support. The subject was booked into the Key West Jail for the warrant and resisting arrest without violence.

Officers Kleis and Arbogast were concluding panther zone speed enforcement at the entrance to Collier Seminole State Park. Officer Kleis saw a vehicle nearly collide with a guard rail. The vehicle continued driving erratically, nearly colliding with the guard rail multiple times and crossing over the center line multiple times. Officer Kleis conducted a stop of the vehicle to address the driving pattern. Upon approaching the driver, he suspected the driver was driving under the influence. The driver consented to field sobriety exercises. Officer Kleis administered the fields sobriety exercises, which confirmed the driver was impaired. The driver was placed under arrest for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and was transported to the Collier County Jail. The driver refused to provide a breath sample.

Officers McKay and Swensson responded to a multiple vessel accident in Key Largo. A 28-foot center console was coming up a canal when the owner turned it around to dock at his residence. While doing so, he struck three other docked vessels, causing approximately $5,000 worth of damage. The boat owner had just purchased the new boat and was not familiar with operating a single engine vessel as he just traded in a triple engine boat. No alcohol use was detected and there were no injuries. The operator was cited for careless operation.

Investigator Mattson was with Officer Rafter on water patrol around Big Basin. They saw a subject in the water with no dive flag harvesting lobster. They saw him diving near artificial habitat and directed him to swim back to his boat. Once at the boat they asked if he had caught anything. Although he said he did not catch anything, Investigator Mattson saw two lobsters in the bottom of the boat. Both lobsters were undersized. The subject was cited for 2 counts of undersized lobster and one count of diving on artificial habitat.

COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Arbogast, Kleis, Oldsen, Tidwell, Thurkettle, and McVaney teamed up with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office marine unit (CCSO) and United States Coast Guard (USCG) to execute the targeted action plan of “Operation Unstoppable.” This was a joint operation coordinated by FWC focusing on recreational vessels longer than 26 feet in length. Enforcement efforts concentrated on detecting state and federal fisheries violations, marine sanitation device (MSD) violations, vessel safety equipment violations, and boating under the influence (BUI). The patrol vessels conducted over 35 vessel inspections and interacted with numerous boaters. The effectiveness of the operation resulted in numerous boating safety citations and warnings issued by the participating agencies. Criminal charges involved a boating under the influence (BUI) arrest and a notice to appear for failure to land mahi in whole condition. The length of the largest vessel that was inspected during the operation was 71 feet long. Overall, this detail successfully demonstrated to the public that there is no boat that is too big or too small to be exempt from regulations.

Officers Arbogast and Stearns were conducting water patrol, traveling south along the coastline. The officers saw a vessel in the distance traveling north in the opposite direction. As the vessel came closer, the officers saw the operator had changed direction. The vessel was turning in circles, with the engine on, moving just above idle speed. The officers saw one male and one female occupant onboard. The male operator had moved from controlling the vessel to the bow and sat down with the female passenger. There was no longer an operator controlling the vessel. Officer Stearns and Arbogast initiated a vessel stop to inquire about the safety of the individuals, and to conduct a vessel safety inspection. During the stop, the officers noticed several common indicators of impairment. The inspection also revealed that the vessel was missing most of the required safety gear. There were several large alcoholic beverage containers onboard the vessel. Sobriety Tests were given and failed by the vessel operator. Officer Stearns placed the operator under arrest for boating under the influence and transported him to the Naples Jail Center.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE:
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Kleis and Arbogast were dispatched to a bear complaint. The caller stated that there was a bear trapped under a mobile home. The officers, along with a Collier County sheriff deputy arrived on scene to find a large crowd gathered outside the home. The deputy assisted with crowd control while the FWC officers cleared an area on one side of the home allowing the bear to escape from underneath.

Officer Hettel responded to a call of an osprey being shot with a pellet gun at Truman Annex in Key West. A witness claimed he the saw a staff member from the museum shooting the pellet gun at an osprey that was perched on the ship’s mast. After 5 shots were heard, the bird was struck and spiraled to the ground, landing on the pier. With assistance from Key West PD, Officer Hettel contacted the subject, who after being read Miranda, admitted to shooting at the bird to get it off the ship’s mast. The osprey was taken to the Marathon Veterinary Hospital for surgery by the Key West Wildlife Center. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation and will have to appear in court.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS:
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Arbogast and Kleis were conducting speed enforcement in one of Collier County’s panther zones located near the entrance to Collier Seminole State Park. The officers stopped multiple vehicles for speed. All drivers stopped were educated on the importance of watching their speed while driving through areas with high levels of wildlife. The officers issued 4 citations and multiple warnings. The highest recorded speed of the night was 80 MPH in a 45 MPH zone.

A 15-gallon barrel washed up on the beach at John Pennekamp State Park. It was full of unknown liquids and in a very popular swimming area in the park. After marking it with caution tape, Officer McKay contacted the State Warning Point and then the local DEP regulatory office. Their staff responded immediately, tested the contents (water-based product), and removed the container and contents for proper disposal.

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  FWC Enforcement Report August 3-16. All Regions
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NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer McHenry received information regarding a subject who was catching undersized Spanish mackerel at Fort Pickens. He responded to the area and found the subject in possession of seven undersized Spanish mackerel. Officer McHenry learned that the subject had a local warrant out of Escambia County. Officer McHenry cited the individual for undersized Spanish mackerel and transported him to the Escambia County Jail for the warrant.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Pifer, Baber, and Scott were on vessel patrol when they saw a vessel on plane in the idle speed/no wake zone on the east side of Crab Island. A vessel stop was initiated to address the violation and conduct a boating safety inspection. During the stop, the operator showed signs of impairment and Officer Scott administered standardized field sobriety tasks. Based on observations of the vessel in motion, personal contact with the operator, and the operator’s performance on the sobriety tasks, the operator was placed under arrest for BUI. At U.S. Coast Guard Station Destin, the operator agreed to provide a breath sample and the results were 0.104 blood alcohol content and 0.098 blood alcohol content. The operator was cited for BUI and violation of the idle speed/no wake zone. The operator was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail where the intake process was completed.

Officers Pifer, Baber, and Scott were on vessel patrol when they saw a vessel on plane in the idle speed/no wake zone on the east side of Crab Island. A vessel stop was initiated to address the violation. During the stop, an 18-month-old child was on board not wearing a personal floatation device (PFD) while the vessel was under way and the operator showed signs of impairment. Officer Pifer then administered standardized field sobriety tasks. Based on observations of the vessel in motion, personal contact with the operator, and the operator’s performance on the field sobriety tasks, the operator was placed under arrest for BUI. At the U.S. Coast Guard Station Destin, the operator agreed to provide a breath sample and the results were 0.159 blood alcohol content and 0.177 blood alcohol content. The operator was cited for BUI, violation of the idle speed/no wake zone, and operating a vessel with child under six on board not wearing a PFD. The operator was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail where the intake process was completed.

Officer Bartlett and Investigator Molnar were on vessel patrol at Crab Island and saw a pontoon vessel traveling on plane in violation of the idle speed/no wake zone. The officers initiated the patrol vessel blue lights signaling for the operator to bring the pontoon vessel to a stop. The operator waved at the officers and continued traveling south toward the Destin Marler Bridge. As the officers were approaching the stern of the vessel, they saw the operator slow the vessel down and then walk away from the helm while the vessel was still in gear. The operator then walked to the stern of the pontoon boat and attempted to establish contact with the officers while leaving his vessel not under command and still making headway. Another vessel that was in the path of the pontoon had to take immediate action to move out of the away to avoid a collision. While speaking with the operator, Officer Bartlett immediately saw his eyes were watery/glassy and his balance was unsteady while walking around the vessel. Throughout the safety inspection, the operator displayed signs of impairment. The operator agreed to perform standard field sobriety tasks (FSTs). Based on the operation of the vessel and the FSTs, the operator was arrested for BUI. The operator refused to provide a breath sample. The operator was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail where the intake process was completed.

Officer Bartlett and Investigator Molnar were on vessel patrol at Crab Island and saw a 22-foot vessel traveling on plane in violation of the idle speed/no wake zone. The officers stopped the vessel to address the violation. Officer Bartlett contacted the operator and conducted a boating safety inspection. Officer Bartlett saw the operator’s eyes were watery and glassy. When asked for the required safety equipment, the operator did not remember where the items were currently stored and had to search the vessel to locate each item. The operator agreed to perform standard field sobriety tasks (FSTs). Based on the operator’s conduct and the FSTs, he was arrested for BUI. The operator provided a breath sample, resulting in 0.123 blood alcohol content and 0.141blood alcohol content. The operator was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail where the intake process was completed.


Officer Pifer was on land patrol conducting boating safety inspections at the Marler Park Boat Ramp. The officer conducted a safety equipment inspection on a personal watercraft (PWC). During the inspection, the operator was unable to produce the vessel's registration and fire extinguisher. Officer Pifer determined the operator rented the PWC from a local livery. Due to his age, the operator was required to complete a boater safety course. The operator did not have a boater safety card. The officer issued notice to appear citations to the individual at the livery for renting a vessel without proof of insurance with sufficient coverage amounts and for renting a vessel with more than 10 horsepower to a person without a boater safety education ID card. He was also issued three boating warnings for failure to display the required boating safety sign for personal watercraft, failure to receive a written statement from the operator attesting to receiving instructions on the safe handling of a PWC, and for failure to conduct an on-the-water demonstration and check-ride.

Officer Wilkenson received a complaint regarding two subjects harvesting undersized Spanish mackerel at the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier. Based on the description provided by the complainant, the officer located the two subjects. The fisheries inspection revealed 15 of the 22 harvested Spanish mackerel were undersized. Both harvesters were issued notice to appear citations. The 15 undersized Spanish mackerel were seized and donated to Emerald Coast Wildlife.

Officer Wilkenson received a complaint of battery occurring at a Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park campsite. The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s deputies arrived on-scene first. When Officer Wilkenson arrived, he saw the deputies speaking with an adult female later identified as the victim. It was determined that this was a domestic violence situation. The victim provided a sworn written statement stating that the male subject had been drinking and started to hit and strangle her. It was determined the male subject was the primary aggressor and was arrested for domestic violence. He was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail where the intake process was completed. He was cited for battery domestic violence and issued a no trespass warning from the state park.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officers Hutchinson and Mullins were patrolling on the Escambia River concentrating on illegal fishing activity when they saw a freshly set bush hook that was baited with a live bream and not identified as required with the owner’s name and address. They continued patrolling and located several more similar lines baited with bream. They hid their patrol vessel and waited until just before daylight when they heard a boat approaching. They saw the operator of the boat check all the lines. The officers stopped the vessel to address the violation. The operator admitted to baiting the lines with bream despite knowing that it was illegal. The officers issued him a notice to appear citation for using bream for bait and fishing with untagged bush hooks.

Officer Roberson was on land patrol when he received information regarding a subject operating an ATV near Burnt Grocery Creek in Yellow River Wildlife Management Area. Officer Roberson located the subject and ran his information through dispatch. The subject’s information came back with a warrant out of Santa Rosa County. Officer Roberson received confirmation of the warrant and instructed the subject to put his hands behind his back because he was under arrest for the warrant. The subject refused multiple times and fled on foot. The subject crossed a creek and took off in a vehicle. The suspect was arrested a few days later by Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office for the same warrant. The suspect was issued multiple citations by Officer Roberson at the Santa Rosa County Jail.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
OKALOOSA COUNTY

While working off duty at Mary Esther Cutoff and Highway 98, Officer Bartlett was monitoring a complaint received by FWC Orlando Regional Communication Center regarding a call about a disoriented, overdue boater. The last known location showed the boater at the Mid-Bay Bridge. The officer cleared his off-duty status and went to his patrol vessel to search for the disoriented boater. With Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates, he located the boater very quickly. He side-towed the vessel to a local marina where the 66-year-old boater’s son later picked him up. When the vessel ran out of fuel, the overdue boater called 911. It was determined the operator launched his boat the previous day in Navarre. It was estimated he was on the boat for over 21 hours.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
CITRUS COUNTY

Investigator Thomason worked a scallop detail off Crystal River. While on patrol, he wrote seven reckless vessel operation citations for vessels above idle speed and within 300 feet of a vessel flying a dive flag. The closest vessel was within 40 feet away from a vessel with snorkelers in the water. In addition, he wrote seven UBCs for a variety of vessel safety violations. His efforts during this detail potentially prevented someone from being seriously hurt or killed.

Officer Ulrich was on land patrol when he located a truck parked in the woods adjacent to a wildlife management area (WMA) during early morning hours. Upon approaching the vehicle, he saw an empty bow case in plain view on the backseat of the unoccupied vehicle. Officer Ulrich tracked and located the subject wearing camouflage and carrying a compound bow with hunting broadheads in the WMA. The subject admitted to hunting the WMA during closed season and was issued misdemeanor citation along with other WMA written warnings.

Officers VanNess and Crane were on foot patrol on the east side of Citrus County when they saw five individuals running dogs in SWFMD/Forestry property late at night. The officers saw the individuals calling to the dogs and, on several occasions, witnessed hogs being bayed up in an area closed to hunting. After about an hour, the individuals returned to their vehicles with several GPS collared dogs. The officers made contact and issued each subject a misdemeanor citation for hunting in a closed area and warnings for unlawful entry and unlawful hours.

SUWANNEE COUNTY

Lieutenant Humphries worked several active dump sites of waste tires throughout Suwannee County. After carefully watching these areas, a suspect was identified. With further investigation from Investigator Delgado and DEP Regulator Oliverio, the suspect was issued the appropriate paperwork and proper notification of disposal.

DUVAL COUNTY

Officer Hoover and Investigator Holleman entered a seafood establishment in plain clothes as a store clerk was purchasing blue crabs from two Georgia subjects. After the transaction, the officers identified themselves and conducted a license check. Neither the sellers or the purchaser was licensed through FWC as a Florida Wholesale Dealer. A citation was issued for unlawful purchase by a retail dealer from an unlicensed dealer.

Lieutenant Paul Arkin responded to a report of two subjects who had trapped an American alligator and were driving around the west side of Jacksonville with the animal in their car. Lieutenant Arkin located the vehicle and occupants at a local restaurant in Jacksonville. The two subjects admitted that they knew it was illegal to possess and/or trap an alligator without a license or permit. Both subjects were issued misdemeanor notices to appear in Duval County court for taking or unlawful possession of any alligator or the eggs without a permit/trapping license.

TAYLOR COUNTY

On Sunday, Officer Albritton received information about a deer that had been killed the night before on Four Rivers property. Officer Albritton went to the location of the complaint and located a freshly killed doe deer. The officer talked to the complainant and got a description of the subjects involved. Officer Albritton and Lieutenant Loyed located three different subjects and conducted interviews with them. All three subjects admitted to being together the night before and shooting the deer. Officer Albritton seized a shotgun and will be filling multiple charges on all three subjects.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
SUWANNEE COUNTY

Officer Boone participated in a summer safety program that was coordinated by the Suwannee County Department of Health. Participating agencies included Department of Health, Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office and Suwannee County Fire & Rescue. Officer Boone presented information on boating safety, resource conservation, conflict wildlife and state vessel regulations.

DUVAL COUNTY

On Friday, Officer Green went on the air with the “Gone Fishing Show” on 102.5 FM in Jacksonville. The two-hour radio show addresses fishing, outdoor recreation and related issues in the North Florida area. Officer Green and the show’s hosts discussed several topics during the show, including the upcoming red snapper season.

Officer Barry participated in the National Night Out event at Naval Air Station Jacksonville. She spoke about boating safety, fishing, and hunting to approximately 200 people.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Officer Thomas and Lieutenant Zukowsky assisted FDLE Agents with providing security for Florida First Lady Ann Scott. The Governor’s wife visited Fort Mose Historic State Park in north St. Augustine to speak to a large gathering of school children as part of her statewide literacy initiative. Following the First Lady’s presentation, she toured the park, which has become historically memorialized as home to the first liberated slaves in the United States.

Following up on a tip from Northeast Region investigators, Officer Thomas tracked down a St. Augustine man who had been feeding an adult alligator at a senior citizen community pond. The subject admitted to Officer Thomas that he had fed the alligator on multiple occasions. The subject was issued a citation for the violation and Officer Thomas contacted FWC’s Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program (SNAP) personnel to have the habituated reptile removed from the community.

Officer Miller completed a boating accident investigation regarding a collision between two runabout type vessels that occurred in the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) just north of the State Road 312 Bridge. The accident, which occurred in late July, involved two parties of local people who were heading south in the ICW returning to Palm Coast. The lead vessel (an operator and three occupants) slowed down as it approached the boating regulatory slow speed zone under the bridge. The following vessel (an operator and two occupants) did not observe the zone and did not notice the lead vessel had slowed until the last second. The following vessel struck the stern of the lead vessel, ramped up over its stern area, the slid back into the water. The lead vessel sustained fiberglass damage to its stern. Only one person received any injuries, minor abrasions that did not require treatment beyond first aid. Officer Miller issued the operator of the following vessel two uniform boating citations and two written warnings for navigation rule and speed zone violations.

Officer Graves returned from assisting North Central Region personnel as part of their annual special detail focusing on enforcement of resource and boating safety violations during the opening days of the scallop season. Officer Graves worked with local FWC law enforcement officers for five days on the waters of the Gulf in and around Citrus County.

Officer Lawrence returned from a special detail in South Region B after a week of assisting local FWC law enforcement officers in the Florida Keys during the spiny lobster mini-season.

Officer Specialist Greenier and Officer Harris were on water patrol during the late afternoon hours just north of the Vilano Bridge when they were flagged down by a vessel. The occupants of the vessel stated that there was a vessel operating in a reckless manner and tried to spray them three times. On the third pass, one of the reporting occupants took a cell phone video. Officers Greenier and Harris watched the video and obtained the vessel registration number. They were also able to get a photo of the offending occupants. The officers located the vessel in the Intracoastal Waterway north of the Guana River entrance. The officers saw open containers of alcohol aboard the vessel and the four occupants were all under 21. After admitting to consuming the beverages, the occupants voluntarily disposed of the drinks. Officer Greenier issued the vessel operator a notice to appear citation for possession of alcohol under the age of 21. Officer Harris issued three citations and one written warning for safety gear violations.

Lieutenant Zukowsky, Officer Specialist Greenier and Officer Harris were on water patrol during the early evening hours on the south side of the Vilano Bridge in the Intracoastal Waterway. The officers saw a vessel entering the Vilano Bridge slow speed zone on plane. The vessel was about 150 yards into the speed zone when Officer Harris initiated a vessel stop. Officer Greenier noticed the operator of the vessel had bloodshot and watery eyes and smelled of the odor of an alcoholic beverage. After speaking with the operator for a few minutes, Officer Greenier administered a series of standardized field sobriety tasks. After the completion of the tasks, Officer Greenier concluded that the operator was operating a vessel while impaired. He then placed him under arrest and transported him to the St. John’s County Jail. The operator provided two breath samples (.113 and a .113, almost two hours after the initial stop). Officer Greenier booked the operator into the jail for boating under the influence .08 or higher, issued him a citation for the infraction of failing to carry the sufficient number of life jackets for the eight people on board the board, and a written warning for the speed zone violation.

Officers Thomas and Lawrence were on Joint Enforcement Action (JEA) patrol east of the St. Augustine Inlet during the first weekend of the red snapper opening in Atlantic federal waters. After inspecting several vessels, they came across a party of four local subjects. The party had harvested several vermillion snapper, a triggerfish and a barracuda; however, the 36 vermilion snapper put the four subjects over their daily bag limit by 16. Also, three of the snapper were undersized. The vessel captain claimed responsibility for the snapper violations and received a federal citation for the bag limit and size violations. The vessel captain voluntarily returned to the water the extra 16 snapper.

FLAGLER COUNTY

Officer Specialist Greenier was on afternoon land patrol heading south on Highway US1 into Bunnell when he saw a vehicle failing to maintain a single lane – crossing the center dotted line three times. He initiated a traffic stop. The owner of the vehicle had slurred speech and bloodshot and watery eyes. Following a series of standardized field sobriety tasks, Officer Greenier placed the operator under arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI). Officer Greenier transported and booked the driver into the Flagler County Jail for DUI where he refused to provide a breath sample. Officer Greenier issued him a citation for failing to drive in a single lane.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

U.S. Coast Guard personnel were on water patrol in the New Smyrna Beach area and stopped a vessel for a vessel safety inspection. During their inspection they became concerned that the vessel’s operator was possibly boating under the influence (BUI). They notified FWC Officer Bertolami who met with them and investigated. The operator was subsequently arrested and booked in the county jail for BUI and cited for refusing to submit to a breath test.

Officer Edson was performing resource inspections from land when he encountered a subject in the Port Orange area. The man was found to be in possession of undersized black drum and undersized mangrove snapper. He was issued a citation and a written warning for the violations.

Officers Vanas and Ward conducted a vessel stop at a boat ramp in Astor on the St. John’s River to perform a safety inspection. During the inspection the operator exhibited signs of impairment. Officer Vanas conducted a boating under the influence (BUI) investigation and arrested the operator for BUI. He refused to provide a breath sample.

Officers Vanas and Sapp were on water patrol on the Intracoastal Waterway in Daytona when they stopped a vessel for a safety inspection. During the inspection the operator exhibited obvious signs of impairment. After conducting a boating under the influence (BUI) investigation, Officer Vanas arrested the operator for BUI. He refused to provide a breath sample.

Officer Haskins was sitting at a traffic light in Ormond Beach when he saw a vehicle travel slowly through the intersection and strike a power pole. He approached the vehicle and found the driver to be unresponsive, but semi-conscious. A small child was standing, crying in the back seat of the vehicle unrestrained. Officer Haskins instructed the child to unlock the door and was able to safely remove the child. At this time the driver appeared to have convulsions and hit the accelerator, taking off again. The vehicle traveled up the ramp to I-95 and crashed against multiple objects before coming to rest. All airbags deployed, and the operator was found on the passenger side floorboard with a serious head wound. EMS arrived and transported the driver. The child was turned over to his paternal grandfather. Officer Haskins’ actions saved this small child from serious injury. The crash investigation was turned over to FHP.

Officers Bertolami and Muina cited two adult males in the Ormond Beach area for the criminal charge of possessing snook during the closed season and not having the proper licenses. Officer Bertolami also found an adult male at a local beach pier in possession of seatrout that were not within the legal slot size, and another adult male with black drum that were not within the legal slot size near the High Bridge. Both were issued notices to appear.

An annual event inside Ponce de Leon Inlet, known as Beerpalooza, was held recently. This event has taken place over the past few years and attracts a much larger crowd than is usual for the sandbar and piece of land known as Disappearing Island. Extra FWC officers and several agencies with multiple officers were brought in to ensure the public’s safety on the sandbar and while transiting to and from the island by boat.

Officer Bertolami stopped a boat that was being operated in a careless manner. After addressing the issue with the adult male operator, a boating under the influence (BUI) investigation resulted in the operator arrested for BUI and refusing to submit to a breath test. He was transported and booked into the Volusia County Jail.

ORANGE COUNTY

Officers Rice and Auber were on patrol when they saw two subjects returning to a truck from a small pond. The subjects were carrying fishing poles and a bucket. The officers contacted the subjects to conduct a resource inspection. The officers saw fish in the bucket that was being carried by one of the subjects and located a cooler full of fish in the bed of the truck. During the inspection, the two subjects were found to be in possession of 21 black bass. During a post Miranda interview, the subjects admitted to catching the 21-black bass, 15 of which were over 16-inches in length. Appropriate citations were issued to both subjects.

PUTNAM COUNTY

In May 2018 Lieutenant Dickson and Officer Wester responded with Putnam County Sheriff’s Office to a trespassing complaint in Palatka. Upon arrival it was found that two male subjects were excavating artifacts from a known and listed archaeological site. The subjects were arrested at that time by the Sheriff’s Office for trespass after warning and possession of methamphetamine. Lieutenant Dickson had bones that were mixed in with the recovered artifacts examined by a state archaeologist and found that two fragments were human from a historic period. Felony charges have been filed with the State Attorney’s Office for excavating from a known archaeological site and removal of human remains from an archaeological site.

Officers Guirate, Chriest, and Lieutenant Dickson responded to a vessel crash with injuries near Brown’s Landing on the St John’s River. Two PWC were riding near each other when one stopped and the other ramped over it, striking a female subject and knocking her in the water unconscious. The female regained consciousness and was treated at the hospital for injuries to her face, wrist, and ear. Immediately following the crash, the operator of the offending PWC left the area and proceeded to the Palatka boat ramp where he fled the scene in a truck. The operator was cited for leaving the scene of a boating crash with injuries.

Lieutenant Dickson was on night patrol in the Ocala National Forest when he saw a truck blocking the roadway with its doors open and two male subjects outside. A traffic stop was conducted on the vehicle and during the investigation one subject was found to be in possession of marijuana. The subject was cited for possession of cannabis under 20 grams.

LAKE COUNTY

Officer Morrow was on land patrol checking subjects at a spillway at the southwest end of Lake Griffin. He saw that one of the subjects was dip netting baitfish along the water’s edge and placing them in a styrofoam bait bucket. When he inspected the catch collected with the net he found 28 small bluegill inside the bucket mixed with shiners. The subject admitted that he netted the fish and was using them for bait to catch bass. The subject was issued a citation for the violation.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
BREVARD COUNTY

Lieutenant Hudson assisted Wounded Warriors Outdoors in hosting five warriors in an alligator hunt on the St. Johns River. FWC provided the permits for this annual hunt.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HARDEE COUNTY

Officer Karr was on night patrol when he saw a vehicle traveling slowly down the road. As he followed the truck, he saw a spotlight shine out of both the passenger and driver side windows, illuminating orange groves on both sides of the road. The truck stopped in the middle of the rural road and the driver turned off all the truck’s lights. Officer Karr caught up to the truck and activated his emergency lights. When he approached the vehicle, there was an empty dog box in the back of the truck and the tailgate was open. After interviewing the driver, two dogs wearing GPS tracking collars walked up to the truck. Soon, two subjects also walked up the truck and admitted to riding in the truck. Both subjects were wet and sandy and one of the subjects had a dog leash wrapped around his torso. Neither subject admitted to casting the dogs out of the truck for hunting hogs. Charges will be direct filed with the State Attorney’s Office for hunting off the roadway.

While on night patrol Officer Karr saw what looked like spotlights shining from a vehicle in an orange grove. He watched the lights from the roadway and waited for the vehicle to drive towards the road. When the truck was near the road, Officer Karr activated his emergency lights. When he approached the truck, he could see two subjects in the truck along with a rifle near each subject. Officer Karr secured the scene and interviewed the subjects. They both stated they had permission to hunt in the orange grove from the owner. When Officer Karr ran the subject’s information, the driver had an active warrant out of Florida. The driver was arrested for the warrant without incident.

HIGHLANDS COUNTY

Officer Geeraerts and Lieutenant Bontrager received a call from dispatch regarding a missing swimmer on Lake June. Officer Geeraerts, Lieutenant Bontrager, Officer Smith, Officer Young and Officer Rarick responded to the scene and assisted Highlands County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) in the search. After an hour of searching, the HCSO dive team located and recovered the swimmer who had drowned near the area where he was last seen. FWC officers helped the dive team recover the swimmer and take him to shore.

HERNANDO COUNTY

Officer Little and Lieutenant Grover were conducting resource inspections on commercial shrimp vessels in Hernando Beach. While conducting an inspection on one vessel, a felony amount of marijuana was in plain view. A search of the vessel also revealed prescription pills without the person in possession having a prescription, and several pieces of drug paraphernalia. The subject was arrested and booked into the Hernando County Jail.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on water patrol near the Skyway Bridge, Officer Bibeau and Officer Bibler stopped a vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection. Officer Bibeau located a 9-inch red grouper. The operator of the vessel admitted to catching the red grouper and was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of an undersized red grouper.


While on water patrol near the Gandy Bridge, Officer Godfrey and Officer Wilkins stopped a vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection. During the inspection, Officer Wilkins noticed the vessel did not have a Hull Identification Number (HIN). The operator of the vessel was issued a misdemeanor citation for operating a vessel on the waters of the state without a HIN.

Officer Phillippi was conducting surveillance at a popular fishing spot owned by Southwest Florida Water Management District and CSX Railroad company when he saw a subject carrying fishing equipment while trespassing on the respective properties. During a fishing license and resource inspection, Officer Phillippi discovered the subject was in possession of 5 undersized and out of season snook. The subject was cited for undersized, out of season, over the bag limit, and an enhanced penalty of a major violation of snook regulations. Since the subject was trespassing while committing the violations, another enhanced penalty will be enforced by the Hillsborough County State Attorney. The subject was issued warnings for trespassing, expired saltwater fishing license and no snook permit.


While on water patrol near the MacDill Airforce Base, Officer Godfrey and Officer Wilkins stopped a personal watercraft within the MacDill security zone. MacDill Airforce Base Marine units were notified, and the operator was issued a citation.

While on land patrol at the Southwest Florida Water Management District Tampa Bypass Canal, Officer Phillippi and Officer Wilkins saw two subjects fishing from the water control structure and two subjects with fishing equipment walking away from the water control structure. The water control structure is located within a fenced area which is posted “No Trespassing.” The subjects were issued misdemeanor citations for entering closed district lands, fishing in an unauthorized area and warnings for trespassing.

In a separate case, but same location of the Southwest Florida Water Management District Tampa Bypass Canal, Officer Godfrey and Officer Wilkins saw two subjects fishing from the water control structure. The water control structure is located within a fenced area which is posted “No Trespassing.” The subjects were issued misdemeanor citations for fishing in unauthorized area and warnings for trespassing and entering through a non-designated entrance.

While on land patrol Officer Pettifer and Officer Messman saw three individuals fishing from a dam posted “No Trespassing.” The individuals advised they had jumped the fence to fish for snook. None of the individuals had valid fishing licenses. They were trespassed from the area and warned for the license violations.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Winton and Officer Collazo received a complaint from Koreshan State Park rangers that two subjects were refusing to leave a campsite. The rangers also stated that the male subject was possibly impaired by drugs. The officers responded to the campsite and located multiple items of drug paraphernalia. The male subject also appeared to be under the influence of narcotics and was drifting in and out of consciousness. EMS was called and arrived on scene. They treated the male subject, at which time both subjects were issued notices to appear for possession of drug paraphernalia and were trespassed from the park for a period of two years.

Officer Winton was on patrol in Koreshan State Park when he noticed a vehicle driving with an expired registration. A vehicle stop was conducted, and it was determined that the driver’s license was suspended and that he was aware of the suspension. The driver was issued a notice to appear for knowingly driving while license suspended or revoked and a warning for operating a vehicle with an expired registration.

Officer Price received information about four men throwing a cast net and keeping freshwater game fish. He was able to locate and watch the men fish along a canal bank. As he watched the men fish, they threw a cast net repeatedly and would put everything they caught into a cooler. When the men proceeded to leave the area, Officer Price stopped them and found a cooler with several bass and panfish inside. The men admitted to illegally catching the freshwater game fish. A license check revealed only one of the four men had a valid freshwater fishing license. Infractions were issued for not possessing a valid freshwater license and a notice to appear was issued for illegal method of catching freshwater game fish.

Officer Winton was on patrol when he received information about a subject harassing manatee and posting photos/videos of the harassment on social media. An investigation was conducted, and Officer Winton confirmed the identity of the subject and determined that the subject had indeed unlawfully harassed manatees on multiple occasions. Charges pertaining to the harassment of manatees are being filed with the State Attorney’s Office.

Lieutenant Spoede and Officer Winton were on offshore patrol in the Gulf of Mexico when they saw a fishing vessel transiting inshore from offshore waters. The officers stopped the vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection. The occupants said that they were returning from the Florida Keys and had lobster onboard. The officers conducted a search of the vessel and determined that the two subjects were in possession of 30 wrung lobster tails. It is a violation to possess wrung lobster tails upon the waters of the state and the subjects were 18 lobsters over the bag limit. The subjects were issued notices to appear for the violations and the lobster tails were seized as evidence.

Lieutenant Spoede and Officer Winton were on water patrol in the Gulf of Mexico offshore of Sanibel Island when they saw a fishing vessel returning from offshore waters. The officers conducted a vessel stop and discovered six undersized mangrove snapper, an undersized gray triggerfish, and 11 reef fish not in whole condition. The officers interviewed the vessel’s occupants to determine which fish belonged to each subject. The operator and one occupant were issued notices to appear for possession of undersized mangrove snapper and reef fish not in whole condition. An additional occupant was issued a warning for possession of undersized gray triggerfish.

PASCO COUNTY

Officer Pettifer stopped a vessel that had returned from fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. The individuals said they had some silverfish and grouper on board. An inspection of the catch revealed two 13-inch red grouper and one 17-inch gag grouper. The individuals were cited accordingly.

Officer Specialist Balfour and Officer Specialist Pulaski were on water patrol around Hudson Beach when they conducted an inspection of a commercial fishing vessel. During the inspection, the officers located an undersized gag grouper. The fish was seized as evidence and the harvester received a citation for the violation.

Officer Specialist Balfour and Officer Specialist Pulaski were on water patrol near Hudson Beach when they saw a vessel enter the channel at idle speed. When the officers contacted the operator of the vessel, they noticed signs of impairment. The operator participated in the Seated Battery of Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFST’s), which he performed poorly. Officer Specialist Pulaski arrested the operator for BUI. The individual provided a sample of his breath which measured .096 and .095.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Officer Ferguson and Officer Phillippi were dispatched to a domestic disturbance within the state park. The officers interviewed a witness and the subjects involved. One subject was arrested for domestic violence.

Officer Bibeau saw a vessel returning from offshore and initiated a vessel stop for the purposes of conducting a fisheries inspection. Officer Bibeau located three speckled hind. Officer Bibeau issued a misdemeanor citation to the operator of the vessel for being over the daily vessel limit of speckled hind.

While on land patrol Officer Phillippi saw a subject fishing with a cast net at a weir. During a fishing license and resource inspection, it was discovered the subject was in possession of a black bass and a snook measuring 16 ¼”. Post Miranda Warning, the subject admitted to catching the black bass and snook with the cast net. The subject was cited for undersized, out of season and illegal method of taking of snook. The subject was also warned for illegal method of taking of freshwater gamefish.

POLK COUNTY

Officer Rarick and Lieutenant Bontrager were on vehicle patrol in south Polk County when they saw a vehicle traveling slowly and stopping on a rural road. The vehicle stopped in the middle of the road and a spotlight was shining out of the passenger side of the truck. The truck continued to back up and stop three times. Officer Rarick and Lieutenant Bontrager followed the truck and continued to watch the truck passenger shine a light out of the side window. When the officers conducted a vehicle stop, two spotlights were found near the rear seat along with a rifle with a scope. The rear passenger admitted to having the rifle and shining the spotlight. He was cited for night hunting with a gun and light.

While on water patrol Officer Smith and Officer Resendez saw a vessel traveling south on a channel between Lake Shipp and Lake Lulu in Winter Haven. The vessel was creating a wake and struck the bridge pylon with the port (left) side of the vessel and continued south in the channel. Officer Resendez initiated a vessel stop and conducted a safety inspection of the vessel and determined the vessel operator showed signs of impairment. Officer Resendez performed the Seated Battery of Standard Field Sobriety Tasks (SFST’s) on the operator of the vessel and determined his normal faculties were impaired. Officer Resendez placed the vessel operator under arrest for boating under the influence (BUI) and transported him to Polk County Jail to be processed. The vessel operator refused to provide a sample of his breath and was issued a Uniform Boating Citation (UBC) for BUI and one UBC for refusal to submit to test.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
LEE COUNTY

Officer Winton, Officer Hazelwood and Officer Fogle organized and executed a detail targeting violations within Lover’s Key State Park. During the detail, the officers issued 3 criminal citations, 9 infraction citations, and 22 written warnings for violations pertaining to speeding, off-road driving, driving while license suspended or revoked, undersized redfish, undersized sheepshead, undersized and out-of-season snook, undersized mangrove snapper, no fishing license or expired fishing license and evasion of state park fees.

Officers Collazo, Garcia, Gray, Furbay, Perry, Price, Salem and Stapleton organized a directed conservation patrol for the protection of Florida panthers. The speed enforcement areas worked were in specific Lee County Panther Zones. During the detail, 27 warnings, 2 misdemeanors and 7 Infractions were issued. The fastest speed recorded was 99 MPH in a 45 MPH zone.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
LEE COUNTY

Lieutenant Bontrager, Lieutenant Dipre and Officer Fagan participated in the funeral service for a Line of Duty Death involving Fort Myers Officer Adam Jobbers-Miller at the Germain Arena, Estero. Officer Jobbers-Miller was shot while attempting to apprehend a fleeing criminal suspect. He subsequently died a week later from his wounds. FWC Honor Guard participated in cordon duties during the arrival procession and during the procession to outdoor services that included full honors. The service was attended by numerous dignitaries including Governor Rick Scott and many FWC uniformed officers to include Major Young, Major Escano and Captain Maza.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officers Grant and Brock were on vessel patrol on the Hillsboro Canal. They stopped at the Pioneer Park boat ramp and were conducting marine fisheries inspections on individuals fishing at the boat ramp dock. They saw a vessel pull into the dock and one passenger exit off the boat and walk off down the road. They continued their inspections and saw the same individual driving a vehicle towing a trailer and attempting to back it down the boat ramp. They contacted the driver and after conducting field sobriety tasks, Officer Grant placed the individual under arrest for driving under the influence. Officer Brock conducted a breath test on the individual which proved to be three times more than the legal imit. The individual was transported to the Broward County Jail.

Officers Ryan and Sellers were on patrol when a complaint was received by dispatch regarding four tires being slashed while two subjects were hunting in the Holey Land Wildlife Management Area. They conducted interviews of the victims and saw the damage to the tires. Officer Tarr had patrolled that area the night before and with information gathered from him, both officers proceeded to an address in Davie to contact an individual. After interviews and an investigation, they charged one individual with misdemeanor criminal mischief.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Corteguera responded to a report of an escaped Kinkajou. The investigation revealed the owner was properly licensed to possess the animal, and it escaped while being walked on a leash. The animal was recovered by a neighbor and turned over to a licensed facility. The facility contacted Investigator Corteguera, who returned it to the owner. One misdemeanor citation and two warnings were issued related to the escape.

GLADES COUNTY


Officers Stephens, Fijalkowski, Dial and Allen assisted the Investigations section with the execution of two arrest warrants in the Moore Haven area. A man and a woman were arrested at their home pursuant to arrest warrants obtained by FWC Investigators for “scheming to defraud” charges concerning the operation of an alligator farm. Both subjects were booked into the Glades County Jail without incident.


MARTIN COUNTY

Officer Gouveia checked a game camera he had set up in a local WMA. There were pictures taken from that morning of a truck off trail, which is a violation. While on patrol in town later in the day he saw the same truck and conducted a traffic stop. During the stop he saw 6 full bags of saw palmetto berries. The suspect didn’t have the proper permits to have the berries and was issued a warning. He also received a citation for driving off trail in the WMA.

Officer Willems was driving by Timer Powers Park when he saw a vehicle parked near a popular fishing spot. He approached the vehicle to see if anyone was fishing. He saw an individual sitting in the vehicle smoking a substance off a piece of tinfoil. The individual was asked to step out of the vehicle and when asked if there was anything illegal in the vehicle, he admitted to having some cocaine. Officer Willems searched the vehicle and found one bag of cocaine powder, 5 empty baggies with cocaine residue, a bag of marijuana, a straw used to smoke cocaine, and a marijuana pipe. The individual was placed under arrest and transported to the Martin County Jail.

Officers Pecko and Morrow were on night patrol and saw a vehicle travelling with no lights. While approaching the vehicle to conduct a traffic stop, the vehicle swerved off the roadway, fish-tailed, and came to a stop on the edge of the roadway. The driver of the vehicle appeared under the influence. Officer Pecko conducted standardized field sobriety tasks and the subject was arrested and charged accordingly. While completing the report at the jail, the corrections deputy informed the officers that the subject needed to be medically cleared due to her high Breath Alcohol Content. The subject was medically cleared at the hospital and was transported back to the jail.

Officer Carroll was on patrol around the Jensen Beach Causeway when he saw a vehicle driving without headlights at night. He conducted a vehicle stop to address the safety violation and detected a strong odor of cannabis emitting from the vehicle. His investigation discovered the driver had a suspended license, was in possession of cannabis over 20 grams and drug paraphernalia. The subject was booked into the Martin County Jail for possession of cannabis over 20 grams, possession of cannabis with intent to sell and drug paraphernalia.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officer Hausler was on patrol near Micco Bluff Road when he received a request for assistance from the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office to apprehend a recently released state prison inmate for a violation of probation warrant. When Officer Hausler and Okeechobee County Deputies located the subject on a cattle ranch, the subject carjacked a pickup truck with a family inside. Officer Hausler followed the subject to the corner of a cow pasture where the subject exited the vehicle and attempted to flee on foot. Officer Hausler pursued the subject on foot until the man was caught by an OCSO K-9. The subject was transported to a local hospital by EMS. In addition to the VOP warrant the man faces other charges for the carjacking.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Merizio and Kirkland responded to a complaint involving divers spearfishing without a dive flag in the Jupiter Inlet. Upon arrival they found multiple people in the area sitting on the rocks and freediving in the water. Officer Merizio located a bucket with a cast net and two undersized snook. The snook had been taken by a spear gun out of season. While questioning the individuals on scene, one of them admitted that he shot both fish. He was cited for possession of snook out of season. He was issued warnings for possession of snook while in possession of a cast net and taking snook by a method other than hook and line. The youth was also educated on the legal bag and size limit to take snook during season.

Officers Pecko and Morrow received a call about people target shooting on South Florida Water Management Property. When they arrived on scene, there were subjects on the property with air rifles. One of the subjects had blood on his shirt but was not injured. Both officers detected the odor of cannabis emitting from the vehicle and from the subjects. While searching the vehicle, two dead rabbits were found in the backseat. Two of the subjects did not have valid forms of identification. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol were called and arrived on scene. Customs and Border Patrol took custody of the two subjects. All the subjects were cited accordingly.

Officer Brodbeck was on patrol in Boynton Beach and responded to a call regarding subjects catching and keeping undersized snapper with a cast net. He arrived on scene and conducted surveillance, locating individuals matching the provided description. Upon contacting the subjects, Officer Brodbeck located a cooler with 8 undersized mangrove snapper, three cast nets, and a live undersized and out of season stone crab in a bucket. One subject took responsibility and was issued a misdemeanor resource citation for possession of undersized mangrove snapper, as well as warnings for illegal method of take and possession of stone crab out of season. The undersized fish were seized as evidence. The stone crab was returned alive to the water.

Officers Langley and Matthews were on coastal patrol when they conducted a fisheries inspection on a vessel at Silver Palm Park. The subjects on board the vessel stated that they had speared two hogfish. Upon inspection both hogfish were under the state size requirement of 16” fork length. The subjects were cited accordingly.

Officers Godward and Brodbeck were on vessel patrol around Lake Worth Inlet when they saw a vessel anchored with three individuals actively fishing. A vessel stop was initiated to conduct a resource inspection. The subjects were asked if they had any fish on board, and they stated they had one snapper. One subject opened a rear fish box and Officer Brodbeck saw 3 lane snapper, 1 of which appeared to be undersized. The subject removed the two-legal snapper and attempted to conceal the undersized fish with a washdown hose. Officer Brodbeck boarded the vessel and asked the subjects if they knew the size limit for lane snapper and all correctly stated 8 inches. The officer removed the undersized snapper and placed it on a measuring device on board the vessel, showing the fish was 7 inches. One subject took responsibility for the fish and was issued a misdemeanor resource citation for possession of undersized lane snapper. The fish was photographed for evidence and returned alive to the water.

Officer Brodbeck was on patrol in Riviera Beach when he saw a vehicle with an expired tag. A query through law enforcement databases confirmed the tag was expired. Additionally, the registered owner of the vehicle had a suspended driver license. A traffic stop was initiated to address the violations. Upon opening the door, a strong odor of marijuana was detected. Officer Godward arrived on scene as backup and to assist with the investigation. A resulting search of the vehicle revealed marijuana, THC oil, and multiple smoking pipes. The driver of the vehicle was placed under arrest and transported to the Palm Beach County Jail for possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana less than 20 grams, possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving while license suspended/revoked.

Officers Spradling, Godward and Brodbeck performed quality control inspections on markets selling saltwater products. Multiple warnings were issued as well as two misdemeanors for no retail license and selling fish unfit for human consumption.

Officer Boyd was on patrol at the Phil Foster Boat Ramp. He saw a vessel being trailered out of the water that had a lobster tickle stick and lobster gauges. Officer Boyd conducted a fisheries inspection on the vessel and found the subject to be in possession of seven spiny lobsters. During the regular lobster season a person may harvest and possess up to six spiny lobsters per day. Officer Boyd issued the subject a citation for possessing over the bag limit spiny lobster.

Officers Hudson and Trawinski were patrolling Lake Boca near the Boca inlet when the officers noticed a vessel come in from offshore with many fishing rods. The Officers conducted a fisheries inspection on the vessel and found 3 undersized mahi. The individual who had caught the fish was issued a notice to appear for possession of undersized mahi.

Officers Schroer and Moss conducted a fisheries inspection on a vessel transiting from the Bahamas to Florida. During the inspection, Officer Moss found the captain of the vessel to be in possession of three-gallon sized plastic bags filled with fish fillets that had no skin left intact. The captain said the bags contained hog snapper fillets. When transiting from the Bahamas to Florida by boat, recreational harvesters may transport their daily Florida bag limit of fish fillets from mahi, wahoo, snapper or grouper if the skin remains intact for identification. The captain of the vessel was cited for being in possession of snapper fillets with no skin intact while transiting from the Bahamas to Florida.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Howell responded to a complaint regarding the illegal possession of raccoons. Upon arrival, he verified an individual was in possession of two raccoons without the required license. The animals were seized and placed at a licensed facility. Warnings were issued for the illegal possession. Officer Trawinski assisted on this incident.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
MARTIN COUNTY

Officer Pecko was on vessel patrol around the Martin County Bird Island Critical Wildlife Area. He received a call about an injured bird by the island. The bird was found to be an Osprey floating close to a seawall and was struggling to stay afloat. Officer Pecko was able to scoop the bird into the vessel and staff from the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary came to the scene to take possession of the Osprey. It was later determined that the Osprey was shot by an air rifle. It is currently recovering at the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MIAMI DADE COUNTY

Officers Sample, Delgado and Dominguez were on water patrol when they stopped a commercial charter fishing vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection bayside of Key Biscayne. The vessel was returning to Crandon Marina after having completed its fishing charter. An inspection of the catch revealed four undersized tripletails. The first mate acknowledged that he was the one who had measured the fish and was cited for the violation.

Officers Saavedra and Padilla were on water patrol when they saw a vessel tied up to a channel marker at the mouth of the Miami River and ICW. A fisheries inspection revealed that the persons on board were in possession of an undersized nurse shark, mutton snapper, and lane snapper. The snapper was scaled which is a violation of landed in whole condition. The subjects were cited accordingly.

Officers Saavedra and Padilla were on water patrol near the Virginia Key no entry zone when they saw a vessel utilizing a red t-shirt as a dive flag. The diver was requested to return to conduct a fisheries inspection which revealed an undersized speared black grouper and hogfish. The subject was cited accordingly and educated on the importance of a proper dive flag.

Officers Saavedra and Padilla were on water patrol when they saw multiple groups of people exit the water along the seawall at Cape Florida State Park. They exited the water with lobster harvesting gear and a bag containing lobster. A fisheries inspection revealed 6 undersized spiny lobster with one group and 2 undersized spiny lobster with the second group. The subjects were cited accordingly.

Officers Padilla and McKinley were on water patrol in the area of 79th street boat ramp when they stopped 2 PWC’s that were rented from a livery. Upon returning to the ramp a vessel livery inspection was conducted and the owner of the PWC’s was found to have 5 violations. The subject was cited for not having insurance, no boating safety sign, not providing pre-ride instruction, not attaining a written statement instruction was given and the livery employee not having proper education.

Officer Padilla saw a rental PWC enter 79th Street boat ramp and he noticed extensive damage to one of the PWC’s being towed in by an employee. Officer Padilla asked the employee if that damaged was recent and the employee stated that the PWC was just involved in a boating accident that wasn’t reported. Officer Padilla issued a citation to the livery for not reporting a boating accident and issued a livery citation for a temporary certificate contractor having an employee that has not taken the proper boating education courses.

FWC Officers from Miami Dade and Monroe County responded to the county line after a female called 911 in Miami reporting that her husband had just shot and killed a friend on board his vessel. The man stated via text he was going to go and kill other people. Miami Dade Police aviation responded first and found the subject vessel anchored 4 miles ocean side of Ocean Reef with several persons on board. FWC water units responded with a Monroe County Sheriff’s sergeant riding along. Also responding were 2 Miami Dade Police vessels, a National Park Service vessel, and 2 USCG vessels. A USCG c-130 aircraft was also present overhead. Upon contact with the vessel, no persons were found injured or deceased. The “shooter” had sent his wife the threatening text messages as part of a domestic situation that was developing. There was no firearm on board – only a spear gun. Based on interviews with all subjects and after conferring with several sources, the “shooter” was Baker Acted by FWC and taken to a mental health facility in Marathon. The counselor at the center advised that threats to harm or having harmed someone does fall under the guidelines of an involuntary admission into their facility.

While conducting state park patrol in Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Officers Gomez and Perez stopped a subject diving with a bully net and tickle stick. After conducting a fisheries inspection, Officer Gomez found the subject had thirty-two spiny lobster in his possession – twenty-six lobster over the bag limit of six lobster per person per day. He was issued citations for possession of twenty-six spiny lobster over the bag limit and for swimming in a non-designated swimming area.


MONROE COUNTY

Officer Maldonado responded to John Pennekamp State Park where it was reported that a camper was driving his RV in the campground while possibly intoxicated. Upon his arrival the driver was found passed out inside of the RV by a bed. The RV, which had its’ stabilizer jacks, slide outs, and awning all extended, caused extensive damage to the asphalt roadway, tore out the water supply shutting down the water to half of the campground, and damaged trees on the site. After obtaining witness statements and conferring with the State Attorney’s Office, the driver was arrested for felony criminal mischief (with damages over $3,000) and misdemeanor disorderly intoxication and reckless driving. After getting the driver medically cleared due to his level of intoxication (BAC .143) and combativeness, he was booked into jail and then trespassed from the park for 5 years. He also received several park rule infractions. The defendant’s family, who had several complaints logged by park staff over the week for violating park quiet hours, was permitted to stay the night until the RV could be repaired the following morning.

Officer Chesney was on water patrol when he was dispatched to a complaint about possible lobster poaching. Upon arrival, Officer Hettel found a subject in possession of 32 wrung lobster tails; 31 of the tails were undersized. Officer Hettel read the Miranda warning and the subject agreed to speak with him. After the investigation, Officer Hettel arrested and transported the subject to Stock Island Jail.

Investigator Mattson was on unmarked water patrol around Green Marker 37, John Pennekamp State Park, when he saw two snorkelers freediving without a dive flag. He watched one of the men spear a fish and bring it to the surface. Investigator Mattson approached and identified himself as FWC law enforcement. The man who speared the fish dumped his gear to the bottom of the water. Investigator Mattson directed the diver to retrieve his gear and swim to his vessel. As Investigator Mattson was coming alongside the man’s boat he saw a gray angelfish floating behind on the surface of the water. The subject was arrested and taken to Key Largo where Officer Mckay transported him to Plantation Key Jail. The subject was cited for spearfishing Upper Keys, interference with FWC officer, oversized gray angelfish, live landing requirement on marine life and no circulating live well – five misdemeanors and a dive flag infraction.


Officers Carroll, Thornton, Chesney, and MCSO deputies responded to a call about nine subjects riding manatees in Key Colony Beach. One deputy said they saw one of the men riding a manatee but could not identify the individual. Upon arrival, there were 4 subjects in the back of the residence by the dock. Since the deputy saw someone riding a manatee, which is a criminal violation, the subjects were separated, read Miranda warnings and interviewed. The subjects admitted that they all swam and petted the manatee. After receiving their statements, Officer Chesney cited them with a notice to appear for molesting and riding manatee.

Officer Hoppe was on water-patrol in Jewfish Creek for targeted enforcement action. A rental vessel was stopped with twelve occupants on board – the operator exhibited signs of being impaired. After SFST’s the operator was found to be operating a vessel under the influence and was placed under arrest and transported to Plantation Key Jail.

COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Curbelo and Araujo were on patrol in the Picayune Strand State Forest during the opening weekend of archery season. Officer Curbelo saw a truck on a road that was marked “road closed to vehicle access.” Officer Curbelo stopped the vehicle for being off trail in a no vehicle allowed area. The driver was issued a citation for being off trail. Officer Araujo also stopped a vehicle in the no vehicle access area. The driver of the vehicle did not have a valid driver license. Officer Araujo issued the driver citations for driving while license suspended and for driving a vehicle off trail.

Officer McVaney responded to a report of a snake at a residence preventing the homeowner from entering her home. Upon arrival Officer McVaney found the snake to be a young Burmese Python. The snake was captured and removed. Officer McVaney turned the snake over to the local biologist.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
MONROE COUNTY

Officer Wilder (from Taylor County, assisting Monroe County for lobster season) and Officer Hettel responded to a call of a PWC accident with possible major injuries off Sigsbee Marina Key West. They arrived on scene to find a man and woman in the water and the PWC 50 yards away. The woman appeared to be in a lot of pain with cuts and a large contusion on her left leg. Her pain level and injuries would not allow her to be pulled onto the patrol vessel, so Officer Wilder held her next to the vessel and calmed her down. Sea Tow arrived and was directed go to Sigsbee Marina and retrieve a back board from awaiting EMS. Officer Hettel entered the water with the back board and strapped the injured woman to it. Officer Wilder and EMS personnel were then able to pull the victim on to the patrol vessel and get her to awaiting medical transportation. Officer Hettel credited the intense and quality water survival instruction by Lieutenant Hall and his staff at the training academy as key to the safe outcome of this event.

COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Curbelo was on patrol in the Picayune Strand State Forest during archery season. While checking hunters, he was asked by a citizen to assist him in locating his friend. His friend, wife and three kids were in the state forest and had driven through water and their vehicle became stuck in muddy water. He reported that his friend was on one of the off-road trails, unable to exit the vehicle due to the water preventing him from opening the vehicle door. The citizen had coordinates for the location and Officer Curbelo was able to locate the position on a map. Officer Curbelo initiated a search for the family utilizing a swamp buggy. He phoned the lost party, told them he was searching for them, and to call him if they saw the lights of the swamp buggy. Officer Curbelo also advised the family to shine their flashlight to the sky. Officer Curbelo located the family and was able to help them remove the vehicle from the water.

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  FWC Enforcement Report July 27-August 2. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 08-24-2018, 11:24 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
BAY COUNTY

Officers Hayes and Scott were on vessel patrol in St. Andrews Bay when they checked a vessel coming in from offshore. The officers found that the operator was in possession of three undersized triggerfish during the closed season. Citations were issued for the violations.

JACKSON COUNTY

Lieutenant Allen was on patrol near a landowner’s cornfield when he heard a shot from the roadway at the other end of the field. He headed toward the sound of the shot and as he neared the road, he saw an 8-point buck running from the direction where the shot was heard. Once Lieutenant Allen reached the roadway, he saw a truck driving very slowly. He contacted the driver who said, “I just shot at a deer.” Officer Little responded to assist. The officers interviewed the driver who stated he was driving down the road when he saw the deer, pulled out his pistol and shot at it. The officers seized a .380 pistol and cited the subject with attempting to take deer during the closed season and road hunting.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Clark and Investigator Molnar conducted a vessel stop on the east side of Crab Island for violation of the idle speed zone. When the officers made contact, the operator stated he consumed 12 beers throughout the day. The operator agreed to perform field sobriety tasks and at the conclusion of the tasks, Investigator Molnar arrested the operator for BUI. The operator was booked into the Okaloosa County Jail. He was also issued citations for refusal to submit a breath sample, insufficient number of PDF’s and violation of the idle speed zone.

FWC received a complaint from Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office regarding an individual in violation of Destin Executive Airport’s airspace near Henderson Beach State Park. Officer Wilkenson and Okaloosa County deputies responded. It was determined an individual in the park had launched and landed his power paraglider from within the state park. The individual was cited for the state park violation of launching/landing an aircraft in a state park. Destin Executive Airport tower was also provided the subject’s information for possible FAA violations.

Officers Pifer and Brooks were on vessel patrol when they were notified by FWC dispatch of a hit and run boating accident in the Destin Pass near Norriego Point. The officers located the victim vessel/operator who provided a picture of the vessel/operator who struck him. The registration on the suspect vessel returned to a livery in the Destin Harbor. The officers contacted the employees of the livery who advised the operator returned the personal watercraft (PWC) and left. The employees advised the operator did not mention being in an accident. A large crack in the hull of the PWC was located and an employee called the operator and instructed him to return to the livery because of the damage. When the operator returned, he denied striking another vessel but stated he hit some rocks. The operator of the victim vessel provided a name and phone number for a Destin lifeguard who witnessed the accident. The lifeguard was contacted who later provided a written statement, which was consistent with the victim’s statement. Based on all information gathered, the operator of the at fault vessel was cited for leaving the scene of an accident.

Officers Pifer and Clark were on vessel patrol when they saw a vessel traveling on plane in the idle speed zone across the north channel and failing to give way to vessels traveling within the channel. The vessel nearly caused a collision with a center console vessel. The officers initiated a vessel stop to address the violations. During a boating safety inspection, the operator showed signs of impairment and Officer Clark administered standardized field sobriety tasks. While the operator was boarding the officer’s vessel, the operator attempted to use a styrofoam cooler as a step crushing the cooler lid. Based on observations of the vessel in motion, personal contact with the operator, and the operator’s performance on the sobriety tasks, the operator was placed under arrest for BUI. The operator agreed to provide a breath sample and the results were 0.155 blood alcohol content and 0.154 blood alcohol content.

Officers Corbin and Long were on vessel patrol at Crab Island conducting boating safety and resource inspections. The officers saw a vessel leave Crab Island which had its motor trimmed up and was being operated in circles. The officers stopped the vessel to conduct a boating safety inspection and ensure the vessel was in good operating condition. As the officers pulled alongside, they advised the operator to put his vessel in neutral. He was slow to respond both vocally and physically. The operator turned to look in the officer’s direction, turned away to avoid eye contact, and continued operating the vessel in a circle. Again, the operator was instructed to place the vessel in neutral and he complied. The operator continued to avoid eye contact with the officers. During the safety inspections, Officer Corbin saw signs of impairment from the operator. The operator agreed to perform field sobriety tasks. Based on the operation of the vessel and the field sobriety tasks, the operator was arrested for BUI. The operator provided a breath sample, resulting in 0.149 blood alcohol content and 0.150 blood alcohol content. The operator was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail.

Officers Corbin and Pifer were on water patrol at Crab Island in Destin conducting boating safety and resource inspections. The officers saw a vessel traveling toward Crab Island with eight individuals on board. All eight subjects appeared to be under the age of 30, including the operator, which would require one of them to have a boater education card. A vessel stop was conducted to check for a boater’s education card and to conduct a boating safety inspection. When the operator was asked if he possessed a boater’s education card, he stated no. The boating safety inspection revealed that the vessel had an insufficient number of life jackets. Also, alcoholic beverage (beer) was on board the vessel and all individuals were under the age of 21. The operator and a passenger were cited and issued a notice to appear citation for possession of alcohol (under 21). Also, the operator was issued a citation for insufficient number of life jackets.

Officer Wilkenson responded to a complaint involving two unidentified individuals spearfishing under the dock at Marler Park on Okaloosa Island. The complainant stated that he saw the subjects spear several blue crabs and had a stone crab in their possession. After arriving, Officer Wilkenson saw several individuals at a picnic table who were wet and wearing swimming attire. There were two sets of masks on the table along with two homemade spears. There was also a cooler near the picnic table. The officer asked the group if anybody been fishing and they said yes. Upon consent to inspect the cooler/catch, it was determined that all six blue crabs were speared, one of which was an egg-bearing female. The stone crab’s claws were detached, and the body was also kept. The stone crab was also determined to be an egg-bearing female. One individual was cited and issued a notice to appear citation for possession of whole stone crabs, harvesting stone crab out of season, and a written warning for removing stone crab claws from an egg-bearing female. The second individual was issued a notice to appear citation for the use of illegal gear (spearing) to harvest blue crabs and for the harvest and possession of an egg-bearing female blue crab.

Officer Pifer conducted a saltwater fisheries and license inspection on a charter fishing vessel that returned to the Destin Harbor. The fisheries inspection revealed six spotted seatrout and one redfish in a fish box. All six-spotted seatrout measured over 20 inches in total length. Each harvester can possess one spotted seatrout over 20 inches. The officer determined there were three paying customers on the fishing trip. The charter boat captain was issued a resource citation for harvesting/possessing over the allowed limit of spotted seatrout over 20 inches in total length.

Officers Corbin and Long were on vessel patrol in the Destin Pass conducting boating safety and resource inspections. The officers saw a vessel returning from offshore into the Destin Pass with fishing equipment displayed and conducted a vessel stop to perform a resource inspection. Officer Corbin asked the operator if they caught any fish. The operator said yes and the fisheries inspection revealed two gray triggerfish were harvested. The operator was cited and issued a notice to appear citation for possession of gray triggerfish out of season.

Officer Maltais was at a local marina and saw a boat return to the dock. The officer saw two male individuals carrying a silver metal cooler from the vessel. Officer Maltais approached the men and asked if they had returned from fishing and they said yes. With consent Officer Maltais lifted the lid and found the contents to be a plastic grocery shopping bag filled with unidentified fish, vermilion snapper and one spade fish, and a layer of ice cubes at the cooler bottom. The officer asked if there were any other fish and both individuals pointed back to the vessel. He located and opened a bag to find six undersized red snapper. The operator was issued a notice to appear citation for possession of red snapper during closed season.

Officer Jarvis was on vessel patrol in the Destin Pass when he saw an Okaloosa County Sheriff's deputy on vessel patrol at the East Jetty. Officer Jarvis saw three males exiting the water with snorkel equipment and climbing up on the jetties. The deputy told Officer Jarvis he just saw all three males spearfishing in the water at the East Jetty. The three males, along with their dive gear and spears, were being detained on the beach by another Okaloosa County Sheriff's deputy. Officer Jarvis determined that one of the individuals was using a five-pronged gig as his spear and the other two were using Hawaiian slings (spears). All three subjects did not have a saltwater fishing license and did not display the required diver’s down flag. All three subjects were cited for no fishing license and spearfishing near a jetty. Spearfishing within 100 feet of a jetty less than 1500 yards long from shore is prohibited.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Ramos saw a man fishing along the Santa Rosa Sound in Navarre. Officer Ramos saw the subject place something inside his vehicle and then returned to fishing. Officer Ramos conducted a resource inspection, but the man only had a bag of hermit crabs with him. When asked if he had anything in his vehicle, the man said yes and showed the officer some legal fish in a cooler inside his SUV. Officer Ramos saw the edge of a plastic bag protruding from under a blanket inside the subject’s vehicle. When Officer Ramos asked what was in the bag the man removed the blanket and several crabs were located, including stone crab. Officer Ramos issued the subject a citation for the taking or possession of stone crab during the closed season.

Officers Lewis, Ramos, and Roberson assisted the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office with an aggravated assault that occurred inside Blackwater State Park. Two park patrons got into an argument and one pulled out a pistol and fired a bullet into the ground. The officers assisted in the investigation by collecting evidence and statements from witnesses of the crime. The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office arrested the subject after the investigation.

Officer Hutchinson and K9 Zara responded to a request for help from the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office (SRSO) regarding tracking a suspect who ran from a stolen vehicle when deputies attempted to pull it over. Officer Hutchinson helped track the suspect to a residence where the suspect was seen by a citizen leaving the area on foot. Officer Hutchinson and another deputy apprehended the suspect and he was placed under arrest by the SRSO deputy.

WAKULLA COUNTY

Officers Swindell, Hughes and Korade were on water patrol near St. Marks when they saw a vessel returning from fishing offshore. They stopped the vessel and the operator said they had caught a lot of fish and pointed out the compartment where they were located. An inspection of the compartment revealed a total of 50 black sea bass, 46 of which were undersized. The officers also located two undersized gag grouper and one undersized red grouper in the compartment. Officer Hughes also located a bucket near the back of the vessel which contained a shark that had been filleted for bait. All the undersized fish and the shark were seized, and the occupants of the vessel were issued citations for the violations.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
DUVAL COUNTY

Officer Culbreth was on vessel patrol on the St. Johns River in Duval County when he conducted a boating safety inspection and fisheries inspection on a vessel with three occupants. One of the occupants on board had given Officer Culbreth a fictitious name. After further investigation, it was discovered that this subject had a revoked fishing license. There were also multiple boating safety and vessel violations. The subject was issued a misdemeanor notice to appear for fishing with a revoked fishing license. The subject was also issued a uniform boating citation for no vessel registration on board, and written warnings for failure to transfer registration, expired fire extinguisher, being moored to a navigational marker, and improper display of registration.

ALACHUA COUNTY

While Officer Stanley was working in the Florida Keys he saw a man snorkeling for lobster in the bay off Harbor Cut Bridge. Officer Stanley contacted the man and asked to see the lobster in his bag. Officer Stanley saw four lobster with puncture holes and one lobster under the three inch minimum size. Officer Stanley issued a criminal citation for illegal method of harvesting lobster and one citation for possession of undersized lobster.

Officers Johnston and Cline provided ground support during a marijuana eradication flight with members of the North Florida HIDTA Task Force. The officers and task force members received information from FWC Officer Troiano regarding an outdoor grow operation in a rural area at the Gilchrist/Alachua County line. With assistance from spotters in an aircraft, Officers Johnston and Cline were able to successfully locate and eradicate roughly 28 marijuana plants from the location provided by Officer Troiano.

Officer Troiano and Officer Drew assisted FHP with four individuals who ran into a wooded area off south Hwy 441 near Micanopy. The individuals fled on foot after crashing a vehicle that was later found to be stolen out of the Gainesville area. After an intense search for several hours the individuals were apprehended walking down a dirt road in the south end of the county.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
DUVAL AND ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Lieutenant Arkin and Officer Schirbock provided a presentation on FWC law enforcement responsibilities, fishing and wildlife to the Aberdeen Homeowners Association. There were approximately 30-35 homeowners in attendance.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
PUTNAM COUNTY

Officers Jones, Bernard, and Lieutenant Dickson conducted seafood dealer inspections. This detail concluded with one shop being warned for no freshwater dealer’s license, one shop being warned for a recently expired saltwater retail license, and one shop being cited for never having a saltwater retail license, freshwater dealer license, and not maintaining proper records.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officers Presser and Sapp were performing resource inspections in New Smyrna Beach when they encountered a man fishing from the shore in the Intracoastal Waterway. The man told the officers all he had caught was a catfish. A resource inspection of his bucket revealed a 16-inch snook that had been scaled and gutted. He was cited for possession of snook during the closed season.

Officers Presser and Sapp stopped at Sunrise Park in Holly Hill to perform a safety inspection on a vessel they saw approaching the public boat ramp from the Intracoastal Waterway. During the safety inspection the operator exhibited signs of impairment. After a boating under the influence (BUI) investigation he was arrested and booked into the Volusia County Jail. The operator refused to provide a breath sample.

BREVARD COUNTY

While on foot patrol at Sebastian Inlet State Park, Officer Dubose saw a man fishing in a remote area of the park. After watching the subject for some time, the officer saw a mesh bag hanging from a tree with several fish inside. The subject admitted that the bag was his and stated that he had an undersized fish inside that he needed to throw back. An inspection revealed one undersized black drum. A citation was issued for the undersized black drum.

Officers Kearney and Matthews were on late night patrol of Sebastian Inlet State Park when they saw a group of men fishing in an area known for snook. After lengthy surveillance the group exited the water and prepared to leave. Officer Kearney approached and conducted a resource inspection. The inspection revealed one twenty-inch out of season snook and two undersized sheepshead. A citation was issued to one man for possession of snook out of season and to the other man for possession of undersized sheepshead.

While on late night patrol at Sebastian Inlet State Park Officer Matthews saw a man running down the north jetty pushing a cart towards the parking lot. The officer revealed himself and asked if he had caught anything. The subject admitted to having a snook in his cart. A citation was issued for possession of snook out of season.

During mini lobster season, Officer Humphrey was working the Port Canaveral boat ramp area when he saw a vessel come into the dock with six men on board and diving gear. A resource inspection of the vessel revealed one egg bearing lobster. One of the divers admitted to taking the lobster and was issued a citation. The lobster was returned to the water alive.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

Officers Cybula and Johnson were on water patrol in the Sebastian Inlet when they saw a vessel on full plane in a manatee zone. They conducted a vessel stop to address the violation. During the encounter the operator showed several signs of impairment. After performing standardized field sobriety tasks, the operator was arrested for operating a vessel while normal faculties were impaired and was issued a citation for refusal to submit a sample of his breath.

Officer Matthews saw an offshore vessel returning to a boat ramp. He met the vessel at the ramp and conducted a resource inspection. The four men on board the vessel said they were in possession of several spiny lobster due to the mini sport season. An inspection revealed the men were in possession of thirty legal lobsters and a small bag containing two wrung lobster tails. A citation was issued for possession of wrung tails.

Officers Hallsten and Delano were on vessel patrol near Sebastian Inlet when they conducted a resource inspection on a vessel returning from offshore. During the inspection the operator stated to the officers that his vessel was sinking so he could not stop. One of the officers boarded the vessel as they continued towards land. During the travel to land, an inspection revealed two egg bearing lobsters and one undersized lobster. The officers issued citations for possession of egg bearing and undersized lobster. No signs or evidence of the vessel “sinking” were seen during the contact.

Officer Marroquin was conducting foot patrol along Vero Beach searching for individuals participating in the state lobster mini season, when he saw four individuals smoking cannabis on the beach. Officer Marroquin contacted the individuals and a subsequent search found one of the individuals in possession of another controlled substance without a prescription. An additional individual in the group was also found to have a warrant out of Indian River County. Both subjects were transported and booked into the Indian River County Jail.

Officer Loeffler was conducting fishery inspections during mini lobster season on a vessel returning to Sebastian Inlet. During the inspection he discovered an egg bearing lobster. A citation was issued for possession of egg bearing lobster.

OSCEOLA COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Saunders received a Wildlife Alert complaint of a subject in possession of an American alligator and a Burmese python in his apartment. The anonymous complainant showed pictures of the animals to Investigator Saunders. Lieutenant Trusley and Investigator Saunders responded to the apartment and the subject admitted to having a small alligator but denied having a python. When confronted with the fact that Investigator Saunders had seen pictures of the snake in the apartment, the suspect admitted to having one and retrieved it from where it was hidden in a pillow case under the bathroom sink. A second alligator was discovered in an aquarium during the inspection. Investigator Saunders issued the subject three misdemeanor charges for possession of an American alligator (times two) and possession of a conditional species without a permit. The subject was also issued five written warnings for sanitation and caging violations.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

FWC dispatchers received a call from a person in Manatee County stating he witnessed a subject load an extremely large snook into a red minivan with a yellow canoe strapped to the top and leave the South Skyway rest area. Officer Gonzales from Manatee County called Officer Martinez in Pinellas County, and told him to be on the lookout for the vehicle along the interstate. Officer Martinez checked the vehicle registration from the license plate that was provided to FWC dispatch and learned the suspect lived in Hillsborough County. Officer Martinez called Lieutenant Van Trees and provided Lieutenant Van Trees with a possible address for the suspect. Lieutenant Van Trees arrived at the residence but did not see the red van, so he checked the back yard and saw the van matching the description that was given by the witness. The suspect was unloading his fishing equipment and dive gear when Lieutenant Van Trees approached and introduced himself. The subject said he knew why Lieutenant Van Trees was there and went inside his house and brought out a snook that was over 38” long. During an interview, the suspect told Lieutenant Van Trees that he had shot the snook with his spear gun, and after being questioned by another person, realized the fish was out of season. The subject was cited for possession of an oversize snook, possession of snook out of season, and taking snook by illegal method. He was warned for not having a snook permit.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Winton was on water patrol off the coast of Sanibel when he saw a fishing vessel returning from offshore waters. He conducted a vessel stop and discovered that the operator was in possession of 20 lobster tails that had been wrung, no longer in whole condition, as well as, mahi-mahi that was not in whole condition. Since he was the only person onboard the vessel, he was over the bag limit. The operator of the vessel was cited accordingly.

Officer Winton and Lieutenant Spoede were on federal water patrol when they saw a commercial fishing vessel returning from offshore waters. They conducted a vessel stop and it was determined that the subjects were in possession of one undersized red grouper and lane snapper not in whole condition. The operator of the vessel admitted that he had been using the lane snapper for bait, a violation of federal regulations. The operator of the vessel was cited for the violations.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Gonzales was on land patrol around the South Skyway Fishing Pier State Park when he performed a fisheries inspection on a man fishing from the pier. The man stated that he had only caught porgies, but when Officer Gonzales conducted his inspection he found that the subject had 9 mangrove snapper, and eight were undersized. The subject was cited criminally for possession of undersized and over the bag limit of mangrove snapper. He will have to appear in court for his violation.

Officer Davidson was on water patrol around the Palmetto boat ramp. He conducted a boating safety inspection on a vessel returning to the boat ramp. During the inspection, Officer Davidson noticed that the captain of the vessel seemed to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Officer Davidson performed an investigation to determine the captains level of impairment. At the end of the investigation, the subject was placed under arrest for boating under the influence of alcohol and taken to the Manatee County Jail.



Officer Dalton was on land patrol around the King Fish Boat Ramp when he stopped and performed a fisheries and boating safety inspection on a vessel returning to the ramp. During the inspection, the subjects on the vessel tried to conceal a 14-inch red grouper on board. After the inspection was over, one of the subjects aboard the vessel was charged criminally with possession of undersized red grouper and will have to appear in court for his violation.

Officers Dalton and Gonzales were on water patrol around Long Boat Pass. They performed a boating safety inspection on a vessel near the pass. During the inspection, the officers felt as though the operator may be under the influence of either drugs or alcohol. Officer Dalton performed an investigation into the level of the operator’s impairment and when the investigation was complete, the subject was placed under arrest for boating under the influence. The subject was taken to jail and will have to appear in court for his violation.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Lieutenant Van Trees received a complaint from a citizen who reported that his neighbor was gill netting fish in a freshwater pond behind his house. Lieutenant Van Trees met with the complainant and discovered the subject wasn’t gill netting but was stop netting a choke point in between two ponds. Lieutenant Van Trees could see that the suspect’s yard backed up to the choke point and saw a green net stretched across the width of the water. He made his way to the suspects home and was advised by another neighbor that the suspect wouldn’t be home for quite a while, but he knew where he could be found. Lieutenant Van Trees went to where the suspect worked and had the man accompany him back to his house to discuss the violation. Once in the back yard, Lieutenant Van Trees saw the stop net and numerous other traps placed in the water. Additional officers arrived to help with evidence and to photograph the scene, and discovered the man had illegally harvested freshwater turtles, freshwater game fish, and freshwater eels. A search of the back yard also revealed the man had two mottled ducks with an egg and had caged them. The subject was cited for numerous different resource violations. A few days later Lieutenant Van Trees took local code enforcement to the residence where they found violations which included altering the terrain of a waterway and building within a waterway. Code enforcement will be citing the subject accordingly for the violations.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROL
LEE COUNTY

Officer Price conducted speed enforcement in the Lee County panther zone. Throughout the evening, Officer Price educated several drivers for speed related violations, including three different drivers for speeds of 86, 99 and 107 miles per hour in the 45 mile-per-hour zone. One driver said they were driving so fast because they had no cell phone signal and were afraid. A second driver said they were in a hurry to get home and use the restroom. The third driver had no excuse as it was his sixth citation for speed related violations in the panther zone. All three drivers received mandatory court dates for the excessive speed.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officer Delatorre and K9 Diesel were working the 15th Street boat ramp during the spiny lobster mini season. Officer Delatorre made several resource cases on several different vessels and subjects for harvesting egg bearing lobster and undersized lobster. All subjects were issued misdemeanor citations which require a court appearance and in all cases the lobster were photographed and returned to the water alive.

During the spiny lobster mini season Officer Armstrong was checking night time beach divers in Fort Lauderdale. He found one subject in possession of undersized spiny lobster. A misdemeanor citation was issued, the lobster was photographed and returned to the water alive.

Lieutenant L. McDonald, Reserve Lieutenant P. McDonald, and Officer Armstrong were checking vessels at the Mizell Johnson Marina enforcing boating safety regulations and conducting marine fishery inspections during the spiny lobster mini season. One subject was in possession of undersized spiny lobster. A misdemeanor citation was issued, and the lobster was photographed and returned to the water alive. They also checked beach divers in Fort Lauderdale during the spiny lobster mini season. Two subjects were in possession of undersized spiny lobster. Misdemeanor citations were issued to both subjects and the lobster was returned to the water alive.

Officers Grant and Brock were on water patrol offshore of Fort Lauderdale when they saw a vessel with divers in the water. The divers got back onto the vessel and started to leave the area. The officers saw lobster harvesting gear on board and stopped the vessel to conduct a saltwater fisheries inspection. During the inspection, five egg bearing spiny lobster were found in the live-well. Three individuals received criminal notice to appears (citations) for harvesting egg bearing spiny lobster. The egg bearing lobsters were returned to the water alive.

Officer Grant was patrolling the beachfront in the Ft. Lauderdale area. She conducted a marine fisheries inspection on an individual diver that had just exited the water. The individual was in possession of undersized spiny lobsters and was given a criminal notice to appear for the violation. The undersized spiny lobsters were released back to the water alive.

Officers Brock and Grant were on vessel patrol in the Intracoastal in central Broward County and conducted a marine fisheries inspection on a vessel. The individuals onboard the vessel had ten undersized yellowtail snapper and one undersized mutton snapper. The individuals were issued criminal notices to appear for the undersized yellowtail snapper and a warning for the one mutton snapper. One mutton snapper was returned to the water and ten dead yellowtail snapper were seized as evidence.

Officer Lopez was on patrol at the marina in Mizell-Johnson State Park. He saw a personal watercraft pull into the dock. The PWC had fishing gear displayed. Officer Lopez conducted a marine fisheries inspection. The individual was given a criminal notice to appear (citation) for possession of undersized black grouper. Two dead undersized black grouper were seized as evidence.

Officer Lopez was on patrol in Mizell-Johnson State Park. He encountered an individual that had an active warrant out of Santa Rosa County. The individual was placed under arrest and transported to the Broward County Jail.

MARTIN COUNTY

Officer Rogers was on water patrol at Sandsprit Park boat ramp. He conducted multiple fisheries inspections on numerous vessels in the area. He measured the lobster on one vessel and he noticed one was an egg bearing lobster. Officer Rogers educated all parties on board and the subjects were cited accordingly.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Toby recently completed an investigation regarding a capuchin monkey bite at a restaurant. The investigation revealed that a couple that was licensed to possess and exhibit the monkey would often frequent an area restaurant with it and would allow the public to interact with the animal. A juvenile was bitten on the finger by the monkey. Four misdemeanor citations and two warnings were issued to the owners of the monkey regarding this incident.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Hudson and Trawinski were patrolling offshore of Delray Beach around midnight on the opening night of lobster mini season. The officers saw a dive boat with divers in the water. The officers boarded the dive boat and waited for the divers to come up and inspected the lobsters that they brought onto the boat. The officers found three separate divers with undersized lobsters. The divers were issued citations for undersized lobster.

Officer Hudson and Officer Trawinski where patrolling offshore when they located a dive boat returning from a dive. The officers boarded the vessel and located an undersized lobster. The subject said that he had measured it with his gauge and that it was legal. The officers then used his (the diver’s) gauge and measured the lobster. It was still short. The subject was issued a citation for undersized lobster.

Officers Hudson and Trawinski were conducting land patrol when they saw a vehicle swerve multiple times and not maintain its lane. The vehicle took a left turn and crossed into the oncoming traffic lane before over-correcting back into its lane. The officers conducted a vehicle stop and as they approached the vehicle, smoke was pouring out of the window. The officers located a bag of marijuana in the vehicle and a marijuana cigarette in the ashtray. Officer Hudson conducted field sobriety tasks on the operator and found the operator to be driving under the influence. The operator was arrested for driving under the influence and possession of cannabis less than 20 grams.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Investigator Patterson and Officer Shermetaro were patrolling local boat ramps during lobster mini season. While conducting a resource and license inspection on a vessel operator, they found multiple egg bearing stone crabs located in a bucket on the vessel. The stone crabs were in whole condition and most of the claws and crabs were undersized. The owner of the vessel was issued multiple citations. The crabs were seized as evidence, photographed and released alive back to the water.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Toby responded to the report of an escaped fox. Upon arrival, he found an artic fox and a red fox free roaming a property. With the help of local law enforcement and animal control, he was able to capture the animals. Two misdemeanor citations and one warning were issued regarding this incident. The foxes were seized and placed at a licensed facility.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Boyd and Loach were on water patrol in Boynton Beach during the lobster mini season. They were heading south from the Boynton Inlet when they spotted a diver caught in a strong current. The diver was waving both arms as a sign of distress. The officers safely rescued the diver who was almost exhausted. The diver pointed out two other divers from his party drifting in the current and the officers rescued them as well. All three divers were safely transferred to their original vessel.

Officers Hudson and Trawinski were patrolling approximately a mile offshore Delray Beach, around 3 a.m., when they noticed a faint green light in the distance with no vessels anywhere nearby. The officers went to the green light and found a diver who was over two miles away from his vessel. The officers got the diver out of the water and returned him safely to his vessel.

Officers Hudson and Trawinski were patrolling offshore of the Lake Worth Inlet when the officers were approached by a vessel. The operator of the vessel said that he had two divers in the water that he had lost, and that they should have been up approximately 30 minutes ago. The officers began to search the area based off the current and were able to locate a diver which was left behind by a separate vessel. The officers returned that diver to his vessel and continued to search for the original two divers. The officers found the two divers just before sunset several miles away from the area.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Schroer and Boyd deployed to Key West for a lobster season special detail. While conducting fisheries inspections near Big Pine Key, they were dispatched to a nearby residence where a caller advised there was a Key deer stuck in the fence. With assistance from the home owner, Officer Schroer was able to free the Key deer which walked away under its own power.

BROWARD COUNTY

Officers Holcomb and Armstrong assisted the South Florida Wildlife Care Center in releasing a rehabilitated a flesh-footed shearwater bird back into the wild, approximately 5 miles offshore. It is a pelagic bird that lives most of its life out at sea and on remote islands to breed.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MIAMI DADE COUNTY

While on water patrol around Key Biscayne, Officers Saavedra and Dominguez saw a vessel displaying fishing equipment. A resource inspection revealed 14 undersized mahi in the vessel’s fish box. The subjects were cited accordingly and educated on proper measurement and regulations.

While on water patrol around Key Biscayne Officers Saavedra and Dominguez saw two occupants on a vessel actively fishing. A resource inspection revealed 2 undersized mutton snapper in a cooler. The subjects were cited accordingly and educated on the regulations.

While assisting with a BUI detail at the 79th Street boat ramp, Officers Saavedra and Dunn saw fishing equipment on a vessel. A resource inspection revealed a queen conch in one of the vessel compartments. The operator stated he found the queen conch at a sandbar and wanted to take it home for decoration. The subjects were cited accordingly and educated on the regulations.

While assisting with a BUI detail at the 79th Street boat ramp, Officers Saavedra, Camejo, and Dominguez saw a vessel entering the marina making wake. The vessel was stopped and when asked if there were weapons on board, the operator and occupants said no. While conducting a boating safety inspection the operator appeared to be impaired. Officer Dominguez noticed a clear bag containing cannabis which one of the passengers tossed into the water. Officer Saavedra noticed a bulge in one of the passenger’s pocket when they were asked to exit the vessel, so the officers could conduct a search. A search of the passenger revealed a magazine in his pocket and .45 caliber handgun in his waistband underneath his sweater. The passenger was cited for a third-degree felony for possession of a firearm and transferred to North Miami Police Department for questioning. The operator was cited for BUI and taken into custody.

Officers Sample and Perez were on water patrol in the Miami River. They saw a vessel heading north with 4 individuals and multiple fishing rods and reels on board. They initiated a stop on the vessel to conduct a resource inspection. When asked if they had caught any fish, the operator stated that they caught one big red grouper. Upon inspection, the fish was identified as a Nassau grouper, a prohibited species in Florida. One subject stated that he caught the grouper and claimed possession of the fish. The subject was cited accordingly and educated on proper fish identification and regulations.

Officers Perez and Sample were on water patrol in the Miami River. They saw a vessel making a large wake in a posted no wake zone. They initiated a stop on the vessel to conduct a boating safety inspection. Upon making contact, the operator displayed many signs of impairment. The subject was belligerent and using profane language and refused to comply with the officers’ commands. After performing standardized field sobriety tasks, they determined the subject’s normal faculties were impaired. They attempted to place the subject in handcuffs, at which point he actively resisted, forcefully attempting to break free from their restraint. The officers used physical control techniques and nonlethal weapons to subdue the subject and place him in custody. He was given the opportunity to provide a breath sample, which he refused. The subject was cited for violation of manatee zone, refusal to submit to breath test, BUI and resisting law enforcement.

MONROE COUNTY

While preparing to pull his vessel from John Pennekamp State Park, Officer McKay saw 2 PWCs being operated by 2 young males in the marina. One operator did not have his lifejacket zipped up. The other PWC was missing registration letters. Both PWCs were making slow speed donuts in the marina. The operators came to the dock where Officer McKay learned that the 15-year-old did not have a boater safety education ID and the other male was only 12 years old. The father was called over from another dock and said that he was aware 12-year-old was not permitted to operate a PWC as he owns and runs a livery. The father/registered owner was issued a notice to appear for permitting the underage operation and the youth were given numerous warnings.

Investigator Mattson was on unmarked water patrol around White Marlin Beach in Islamorada. He saw a PWC being operated by a young boy. The boy was operating the throttle and steering with his mother on the back of the PWC. An inspection revealed an expired registration as well as failure to transfer ownership. The mother was cited for allowing underage operation of a PWC and an infraction for expired registration.

Investigator Mattson was on water patrol when he saw a SCUBA diver surface around Channel 2 Bridge in Islamorada. The diver handed up a catch bag to the boat. An inspection revealed the diver was in possession of over the limit of spiny lobster and had an undersized lobster in his bag. The diver was cited for the violations.

Investigator Mattson was on unmarked water patrol with Investigator DallaRosa and Lieutenant Van Trees around Channel 5 Bridge Oceanside. They saw men snorkeling on the rocks. The men were about 1,000 feet away from their dive flag. When they identified themselves as law enforcement one of the men who was holding the catch bag dropped it to the bottom of the channel. Lieutenant Van Trees instructed him to go get it. An inspection of the catch revealed the subjects were in possession of nine undersized lobster. Each subject was cited for the misdemeanor violations, three infractions for no fishing license, and too far from dive flag.

COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Yaxley was on water patrol with Marco Island Police Department Officer Ferris when they came across a commercial vessel operating without hull identification numbers. Upon inspection it was found that the company had been operating two large commercial vessels over 12 tons on the waters of the state for years without inspection or registrations. Officer Yaxley cited the company accordingly.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
COLLIER COUNTY

Lieutenant Bulger responded to a distressed manatee call in Rookery Bay Preserve. A concerned citizen spotted the manatee near the Shell Island Road boat ramp. When Lieutenant Bulger and a Collier County Marine deputy arrived on scene the manatee was in obvious distress and having trouble breathing. With the help of citizen, they were able to get the manatee into shallow water. Manatee biologists responded and transported the manatee to a rehabilitation center.

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  FWC Enforcement Report July 20-26. All Regions
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NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
FRANKLIN COUNTY

Officer Travis was on patrol near the Ten Foot Hole Boat Ramp in Apalachicola. He saw a vessel returning to the boat basin and conducted a resource inspection. During the inspection he discovered two undersized trigger fish and an undersized king mackerel. The owner was cited for possession of trigger fish during closed season and issued a warning for possession of undersized king mackerel.

Officer Kossey was on patrol near the Ten Foot Hole Boat Ramp in Apalachicola. He saw a vessel returning to the boat basin and conducted a resource inspection. During the inspection he discovered three undersized gag grouper and four out of season red snapper. The owner was cited for possession of undersized gag grouper and possession of red snapper during closed season.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Pifer and Corbin were on vessel patrol when they saw a personal watercraft (PWC) violating the idle speed/no wake zone around the south side of Crab Island traveling towards the east side. A vessel stop was initiated to address the violation. During the stop, Officer Pifer saw signs of impairment and administered standardized field sobriety tasks. Based on observations of the vessel in motion, personal contact with the operator, and the operator’s performance of the tasks, Officer Pifer placed the operator under arrest for BUI. The operator agreed to provide a breath sample and the results were 0.104 blood alcohol content and 0.103 blood alcohol content. The individual was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail.

Officer Corbin was on vessel patrol with U.S. Coast Guard personnel in the Destin Harbor. The officers saw a pontoon boat cut off another vessel in violation of inland navigational rule. A vessel stop was conducted to address the violation. Officer Corbin saw 11 adults and one youth on board. The boating safety inspection revealed that the vessel had insufficient number of life jackets on board. Officer Corbin determined the vessel was rented. The officer addressed the life jacket violation with the livery personnel. The livery individual who provided the safety equipment was issued a notice to appear citation.

Officer Corbin was on vessel patrol with an Okaloosa County sheriff’s deputy and responded for assistance on a vessel stop conducted by another sheriff’s deputy. When they arrived, Officer Corbin became the lead officer. The deputy who made the initial stop advised Officer Corbin that he saw indicators of impairment from the operator. Officer Corbin contacted the operator and saw the operator’s eyes were bloodshot and watery and his face was flushed. The operator admitted consuming an alcoholic beverage. The operator voluntary performed field sobriety tasks (FST). The operator had indicators of impairment from the FST performed. The operator was arrested for BUI. The operator refused to provide a breath sample and was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail.

Officers Pifer and Brooks were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety and resource protection in the Destin Pass. The officers received a complaint of a hit and run boating accident that occurred in the Destin Pass near Norriego Point. Reports were received that a personal watercraft struck a 13-ft Boston Whaler. The operator of the struck boat was able to get the PWC’s vessel registration, took a photograph of the PWC and operator and provided the name of a witness from the shore. The officers met with the operator of the struck vessel, and with the information provided determined the PWC was rented from a local livery located in the Destin Harbor. The officers arrived at the livery to find the operator had returned the PWC and left the area. The livery contacted the operator and he returned to the livery. The PWC operator continued to deny that he struck the victim’s boat. Based on the officers’ investigation, the PWC operator was issued a notice to appear citation for leaving the scene without providing personal contact information and failure to notify a law enforcement agency immediately of the accident.

Officers Corbin and Pifer were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections in the Crab Island area of Destin. The officers saw a 24-ft vessel in violation of the idle speed/no wake zone traveling south toward the Destin Bridge. The vessel cut off two other vessels in violation of navigational rules, coming within approximately 30 feet of hitting one of the vessels. A vessel stop was conducted to address the multiple violations. During the boating safety inspection, Officer Corbin saw many indicators of impairment from the operator. The operator agreed to perform field sobriety tasks (FST). The FST performed by the operator indicated impairment. Based on observations of the vessel in motion, personal contact with the operator, and the operator’s performance of the tasks, Officer Corbin placed the operator under arrest for BUI. The operator refused to provide a breath sample and was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
JEFFERSON COUNTY

Officer Anderson received a call from dispatch regarding an individual who was broken down on Lake Miccosukee. Officer Anderson contacted the individual who advised that his boat motor had stopped working and that due to the severe thunderstorm, his boat was filling up with water. Officer Anderson advised him to put a life jacket on and paddle as close to shore as possible. Officer Anderson, with the assistance of a Good Samaritan, headed out to find the distressed boater. After locating the boater, it became apparent that he was stuck between two large floating tussocks and they could not get to him. Deputies from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office arrived in their vessel and were able to get a rope to the individual and pull him out.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
SEARCH AND RESCUE
GILCHRIST COUNTY

Officer Johnston was on water patrol at the Santa Fe River when he was flagged down by a concerned citizen who stated he saw a female subject passed out in a kayak near Ginnie Springs. Officer Johnston quickly responded and located the subject sitting in her kayak, completely incapacitated, and floating down the Santa Fe River. Through emergency lights flashing and lots of shouting, Officer Johnston was able to wake the subject and get a verbal response. The female subject was not wearing a life jacket and could not produce any required safety gear. Officer Johnston could see an empty bottle of wine in plain view sitting between the subject’s feet. The subject refused to perform field sobriety exercises and eventually became verbally aggressive towards Officer Johnston and deputies who arrived to assist with transportation. At the jail, the subject continued her verbal aggression towards Officer Johnston and jail staff while adamantly refusing to provide a breath sample. She was booked into jail for BUI. The subject was issued non-criminal citations for insufficient safety gear and refusal to provide a breath sample (first offense).

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROL
GILCHRIST/ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers Johnston and Cline provided ground support during a marijuana eradication flight with members of the North Florida HIDTA Task Force. The officers and task force members received information from FWC Officer Troiano regarding an outdoor grow operation in a rural area at the Gilchrist/Alachua County line. With assistance from spotters in an aircraft, Officers Johnston and Cline were able to successfully locate and eradicate roughly 28 marijuana plants from the location.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
PUTNAM COUNTY

Officer Mason conducted a crab trap inspection on a commercial subject in Salt Run and Lake George and saw several gear violations, as well as not having the current years tags attached. The subject was issued a warning for not having the tags attached and was issued a citation for the gear violations.

BREVARD COUNTY

While on late night patrol at Sebastian Inlet State Park, Officer Matthews saw two men fishing in an area where snook are commonly caught. After conducting a resource inspection with the two men, one snook was discovered. A citation was issued for consumption of alcohol in a state park and possession of snook out of season.

Officer Balgo made several cases at area causeways. These causeways are heavily fished at night. One case involved shrimping with too many traps, and the other was for possession of whole stone crab. Citations were issued for the violations.

While on water patrol near Ski Island, Officers Balgo and Delano saw a vessel bearing no registration numbers. During the stop, Officer Delano saw signs of impairment from the operator. Seated field sobriety exercises revealed that the operator’s normal faculties were impaired. He was arrested for boating under the influence (BUI) and transported to the Brevard County Jail.

While on offshore patrol out of Port Canaveral, Officers Balgo, Hallsten, and Delano saw a vessel with fishing poles and conducted a resource inspection. An undersized cobia was discovered, and a citation issued.

While at Freddy Patrick boat ramp at Port Canaveral, Officer Delano conducted a resource inspection on a vessel coming in from offshore. The inspection yielded four undersized mahi. A citation was issued for the undersized mahi.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

Officers Kearney and Matthews were on vessel patrol in Indian River County when they conducted a vessel safety inspection on a vessel containing multiple occupants. During the inspection the operator showed several signs of impairment. After speaking with the operator and his participation in standardized field sobriety tasks, he was placed under arrest for boating under the influence. The operator refused to provide a sample of his breath and was booked into the Indian River County Jail.

Lieutenant Lightsey was on patrol on the Upper St. Johns River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) when he saw three airboats in a restricted area. After speaking with the operators, the men admitted to knowing the clearly marked area was restricted and that they had run over the existing large buoy line. All three airboat operators received citations for operating a vessel in a restricted area.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Luce responded to a vessel that had overturned in the Indian River south of the Max Brewer Causeway in Titusville during a violent storm. There were four people in the water and eight people from the group were stranded on a nearby spoil island. As Officer Luce approached the capsized vessel, a wall of heavy rain reduced his visibility to 50 yards. Officer Luce confirmed that everyone was accounted for and got the four people in the water onto his patrol boat. He transported an elderly man with a tracheotomy and a husband and wife with their 4-year-old child to Parrish Park boat ramp where EMS was standing by. Titusville officers removed the remaining stranded people from the island using a fire/rescue boat. No medical attention was needed beyond first aid.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officer Bertolami and Lieutenant Yetter were dispatched to assist three young adults, a male and two females, who had become disoriented and were unable to find their way from the backwater area of a portion of the Mosquito Lagoon. Just before sundown, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office helicopter was able to locate them. All three were safely brought back to a residential area where they were able to return to their vehicle.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HERNANDO COUNTY

Officers Canamero and Little were on water patrol and conducted a vessel stop for a resource inspection. The vessel operator stated they had fish on board and the inspection revealed an oversized redfish and undersized spotted seatrout. Resource citations were issued accordingly.

Officer Canamero responded to a complaint regarding work being performed on land with active gopher tortoise burrows. He was able to locate two burrows that had been recently crushed. After further investigation, he was able to identify and locate the subject responsible for the damage and determined that there were no permits issued for the location. The subject was charged accordingly.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Winton conducted a livery inspection at a jet ski rental company on Fort Myers Beach. During the inspection, he determined that several of the rental vessels were not outfitted with the required safety gear, which the company had been cited for several months prior. The manager of the livery was issued a notice to appear for the violation, and a warning for improper display of a registration decal.

Officer Winton was on patrol in Bonita Springs when he saw two subjects fishing from a bridge. A fisheries inspection was conducted, and it was determined that the subjects were in possession of three undersized pompano. Both subjects were issued notices to appear for the violation.

Officer Winton was on patrol at Lover's Key State Park when he saw several subjects wade fishing with cast nets and placing fish in buckets. He conducted surveillance and a fisheries inspection when the subjects returned to their vehicle. Upon inspection, it was determined that the subjects were in possession of two undersized redfish and two undersized sheepshead. Additionally, only one of the five subjects had a valid fishing license. The two subjects that were in possession of the undersized fish were issued notices to appear, and the four subjects without licenses were issued citations for fishing without a license.

Officer Winton was on water patrol in Estero Bay when he stopped a vessel. During a fisheries inspection it was determined that the operator was in possession of an undersized and out of season snook, over the bag limit of mangrove snapper, and four undersized mangrove snapper. The subject was written a notice to appear for the snook violations and the undersized mangrove snapper, and warnings for over the bag limit of mangrove snapper and possessing snook without a valid snook permit.

Officers Hazelwood and Thompson, wearing plain clothes and carrying fishing gear, were patrolling a local fishing spot at night. Uniformed patrol officers Stapleton and Lieutenant Barrett were stationed nearby to initiate contact with anyone suspected of harvesting illegal fish. After most of the subjects left the area, a group of six men started using a cast net along a section of beach known to contain many snook. The men caught a snook and put it in a bucket and began heading back to their cars. The uniformed officers were called in and the men were found to have harvested an undersized snook, out of season, by an unlawful method. Further inspection revealed another undersized snook and three undersized sheepshead. Appropriate charges were filed.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Davidson, working with the U.S. Coast Guard, were on water patrol in the area of the Cortez Bridge when they stopped and performed a boating safety inspection on a vessel just north of the bridge. U.S. Coast Guard crew noticed that the operator of the vessel seemed to be under the influence of alcohol, so they called Officer Davidson over to investigate and determine the level of impairment. Upon completion of his investigation, Officer Davidson placed the captain of the vessel under arrest for boating under the influence of alcohol and he was taken to the Manatee County Jail.

Officer Davidson was on water patrol near Long Boat Pass when he stopped and performed a boating safety inspection on a vessel transiting around Jew Fish Key. Officer Davidson could smell alcohol coming from the captain of the vessel and he was also having trouble with his speech. Officer Davidson investigated to determine the level of impairment. Upon completing his investigation, Officer Davidson placed the captain of the vessel under arrest for boating under the influence of alcohol and he was taken to the Manatee County Jail.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Officer Bibeau saw two individuals actively wade fishing. He watched the individuals for approximately 30 minutes from a concealed location and saw the subjects catch their legal bag limit of redfish and continue to fish. One of the individuals caught a second redfish, putting him over the legal daily bag limit. The subjects attempted to make a quick getaway. Officer Bibeau managed to catch up to their vehicle as they were leaving the area and conducted a traffic stop. During the traffic stop, Officer Bibeau located three redfish. One of the individuals was issued a misdemeanor citation for harvesting over the daily bag limit of redfish and the third redfish was released alive.

While on patrol, Officer Bibeau saw an individual actively fishing from underneath a bridge. He contacted the individual to conduct a fisheries inspection and located an out-of-season and undersized snook. Officer Bibeau wrote the individual a misdemeanor citation for possession of an out-of-season snook and two warnings for possession of an undersized snook and not obtaining a valid snook permit.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Boyd and Schroer were on water patrol in Lake Worth when they received a call about two subjects catching and keeping undersized fish at the Boynton Inlet. When they arrived, they found two subjects that matched the description of the alleged violators. The two subjects were found to be in possession of ten undersized mangrove snapper, one undersized schoolmaster snapper, and one undersized lane snapper. The subjects also did not have their fishing licenses. The two subjects were cited for their violations.

Officers Moss, Rogers and Carroll deployed to Key West for an offshore special detail. The detail consisted of commercial shrimp boat inspections to measure the turtle exclusion devices “TEDs” and pre-lobster season patrol. They conducted inspections on numerous vessels. As they were traveling back to the dock they encountered a subject on a small (dingy) boat that had no navigational lights. The vessel veered in front of the patrol boat dangerously close. The officers attempted to stop the vessel, but it remained underway, ignoring the lights and siren. The vessel finally stopped and the officers noticed the smell of alcohol coming from the subject. He was found to be intoxicated and was placed under arrest. The subject lied about his identity. The officers later found out that he had a felony warrant for battery and a warrant for boating under the influence.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Brodbeck was on vessel patrol in the Jupiter Inlet and saw two kayaks with a total of 5 individuals overturn in the inlet with a strong incoming tide. The current quickly separated the subjects in the water from the kayaks. He responded and instructed all subjects to stop attempting to swim against the current. Officer Brodbeck pulled the individuals from the water one by one and, with the assistance of nearby boaters, both kayaks and personal belongings were recovered and brought to shore. Officer Brodbeck spoke with the individuals as well as the kayak rental company about the importance of life jackets and being aware of hazards on the water.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MIAMI DADE COUNTY

Officer Padilla was on water patrol and conducted a livery safety inspection resulting from a jet ski that had the registration decal improperly displayed. After speaking with the operator, he discovered the livery did not provide adequate pre-ride instructions and was conducting business at a county boat ramp. The livery operator was issued criminal citations for the violations and Miami-Dade County cited the livery operator for the business violation.

Officer Padilla was on land patrol around Morningside Park within Miami Dade County. Before entering the park, he noticed a man actively fishing with rod and reel along the seawall a short distance from the main street. He parked his patrol vehicle and began to approach the man. When the subject realized the officer was approaching, he quickly reached into a dark colored tub, retrieved a bonnethead shark, and threw it back into the water. Officer Padilla yelled loud verbal commands to stop what he was doing and move away from the tub. Officer Padilla discovered another bonnethead shark. The subject was issued a criminal citation for interfering/obstructing an FWC Officer. The subject was also cited for not have a fishing license in his possession.

Officers Sarmiento and Gomez were on water patrol when they saw a vessel heading west coming out of Cesar’s Creek with fishing rods displayed. They stopped the vessel to perform a fishery inspection. The three subjects were in possession of two undersized African pompano and one undersized mutton snapper. Citations were issued for the violations.

Officers Perez and Sample assisted a woman and two children on a broken-down jet ski. The individuals had rented the jet ski from a nearby livery and did not receive proper safety instruction. Upon inspection, Officers Perez and Sample found the livery in violation of three safety regulations. The owner of the livery had previous violations with FWC and had a court order in place. The owner was cited for three misdemeanors, was arrested, transported, and booked into Turner Guilford Knight Jail.

Officers Perez and Sample were on water patrol when saw a boat anchored in Cape Florida Channel with multiple fishing rods on board, and three occupants actively fishing with rod and reel. They initiated a stop on the vessel and conducted a fisheries inspection. Their inspection revealed four mutton snapper that were under the minimum size limit of 18 inches total length. The owner of the vessel was cited for possession of undersized mutton snapper.

Officer Dominguez was on water patrol around the Key Biscayne Special Management Zone. A fisheries inspection conducted on a vessel revealed two undersized hogfish and an undersized mutton snapper. All three fish were harvested using spear guns. Appropriate citations were issued for the violation.

Officer Cartaya was on patrol at Matheson Hammock. He approached a vessel at the boat ramp occupied by two people. After conducting a fisheries inspection, four undersized yellow tail snapper and one undersized mutton snapper were found. Citations were issued for the violations.

Officers Carper, Cosculluela and Sample were on water patrol and saw a vessel running on plane inside a posted manatee zone. They initiated a stop on the vessel and saw four individuals on the boat with dive and lobster gear on board. A fisheries inspection revealed that one subject was in possession of two spiny lobster under the legal minimum size of 3 inches carapace length, and two hogfish under the minimum size limit of 16 inches fork length. The subject was cited accordingly.

Officers Carper, Cosculluela and Sample received a call from United States Coast Guard officers about a vessel operator who ran his boat into the dock at Crandon Park Boat Ramp. Officer Sample conducted a boating safety inspection and saw signs of impairment from the subject. He asked the subject to perform standardized field sobriety tasks, to which he agreed. After determining the subject’s normal faculties were impaired, he was arrested and transported to Turner Guilford Knight Jail.

Officers Sample and Cosculluela were on water patrol at night near the Rickenbacker Causeway. They saw an individual fishing from the concrete pillar underneath the bridge. They approached the subject to conduct a fishery inspection. The subject stated that he had some fish in a small blue cooler and pulled out two blue runners, a grunt, and a porgy. When asked if he had any more fish, he was reluctant to open the cooler again. Upon further inspection, the officers found five undersized mangrove snapper, one undersized mutton snapper, and two undersized gray triggerfish buried underneath the ice. The appropriate citations were issued.

Officers Cosculluela and Sample were on water patrol near Cape Florida State Park. They saw multiple subjects exit the water with lobster gear and board a vessel, then proceeded to leave the area. They initiated a stop on the vessel and saw numerous people on board with dive gear and lobster gear. They conducted a resource inspection and discovered five spiny lobster under the legal minimum size limit of 3 inches carapace length. The subjects were cited accordingly.

Officer Negron was conducting a lobster inspection at Bayfront Park Boat Ramp, within Miami Dade County. He saw a vessel bearing Florida registration with several people on board, pulling into the boat slip. He met with the vessel’s captain and a fisheries inspection revealed that the subject was in possession of egg-bearing female spiny lobster. The subject was issued a citation for the unlawful possession of egg-bearing lobster.

Officers Saavedra and Dominguez were on water patrol near Bear Cut when they stopped a vessel that was returning from a fishing trip. The four people on board were in possession of twenty-one mahi, fourteen of which were undersized. The captain of the vessel was cited for the violation. During a subsequent vessel stop near Haulover Inlet, the same officers discovered a subject to be in possession of two undersized mutton snapper. That subject was cited for the undersized violation.

Officer Blanco and Lieutenant Reynaud were on water patrol in the Biscayne Channel of Miami-Dade County. They saw a vessel operating with a dive flag displayed while not actively diving or having anyone in the water. During the stop, Lieutenant Reynaud noticed a small device made up of a short steel rod with a large hook attached, commonly used for taking lobsters illegally. Officer Blanco verified the presence of lobsters aboard and found 14 lobsters with clearly visible damage to the body and puncture wounds consistent with the illegal method of taking. The subject stated he had used the apparatus on some lobsters. Lieutenant Reynaud asked if there were any more lobsters on board and the subject said there were hidden lobsters in the vessel. The subject pulled two buoyancy control devices used for diving and stated he had wrung tails inside the devices. A total of 18 wrung tails were discovered. The subject and two other license holders were 15 lobsters over the bag limit, with 6 of the wrung lobster tails were undersized. Appropriate citations were issued.

Officers Perez and Moschiano were on water patrol near Cape Florida channel when they saw a few men diving near a sea wall. They stopped and conducted a resource inspection. Upon inspection the subjects were found to be in possession of 16 undersized lobster and were cited accordingly.

Officers Perez and Moschiano were on water patrol near Cape Florida channel when they responded to a tip from Officer Washington about a vessel displaying a dive flag in the Biscayne Bay Lobster Sanctuary. Upon inspection, three men on the vessel were in possession of 33 lobster in the sanctuary, 11 of which were undersized. The men were cited accordingly.

Officer McKinley was on water patrol for mini-season in Biscayne Bay when he approached a vessel with individuals in the water. He saw three rung lobster tails fall out of the shorts of one the persons on board. A fishery inspection revealed the individuals to be in possession of twenty-two whole lobster, of which thirteen were undersized. They were also in possession of one whole stone crab. They were cited accordingly for these violations.

MONROE COUNTY

Lieutenant Munkelt and Officer Sapp were conducting water patrol offshore of Summerland Key. Officer Sapp received a call from FWC dispatch regarding a sailboat that was going in circles with an unconscious person onboard. Lieutenant Munkelt and Officer Sapp located the vessel approximately two miles south of Little Palm Island. The vessel was under power from a small outboard engine and going in circles to the starboard side. Officer Sapp tried to wake the subject, who was laying on the stern of the vessel, utilizing the emergency siren, but the subject was unresponsive. Officer Sapp boarded the vessel and saw two bottles of partially consumed alcohol lying next to the subject. Officer Sapp was able to wake up the subject after several attempts. The subject displayed numerous signs of impairment and was arrested for boating under the influence. He was transported to jail after he refused to give a breath sample.

Officer Sapp was conducting water patrol near Big Pine Key. He saw a vessel coming in from offshore with rods and reels commonly used for trolling and fishing deeper water on the vessel. He stopped the vessel and conducted a marine resource inspection which revealed eight mahi onboard the vessel. Of the eight mahi, seven were under the legal size limit of twenty inches fork length. The vessel occupants were cited accordingly.

Officer Alvarez responded to a complaint after a concerned citizen alerted FWC that there were multiple divers taking lobster out of season. Officer Alvarez saw the divers at the Vaca Cut Bridge near Marathon. He found a bucket of lobsters hidden in some bushes. Officer Alvarez arrested four individuals for six out of season lobster, two of which were undersized. They were also cited for no measuring device and no saltwater fishing license and lobster stamp.

Officers Stearns and Kleis were conducting shoreline patrol when they encountered four individuals fishing under a bridge. While conducting a resource inspection, Officer Stearns found a line tied off to a rock running into the water. Attached was a small chum bag containing four undersized schoolmaster snapper. One individual claimed responsibility and was cited accordingly.

Officers Stearns and Kleis were conducting shoreline patrol and inspecting incoming vessels at a boat ramp in Monroe County. They encountered an individual with 5 undersized lobster. The responsible party was cited accordingly and issued a notice to appear in court.

While patrolling in Monroe County, Officer Curbelo along with the United States Coast Guard conducted a vessel inspection. Officer Curbelo found one of the six lobsters on the vessel was an egg-bearing spiny lobster. The appropriate citations were issued and the egg-bearing spiny lobster was returned to the water.

Officer Yaxley was on patrol with the Coast Guard out of Islamorada. The officers were conducting fisheries inspections on bully netters. They came across a vessel traveling away from the mangroves at a high rate of speed. The vessel was stopped and upon inspection, it was found that two of their eighteen lobsters were undersized. Officer Yaxley cited the responsible individual accordingly.

Officer Yaxley was on vessel patrol when she responded to a request for assistance from the United States Coast Guard. The Coast Guard had stopped a vessel with a possible intoxicated vessel operator. Upon investigation she determined that the individual was impaired and placed him under arrest for boating under the influence (BUI).

While on patrol on FWC OPV Trident, Officers Foell, Richards and Piekenbrock saw five male subjects snorkeling from a vessel with no divers down flag displayed. As the officers approached the vessel, they saw a male subject with a net commonly used for catching spiny lobster. Once alongside, the subjects stated they did not have any lobster onboard. A further inspection revealed a red “solo” cup hiding underneath a dive fin, under a seat. The cup contained three out of season spiny lobster tails. Two of the lobster tails were under the legal minimum size limit. Post-Miranda, the owner and operator admitted to catching the three lobster and knew it was closed season. The subject was arrested and transported to the Monroe County detention facility on Stock Island, without incident.

Officers Foell, Richards and Piekenbrock responded to a report of a vessel against the rocks on US-1 near South Pine channel bridge. It was found that the registered owner was operating the vessel alone, the night prior, when he hit a concrete power pole. The collision caused the operator to be ejected. The vessel continued on plane, hit the bridge, and ended up on the rocks. The operator swam to land, walked to his residence and did not notify law enforcement. The operator was cited for improper look-out and issued a notice to appear for failure to notify law enforcement of a boating accident.

Officer Carroll was on patrol around Long Key bridge. He saw two subjects with multiple coolers exiting the bridge. After gaining consent to view the contents of the coolers, he discovered multiple species of short snapper. He found dog, mutton, schoolmaster, and mangrove which were all undersized. The proper notices to appear were issued and the fish were returned to the water.

Officers Yurewitch and Holcomb were assisting Monroe County officers with the lobster mini season. The officers were checking subjects along the overseas highway. The officers conducted a resource inspection on a group of individuals which revealed a dead tarpon. One individual admitted to catching and keeping the tarpon. The individual was cited accordingly.

Officers Yurewitch, Holcomb, and Hettel were on water patrol near Key West. The officers saw a vessel returning from offshore displaying a diver down flag. The officers conducted a vessel stop to address the violation. During the stop the officers saw dive gear and spear guns. The officers located 3 undersized hogfish which one individual admitting to shooting and keeping. The individual was cited accordingly.

Officers Thompson and Oldsen were on water patrol in Adams Cut near Key Largo. Officers noticed a vessel that was drifting sideways and had navigation lights that couldn’t be seen. Officer Thompson conducted a safety equipment check and noticed signs of impairment from the operator. After conducting SFSTs, the operator was placed under arrest for operating a vessel while normal faculties impaired. He was transported to jail where he refused to give a breath sample.

Investigator Mattson responded to a PWC versus PWC crash around Key Largo. One of the PWCs crashed into the other and injured a male subject. Officers Rhoda and Maldonado arrived on scene to assist. The man was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center in Miami. Investigator Mattson completed the boating accident report and charges are pending.

Investigator Mattson was conducting plain clothes water patrol looking for lobster poachers. He saw a man freediving in waters of the Upper Keys, about a mile off Tavernier Key. Investigator Mattson saw him shoot a fish and swim it back to the boat. Investigator Mattson approached the boat and identified himself as FWC law Enforcement. The man was cited for spearfishing in the Upper Keys.

Investigator Mattson was on unmarked land patrol around MM 83 when he saw a vehicle passing multiple cars in the center turn lane. Investigator Mattson stopped the vehicle to address the traffic violations. When checking the operator’s driver license through FWC Dispatch, an active warrant was revealed. The no bail warrant was issued by the U.S. Marshals for a counterfeiting charge. The man was arrested and taken to Plantation Key Jail to be turned over to the Marshals after he was issued 2 traffic citations.

Officer Carroll was on patrol and watched four snorkelers as they harvested lobster on the south side of Long Key Bridge. After a resource inspection, the subjects were issued notices to appear for having wrung tails on the water, possession out of season, undersized tails, and no license or lobster stamp.

COLLIER COUNTY

While conducting water patrol, Officer Plussa was flagged down by multiple witnesses reporting a vessel being driven recklessly. The operator was traveling at a high rate of speed north through the wharf area in Naples Bay. Officer Plussa located the vessel, crashed into the mangroves. The sole occupant later identified as the owner and operator, was attempting to leave the scene. The subject admitted to Officer Plussa that he had been operating the vessel at a high rate of speed. The operator was arrested for reckless operation of a vessel, boating under the influence (BUI), and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury without notifying law enforcement. He was also cited for refusal to provide a breath sample, navigation rule violations, and an idle speed zone violation.

While on land patrol conducting marine fisheries inspections at Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, Lieutenant Mahoney saw a vessel approach the boat ramp with fishing equipment on board. During an inspection of the vessel, he discovered a barrel containing six undersized mangrove snapper. Four of the fish were released alive and two of the fish were seized as evidence. The owner/operator of the vessel took full responsibility for the undersized fish and was cited accordingly.

Officer Plussa responded to multiple reports of a sea turtle nest being disturbed on Marco Island. One of the witnesses had been watching four people using a well-marked sea turtle nest area as a soccer goal. From a concealed location, Officer Plussa saw one adult and three teenagers kicking a soccer ball into the well-marked sea turtle nest. They entered the nest area with total disregard of the posted “do not disturb sea turtle nest” sign. The adult admitted to seeing the sign posted at the nest site. Officer Plussa issued the adult appropriate charges for disturbing the sea turtle nest.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROL
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Messier and Way conducted a three-day patrol of the Dry Tortugas and Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Tortugas North and South Ecological Reserves. While outbound towards the Dry Tortugas, Officer Messier and Way saw a high-performance center console travelling east-bound at a high rate of speed with fishing gear on board. Officers Messier and Way acquired the proper bearing so as to conduct an intercept of the high-performance vessel. Upon seeing the law enforcement vessel closing distance, persons on the bow of the vessel began moving about the console. Blue lights and sirens were activated, and the vessel came to a stop. Once alongside, a marine fisheries inspection revealed the operator to be over the bag limit of red grouper and six fillets of red grouper were found in a plastic bag hidden in a trash can. The operator was cited for the violations.

Officers Messier and Way conducted a marine fisheries inspection on a vessel at anchor on Colbin Rock with persons on board spearfishing. The inspection revealed undersized mutton snapper being used as bait, undersized black grouper and a filleted nurse shark not in whole condition. The operator and crew were cited for the violations.

While entering the Tortugas North Ecological Reserve (no-anchor and no fishing area), Officers Messier and Way spotted a target on radar on Tortugas Bank. At a two-mile distance, the officers identified the vessel as a 100 ft. charter head boat that frequents the area. The officers proceeded closer and saw that the vessel was on anchor and not using the mooring buoys available to them a few hundred yards away. The officers came alongside to conduct an inspection and found the vessel to be operating under a researcher permit. Although the research staff had the proper permits on board, the for-hire captain was in violation of anchoring inside the Tortugas North Reserve. In addition, the inspection revealed that crew members of the vessel had harvested and were in possession of snapper and grouper species. The vessel captain was cited for the violations.

Officer Yaxley was on patrol with the Coast Guard out of Islamorada near Alligator Lighthouse when they noticed an individual anchored and actively engaged in fishing in the Special Protected Area. As they approached, the individual was attempting to reel in a catch. The individual had his GPS on which noted the area as the SPA along with the physical markers. Officer Yaxley cited the individual accordingly.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MONROE COUNTY

Officer Dube gave a FWC presentation on the do’s and don’ts for the “Lobster Sport Season” at the Ocean Reef Club’s Town Hall in North Key Largo. Officer Dube gave a brief overview on the current laws and regulations along with boating and dive safety tips to keep everyone safe. Officer Dube passed out FWC information and concluded his presentation with a Q and A session.

Officer Dube was on the radio show circuit in the Upper Keys discussing the laws and regulations for the upcoming “Lobster Sport Season.” As the guest speaker on several local media market radio shows, he gave tips on how to stay safe and obey the laws and regulations during the lobster 2-day sport season.

Officer Dube was the co-host on the Friday night radio show with Captain Bill Kelly from the new Sandbar restaurant in Islamorada. Officer Dube talked about the upcoming lobster mini-season and all the do’s and don’ts. They also discussed dive flag and boating safety tips to keep everyone safe during this annual event which draws approximately 50,000 people to the keys from all over the United States and world.

COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Plussa attended the Audubon Society of Western Everglades season-end meeting held in Marco Island and spoke to a group of over 100 residents regarding the shared success between Audubon biologists and the University of Florida during the 2018 burrowing owl nesting season. The geographical and banding data combined with FWC enforcement efforts resulted in over 190 pair of burrowing owls. These efforts doubled the number of chicks into adulthood.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
MIAMI DADE COUNTY

Officer Negron responded to an emergency about a person drowning at the Haulover Sand Bar within Miami Dade County. The call came from FWC Lieutenant Smith who brought the person to Haulover fuel point. The subject was unconscious and foaming of the mouth and with no pulse. Lieutenant Smith and Officer Negron began CPR until emergency medical services arrived and took over the scene. Lieutenant Smith and Officer Negron continued to assist EMS with CPR. Two witnesses stated that they were anchored at the Haulover Sand Bar and they saw the subject in the water and after a few minutes they saw him floating face down in the water. EMS transported the subject to Aventura Hospital Emergency Room. At the hospital, Officer Negron met with an ER nurse and physicians who advised that the subject was in a stable condition with a possible spine injury.

COLLIER COUNTY

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office requested assistance from FWC in a search for missing individual in Immokalee. The missing person, an 82-year-old male had walked away from his home the prior evening. Lieutenant Bulger and Officers Reams and Thurkettle responded with an all-terrain vehicle and swamp buggy to search the area. An extensive search of nearby wooded areas, orange groves and farm land were conducted. The subject was not located during the search. Collier County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
MONROE COUNTY

The Keys FWC dive team members met with members of Monroe County Sheriff’s office at the Coral Restoration Foundation in Key Largo. The team members were given a history and education classroom session. Lieutenant Pomares, Investigators Mattson and Hein and Officer Way went out to dive an area between Pickles and Conch Reef known as the Tavernier Nursery. The divers did a 2-tank dive followed by cleaning some of the coral “trees.” On the second dive, team members prepared and hung coral on the trees. At the end of the second dive they used a lift bag to bring up 2 old derelict spiny lobster traps. The traps were in the nursery and could have caused damage to the coral.

COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Polly and McVaney responded to a residence in North Naples regarding a bear complaint. Upon arrival, the homeowner told them that a bear had been in her house. The bear had entered through a screened patio then accessed the home through an open window. Once inside the house the bear rummaged through the trash and removed and ate items from the refrigerator. The bear exited through the same window. Officers notified the area bear biologist and a trapping effort is underway.

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  FWC Enforcement Report July 6-19. All Regions.. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 08-07-2018, 03:15 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officers Clark and Long were on vessel patrol in Quietwater Beach. The officers saw a male and female on a vessel arguing. Officer Clark stopped the vessel and spoke to the operator. While he was conducting a safety inspection, Officer Clark could smell a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath. He also noticed his eyes were very bloodshot and glassy. He asked the operator if he had been drinking and he advised he had. Officer Clark asked the operator if he would submit to field sobriety tasks (FST) and he agreed. After the conclusion of the FSTs, the operator was arrested for BUI. A breath sample of .223 blood alcohol content and .224 blood alcohol content was obtained.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

Officers Travis and Stephens were on patrol in the Apalachicola Bay. The officers boarded a vessel returning from fishing to conduct a resource inspection. Officer Travis asked the subjects on board if they had any fish to which one stated “yes” and the other stated “no.” After further inspection, Officer Travis discovered an undersized gag grouper. The grouper was seized for evidence and the owner cited for the violation.

GADSDEN COUNTY

Officer Jones was on patrol off Iron Bridge Road and the Ochlockonee River when he saw a vehicle parked at the boat ramp. He walked the river’s edge and saw two males with their backs towards him. One of the subjects was in possession of an assault style weapon. Officer Jones identified himself from a position of advantage and told the subject with the weapon to put it down. The subject complied and appeared very nervous. Officer Jones asked the subject with the weapon if it was his and the subject replied that it belonged to a friend. The subject only gave the owner’s first name stating he did not know his last name. Officer Jones collected the weapon observing the serial number was altered and walked back to the boat ramp with the subjects. Officer Jones secured the weapon in his vehicle and asked the subjects for identification. They stated they were in the center console. Officer Jones asked if it was ok if he retrieved the licenses and the subject said it would be fine. When Officer Jones opened the console he saw a clear bag that appeared to contain marijuana. The ID was under the drugs. Officer Jones collected the drugs and secured them in his vehicle. Officer Jones arrested the subject with the firearm for possession of a weapon with an altered serial number. The other subject was issued a notice to appear for the drugs. The following day Officer Jones received a call from the Tallahassee Police Department regarding a burglary where an AR 15 was stolen. After meeting with the police officer, it was determined that the subject in possession of the weapon at the Ochlockonee River was at the residence prior to the firearm being stolen.

JEFFERSON COUNTY

While conducting vessel patrol on the Wacissa River, Officer Wilcox saw a vessel approaching the boat ramp at the headwaters. When the occupants of the vessel saw her standing on the dock, they pulled to a stop in the grass opposite the dock. Officer Wilcox called the operator over to her twice before he complied. During the boating safety inspection, the vessel operator showed several signs of impairment and Officer Wilcox could smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the operator. The operator agreed to participate in a series of field sobriety tasks during which he showed several more signs of impairment. The operator was booked into the Jefferson County Jail and provided a breath sample which was above the legal limit. On the same day, Officer Wilcox was conducting a boating safety inspection on a vessel when she saw a case of beer in the vessel. The single occupant of the vessel was not old enough to possess alcohol and he admitted to consuming alcohol. Upon providing a breath sample of .07 (which is more than three times the limit of .02 for a person under 21), the subject was issued a citation for possession of alcohol by a person under 21 and for a person under 21 operating a vessel with blood alcohol content of .02 or higher.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Maltais was on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections and enforcement of the slow speed/minimum wake zone in the Intracoastal Waterway near Brooks Bridge. The officer saw a personal watercraft (PWC) in violation of the minimum wake zone. Further, the operator did not have his life jacket buckled and the passenger was not wearing a life jacket. The vessel was stopped to address the violations. In communication with the operator, the officer saw his eyes were glassy, bloodshot, watery and red and he also smelled the moderate odor of alcoholic beverage on his breath and person. Officer Maltais conducted field sobriety tasks (FST) to determine if the operator was impaired. After the FSTs were completed, the operator was arrested for BUI. The operator provided two breath samples, resulting in 0.150 and 0.155 blood alcohol content. He was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail.

Officers Bartlett and Pifer were conducting state fisheries inspections at the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier. An individual was found in possession of nine undersized bluefish. The individual was cited and issued a notice to appear citation for over the bag limit of bluefish.

Officer Corbin and Lieutenant Hahr were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections and resource protection. The officers saw a personal watercraft (PWC) on full plane traveling north from the Destin Bridge toward Crab Island in violation of the idle speed/no wake zone. The officers conducted a vessel stop on the PWC to address the violation. In communication with the operator, Officer Corbin smelled a distinct odor of cannabis coming from the vessel. The operator admitted there were three “blunts” in the vessel compartment. Also, a multicolored glass smoking device containing burnt cannabis and a medicine bottle containing cannabis were discovered. Both the operator and passenger were issued notice to appear citations.

Officers Corbin and Pifer were on vessel patrol near the entrance of Destin Harbor. The officers saw a vessel being operated with three children on board who were under six years of age and not wearing personal flotation devices (PFDs). A vessel stop was initiated to address the violation and to conduct a boating safety inspection. It was determined the pontoon was a rental and the livery failed to provide the required, properly fitting life jackets for the children. A notice to appear citation was issued to the livery for failing to provide the required life jackets for the occupants on board.

Officer Wilkenson received information from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) regarding a possible state fisheries violation. The USCG made a vessel stop and during the safety inspection they saw what appeared to be an undersized red snapper. Officer Wilkenson arrived at the USCG Station Destin, contacted the vessel owner and received consent to board the vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection. The inspection revealed undersized red snapper and vermilion snapper. The operator was issued a notice to appear citation.

Officer Corbin was on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections and resource protection in the Destin Pass area. The officer saw a vessel returning from the Gulf of Mexico displaying rods and reels. The officer conducted a vessel stop and, during the safety inspection, determined the vessel was returning from a fishing trip. The fisheries inspection revealed two undersized red snapper and two undersized vermilion snapper. The operator was issued a notice to appear citation for the undersized fish.

Lieutenant Bartlett, Investigator Schafer, and Officer Pifer were on water patrol around Crab Island when they saw a vessel leaving the area. As the vessel navigated through the other anchored vessels, the vessel’s motor caught the anchor line of another vessel. The vessel also had fishing gear on board. After the vessel cleared the other anchored vessel, a stop was initiated to conduct a saltwater fisheries and boating safety inspection. During the inspection, Officer Pifer saw signs of impairment from the operator. Officer Pifer administered standardized field sobriety tasks. Based on observations of the vessel in motion, personal contact with the operator, and the operator’s performance on the field sobriety tasks, Officer Pifer placed the operator under arrest for BUI. The operator agreed to provide a breath sample and the results were 0.184 and 0.164 blood alcohol content.

Officers Long and Clark and Investigator Molnar conducted a vessel stop on a vessel violating the idle speed zone at Crab Island. While speaking with the operator, the officers noticed the operator was showing multiple signs of impairment. Officer Long conducted field sobriety tasks (FST) on the operator to determine impairment and arrested the operator for BUI. The operator refused to provide a breath sample. The operator was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail.

Officers Corbin, Mullins and Roberson were on water patrol in Destin when they saw a vessel in violation of the idle speed-no wake zone and passing other vessels. They conducted a vessel stop to address the violation and conduct a boating safety inspection. While conducting the inspection, the operator showed signs of impairment. The operator was asked to conduct field sobriety tasks (FST) and he agreed. More clues were shown throughout the tasks and the operator was placed under arrest for BUI. The operator provided two breath samples of .226 blood alcohol content and .220 blood alcohol content.

Officers Corbin and Mullins were on water patrol in Destin when they saw a kayak with two subjects on board struggling to paddle against the tide and current. The officers pulled alongside the kayak and asked if they needed any assistance. They stated yes and advised they rented the kayak in the Destin Harbor. The subjects did not have life jackets or a sound producing device and when asked if they were given the items when they rented the kayak, they stated no. A livery inspection was conducted and the livery was issued a notice to appear citation for renting a vessel without the proper boating safety equipment and a written warning for not having boating safety information displayed at the livery.

Officers Corbin and Mullins were on water patrol at the Destin West Jetty when they saw two subjects within 100 feet of the jetty and public beach with spearfishing equipment. An Okaloosa County deputy was also on scene and advised a spear gun had been dropped by their dive flag. More spearfishing equipment was located on the jetty. Both subjects admitted to spearfishing within 100 feet of the jetties and beach and were issued notice to appear citations.

Officers Corbin and Mullins were on patrol when they were dispatched to a hit and run boating accident in the Destin Harbor. The complainant advised the vessel had struck two docked vessels and was currently in the back of the cove aground. The officers arrived on scene, located the vessel, and saw the operator sitting in the captain’s seat of the vessel. The subject was assisted to shore, and a boating accident investigation was conducted. The operator did not remember striking either vessel. While speaking with the operator, the officers saw signs of impairment. The operator was asked to conduct field sobriety tasks (FST) and he agreed. More clues of impairment were apparent throughout the tasks and the operator was placed under arrest for BUI. The operator provided two breath samples of .142 blood alcohol content and .153 blood alcohol content.

Officer Bartlett and Roberson were on water patrol around Crab Island when they saw a PWC on plane in the idle speed/no wake zone. The officers conducted a vessel stop to contact the operator and address the boating violation. While Officer Bartlett was speaking with the operator, he saw several signs of impairment and asked the individual to perform the voluntary field sobriety tasks. Based on the operator’s performance during the tasks he was arrested for BUI. The operator later provided two breath samples resulting in a 0.134 and 0.133 blood alcohol content.

Officer Roberson and Bartlett were on water patrol at Crab Island when they received a call from U.S. Coast Guard Station Destin who stated they were currently on a vessel stop and suspected the vessel operator was impaired. When the officers arrived on scene, Officer Roberson assisted USCG with conducting a boating safety inspection. Based on the signs of impairment Officer Roberson saw during the safety inspection, he asked the operator to perform voluntary field sobriety tasks. After the tasks were completed, Officer Roberson arrested the operator for BUI. The operator later provided a breath sample resulting in a 0.128 and 0.116 blood alcohol content.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officers Clark and Long were on patrol in the Yellow River Management Area. They saw a silver vehicle traveling in the management area with an expired tag. Officer Clark initiated a traffic stop and asked the driver for his license, but he could not produce one. He advised that he didn't have it with him. After identifying the driver, it was discovered that he has had seven prior suspensions on his Florida Driver License and that he did not have a current valid license. Officer Clark determined the driver had knowledge of his suspension. During the stop, Investigator Schafer determined the passenger had a warrant out of Santa Rosa County. Officer Clark charged the subject with driving while license is suspended or revoked with knowledge and both the driver and occupant were transported to the Santa Rosa County Jail.

Officers Clark and Long and Investigator Schafer were on marked vehicle patrol in Blackwater State Forest. Officer Clark contacted a subject and saw a cooler in the back of his truck. When asked, the operator stated that he had alcohol which is illegal to possess in the State Forest. While talking with the operator, Officer Clark could smell the odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle. He had the operator exit the truck and asked if he had any marijuana in the vehicle. The operator advised that he did and that it was hidden in the center console next to the driver’s seat. The marijuana was retrieved along with a glass pipe and metal rod. The operator was cited for possession of marijuana under 20 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia and was given a warning for possession of alcohol in Blackwater State Forest.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
CITRUS COUNTY

Officer Reid was on water patrol in the Homosassa River when he saw a canoe flipped over. Officer Reid helped get the canoe righted and noticed a bag containing a green leafy substance attached to one of the PFDs. The subject showed signs of impairment. Officer Reid conducted several tasks and determined the operator was impaired. The subject was arrested and taken to jail where he provided a sample of his breath at .087 bac. He was also cited for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Citrus County officers worked the opening of scallop season. There was moderate activity and the officers made four reckless operation cases for vessel operators running on plane too close to dive flags with people in the water.

Officer Reid and Investigator Thomason were working the City of Inverness fireworks display on Lake Henderson. There were numerous vessels on the lake and Reid and Thomason stopped a pontoon boat for no navigation lights. The operator showed signs of impairment. They conducted several tasks and determined the operator was indeed impaired. The operator was arrested and taken to jail where he provided a sample of his breath at .118 blood alcohol content.

ALACHUA COUNTY

Officer Drew received information of a suspect who had been captured on video loading a deer behind the Bass Pro Shop. After a review of the video revealed a tag number for the suspects’ vehicle. The suspect was in Taylor County where Officer Drew, with the assistance of Officer Albritton, received written confessions, the 17-caliber weapon used, and information where the doe hide had been dumped. Officer Drew will be filing multiple charges with the Alachua State Attorney’s Office to include taking deer during closed season and simple trespass.

DUVAL COUNTY

Lieutenant Arkin and Officer Schirbock were on vessel patrol 12.5 miles offshore from Mayport Inlet in the Atlantic Ocean when they conducted a resource/fisheries inspection on a vessel with three subjects onboard fishing at the M-R Site. The fisheries inspection revealed 26 black sea bass, eight red snapper, and two cobia. The two adult subjects on board were issued federal citations for possession of red snapper during a closed season, possession over the bag limit for black sea bass and possession of undersized black sea bass (most of the black sea bass were between 5”- 8”), and possession of undersized cobia. The vessel captain was also issued a notice to appear for improper use of a vessel dealer number and an infraction citation for expired flares.

DIXIE COUNTY

Officers Burnsed, Tyler and Fanelli were on water patrol in Dixie County when the officers saw a man and woman fishing from a flats boat and stopped the boat to conduct a fishery inspection. They were found to be in possession of seven undersized spotted sea trout. The male subject was issued a notice to appear for the violation.

BAKER COUNTY


Officers Burnsed, Tyler, Fanelli and Reserve Officer Lee were working a private deer dog hunting club, listening for free running deer dogs. The officers heard some dogs around 6:30 a.m. A truck driver with a dog box, who was trying to keep up with his dogs, was stopped in the area for a hunting inspection. The subject admitted to the officers that he was using free running dogs to chase deer. The subject was issued a notice to appear for the violation.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Officers Johnston and Tyler were on park patrol in the Ichetucknee Springs State Park when they saw an underage female subject attempting to hide an alcoholic beverage when she saw their patrol vehicle. She hid the alcoholic beverage in the trunk of the vehicle and slammed the trunk shut as the officers approached on foot. The force of the door slamming sent a rush of cannabis smoke-filled air from the vehicle directly into the faces of both officers. During a search of the vehicle, the officers found alcoholic beverages, cannabis, drug paraphernalia and multiple forms of identification. One of the driver licenses found by Officer Johnston was determined to be a fraudulent form of identification manufactured in a foreign country. The ID appeared to be from the state of Mississippi and displayed an image of the female subject but had a false date of birth. The driver license number was found to be assigned to an actual male subject in Mississippi. Multiple misdemeanor charges are being filed with the Columbia County State Attorney’s Office for the drug and alcohol related violations as well as one felony charge for unauthorized use/ possession of a fake driver’s license.

Lieutenant Kiss was doing computer work in the parking lot of Oleno State Park when he received a call regarding a suicidal woman near his location. The woman was texting with her husband and threatened suicide multiple times. Columbia County deputies as well as Officer McGrath responded, and a search ensued in a downpour of rain. After a 30 to 40-minute search, the woman was located. She was distressed and very upset. She was secured, Baker Acted and taken to a local facility for evaluation by the Columbia County deputies.

TAYLOR COUNTY

Officers Albritton and Dasher were on patrol in south Taylor County when they saw subjects fishing in a borrow pit in the Sand Hill Hunting Club. After checking the subjects, they were found not to be members of the club and had willfully trespassed to fish. The subjects were cited for trespass.

Officers Albritton and Wilder were checking offshore boats for compliance of the state’s boating safety and marine fisheries regulations at Keaton Beach in Taylor County. The officers found two individuals on a vessel to be in possession of over the bag limit of red snapper. The officers issued the appropriate citation.

NASSAU COUNTY

While checking a subject on the George Crady Fishing Bridge in Amelia State Park, Officer Sweat saw a vehicle parked in a turn lane at the entrance to the main parking lot. After approximately 10 minutes, Officer Sweat approached the vehicle to conduct a welfare check. The operator’s eyes were bloodshot, glassy and watery. His speech was slurred and incoherent. The keys were in the ignition of the vehicle and the vehicle was off. Officers Culbreth and Barry arrived to assist. Officer Culbreath located an opened bottle of Captain Morgan rum beside the operator on the front seat along with a .357 magnum pistol. Officer Sweat conducted field tasks and the operator performed poorly. After being booked in the Nassau County Jail, he submitted breath samples of 0.292 and 0.267.

Investigator Thomason coordinated a targeted enforcement detail named, “Operation Scallop Scalper,” which targeted boaters operating recklessly close to divers down flags, as well as boating safety. Investigator Thomason, along with Investigator Sumpter, posed as scallop fishermen while displaying a diver down flag from their vessel. Because of the hundreds of vessels in the scallop grounds off Crystal River and Homosassa, which runs from Chassahowitzka to the Crystal River Channel, Investigator Thomason had four chase boats available manned by Lieutenant Jones, Officer Reid, Officer Browning and Officer Ulrich. During the detail they wrote six citations for reckless operation and four citations for careless operation. All 10 citations were directly related to vessels passing within 300 feet of a divers down flag. Additionally, they wrote nine UBCs and 60 boating safety warnings.

MUTUAL AID
SUWANNEE COUNTY

Lieutenant Humphries and Officer Boone responded to a call for assistance from Lafayette Sheriff’s Office after a subject ran from a traffic stop initiated by a Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services officer. The subject had multiple warrants for arrest and fled on foot along the nearby river bank. Lieutenant Humphries and Officer Boone provided waterborne coverage, vessel transport for K-9 units and geographical knowledge to the other assisting agencies that ultimately led to the apprehension of the fleeing subject.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
SUWANNEE COUNTY

Officer Boone attended the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Youth Camp in Branford. He provided a boating safety presentation to the attending children and adults. During the presentation several questions were answered on the topics of conservation enforcement, boating safety and vessel requirements.

Officer Boone contributed to the Suwannee County Police Athletic League event in Live Oak. He provided a boating safety presentation to the large group of children and parents. The topics of discussion included boating safety, resource conservation and state vessel regulations.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
ORANGE COUNTY

While on patrol at Wekiwa Springs State Park, Officer Auber and Investigator Douglas responded to a disturbance in the park. The officers encountered a man standing with his shirt off, smoking a cigarette, consuming alcohol, and appeared to be talking to himself. The subject became argumentative and tried to throw away the case of beer he had in his possession. Inside the case, the officers found a bag of marijuana. The subject was arrested and cited for consumption of alcohol in a state park, possession of cannabis, and littering.

While on water patrol on Lake Conway, Officer Auber and Investigator Douglas conducted a vessel safety inspection. During the inspection, the male operator showed signs of possible impairment. The officers conducted field sobriety tasks and based upon their observations, arrested the operator for boating under the influence and booked him into the Orange County Jail.

LAKE COUNTY

Officer Scrambling responded to information he received of someone snatch hooking fish at the Highway 441 spillway in on the south end of Lake Griffin. Officer Scrambling arrived on scene and saw four black bass and two bluegill dead in the grass. The subject was sitting on the shoreline and was recognized by Officer Scrambling due to previous encounters and violations. The subject had a live bass on a stringer with a hole in its side, consistent with being hooked from the outside of its body (snatch hooking). The subject was issued a notice to appear for the violation.

Officer Scrambling was patrolling on County Road 48 when he saw a truck backed into the grass on the west side of Rumford Road with its tailgate down. This area is a dead-end road known for illegal dumping. Officer Scrambling contacted the subjects, who eventually admitted to dumping illegally. The subjects cleaned up the litter and were cited appropriately.

SUMTER COUNTY

Officer Scrambling was patrolling the Withlacoochee River when he stopped to conduct a resource inspection on a subject fishing from shore. The subject had an active warrant of out of Georgia and was arrested for extradition.

MARION COUNTY

Officers Dias and Fahnestock were on patrol in the Ocala National Forest when they saw tire tracks going into a restricted area. They followed the tracks and came across a vehicle occupied by a male subject. Officers Dias and Fahnestock smelled a distinct odor of marijuana. The subject admitted to the possession of marijuana and paraphernalia. Upon search of the vehicle, the officers also located methamphetamine. The subject was arrested and booked into jail.

While on patrol on the southwest end of Lake Weir, Officer Rice saw an airboat stuck on the bank. The operator was trying to get the vessel unstuck after he attempted to cross a county road. During the vessel inspection, Officer Rice detected the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the operator and saw clues of possible impairment. Officer Rice also saw several empty beer cans floating in the water near the vessel. Officer Rice administered field sobriety tasks and determined that the operator’s normal faculties were impaired. The operator was arrested for boating under the influence (BUI) and transported to the Marion County Jail, where he refused to provide a breath sample.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officer West was on patrol when he encountered an adult male operating his vehicle and unable to maintain his travel lane. After conducting a traffic stop Officer West detected signs of impairment. After the subject completed field sobriety exercises it was determined that his normal faculties were impaired. He was arrested for driving under the influence and booked into the Volusia County Jail.

Officers Sapp and Presser were performing resource inspections in Ormond Beach when they encountered a man throwing a cast net in the Intracoastal Waterway. While checking for a fishing license, the officers learned that he had three active warrants out of Volusia County. He was arrested and transported to the Volusia County Jail.

MARION COUNTY

Officer Dias was conducting water patrol on Lake Weir when he saw a personal watercraft (PWC) violating a no wake zone. He saw the operator bounce the PWC off the dock and begin doing figure 8’s and 360’s while still within the no wake zone. Officer Dias conducted a vessel stop to address the violation and conduct a boating safety inspection. During the inspection, Officer Dias noticed numerous signs of impairment. Field sobriety exercises were conducted, and the operator gave several additional clues of impairment. He was arrested and transported to the Marion County Jail where he provided breath samples of .180 and .161.

BREVARD COUNTY

Officers Hallsten and Eller were on water patrol in the Atlantic Ocean out of Port Canaveral. Approximately 20 miles off Melbourne Beach they noticed a vessel on full plane heading south and loaded with fishing gear. The officers stopped the vessel to perform a resource inspection. The occupants told the officers that they had only caught one undersized mahi on that day but let it go. The officers noticed blood in the back of the vessel that the occupants previously were trying to hose down. A further inspection of the vessel revealed fresh fillets of a previously caught mahi. The subjects were cited accordingly.

Officers Hallsten and Eller were 25 miles off Melbourne Beach when they identified a vessel anchored with five occupants bottom fishing. A resource inspection revealed a cooler of all legal fish. However, both Officer Eller and Officer Hallsten noticed that the stern of the vessel was very cluttered with fishing bags and gear. Closer examination revealed that buried under all the bags of gear was another cooler. The occupants stated that it was a live well. An inspection of that cooler revealed a one-gallon bag full of red snapper fillets. The subjects were cited accordingly.

Officers Hallsten, Balgo, and Delano were on water patrol in the Atlantic Ocean out of Port Canaveral when they saw a vessel approximately seven miles offshore returning to the port. The officers saw an assortment of fishing equipment onboard and stopped the vessel to conduct a resource inspection. Officer Delano conducted the inspection and upon opening the first cooler discovered four large two-gallon freezer bags, weighing over 40 pounds. Interviews resulted in the suspects admitting to having filleted red snapper, cobia, and mangrove snapper while offshore. The conclusion of the resource inspection also revealed that the subjects were over their total aggregate bag limit of snapper and were taking them by illegal method. Numerous federal citations were documented, and the suspects were cited accordingly.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
MARION COUNTY

Officer Rice and Investigator Miller were conducting boating safety checks at Carney Island Boat Ramp on Lake Weir when they saw a personal watercraft (PWC) approaching the pier in violation of the posted idle speed zone. A male was operating the PWC and a female was holding onto the operator. The female was not wearing a personal flotation device. When the PWC came around the end of the pier, the female appeared to be ill and possibly experiencing a medical emergency. The officers headed down the dock to contact the PWC and occupants. When they got halfway to the location, the female fell off the PWC and disappeared below the surface of the water without resurfacing. The officers rushed down the pier and dove into the water. The victim still hadn't surfaced and was feared to have drowned. After searching underwater, the officers finally located the female and pulled her up. She immediately gasped for air and was barely conscious. The officers swam her over to the dock where park personnel assisted them with getting her out of the water and administering first aid.

PUTNAM COUNTY

Putnam County and St. Johns County FWC officers responded to the area of Dunn’s Creek by land and water about a missing five-year-old child. A search was conducted in conjunction with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and the child was located a short time later in an abandoned vehicle.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
BREVARD COUNTY

Officers from Brevard County and Osceola County hosted all the Brevard County State Attorneys to a cookout and airboat tour on the St. Johns River. It was a great opportunity for officers and state attorneys to build a stronger working relationship. Officers used this opportunity to discuss the job of an FWC officer and answer some of the more frequently asked questions concerning fish and wildlife violations.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on water patrol, Officers Rorer and Caldwell received a complaint of an individual cast netting and keeping snook at Cypress Point. The officers responded and located the individual who was in possession of a snook. He was cited for possession of an undersized snook during a closed season.

Officer Rorer and Lieutenant Laskowski were following up on a boating accident that occurred between two jet skis at the Courtney Campbell Causeway. At the time of the accident, the extent of one of the victim’s injuries was not known. They conducted follow up interviews with both operators and determined both operators were inexperienced and did not possess the required boating safety identification card for operating a vessel. During the investigation, violations of three Coast Guard navigation rules to include improper lookout, unsafe speed and required action by a give way vessel were documented. Both operators were cited for the applicable navigational rule violations and for not having the required boating safety identification cards.

While on water patrol in Tampa Bay, Officer LaRosa contacted a vessel and conducted a fisheries inspection. During the inspection, it was determined the subject had a warrant out of Pinellas County for battery. The individual was arrested for the warrant and transported to the Hillsborough County Jail to await extradition to Pinellas County.

While on foot patrol at Medard Park in Hillsborough County, Lieutenant Van Trees saw two fishing poles that had been discarded in the woods just off a foot trail. Since the poles weren’t broken and in good condition, he followed footprints until he came upon a group of men cast netting. Medard Park is a Fish Management Area (FMA) and recreational cast netting is not allowed. Lieutenant Van Trees watched the men from a concealed location as they took freshwater fish with the cast net and threw their empty aluminum cans into the woods. He contacted the group after watching them for a while and addressed the violations. On the way back to their vehicle, the men picked up their fishing poles and Lieutenant Van Trees pointed out the signs they passed advising it was illegal to cast net. Two men were given misdemeanor citations for cast netting in a FMA and warned for littering and not possessing their freshwater fishing licenses.

Lieutenant Van Trees was on water patrol with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit (HCSO) when they stopped a vessel with the two males on board to conduct a boating safety inspection. The HCSO deputy noticed signs of impairment from the operator, and after seated field sobriety exercises the operator was arrested for BUI. Officers Wilkins, Martinez, and Larosa arrived on another vessel to take possession of the operator’s vessel when Officer Martinez noticed signs of impairment from the passenger on the vessel and discovered he was under 21 years old. The passenger admitted to drinking with the operator and agreed to give a sample of his breath via a portable breath tester (PBT). The PBT confirmed the passenger had a Breath Alcohol Concentration (BrAC) of .042 and he was cited for a minor in possession of alcohol. The operator was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail for BUI and failure to submit to breath/urine/blood sample.

Officer Wilkins was on water patrol with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit (HCSO) and made three boating under the influence arrests near the Beer Can Island area of Tampa. Officer Wilkins has been mentoring the deputies and helping them with BUI enforcement in their area of operation. They were the first BUI’s for both deputies.

While on water patrol with Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit (HCSO) near Beer Can Island, Officer Wilkins initiated a vessel stop at which time the operator tried switching positions with another occupant. Officer Wilkins conducted a boating safety inspection with the subject who tried to leave the helm and saw the man bracing himself on the vessel, slurring his words, and forgetting the safety equipment asked of him. Officer Wilkins arrested the subject and booked him into the Hillsborough County Jail for boating under the influence and refusal to submit to a test of breath/urine/blood.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Hough and Lieutenant DeLacure assisted the Tampa Police Department with the inventory and transport of numerous turtles and tortoises that were possessed by a wildlife dealer whose Class III wildlife license had been denied. The subject continued to sell and advertise the sale of these reptiles after his license was denied. Charges will be filed with the State Attorney’s Office for the violations.

LEE COUNTY

Officers Garcia and Hardgrove received a tip that a local charter boat captain frequently harvested over the two per vessel limit of African pompano. The vessel was scheduled to return from a two-day trip to the Dry Tortugas the following morning. The officers met the boat at the dock before sunrise the next morning and found the captain to be in possession of 12 African pompano. Appropriate charges were filed.

Lieutenant Spoede and Officer Winton were on water patrol in Matanazas Pass when they saw a vessel which appeared to be weaving and unable to maintain a fixed course. The officers noticed that the vessel did not display a boater safety decal. They stopped the vessel to conduct a boating safety inspection and they noticed that both the vessel and its operator were covered in blood. The operator stated that he did not know where he had injured himself and he appeared to be severely impaired. Field sobriety tasks were administered, and the subject was placed under arrest. As he was being handcuffed, the subject resisted officers, and continued to resist officers as they walked him down the dock at a nearby boat ramp. The subject received medical attention and later provided breath samples of .153 and .149, almost three hours after the arrest. The subject was then booked into the Lee County Jail for boating under the influence and resisting an officer without violence.

Officers Price and Gray were on night water patrol near Lover’s Key State Park when they saw people inside the park during closed hours. In the darkness the officers were able to catch the subjects off guard, fishing along the beach. As the officers approached they could clearly see an open backpack with a bag inside that appeared to contain marijuana. One of the other subjects had a backpack as well and was observed getting items out of it, but they claimed it was not theirs and was abandoned on the beach. Officer Price opened the pack to see if he could identify the owner. Inside was another bag containing a substantial amount of marijuana. Unfortunately for the two men, their car keys, cell phones and other identifying items were inside. The men were read their Miranda rights and later admitted the drugs were theirs. The first package of marijuana weighed 36 grams while the second package weighed 114 grams. Both subjects were arrested for felony possession of marijuana over 20 grams along with other charges relating to drug paraphernalia.

Officer Winton was on vessel patrol off the coast of Sanibel when he saw a commercial charter vessel returning from offshore waters. He stopped the vessel and noticed that the mate onboard was hesitant for him to inspect one of the fish boxes. A search of the fish box revealed 23 snapper (multiple species) not in whole condition, as well as 6 undersized yellowtail snapper. The captain of the vessel was issued a notice to appear for the violations.

Officer Winton was on federal water patrol in the Gulf of Mexico when he came across a vessel with the occupants actively fishing. A vessel stop was conducted, and it was determined that the occupants were in possession of one undersized gag grouper, two undersized red grouper, an undersized and out-of-season gray triggerfish, and two undersized lane snapper. The captain of the vessel was issued multiple citations and warnings for the violations.

Officer Winton was on patrol in Matlacha when he noticed a vessel being trailered without a license plate attached. He stopped the vehicle and determined that the subjects had been fishing and were in possession of snapper and sheepshead. In the subject’s cooler, Officer Winton discovered 5 undersized mangrove snapper and 2 undersized sheepshead. Additionally, the driver of the vehicle did not have a valid fishing license. The driver was issued a notice to appear for the fisheries violations, and warnings for an expired fishing license and for driving a trailer without a license plate attached.

Officers Price and Gray were on water patrol near Redfish Point when they saw two people leaving a waterside bar on their jet skis. They left on plane and ran through two different slow speed areas. When the officers attempted to stop the PWC’s, only one of them complied. During the vessel safety inspection, the officers noticed signs of impairment. The officers administered sobriety exercises and he was arrested for boating under the influence. At the jail, he submitted to a breath test which resulted in a breath alcohol level of .125.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officers Gonzales and Dalton were on water patrol around Long Boat Pass when they conducted a boating safety inspection on a vessel transiting near the pass. During the inspection, the officers saw indicators in the operator’s behavior that led them to believe he may be under the influence of alcohol. The officers assessed the operator’s level of impairment to determine if he was able to operate his vessel safely. After their investigation, they placed the operator under arrest for boating under the influence of alcohol and he was taken to jail. The subject will have to appear in court for his violation.


Officer Davidson, along with two U.S. Coast Guard members, were on water patrol around the Cortez Bridge. They stopped and performed a boating safety inspection on a vessel heading north towards the bridge. Officer Davidson could smell alcohol coming from the captain of the vessel and he was also having trouble with his speech. Officer Davidson investigated to determine the subjects level of impairment. Upon completion of his investigation, Officer Davidson placed the captain of the vessel under arrest for boating under the influence of alcohol and he was taken to the Manatee County Jail.

Officer Grenz was on land patrol around the South Skyway Fishing Pier. She conducted a fisheries inspection on an individual fishing from the pier. During the inspection, Officer Grenz found that the subject had one undersized gag grouper. The subject was issued a criminal citation for possession of undersized gag grouper and will have to appear in court for the violation.

PASCO COUNTY

Officer Balfour was on land patrol in Werner Boyce Salt Springs State Park when he saw a vehicle drive through a stop sign and fail to pay the entrance fee. The officer stopped the vehicle for the violations. During the stop, he learned the driver was driving with a previously suspended license. Officer Balfour arrested the driver for driving without a license and issued several citations and warnings for the various state park violations.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on patrol at the North Skyway Fishing Pier, Officer LaRosa initiated a fisheries inspection with a subject who stated he only caught a bonnet head shark. Upon inspecting his cooler, Officer LaRosa found an undersized gag grouper hidden under the shark. The individual was cited for possession of an undersized gag grouper.

While on patrol at the Gandy Bridge, Officers Bibeau and Litherland saw multiple individuals actively fishing from the shoreline. The officers watched the individuals from a concealed location and contacted the them as they prepared to leave the area. The officers conducted a fisheries inspection and located two undersized and out of season snook. Officer Bibeau read the individuals their Miranda Rights and after a short series of questions one of the individuals admitted to accepting the snook from another subject earlier in the day. Officer Bibeau wrote the individual a misdemeanor citation for possession of snook during closed season and warnings for undersized snook and not obtaining a valid snook permit.

While on water patrol at the Gandy Bridge, Officers Ferguson and Phillippi saw two males fishing underneath the bridge from a support piling. Officer Phillippi dropped Officer Ferguson off on the piling to conduct a resource inspection at which point he saw two mangrove snapper laying on the piling. Officer Ferguson asked if there were any other fish besides the snapper laying on the piling and one of the subjects stated he had another mangrove snapper in his bait bucket. Upon inspecting the bait bucket, Officer Ferguson found a 12” red grouper swimming inside. Officer Ferguson laid all the fish next to each other and showed the subjects how they clearly weren’t the same species. The subject responsible for the red grouper was cited for possession of undersized red grouper and warned for possession of undersized mangrove snapper and not having a valid saltwater fishing license.

POLK COUNTY

Officer Carter and Lieutenant McCorkle were conducting boating safety and resource related patrol at night on the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes. They conducted a stop on a vessel not displaying an all-around white light on Lake Shipp. During the vessel stop the operator displayed signs of impairment. The operator agreed to complete seated field sobriety tests and upon completion, the operator was arrested and cited for one count of BUI. While at the jail the operator refused to provide a breath sample.

Captain Brooks and Officer Earls were conducting boating safety and resource related patrol on the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes. While assisting Polk County Sherriff’s Agricultural Deputies at the Canal Commission boat ramp, they saw a vessel maneuvering in an unusual, irregular pattern near the east Lake Shipp boat ramp. The operator of the vessel was yelling to other patrons on the boat ramp and shoreline displaying signs of impairment in his speech. Captain Brooks quickly maneuvered the patrol vessel to the boat ramp were the vessel was being loaded onto the trailer. The operator was observed getting into the driver’s seat and starting the vehicle hitched to the vessel. Officer Earls approached the vehicle to inform the operator of his property lying on the boat ramp. A strong odor of an alcoholic beverage was emitting from the vehicle’s driver compartment. Officer Earls conducted seated field sobriety tasks on the operator resulting in an arrest for boating under the influence and driving under the influence.

Officers Tyer and Livingston responded to a tip alleging someone drying an alligator hide on their front porch in Polk City. When Officers Tyer and Livingston arrived, they located the untagged alligator hide and conducted interviews. One subject stated he found it dead and denied killing the alligator. The subject was arrested and cited for one misdemeanor count of possession of alligator parts.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Zimmerman issued citations to a facility for unlawful Importation of Class I wildlife without a valid importation permit. A second citation was also issued for failing to obtain an official certificate of veterinary inspection prior to entering the state.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officer Holcomb was on land patrol and conducted a fisheries inspection at the Hallandale Beach Bridge. During the inspection, a subject had 16 undersized mangrove snapper in his possession. The legal bag limit for mangrove snapper is 5 per harvester and they must be at least 10 inches in total length. The subject had been issued a warning less than six months prior for possession of undersized mangrove snapper. The subject was issued two citations for over bag limit and undersized mangrove snapper.

While on patrol in the Holey Land Wildlife Management Area, Officer Tarr saw a subject illegally target shooting. As he approached the target shooter, Officer Tarr also saw 2 subjects fishing directly behind the rock/dirt berm the subject was shooting in to. The subject passed by numerous signs advising that target shooting is illegal in that area. The subject was issued a criminal citation for public discharge of a firearm and issued a warning for the careless exhibition of a firearm.

Officer Grant received information that an individual was feeding and harassing burrowing owls at a park in southern Broward County. She initiated an investigation and spoke to witnesses and park personnel. She, along with Officer Brock and Investigator Corteguera conducted surveillance at the park. Through their observations, Officer Grant contacted an individual at the burrowing owls’ nests and charged him with misdemeanor violations as pertaining to feeding and harassing burrowing owls.

Officer Grant responded to a marina in Ft. Lauderdale at the request of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. The Agency had stopped a vessel returning from the Bahamas and had located queen conch onboard. Officer Grant met with the customs agent and also spoke with two individuals onboard the vessel. Officer Grant seized over 100 dead queen conch that were onboard the vessel and entered them into evidence. Officer Grant is filing this case federally with the National Marine Fisheries Service as a violation of the Lacey Act.

Officers Lopez and Ryan were on patrol in Dania Beach. They were conducting saltwater fisheries inspections along the Dania Cutoff canal. They saw one individual fishing in the canal. They conducted a resource and license inspection. The individual did not have a fishing license and had an active felony warrant out of Metro-Dade County. Officer Lopez placed the individual under arrest and transported him to the Broward County Jail.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Corteguera completed an investigation regarding the illegal possession of a conditional species. One subject was found to be in possession of an approximately five-foot Nile monitor. One misdemeanor and nine warnings were issued about the illegal possession and the Nile monitor was turned over to FWC biologists. Investigator Teems and Officer Cornell assisted on this incident.

HENDRY COUNTY

Officer Keen was on vessel patrol on the Caloosahatchee River. Contact was made with the operator of a vessel who stated they were on the way back from the Bahamas. Once he was done with the boating safety inspection, Officer Keen asked to see their catch from the trip. A fisheries inspection revealed that queen conch was aboard. The subject was issued a notice to appear for possession of queen conch.

MARTIN COUNTY

While conducting water patrol Officers Morrow, Pecko, and Brodbeck saw a vessel underway with eleven persons onboard. The number of passengers appeared to be over vessel capacity and a small child without a PFD was present. Upon contacting the vessel operator, Officer Morrow saw that the subject was speaking with slurred speech, had bloodshot eyes and had difficulty spelling his name. Officer Morrow conducted a BUI investigation and arrested the subject for BUI. The subject was transported to the Martin County Jail. The subject was cited for BUI and refusal to submit to a breath test. An additional charge of BUI with person under 18 years of age onboard is pending.

Officers Hudson, Carroll, and Brevik were on patrol near the Jensen Causeway when they saw two jet-skis operating recklessly. The Officers conducted a vessel stop on the two jet-skis. While the officers were conducting a safety inspection the operators showed many signs of impairment. The two operators were placed under arrest for boating under the influence and reckless operation of a vessel.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Brodbeck was on patrol in Jupiter when he saw two unregistered dirt bikes being operated on a public roadway by juveniles. A traffic stop was initiated to address the violation. One operator stopped, while the other fled. Officer Brodbeck told the operator who stopped to stay where he was and attempted to find the fleeing dirt bike. He returned to the first operator and upon questioning, learned the name and address of the subject that fled. Officer Brodbeck brought the compliant individual and dirt bike to the residence of the subject who fled. Jupiter Police contacted Officer Brodbeck regarding the subject that fled, indicating he had also been involved in two hit-and-run accidents earlier that day. The subject’s father agreed to call Officer Brodbeck upon the return of his son. Two days later, after hearing that the subject had returned home, Officer Brodbeck returned to the residence and issued the subject criminal citations for reckless driving and operating an unregistered motor vehicle, as well as traffic citations for running a stop sign, running a red light, and operating into oncoming traffic. Jupiter Police will be filing felony warrants for fleeing the scene of an accident with property damage.

Officer Brodbeck was on patrol when a vehicle was observed operating in a careless manner. The vehicle nearly rear-ended another during normal traffic flow along US 1. A
traffic stop was initiated to address the violation. Upon contact with the driver of the vehicle, multiple signs of impairment were detected. After completing field sobriety tasks, the subject was placed under arrest for DUI. During transport to the Palm Beach County Jail, the subject became increasingly disrespectful and hostile. While at the jail, the subject threatened Officer Brodbeck and the officer’s family. The subject provided a breath sample of 0.166, over twice the legal limit. The subject was issued a criminal traffic citation for DUI with an over 0.08, and a citation for following too closely. The subject was additionally cited for a felony for threatening a law enforcement officer.

Officers Pecko and Brodbeck were on vessel patrol when they saw a sailing catamaran with approximately 25 people on board. A vessel stop was initiated to conduct a boating safety inspection. Officer Brodbeck explained the purpose of the stop and regulatory requirements to the owner of the vessel. The owner of the vessel stated that he refused to allow a boating safety inspection. After Officer Brodbeck informed the owner of the vessel that he would be placed under arrest for interference of an FWC officer, the owner complied with the inspection request. The vessel was found to be well short of the required amount of PFD’s and the owner of the vessel was issued a Uniform Boating Citation for the violation.

Officers Hudson and Trawinski received a complaint of an individual selling fish from his house. The officers responded to the call and found an individual sitting outside his house with 4 coolers around him. The officers saw a scale, calculator, cutting board and plastic bags on top of one of the coolers. They asked the individual what he was doing, to which he responded that he was selling fish. Inside of the four coolers were 7 barracuda, 2 cubera snapper, 1 permit, 1 black grouper and 6 triggerfish. The individual stated he did not have any more fish, but upon investigation the officers found one additional cooler containing 4 barracuda. The individual was cited for over the bag limit of barracuda and selling saltwater products without a saltwater products retail license.

Officers Hudson and Trawinski received a call from the Lantana Police Department regarding a possible boating under the influence incident. The officers responded to the area and began to look for the boat. The officers saw a vessel leaving the area without navigation lights and initiated a vessel stop on the vessel. When the officers pulled next to the vessel, the occupants informed the officers that they had just been hit by another boat and were following it. The officers located the boat that had caused the accident and initiated a vessel stop. The officers investigated what caused the accident. Officer Hudson detected signs of impairment from the operator and conducted field sobriety tasks. The operator was placed under arrest for boating under the influence and boating under the influence with property damage.

Officer Brodbeck was on vessel patrol in the area near Palm Beach Inlet when a vessel was seen with three individuals actively fishing. A vessel stop was initiated to conduct a resource inspection. Upon contacting the three individuals, two did not have valid saltwater fishing licenses. Officer Brodbeck boarded the vessel to inspect their catch and located a large cooler on board with a variety of both regulated and unregulated species. The officer asked the owner of the vessel if there were any more fish on board and he stated there were not. A second cooler was found which contained more fish. After measuring and counting all the fish on board, a total of 42 snapper were found, including 32 undersized lane snapper and 1 undersized mutton snapper. Also found on board the vessel was a measuring tape which included pictures and size limits of the fish caught in Florida waters. The owner of the vessel received misdemeanor citations for over the daily bag limit of snapper, possession of undersized lane snapper, and possession of undersized mutton snapper. Warnings were issued for the license violations. The fish were seized for evidence.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
MARTIN COUNTY

Officer Bingham and Officer McLeod responded to a jet ski explosion where two of the passengers received third degree burns. The officers secured the scene and had the subjects transported to the nearest trauma center for treatment.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
BROWARD COUNTY

Officer Armstrong participated in a public outreach event at the Hunt Elementary School for their summer program sponsored by the Coral Springs Police Department. Officer Armstrong talked to the kids about the FWC and brought a small alligator with him to educate the kids about alligator safety.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MIAMI DADE COUNTY

Officer Dunn and Officer Perez were on land patrol in Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. They saw two individuals fishing at one of the fishing piers. One individual appeared to be wet from swimming. The officers conducted a saltwater resource inspection and found their ice chest to contain 1 lobster, 3 undersized mangrove snapper and 1 undersized schoolmaster snapper. One individual claimed the lobster and fish and was cited accordingly for the resource violations. Approximately 20 minutes later, Officer Dunn and Officer Perez saw an individual pulling an ice chest and carrying a spear gun along the seawall near the light house. Upon closer inspection, the individual appeared to be wet from swimming. The officers conducted a saltwater resource inspection and found the individual to be in possession of 5 spiny lobsters, 1 Spanish lobster and 1 parrot fish. Three of the spiny lobsters were speared and one was undersized. The individual admitted to swimming along the seawall and catching all the lobsters and fish. He was cited accordingly for the resource violations.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Smith responded to a complaint regarding the illegal possession of a large Burmese python. The owner contacted FWC’s amnesty program to turn the snake over to a licensed facility, but then refused to follow through with the transfer. Investigator Smith located the individual and issued a criminal citation for the illegal possession. The snake was placed at the licensed facility that was supposed to receive it through the amnesty program. Officer Hernandez assisted on this incident.

MONROE COUNTY

Officers Rubenstein and Wagner were on water patrol with Lieutenant Payne in an unmarked vessel looking for early lobstering. While cruising the shoreline around the lower keys they saw an individual diving with no dive flag looking suspicious in an area that is known to have lobster. Lieutenant Payne dropped off Officer’s Rubenstein and Wagner on a nearby island where they watched the individual continue to work the ledge that holds lobster. The individual continued to look around and work his way over to a kayak stashed at the entrance to the area. As the subject approached the kayak he never took his hands out of the water holding something below the surface. When he got in his kayak he placed a lobster gaff and a bag into his lap and started to paddle off. Once he was in shallow water he was stopped for an inspection. The subject had 7 out of season, undersized, wrung, punctured, over the limit lobster, and no fishing licenses or stamp. He was placed under arrest and taken to Stock Island Jail.

Officer Garcia assisted USCG Islamorada with a vessel stop around Blackwater Sound. On the vessel were two adults and two teenagers. The two adults were found to be in possession of 65 gray snapper, three of them undersized, and one undersized barracuda. Both subjects were arrested and charged accordingly.

Officers Baumgartner and Conrad were on patrol around Card Sound Bridge in North Key Largo. They saw a subject actively fishing with pole in hand. Upon inspection, the subject stated he had no fish. A cooler was discovered in the subject’s vehicle and the subject gave consent to inspect. Inside were two undersized black grouper, one undersized mutton snapper, a mutton snapper not in whole condition, and an undersized yellowtail snapper. The subject was cited for the violations.

Officer Petru was on water patrol in the Whale Harbor channel and saw a large pontoon boat leave the sandbar with numerous people on board. He initiated a stop, identified the operator and conducted a boating safety inspection. Through the course of the inspection he noticed the operator appeared impaired and asked if he would perform a few tasks to make sure he was safe to operate the vessel back to the livery. The operator was arrested for BUI and refused to provide a breath sample. He was cited for operating a vessel while normal faculties are impaired and refusal to submit a breath sample and was booked into Plantation Key Jail.

Lieutenant Peters was on water patrol in an unmarked vessel wearing plain clothes south of Love Canal near Sugarloaf Key in state Atlantic Waters of Monroe County. He saw a light blue contender displaying a dive flag with two snorkelers in the water actively spearfishing. Lieutenant Peters waited until one of the subjects swam back to the vessel and he approached to conduct a marine fisheries inspection. During the inspection he found the two subjects each had shot one hogfish. He asked where the fish were and was told in the center deck hatch in front of the center console. Lieutenant Peters found 7 mahi inside the deck hatch that were not in whole condition along with two hogfish. The captain said he did not have a chance to measure the hogfish and that he was responsible for all the fish on his vessel. Lieutenant Peters measured the hogfish and showed the captain that both were clearly undersized. Lieutenant Peters measured the 7 mahi and determined 4 of them were clearly identifiable as being undersized. The captain was issued one notice to appear citation for: possession of undersized hogfish, possession of mahi not in whole condition, and possession of undersized mahi.


Officer Thompson and Investigator Mattson were on patrol near Tea Table Bridge, Islamorada when they saw an individual that was actively fishing from a kayak. They conducted a resource inspection and Investigator Mattson noticed a fish tucked under his leg. He asked to see the fish that was later identified as a mutton snapper measuring 11 inches. After further research Officer Thompson found that the individual had a history of failure to pay fines. Officer Thompson placed the individual under arrest due to him being a flight risk. He was cited for possession of undersized mutton snapper.

Officers Thompson and Petru were on routine patrol in Whale Harbor Channel, Islamorada. They noticed a boat that was in gear and pulling their anchor across the bottom with a large number of people on board. Officer Thompson conducted a safety equipment check and noticed signs of impairment from the operator. After conducting SFSTs on the operator, Officer Thompson placed him under arrest for operating a vessel while normal faculties impaired. The operator consented to give a breath sample and blew a .150 and a .151. He was also cited with operating a vessel with a BAC of .08 or higher.

Officers Trueblood and Thompson were conducting Sanctuary Preservation Area patrol near Alligator Reef SPA, Islamorada. They saw a small vessel with fishing rods in rod holders quickly pulling anchor as they approached. The officers stopped the vessel and conducted a fisheries inspection. During the inspection the officers located two undersized red grouper in a live well along with multiple other unregulated fish. The officers informed the three men onboard

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  FWC Enforcement Report June 27-July 5. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 07-30-2018, 09:50 AM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
BAY COUNTY

Officers Brady, Gore and Coker were conducting resource inspections in Grand Lagoon when they saw a vessel with nine people on board returning from fishing. The officers conducted a resource inspection of the vessel and found the individuals to be in possession of 21 red snapper. The bag limit for red snapper is two per person so they could only possess 18. The captain of the vessel was issued a citation for over the bag limit of red snapper.

Officers Gerber, Hayes and Coker were conducting resource inspections of vessels returning from fishing when they saw a vessel with two people on board near the Panama City Marina in St. Andrews Bay. The officers conducted a resource inspection of the vessel and found two gray triggerfish. Gray triggerfish season is closed. The captain of the vessel took responsibility for the violation and was issued a citation.

Officers Gerber, Hayes and Coker were conducting boating safety and resource inspections in St. Andrews Bay when they saw a vessel with two people on board approaching the Hathaway Bridge. As the officers approached the vessel from the bow, they activated their emergency lights and siren to signal the driver that he needed to stop so they could conduct an inspection. The operator looked at the officers and continued for about 150 yards before he came to a stop. During the boating safety inspection of the vessel, the officers noticed that the operator was showing signs of impairment. After conducting field sobriety tests, the officers placed the operator under arrest for BUI and transported him to the Panama City Beach Field Office for a breath sample. The operator refused to provide a sample and was booked into the Bay County Jail.

Lieutenant Allen was conducting resource inspections in St. Andrews State Park of individuals fishing after hours. During one of the inspections, he found one group in possession of a 34.75-inch red drum. Officer Basford arrived to assist with the inspection. One of the individuals took responsibility for the oversized fish and Officer Basford issued him a citation for the violation.

Reserve Officer Cooper was conducting resource inspections in St. Andrews Bay of vessels returning from fishing when he saw a vessel with several people on board returning from the Gulf of Mexico. During a resource inspection of the vessel he found seven gray triggerfish in the fish box. Gray triggerfish season is closed. The captain of the vessel took responsibility for the violation and was issued a citation for possession of gray triggerfish during closed season.

Reserve Officer Cooper was conducting resource inspection in St. Andrews Bay of vessels returning from fishing when he saw a vessel with one person on board returning from the Gulf of Mexico. During a resource inspection of the vessel he found three gray triggerfish in a compartment on the vessel. Each of the three gray triggerfish were less than the 15-inch minimum size requirement and the season is closed. He issued the operator of the vessel a citation for the possession of gray triggerfish during closed season and warnings for possession of undersized gray triggerfish as well as for over the bag limit.

CALHOUN COUNTY

While patrolling on the Apalachicola River, Officers Hayes and Homan checked an individual who had five striped bass. The officers saw a wet cast net and the individual admitted to catching the striped bass with the net. Charges were filed for taking freshwater game fish by an illegal method.

ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officers Clark, Allgood, Manning and Long teamed up in two vessels to work a saltwater fisheries enforcement detail in the Gulf of Mexico. During their patrol, they discovered two different for hire charter boats fishing in federal waters that did not have the proper licenses. A vessel captain conducting a charter fishing trip in federal waters for reef fish is required to have a federal reef fish permit. In addition, one of the charter vessels possessed two king mackerel, which requires a separate permit to possess a coastal migratory species on a for hire vessel. Three federal citations were issued for the violations.

Officer Allgood and Captain Glover were on vessel patrol in the Gulf of Mexico south of Pensacola when the officers arrived on an artificial reef where several vessels were fishing. One of the vessels in the group noticed the officers approaching and attempted to leave the area. As Officer Allgood approached the vessel, the operator spun his vessel around to attempt to conceal the left side of the vessel. Officer Allgood maneuvered his patrol vessel to the left side of the subject’s vessel and Captain Glover boarded the vessel. Captain Glover saw an amberjack laying on the deck of the boat which is currently closed for harvest. After inspection of the fish box, Captain Glover found another undersized amberjack on board the vessel. The operator was issued two federal citations for amberjack out of season and not landing fish in whole condition.

Officer Long was on vessel patrol and stopped a vessel for violating the wake zone near Galvez Landing. After a boating safety inspection, Officer Long noticed several fish tails protruding from the cooler on the vessel. A fisheries inspection revealed that the operator was in possession of five king mackerel, two over the daily bag limit. The operator was issued a citation for over the bag limit of king mackerel and violation of the idle speed zone.

JACKSON COUNTY

Officers Forehand and Scott were conducting boating safety vessel patrols on Merritts Mill Pond. As they neared one of the boat ramps, a vessel pulled alongside them and the operator asked if they would like to race. The officers noticed the operator’s speech was slurred and they smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage. The officers conducted a boating safety inspection and BUI investigation. The officers administered field sobriety tasks and based on the results and other indicators, the operator was placed under arrest for BUI. He provided a breath sample which registered .100 blood alcohol content and .101 blood alcohol content.

Officers Forehand and Scott were on vessel patrol on the Apalachicola River when they saw a person throwing a cast net. When the officers approached, the individual put down the cast net and picked up a fishing pole. The officers located several bream that were harvested with the cast net. The subject was cited for taking freshwater game fish by an illegal method.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Bartlett was on vessel patrol in the Destin Harbor conducting boating safety inspections. The officer received information from the U.S. Coast Guard regarding an ongoing vessel stop they were conducting at the Brooks Bridge. The operator of the vessel had shown signs of impairment. After arriving on scene, Officer Bartlett established communication with the operator. He saw the operator’s speech was slurred and was having a tough time understanding his questions. The operator had difficulty in completing the vessel safety inspection and performed poorly on field sobriety tasks (FST). The operator was arrested for BUI and provided two breath samples resulting in a 0.170 blood alcohol content and 0.167 blood alcohol content. The operator was transported to Okaloosa County Jail.

Officers Pifer and Jernigan were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections in the Destin/Crab Island area. The officers saw a 24-foot vessel with four individuals on board on the southeast side of Crab Island towards the Marler Bridge drifting with the outgoing tide. They saw the vessel for several minutes as it continued to drift closer and closer to the bridge and saw the operator stumble twice. The starboard side of the vessel struck the bridge and the four individuals on board began to push the vessel away from the bridge. A vessel stop was initiated to conduct a boating safety inspection and determine if their vessel sustained any damage. Officer Pifer contacted the operator and immediately noticed his speech was slow and slurred and his eyes were glassy. The officer saw a large trash bag behind the helm full of empty beer cans. During the boating safety inspection, the operator was unsteady on his feet and was unable to locate the requested PFDs despite them laying on the deck of the vessel. After the field sobriety tasks, the operator was arrested for BUI. The operator provided two breath samples resulting in 0.178 blood alcohol content and 0.182 blood alcohol content. The operator was transported to Okaloosa County Jail.

Officers Wilkenson, Jarvis, and Corbin were on vessel patrol in Destin/Crab Island area conducting boating safety and resource inspections. The officers saw a pontoon style vessel leaving the south side of Crab Island with fishing equipment displayed. The vessel had seven subjects on board. As the officers pulled their patrol vessel alongside the pontoon, the operator was instructed to put the throttle of the vessel in neutral. The operator was slow to respond, looked in the officers’ direction and appeared dazed. Officer Jarvis conducted the boating safety and resource inspection and noticed an open can of beer next to the operator. He asked if they had been fishing and they stated no. He asked to look inside the cooler and found bottles of water and wine. The operator agreed to perform field sobriety tasks (FST). After the FSTs, the operator was arrested for BUI. The operator refused to provide a breath sample. He was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail.

Officer Corbin and Lieutenant Hahr were on vessel patrol in Destin/Crab Island area conducting boating safety and resource inspections. The officers saw a vessel in violation of the idle speed, no wake zone on the south side of the Destin Bridge, traveling east toward the Destin Harbor. The vessel was being operated on full plane and the officers instructed the operator to slow down. The operator ignored the officers’ instructions and after continued instruction to slow down the operator complied. In a short period of time, the operator pushed the throttle forward and continued to violate the idle speed, no wake zone again. The officers stopped the vessel to address the violation. They instructed the operator to place the vessel’s throttle in neutral. The operator looked at the officers and continued the vessel’s travel into the Destin Harbor. The operator was again instructed to place the throttle into neutral and he complied. While pulling alongside the vessel, the operator stood up and moved to a different seat. A female subject moved to the captain’s seat. When the officers addressed the idle speed, no wake violation, the operator denied he was driving the boat. Throughout the safety inspection, the operator was unsteady on his feet, losing his balance and bracing himself against objects to regain and maintain his balance. The operator performed field sobriety tasks and was arrested for BUI. The operator refused to provide a breath sample. The operator was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY


Lieutenant Hahr was on vessel patrol on the Blackwater River when he stopped a vessel to address a violation of registration numbering. The subject was operating the vessel with a woman and child on board. Lieutenant Hahr saw indicators of impairment from the operator and after field sobriety tasks, determined that the operator was impaired. The man was arrested and cited for operating a vessel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
DUVAL COUNTY

An officer with FWC’s Resource Protection Unit followed a subject transporting salt- water products in the back of a truck across town and conducted surveillance as fish were off-loaded at a Jacksonville Beach restaurant. When two trays of fish were taken into the kitchen, the officer entered and determined that 17 African pompano were being sold by a man who had no saltwater products license or federal fishing permits. An inspection of the truck revealed another 24 African pompano and seven cobia. The man buying the fish for the restaurant admitted to being aware of the license requirements and was cited accordingly. The man selling the fish was cited for license violations and possession limit violations for the fish. Five cobia and 37 African pompano were seized.

Officer Christmas was working boating under the influence violations and encountered a vessel operator exhibiting signs of impairment. The operator had a strong odor of an unknown alcoholic beverage on his breath, his eyes were bloodshot and watery and his speech sounded slurred at times. Officer Christmas advised the subject of his rights per Miranda and requested he take field sobriety exercises. The operator agreed and based on the signs of impairment and his poor performance on the field sobriety exercises, was arrested for BUI.

Officer Wiggins and K9 Chase participated in a detail called Operation Salty Dog. The detail focused on resource violations onboard offshore vessels, boating safety violations and boating under the influence violations. Investigator Izsak, Lieutenant Bevan, Officers Shearer, Starling, Hoover, and Schirbock also participated in this event. During an inspection of an offshore dive boat, K9 Chase and Officer Wiggins located illegal red snapper fillets hidden in a plastic bag and in a dry bag onboard the vessel. The vessel operator was issued citations/warnings for failure to land reef fish in whole condition. The detail resulted in 7 resource citations, 3 resource warnings, 4 boating safety citations, and 13 boating safety warnings.

The Department of Environmental Protection contacted FWC for assistance after they were notified of an open and uncovered 30-yard roll-off dumpster full of electronic waste (e-waste) behind some Jacksonville warehouses. The dumpster was not watertight and contained cathode ray tubes (CRTs) that if not managed properly, become hazardous waste due to the lead in them. Environmental Investigators Terrones and Starling learned that an e-waste recycler was being evicted and that its owner had filled the dumpster with the e-waste as well as abandoning 47,000 pounds of it in the warehouse. The business owner had accumulated the e-waste for five years, failing to recycle any of the waste as required. An arrest warrant was obtained for improper disposal and storage of hazardous waste, a third-degree felony.

CITRUS COUNTY


Investigator Thomason and Officer Reid were working the fireworks display on Lake Henderson in Inverness. After the completion of the fireworks, the officers were patrolling the area to ensure all the vessels leaving the display were operating in a safe manner. Officer Reid spotted a pontoon boat underway with no navigational lights displayed. A vessel stop was conducted to perform a vessel safety inspection and to address the violation. The operator exhibited signs of impairment and after field sobriety tests, was arrested for boating under the influence. The operator was transported to the Citrus County Detention Center where he provided a breath sample which resulted in a blood alcohol content of .118 and .115.

Officer Reid was on water patrol in the Homosassa River when he saw a canoe that had flipped over. He helped get the canoe righted and noticed a bag containing a green leafy substance attached to one of the PFD's. Officer Reid conducted several tasks and determined that the operator was impaired. The subject was arrested and taken to jail where he provided a sample of his breath at .087. He was also cited for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

GILCHRIST COUNTY

Officers McDonald and Tyler were on water patrol on the Santa Fe River. They stopped a vessel at the US 129 bridge for violating the idle speed zone. While conducting a boating safety check and running the registration numbers, the vessel was confirmed stolen out of Lafayette County. After a brief investigation, the officers learned the boat was co-owned by the operator’s mother and was reported stolen by the co-owner’s boyfriend. No charges were filed as it was a civil matter. As the officers were preparing to leave the boat ramp they saw a man fall out of a boat onto the boat ramp. He appeared to be impaired and threw a liquor bottle into the Santa Fe River. The man was approached by Officer McDonald, became confrontational, and refused to obey commands. He was arrested for disorderly conduct, an active warrant, cited for littering and taken to the Gilchrist County Jail for processing.

SEARCH AND RESCUE

CLAY COUNTY

FWC officers and investigators assisted the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida National Guard in the search for a missing army soldier on Camp Blanding. The soldier became lost during a land navigation course and disoriented in the extreme heat and terrain. The soldier apparently succumbed shortly after going missing and was found deceased after three days of searching.


NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
OSCEOLA COUNTY

Officers Stelzer, Summers and Mendelson conducted airboat patrols focusing on boating safety. During their three-day patrol effort, numerous violations were addressed. Three different vessel inspections resulted in three arrests for boating under the influence. In one of the cases, a vessel operator provided a breath alcohol sample of more than double the legal limit.

Officer McLendon was given a tip about two subjects hunting in a local wildlife management area (WMA) during the closed season. He followed a vehicle’s tire tracks down a closed road and heard the subjects shooting. He waited for the subjects to come out of the closed area and contacted them. The subjects stated that they were hunting hogs and target practicing in the WMA. Officer McLendon issued both subjects a notice to appear for hunting during closed season. The subjects were also cited for driving on a closed road and not obtaining a day use permit.

Officer Stelzer received a tip that a subject with a warrant fled from the sheriff’s office near Bull Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Officer Stelzer was in the area approximately an hour later when the subject’s vehicle pulled out in front of him. He conducted a stop on the vehicle and confirmed the driver’s identity. The subject was arrested and turned over to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.

BREVARD COUNTY

While on vessel patrol, Officer Dubose conducted a resource inspection on a vessel returning from offshore. During his inspection it was revealed that there were two undersized greater amberjack on board the vessel. A citation was issued for the offense.

While on patrol, Lieutenant Lightsey and Officer Matthews saw a vehicle driving recklessly. The vehicle swerved and ran off the road multiple times. A traffic stop was conducted and the operator appeared to be impaired. The operator performed poorly on field sobriety tasks and was placed under arrest for driving under the influence. The operator refused to provide a breath sample and was transported to the Brevard County Jail.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

Officers Platt and Stephenson stopped to assist with a traffic accident and learned that one of the vehicles had fled the scene. A description of the vehicle was put out on the radio. Officer Marroquin saw the vehicle in Indian River County and conducted a traffic stop. The driver of the vehicle admitted to having been involved in the accident and the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) was dispatched to the scene. FWC dispatch advised the officer that the driver had a federal warrant from the U.S. Marshall Service for violation of probation for bank robbery charges and another warrant out of Orange County. The man was placed under arrest for the warrants and booked in to the Indian River County Jail awaiting extradition to Arizona. Charges are pending on the FHP investigation for hit and run.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officer Haskins was on water patrol in the St. Johns River when he stopped a personal watercraft operating on plane in a slow speed zone. During the stop, Officer Haskins smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the operator and noticed signs of impairment. The operator performed standardized seated field sobriety tasks and was arrested for boating under the influence. The operator was transported to the Volusia County Branch Jail where he refused to provide a breath sample.

Officers Sapp and Edson were performing resource inspections in New Smyrna when they encountered two women in possession of several blue crabs and several whole stone crabs during the closed stone crab season. Both were issued citations for possession of stone crab during the closed season and warnings for possession of whole stone crab. The live crabs were returned to the water.

Officers Ward and Pelzel were on water patrol in the New Smyrna Beach area when they stopped a vessel for a boating safety violation. During the stop the officers detected signs of impairment from the operator. The adult operator was arrested for boating under the influence and booked into the Volusia County Jail.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officer Lejarzar was on water patrol when he saw a vessel running with its lights on and then later turn them off. He could see the vessel as it neared his location running on full plane without lights on. Officer Lejarzar stopped the vessel and saw signs that the operator might be impaired. The man was placed under arrest for boating under the influence and refused to provide a breath sample at the jail.

HIGHLANDS COUNTY

Officer Smith was on water patrol on Lake June and saw a vessel approach the boat ramp to unload a passenger. The vessel operator rammed the dock causing the passengers to lose balance. Once the operator loaded his vessel, Officer Smith conducted a boating safety inspection. He noticed empty alcoholic beverages laying in the bottom of the vessel and both subjects were under the age of 21. While he was conducting a BUI investigation, Lieutenant Fugate spoke with the passenger. Lieutenant Fugate smelled the presence of cannabis on the subject and located a cigarette box containing six cannabis cigarettes. Officer Smith concluded his investigation and placed the operator under arrest for possession of alcoholic beverages under the age of 21 years old. Officer Smith placed the second subject under arrest for possession of cannabis under 20 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia. The vessel operator was cited for possession of cannabis under 20 grams, possession of drug paraphernalia, operation of a vessel with breath alcohol level of .02 or higher and no boater I.D card.


Captain Brooks was conducting water patrol on Lake June when he saw an individual allowing a person under 14 operate a personal watercraft. Captain Brooks conducted a boating safety inspection and found numerous violations. The owner was issued a notice to appear for allowing persons under 14 to operate a personal water craft.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on land patrol near the 78th Street Spillover, Officers Godfrey and Wilkins noticed a car running with its door open. The officers approached and saw a man passed out in the driver’s seat. The officers made several attempts to wake the subject. Once awake, they determined that the subject had been fishing. Officer Wilkins saw a pipe commonly used to smoke methamphetamine in plain view. Officer Martinez arrived to assist and after being given consent to search the vehicle, found methamphetamine and THC oil. The subject was arrested for numerous felony drug possession charges and possession of drug paraphernalia.

While on water patrol at the Courtney Campbell boat ramp, Officer Pettifer saw an individual operating a jet ski on plane in a marked idle speed zone. Upon initiating a vessel stop and boating safety inspection, he detected signs of alcohol impairment. Seated standardized field sobriety tasks were conducted and the operator was placed under arrest for operating a vessel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol to the extent that his normal faculties were impaired. He was transported and booked into the Hillsborough County jail where he refused to submit to a breath test.

While on water patrol at the Courtney Campbell boat ramp, Lieutenant Laskowski saw an individual operating a jet ski on plane in a marked idle speed zone. Upon conducting a vessel stop and boating safety inspection, Lieutenant Laskowski detected signs of alcohol impairment. Seated standardized field sobriety tasks were conducted. After completing the tasks, the operator was placed under arrest for operating a vessel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol to the extent that his normal faculties were impaired. He was transported and booked into the Hillsborough County jail where he refused to submit a breath sample.

Officer Rorer planned and led a targeted enforcement action plan directed at checking local businesses that sell saltwater products for the appropriate licenses and seafood quality control regulations. Officers Messman, Caldwell, LaRosa, Pettifer, Rivard and Lieutenant Laskowski participated in the detail. Several businesses were checked. Three businesses were cited for failure to possess valid saltwater products retail licenses. One business was cited for failure to possess a valid freshwater dealer license. One business was cited for failure to possess and display the required oyster tag with expiration date and attempting to sell oysters past their expiration date. One business was cited for failure to possess valid receipts for red snapper.

While on water patrol in downtown Tampa, Officer Wilkins stopped a vessel that didn't have its navigation lights on to conduct a boating safety inspection and address the light violation. While speaking with the operator of the vessel Officer Wilkins noticed numerous signs of impairment. The operator performed poorly on seated field sobriety tasks and was arrested and booked into the Hillsborough County Jail for boating under the influence.

LEE COUNTY


Captain Carpenter, Lieutenant Spoede, and Officer Winton were on vessel patrol in the Gulf of Mexico offshore of Fort Myers Beach when they stopped a vessel to conduct a boater safety inspection. As they came alongside the vessel, the operator and sole occupant appeared to be falling asleep. Field sobriety tasks were administered and it was determined that the subject was operating a vessel while his normal faculties were impaired. As he was being transported in the patrol vessel, the subject began refusing Officer's commands and resisting officers as they guided him to his seat. At the jail the subject provided a breath sample of .095, almost 3.5 hours after the arrest. The subject was booked into the Lee County Jail for boating under the influence and resisting an officer without violence.

Lieutenant Spoede and Officer Winton were on vessel patrol in Matanzas Pass when they noticed a vessel being operated without the required navigation lights. A vessel stop was conducted, at which time the operator exhibited signs of impairment. Field sobriety tasks were administered, and it was determined that the subject was operating a vessel while his normal faculties were impaired. Multiple violations pertaining to registration and safety gear were also discovered. The subject was transported to the Lee County Jail where he refused to provide a breath sample. He was issued multiple boating citations/warnings and booked for boating under the influence.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officers Gonzales, Dalton, Davidson and Lieutenant Hinds were on water patrol around Long Boat Pass. They noticed a vessel being operated in a peculiar manner and stopped the vessel to perform a boating safety inspection. The operator appeared to be impaired and was placed under arrest for boating under the influence and taken to the Manatee County Jail.

Officer Davidson was on water patrol around Long Boat Pass. While on patrol, he performed a fisheries and boating safety inspection on a vessel coming in the pass. He found that the captain of the vessel had caught and kept one undersized red grouper. The captain was charged criminally with possession of undersized red grouper and will have to appear in court for his violation.

Officer Gonzales was on land patrol around the South Skyway Rest Area. He performed a fisheries inspection on an individual that had been wade fishing in Tampa Bay and found that the subject had caught and kept two undersized red drum. The subject was cited criminally for possession of undersized red drum and given a warning for possession of over the bag limit of red drum. The subject will have to appear in court for his violation.

Officers Gonzales, Dalton and Lieutenant Hinds were on water patrol around Long Boat Pass. They noticed a small vessel that had numerous passengers aboard and stopped the vessel to perform a boating safety inspection. During the inspection, they noticed that it appeared the operator of the vessel was under the influence of alcohol. Officer Dalton investigated to determine the operator’s level of impairment and concluded that he was under the influence of alcohol. The operator was placed under arrest for boating under the influence and taken to the Manatee County Jail where his blood alcohol level was determined to be over twice the legal limit.

Officers Davidson and Klobuchar were on water patrol around Long Boat Pass. They stopped a vessel to perform a boating safety inspection and noticed that it appeared the operator of the vessel was under the influence of alcohol. Officer Davidson investigated to determine the operator’s level of impairment and if the operator should be driving a boat. After the investigation, the operator was placed under arrest for boating under the influence and taken to the Manatee County Jail.

PASCO COUNTY

Officer Balfour was on land patrol in the Richloam Wildlife Management Area (WMA). While sitting on a closed road, a vehicle drove by and fired shots out of the passenger window in his direction. He attempted to stop the vehicle but it attempted to elude the him. After a short chase, he was able to take the individuals into custody. A search of the vehicle and persons revealed numerous firearms, ammunition, and narcotics, which were seized as evidence. The vehicle driver and one passenger were transported to Pasco County Jail for numerous felony and misdemeanor violations.

PINELLAS

While on land patrol near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, Officer Martinez saw a fishing vessel with a bright white LED light shining as it operated thru the channel. Officer Martinez followed the light as they continued through the channel and as it arrived at the Maximo Boat Ramp. He contacted the vessel occupants to conduct a resource and boating safety inspection and noticed signs of impairment from the operator. The operator performed poorly on field sobriety tests and was arrested for boating under the influence (BUI). The subject refused to provide a sample of his breath and was booked into the Pinellas County Jail for BUI.

While on patrol near Fort Desoto, Officers Litherland and Bibeau saw an individual load up a kayak in the back of a truck. Upon initiating a resource inspection, the officers found the individual to be in possession of two undersized gag grouper and one undersized mangrove snapper. He was issued a citation for possession of undersized gag grouper and a warning for possession of undersized mangrove snapper.

While on patrol at the Fort Desoto Gulf Fishing Pier, Officer Pettifer conducted several resource inspections. He found two individuals to be in possession of 13 Spanish mackerel and 4 king fish. All the heads had been cut off the fish. The largest king fish measured 12 inches in length. The minimum length to possess king fish is 24 inches. The individuals were cited for possession of undersized king fish and failure to land king fish and Spanish mackerel in whole condition.

While on patrol near the North Skyway fishing area, Officer Pettifer saw an individual fishing from one of the relief bridges. Upon approaching the individual to conduct a resource inspection, he saw a fish wrapped in a towel on top of a cooler. The fish was identified as a red grouper and was 11 inches in length. The minimum size limit to keep red grouper is 20 inches. The individual was cited for possession of undersized red grouper.

While on patrol near the Gandy Bridge, Officer Pettifer saw individuals collecting marine life on the grass flats at low tide. A resource inspection revealed the individuals to be in possession of horseshoe crabs, stone crab claws and undersized sheepshead. The individuals were cited for possession of horseshoe crabs without a saltwater products license, possession of undersized and out of season stone crab claws and possession of undersized sheepshead.

While on land patrol in South Pinellas County, Officers Bibeau and Litherland saw four individuals actively fishing from the shoreline. After watching the subjects fish from a concealed location, the officers contacted the individuals to conduct a fisheries inspection. The officers located a small 12-inch snook. Officer Bibeau read the individuals their Miranda rights and after a short series of questions one of the subjects admitted to catching the snook. Officer Bibeau wrote the individual a misdemeanor citation for possession of an undersized and out of season snook along with a warning for not obtaining a valid snook permit.

While on land patrol in South Pinellas County, Officers Bibeau and Litherland saw an individual returning to shore in a kayak. The officers contacted the individual to conduct a fisheries inspection. The officers located two undersized gag grouper and one undersized mangrove snapper. Officer Litherland wrote the individual a misdemeanor citation for possession of undersized gag grouper and a warning for the other fisheries violation.

While on water patrol near the North Skyway Relief Bridge, Officers Martinez and Bibler along with Lieutenant Rosas saw three males fishing underneath the bridge and approached to complete a resource inspection. Officer Martinez found one of the males to be in possession of 10 whole stone crabs. The crabs were out of season, undersized, and one was an egg bearing crab. The subject who possessed the illegal crab was cited accordingly for his violations.

SARASOTA COUNTY

Officers Sierra and Hudson were on water patrol around Siesta Key. While on patrol, they performed a fisheries and boating safety inspection on a vessel that was engaged in fishing activities. The officers found that one individual had caught and kept 5 undersized mangrove snapper. The subject was cited criminally for possession of undersized mangrove snapper and will have to appear in court for his violation.

Officers Ridgway and Grenz were on water patrol around the Black Burn Point Bridge. They performed a boating safety inspection on a vessel transiting in the bay. During the inspection, the captain of the vessel appeared that he may be under the influence of alcohol. Officer Grenz investigated to determine if the captain was impaired and at that conclusion of his investigation, the captain was placed under arrest. He was taken to Sarasota County Jail for boating under the influence and will have to appear in court for his violation.

Officers Ridgway and Grenz were on water patrol around the Black Burn Point. They performed a boating safety inspection on a vessel that was violating a Manatee Speed Zone. During the inspection, the captain of the vessel appeared that he may be under the influence of either drugs or alcohol. Officer Ridgway investigated to determine if the captain was impaired. At that conclusion of his investigation, the captain was placed under arrest. He was taken to Sarasota County Jail for boating under the influence and will have to appear in court for his violation.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
PINELLAS COUNTY

Officers Bibeau and Litherland were on land patrol when they received a call about three subjects in distress near Ft DeSoto. The two adults and four-year-old child had been kayaking at the Ft DeSoto Park when they suddenly found themselves in a bad thunderstorm. The subjects became lost as well as frightened due to the lightning and worsening conditions. The officers, along with Pinellas County Sherriff's Office and Fire/Rescue located the subjects hidden in the mangroves. Officer Bibeau made his way to the subjects and carried out the four-year-old girl and kayak to safety.


SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officers Brock and Fuller while on water patrol encountered a livery (rental) violation for renting PWC’s to underage individuals without boater ID cards. The livery operator was issued a citation.

Officer Grant was on water patrol just outside Port Everglades and conducted a resource inspection on two individuals spear fishing off kayaks. She found them in possession of undersized hogfish and mutton snapper. One of the two had an expired saltwater fishing license. Both were issued citations.

Officer Vacin conducted a resource inspection on two charter boats and found one with an expired license. Both vessels were cited for MSD (marine sanitation device) violations; open valves. Both captains were issued citations.

Officers Leathers and Seldomridge were on water patrol when they encountered a boater attempting to maneuver a small power boat onto a trailer at the Mizel Johnson State Park boat ramp. Upon closer investigation, they determined that the individual was under the influence. He was cited for BUI and transported to jail.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Corteguera responded to an animal welfare complaint. After the investigation, one subject was cited with nine criminal charges for failure to allow an inspection, wildlife being kept at an unlicensed location, and other related violations. One raccoon and two foxes were placed at a licensed facility with proper caging. Officer Grant assisted on this incident.

MARTIN COUNTY

Officer Carroll was conducting water patrol around the Stuart Causeway when he saw a personal watercraft on plane in a slow speed zone. He conducted a vessel stop on the vessel and identified the operator. He determined the subject to be impaired and arrested the operator and booked him into the Martin County Jail for boating under the influence and refusal to submit to a lawful test of his breath.

Officers Brevik, Carroll and Hudson were conducting water patrol around the Jensen Beach Causeway. They saw two personal watercraft operating in a reckless manner inside a manatee slow speed zone. The officers saw both vessels operating at high speed close to each other and jumping each other’s wakes. They also saw both vessels head straight towards each other and turn at the last second to splash each other. The officers conducted a vessel stop to address the violations. After personal contact and investigation, both operators were found to be operating under the influence of alcohol. Both operators were arrested and booked into the Martin County Jail.

Officer Carroll was conducting water patrol around the Manatee Pocket and Sandsprit Park. He saw a vessel with no all-around navigational light pass by the boat ramp. The operator of the vessel turned around and came back to the dock and tied up right next to Officer Carroll’s patrol vessel to inform the officer that he was aware the light was not present. During the encounter, the operator exhibited signs of impairment. Officer Carroll conducted a boating under the influence investigation and found the operator to be impaired. Officer Carroll placed the subject under arrest and processed him into the Martin County Jail for boating under the influence.

Officer Moss was on patrol when he received a call from the Martin County Sheriff’s Office. They advised that one of their deputies had stopped a vehicle and found a snook in the trunk of a car. After Officer Moss arrived on scene, he confirmed there was a snook in a bucket of ice in the trunk. The subject advised that he had caught it at Rocky Point with hook and line. The subject received a citation for taking snook out of season.

While conducting water patrol, Officers Morrow and Pecko saw a vessel underway with no name, hailing port, decal, or registration. Upon contacting the vessel owner and operator, Officer Morrow saw that the subject was speaking with slurred speech and had glassy, bloodshot eyes. He conducted a BUI investigation, at which time the subject was placed under arrest for BUI. The subject was transported to the Martin County Jail.

While on patrol, Captive Wildlife Investigator Toby saw a zebra inside of a fenced property and noticed the fence was not sufficient height. During the inspection a large variety of animals were inventoried on the property. Sixteen violations were documented at the facility, mainly consisting of caging violations. Three misdemeanor citations and thirteen warnings were issued. The owner was given 30 days to bring all violations into compliance. Officer Krasco assisted on this incident.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Langley and Mann were on vessel patrol near the Palm Beach Inlet when the Coast Guard alerted them of a vessel returning from the Bahamas with queen conch and skinless grouper fillets. It is illegal to possess both in Florida waters. Officers Langley and Mann stopped the vessel and conducted a fisheries inspection. Skinless snapper and grouper fillets as well as queen conch were found aboard the vessel. The captain of the vessel was cited for the violations.

Officer Norbrothen received information from the Jupiter Police Department (JPD) about a vessel that had struck a channel marker in the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). The collision broke the marker and created a hazard to safe navigation of the ICW. The JPD marine unit was behind the vessel that hit the marker and maintained surveillance of the vessel until FWC’s arrival. The subject onboard the suspected striking vessel was interviewed and issued the appropriate citation for violation of a United States Coast Guard navigation rules. Notifications were made to repair the broken channel marker.

Officers Boyd, Trawinski and Defeo were on water patrol in the intracoastal waterway during Operation Dry Water when they stopped a vessel to perform an inspection. The captain of the vessel was in possession of filleted mahi. It is required by law to bring harvested fish to land in whole condition. The captain also failed to carry enough personal flotation devices (PFDs) for each person aboard, which is required by law. The captain received citations for the violations.

Officers Spradling and Godward were on patrol when the USCG contacted FWC dispatch for assistance. Officers Spradling and Godward arrived at the Rivera Beach Marina to find USCG tied up to a center console vessel with 3 occupants onboard. USCG advised the operator almost steered his vessel and occupants straight into a moving cruise ship. Officers Spradling and Godward noticed the operator had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from him and had blood shot, glossy eyes. Officer Spradling had the operator preform seated field sobriety tasks. The operator was placed under arrest for boating under the influence (BUI) and booked into Palm Beach County Jail.

Officer Brodbeck was on patrol at Phil Foster Park in Riviera Beach conducting resource and license inspections. Multiple individuals were actively fishing from the Blue Heron Bridge. As Officer Brodbeck approached on foot, one subject turned away from the officer and reached into a bucket. The officer gave loud verbal commands to not throw any fish. The subject pulled a fish from the bucket identifiable as an undersized mangrove snapper. Officer Brodbeck again gave loud verbal commands to not throw the fish into the water. The subject threw the fish into the water. As Officer Brodbeck detained the subject for the violation, a second subject who was actively fishing began to walk away. The officer instructed the subject to stop. The subject looked at the officer and continued to walk away. Officer Brodbeck again gave loud commands to stop. The subject looked back at the officer and continued to walk away. The officer sat the first subject on the ground and began to walk after the second subject, at which point the subject took off running. Officer Brodbeck quickly caught up to and detained the second subject. After questioning, both subjects were issued misdemeanor citations for Interference/Obstruction of an FWC Officer.

Officer Brodbeck was on vessel patrol in Jupiter Inlet when he saw a vessel return from offshore with fishing equipment in plain view. A vessel stop was initiated to conduct a resource inspection. Officer Brodbeck asked the vessel operator if any fish were on board the vessel, to which he replied “no.” During an inspection of a cooler on the vessel, the officer located a clear bag with two mutton snapper fillets. Officer Brodbeck issued the operator a misdemeanor resource citation for reef fish not landed in whole condition. The fillets were photographed and seized for evidence.

Officer Brodbeck and Lieutenant Russo were on patrol offshore of Jupiter when a vessel was noticed with no registration numbers displayed. Officer Brodbeck boarded the vessel and while speaking with the operator, detected signs of impairment. The operator agreed to perform seated field sobriety tasks and performed poorly. Officer Brodbeck placed the subject under arrest and transported him to the Palm Beach County Jail. While at the jail, the subject provided breath samples of 0.188 and 0.189 BAC. The subject was cited for BUI.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Trawinski responded to a call for service in Riviera Beach. Riviera Beach Police Department requested an officer to catch an alligator that was walking around Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Upon arrival, Officer Trawinski quickly took possession of the approximately 4-foot alligator and relocated it.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
PALM BEACH COUNTY

While conducting resource inspections late at night at Phil Foster Park, Officers Loach and Brodbeck were contacted by an individual who stated that his son and son’s friend were approximately 6 hours late returning from a kayak fishing trip to Peanut Island. After collecting information and descriptions of the teenagers and kayaks, the officers contacted USCG and PBSO to assist. Officers Loach and Brodbeck began a search by vessel of Peanut Island while Officer Carroll arrived at Phil Foster to stay in contact with the families. After approximately 2 hours, the teenagers were found in good health and reunited with their families.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MIAMI DADE COUNTY

Officers Saavedra and Cosculluela saw a center console vessel displaying fishing gear. A fishery inspection revealed the subject to be in possession of 20 fish fillets which were believed to be mahi. The evidence in this case was photographed and returned to water.

Investigator Almagro and Officer Washington were on water patrol in Biscayne Bay near Miami Beach. They saw a jet ski making rapid and aggressive tight turns while circling an 18-foot vessel occupied by eight persons onboard and one person on a floating tube. He was on full plane in very close proximity to the individual lying on the tube. The operator was stopped. Except for the life jacket, none of the minimum safety equipment as required by federal law was on the vessel and the operator did not have his required boating education ID card in his possession. The subject was arrested for operating a PWC recklessly. He was cited accordingly for the safety equipment violations.

Officers Delgado, Saavedra and Dominguez were on patrol around Haulover Inlet. They conducted a fisheries inspection on a white catamaran vessel. The inspection revealed 2 undersized hogfish. The captain was cited accordingly.

Officers Delgado, Saavedra and Dominguez were on patrol in the area 3 miles east of Cape Florida. They conducted a fisheries inspection on a white walk-around vessel. The inspection revealed 1 undersized hogfish, 1 undersized yellowtail snapper and 3 dead parrotfish which were all over the 12-inch legal limit. The captain of the vessel was cited accordingly.

Officers Sarmiento and Dominguez were on water patrol in a marked vessel in the area 1/2 a mile north of Government Cut. They conducted a fisheries inspection on a white center console vessel. The captain was in possession of a headless Atlantic sharp nose shark, 3 gray snapper and a mutton snapper. The captain was cited accordingly.

Officers Almagro, Gomez and Dominguez were on water patrol in a marked vessel in the area 4 miles east of Soldiers Key. They conducted a fisheries inspection on a white center console vessel. The inspection revealed 3 males to be in possession of 39 total snapper. The bag was a mixture of yellowtail, gray and mutton snapper. The captain of the vessel was cited for over the aggregate bag limit of snapper.

Officers Sample and Perez were checking boats returning to Crandon Park Boat Ramp for resource and safety inspections. One boat made multiple attempts to approach the dock, making hard accelerations in forward and reverse with other boats nearby. Upon inspection, the operator displayed numerous signs of impairment. Standardized field sobriety tasks determined the subject’s normal faculties were impaired. The subject was placed under arrest for boating under the influence and provided a breath sample of .113. He was transported and booked into Turner Guilford Knight Jail.

Officers Sample and Perez conducted resource inspections on several boats returning from fishing. Six of the boats they checked had undersized mahi, and 1 boat was over the bag limit of great barracuda. In total, they confiscated 29 undersized mahi and issued 7 misdemeanor citations. The mahi were returned to the water and the subjects were educated on proper fishing regulations.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Mobley and Investigator Williams were on plain clothes patrol on unmarked jet skis in the Middle Keys. They saw four subjects exit the water. One man had a spear gun and another had a white bucket. As they approached and identified themselves as law enforcement officers, the two male subjects dumped the white bucket into a blue cooler. They contacted the subjects and after searching the cooler they found 8 out of season lobster of which 6 were undersized, two wrung tails, one speared lobster and two undersized mangrove snapper. After Miranda and interviews, two of the subjects admitted to fishing from the shoreline, lobstering out of season with no device, spearing the lobster and stated they found the two wrung tails. The two subjects were placed under arrest and transported to Plantation Key Detention facility.

Lieutenant Peters was patrolling in an unmarked vessel wearing plain clothes when he conducted a resource inspection on two subjects south of Johnston Key. A resource inspection revealed one undersized mangrove snapper and 13 undersized yellowtail snapper. In total the subject was found to be in possession of: 18 total snapper, 8 over the one day aggregate bag limit, 13 undersized yellowtail snapper, and 1 undersized mangrove snapper. He was issued a notice to appear citation.

Officer Wagner was on plain clothes patrol in the lower keys when he saw a snorkeler without a dive flag on the shoreline under a bridge. The man came out of the water with a spear gun and a mesh bag. Officer Wagner approached the man, displayed his badge, and announced himself as law enforcement. The man immediately went to hide the mesh bag. Officer Wagner asked for the bag and the man said he found it and it wasn’t his. The bag had one wrung lobster tail and a knife in it. After reading the man his Miranda rights he admitted to harvesting the lobster by stabbing it with a knife, separating the tail from the body and putting it in the bag. Dispatch advised Officer Wagner that the man had an out of state warrant. The man was placed under arrest and transported to the Stock Island Jail by Lieutenant Payne. He was cited for wrung lobster, lobster out of season, and harvesting lobster by illegal method.

Officers Powell and Garrison were on water patrol on the bayside of Indian Key Fill when they saw a male and female in the water. As they approached the individuals Officer Powel could see the female was holding a spiny lobster and that the male did not have a snorkel on his mask. Officer Powell got the attention of both individuals and asked to see their hands. Officer Powell noticed that the male let go of a spear gun and plastic bag before bringing his hands out of the water. Officer Powell instructed the individual to give him the plastic bag, containing an additional spiny lobster, and spear gun. The male told Officer Powell that he speared both lobster and did not measure them. Upon inspection of the lobster, they showed obvious signs of being speared and were undersized. The male was cited for spear fishing in the upper Keys, harvesting lobster out of season, harvesting lobster without a measuring device, harvesting lobster by illegal method, and possession of undersized lobster. He was also issued citations for no saltwater fishing license and no lobster stamp. The female was issued a citation for no dive flag.

Officers Piekenbrock and Wagner were on water patrol in the lower Keys when they saw an individual fishing along the shoreline by a bridge. Officer Piekenbrock was put onshore to conduct a resource inspection. Officer Piekenbrock inspected a nearby cooler and found nothing. He noticed a yellow duffle bag with clothing on top and fishing gear next to it. Upon inspection of the bag he found many undersized snapper. The man stated that the clothing and fishing gear were his but the bag of fish belonged to his friends who were at the store. Officer Piekenbrock asked the man if he could see inside his vehicle. An inspection of a cooler in the bed of his truck revealed more snapper violations. Two other individuals came from under the bridge and admitted to catching all the fish. In total, the two men had 51 mangrove snapper (of which 42 were undersized), three schoolmaster snapper (of which two were undersized), one undersized mutton snapper, one undersized dog snapper, and one lane snapper. Both men were placed under arrest and transported to the Stock Island Jail.

Officers Alvarez and Garrison were on patrol near Quay Boat Ramp when they saw 3 individuals sticking a net and fishing pole in the shallow water. Officer Alvarez saw the individuals catch 3 spiny lobster and place them in a nearby cooler. Officer Alvarez approached the individuals and upon questioning, all 3 individuals admitted to harvesting the lobster. An inspection of the cooler reveled 7 undersized spiny lobster. A search of showed one of the individuals had an active warrant out of Manatee County. He was placed under arrest and the other two individuals were cited accordingly.

Officers Piekenbrock and Wagner were on land patrol when they received a tip of a man catching undersized fish in Key West. The officers located the individual and a bucket containing two undersized mutton snapper and one undersized hogfish. The man admitted that the bucket was his and appropriate citations were issued.

Officer Wagner was on water patrol in the lower Keys when he saw a vessel with a man spearfishing in the water. As he approached to conduct a resource inspection the man saw the patrol vessel and said something to a woman on their boat. The woman immediately went into the cooler on the front of the boat and tossed a fish in the water. Officer Wagner asked the man to retrieve the fish which was an undersized hogfish. The man claimed he was the only person spearfishing and was issued a citation for the undersized hogfish.

COLLIER COUNTY

While conducting water patrol, Officers Plussa and Stearns saw a vessel collide with mangroves as it approached a busy boat ramp. A safety inspection revealed the operator was impaired. He was arrested for BUI.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROL
MONROE COUNTY

As part of the National “Operation Dry Water” Boating Under the Influence Campaign Investigator Williams and Officer Mobley were on water patrol oceanside of Whale Harbor. They saw a vessel with the engine trimmed all the way up and the operator start the engine and put it in gear. Once alongside the vessel they saw signs of impairment from the operator. The operator consented to seated field sobriety tasks and was arrested for operating a vessel while normal faculties impaired. The subject was booked in to Plantation Key Jail and refused to provide a breath sample.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MONROE COUNTY

Officer Dube and Mr. Delgado from FWC’s FWRI lab in Marathon gave multiple presentations to approximately 100 campers from the Founders Park Summer Camp Program in Islamorada. Mr. Delgado brought for display queen conch, horse conch and lobster. The campers were given a chance to touch and feel all these animals after Mr. Delgado taught them common knowledge facts. Officer Dube gave the campers the do’s and don’ts on these animals and the laws and regulations protecting them. Officer Dube gave them a pledge for all of them to be good stewards of their oceans and reefs to help protect their future.

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  FWC Enforcement Report June 22-28. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 07-13-2018, 12:45 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
BAY COUNTY

While returning from a recreational fishing trip out of Mexico Beach, Lieutenant Wass de Czege saw six individuals with numerous fish laid out on the fuel dock at the Mexico Beach Marina. Seven of the fish were triggerfish for which the season is currently closed. Lieutenant Wass de Czege contacted local Officer McMillion and asked him to come handle the violations. When Officer McMillion arrived, he interviewed the six individuals. The captain of the vessel took responsibility for the fish and received a citation for the violation. The fish were seized and donated to a local charity.

ESCAMBIA

Officer Land received a complaint regarding a Facebook post with photos of stone crab claws. Stone crab season is closed May 16 – October 14 each year. Officer Land contacted the individual who posted the photo of the stone crab claws. The individual admitted to harvesting the crabs during the closed season. The appropriate action was taken for the violation.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

Officer Travis was on patrol near the John Gorrie Bridge and saw several subjects returning from fishing to their vehicles. Officer Travis conducted a resource inspection and found the subjects were in possession of eight undersized seatrout and one undersized bull shark. The fish were seized and two subjects were cited.

LEON COUNTY

While on patrol in the Highway 20 Tract of the Talquin State Forest, Officer Wilcox and Lieutenant Wass de Czege contacted two individuals who were driving through the area. During the encounter, the officers saw a small bag of white crystals fall out of a mask the male driver had in his hand. Further investigation revealed a larger bag of white crystals, a loaded syringe, and drug paraphernalia consisting of an empty syringe and two syringe caps with cotton in them – all in the possession of the female passenger. All items tested positive for methamphetamine and the two individuals were booked into the Leon County Detention Facility.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Pifer, Matechik, and Jarvis were on vessel patrol when they stopped a vessel in violation of the idle speed/no wake zone near Crab Island. During the vessel stop, the operator showed signs of impairment and admitted to consuming several alcoholic beverages. Officer Pifer administered standardized field sobriety tasks. Based on observations of the vessel in motion, personal contact with the operator, and the operator’s performance on the field sobriety tasks, Officer Pifer placed the operator under arrest for BUI. The operator agreed to provide a breath sample and the results were 0.169 blood alcohol content and 0.173 blood alcohol content. The operator was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail where the intake process was completed.

Officers Bartlett and Pifer were on vessel patrol in the Crab Island area and saw a 25- foot pontoon boat in violation of the idle speed/no wake zone. The officers stopped the vessel to address the violation. During the safety inspection, Officer Bartlett instructed the operator to locate and retrieve the required life jackets. The operator hesitated to the response and had a hard time maintaining his balance while walking around the pontoon vessel. In communication with the operator about his daily activities, Officer Bartlett saw he had slurred speech and continued to have a delayed response while answering simple questions. The operator agreed to perform field sobriety tasks (FST). The results from the FST showed indicators of impairment. The operator was arrested for BUI. The operator agreed to provide a breath sample and the results were 0.164 blood alcohol content and 0.153 blood alcohol content. The operator was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail where the intake process was completed.

Officers Corbin and Henderson were on vessel patrol when they stopped a personal watercraft (PWC) for careless operation and violation of the idle speed/no wake zone at Crab Island. The PWC was operating without due regard for the other boating traffic and swimmers. Officer Corbin determined the PWC was a rental. The operator was unable to locate the required safety equipment for the PWC. While speaking with the operator the officer detected a strong odor of an unknown alcoholic beverage coming from his breath. Based on the operation of the PWC, operator unable to locate safety equipment and the apparent consumption of an alcoholic beverage, Officer Corbin asked the operator to perform field sobriety tasks (FST). The operator had indicators of impairment from the FST and was arrested for BUI. The operator refused to provide a breath sample. The operator was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail where the intake process was completed. This individual had two prior DUI arrest/convictions in 2015.

Officer Corbin and Henderson received information of a hit and run boating accident in Shalimar from the U.S. Coast Guard Station Destin. Information received indicated a vessel struck a neighbor’s dock and left the scene. Officer Jarvis went by land to interview the witness and obtain a sworn statement. Officers Corbin and Henderson arrived on scene by vessel. Within a short period of time, the officers began to hear a loud vessel motor being revved up nearby. They began to travel toward the sound when they saw a red navigational light on a vessel not moving. They continued to hear the vessel’s motor rev up to the point it sounded like it was going to combust and traveled toward the red navigational light. They could also smell a strong odor of burnt gasoline and oil. The officers pulled alongside the vessel and saw one single occupant/operator on the boat. Also, they saw a fresh striking mark (damage) and missing chrome trim on the port bow of the vessel. Further, numerous items in the vessel were scattered across the deck and inside the cuddy cabin. Throughout Officer Corbin’s communication with the operator the operator showed indicators of impairment. The operator refused to perform field sobriety tasks and was arrested for BUI. The operator was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail where the intake process was completed. The boating accident is still under investigation.

Officers Bartlett and Pifer were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections at Crab Island. The officers saw a double decker pontoon being operated in violation of the idle speed/no wake zone. A vessel stop was conducted for a safety inspection and to address the violation. There were 13 people onboard. During Officer Bartlett’s communication with the operator he saw indicators of impairment with his speech and movement around the vessel. The operator agreed to perform field sobriety tasks (FST). The results of the FST showed indicators of impairment. The operator was arrested for BUI. The operator provided a breath sample resulting in 0.150 blood alcohol content and 0.150 blood alcohol content. The operator was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail where the intake process was completed.

Officer Pifer was on vehicle patrol conducting fisheries inspections at Marler Park. The officer saw an individual in the process of trailering his vessel. In communication with the individual the officer determined there were harvested fish on the boat. The fisheries inspection revealed an undersized red grouper, an undersized red snapper and undersized vermilion snapper. The individual was cited and issued a notice to appear citation for the undersized red grouper and written warning for undersized red snapper/vermilion snapper.

Officers Corbin and Henderson were on vessel patrol in the Destin Pass conducting boating safety and resource protection inspections. The officers saw a boat returning from the Gulf of Mexico displaying rods and reels. The officers stopped the vessel and conducted a safety inspection. During the inspection, the officers determined the vessel was returning from fishing trip. The fisheries inspection revealed an undersized cobia. The operator was cited and issued a notice to appear citation.

WAKULLA COUNTY

Officers Hughes and Korade were on water patrol in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico south of Wakulla County when they saw a fishing vessel approximately 9.5 nautical miles offshore. They made contact and conducted a resource inspection and found them in possession of an undersized gag grouper. The subject was advised that a summary settlement would be filed against him with NOAA for the violation.

Officer Schulz was on foot patrol at the St. Marks Lighthouse when he saw several subjects wade fishing from the jetties. He met with them as they were walking back to their vehicle and conducted a resource inspection, which revealed an oversized red drum. The subject that claimed ownership of the fish was cited for possession of oversized red drum.

WALTON COUNTY

Officer Tison received a complaint of an individual killing an alligator. There were two witnesses who provided statements explaining that they had seen a man kill an alligator the previous weekend. The suspect was not personally known by the witnesses, but they had heard someone call him by his first name. A week-long investigation ensued, and through social media, the suspect’s identity was revealed. An interview of the suspect was conducted and he admitted to killing the alligator and also provided a sworn written statement stating that the witness’s accounts were true. The subject was charged for illegally killing an American alligator.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
JACKSON

On Thursday, members from the Northwest Region attended the landowners conference in Marianna held at Chipola College. Major Duval and Captain Lee gave a presentation on services provided by the Division of Law Enforcement, along with the contact information of local supervisors and officers from the area. Approximately 60 landowners from six counties in the Northwest Region attended the workshop. Lunch was provided by Farm Credit of Northwest Florida and members had the opportunity to sit with stakeholders over lunch to discuss all things FWC.

WALTON COUNTY

Officer Tison conducted a public outreach event at the First United Methodist Church of DeFuniak Springs. There were about 15 people in attendance and Officer Tison provided information on boating safety, legal updates regarding recreational saltwater fishing, and a basic overview of the daily duties of an FWC officer.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROL FEDERAL WATERS

While aboard the offshore patrol vessel Fincat, Officers Cushing, Clark, Canfield, Garrison and Land proactively patrolled federal waters conducting numerous offshore patrol missions. Over several days and numerous inspections, the team documented many violations highlighted by two cases of over the daily bag limit of red snapper, two cases of failure to land red snapper in whole condition, possession of undersized red drum and harvest of gray triggerfish during closed season.

While aboard the offshore patrol vessel Intrepid, Lieutenant Marlow, Investigator Weis, Officers Nelson and Ramos patrolled federal waters throughout the week conducting numerous offshore patrols. The team discovered multiple violations to include two cases of over the bag limit of red snapper, two cases of undersized red snapper, two cases of using reef fish as bait, two cases of harvesting greater amberjack during closed season, harvesting gray triggerfish during closed season, undersized vermillion snapper and a charter fishing vessel operating without a valid reef fish permit and no charter permit.

While aboard the offshore patrol vessel Intrepid, Lieutenant Marlow and Officers Boyd, Nelson and Richardson were on patrol in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico south of Gulf County. They received information of a commercial longline vessel fishing in a restricted area for reef fish harvest. The officers travelled 70 miles and located the vessel in the restricted area fishing. The vessel had a significant amount of reef fish aboard. The fish, gear and venue were documented and federal and state officers met the vessel at the dock the following day to further document their reef fish harvest. The fish were seized by the federal officer.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
JEFFERSON COUNTY

Lieutenant Wass de Czege participated in two summer camp events at the Beau Turner Youth Conservation Center. He taught the laws portion of the subject safety course to the 15 youths in attendance. After the law presentation, he went to the fish camp area and gave a talk about boating safety to the 15 kids present.

Officer Stefanie Wilcox and Lieutenant Albert Wass de Czege participated in the 68th annual Watermelon Festival Parade in Monticello. They pulled an airboat through the parade and threw candy to awaiting children along the route. The Watermelon Festival takes place annually on the 3rd weekend in June. The weeklong event includes pageants, a car show, a rodeo, booths and several other events.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
SUWANNEE COUNTY

Officer Boone received information and located a 6-foot alligator in Branford Springs at Ivey Park that showed signs of being fed. The alligator had little fear of Officer Boone and approached him several times while working the area. Officer Boone contacted a local trapper and obtained a permit through SNAP. Officer Boone and the trapper removed the alligator from the area. Officers continue to investigate the illegal feeding of this alligator.

TAYLOR COUNTY

Taylor County officers worked a target enforcement patrol (TEA) along the Taylor County Coastline. Aviation assisted with a helicopter due to heavy weekend boating activity for the scallop season. Officers targeted boating safety, divers down device violations, and resource inspections. Officers addressed numerous boating safety and divers down device violations. Several resource cases were made to include scallop double-dipping, filleting trout at sea, and offshore reef fish violations. Five resource citations, 5 uniform boating citations and 28 written warnings were issued.

Officer Wilder was on patrol in Keaton Beach when he approached a vessel with two occupants on board actively fishing. They were found in possession of five spotted sea trout. Four of the trout were undersized and neither person had a valid fishing license. Citations were issued.

UNION/BRADFORD COUNTY

Officers Burnsed and Fanelli were working a hunting club targeting illegal deer dog running. After hearing a dog race, they located the owners of the hunting dogs. The subjects caught the dogs as they came out onto a hunting club road behind fresh deer tracks where deer had just crossed the road. The officers found where the owners had put the dogs out on fresh deer tracks on another road. Both subjects were cited for running deer during the closed season.

Lieutenant Douglas, Officers Burnsed, Fanelli, Izsak, Lee, and Bryan responded to a call for assistance regarding an escaped inmate from New River Institution. The officers provided ATV patrol, as well as foot patrol in helping with locating the escaped prisoner. The escaped prisoner was found the next day.

GILCHRIST COUNTY

Officer Sheffield received information that a subject picked a gopher tortoise up from the side of a road in Gilchrist County. Officer Sheffield contacted the subject and discovered he was in possession of a gopher tortoise. The subject was subsequently issued a notice to appear for the violation and the tortoise was returned alive to the wild.


NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Officers Eller and Hallsten were on federal water patrol outside of Port Canaveral. While offshore, they approached a vessel being operated in an unusual manner. As the officers got closer they noticed one male and two females onboard along with an assortment of dive and spear fishing gear. When the occupants noticed the officers, the male signaled something to one of the females and she threw a towel over a large fish box on the bow and sat on it. Officer Eller boarded the vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection and he asked the captain if they had any fish onboard the vessel. The captain pointed to three mangrove snapper lying on the back deck of the vessel and insisted that was all they had. When Officer Eller asked if there were any fish in the fish box on the bow both female occupants immediately turned and stared at the captain in silence. The captain was extremely hesitant to answer. Officer Eller eventually lifted the lid of the fish box and discovered a very large spiny lobster. Officer Eller continued to search through the fish box and at the bottom, underneath all the bags of ice he also retrieved two red snapper. Both species are out of season during this time of year. The captain of the vessel was charged accordingly.

Officers Eller and Hallsten were making their way back to Port Canaveral after working offshore. As they approached Port Canaveral, both officers identified a vessel full of fishing equipment moving extremely slowly back to port. Noticing that the vessel did not have any lines in the water, this behavior appeared out of the ordinary. A salt water fisheries inspection of the vessel revealed an undersized cobia onboard. It is illegal to land or possess a cobia in Florida waters less than 33 inches. The subjects were interviewed and the individual who caught the fish was identified. He was cited accordingly.

Officer Eller was on his way to Port Canaveral to go on water patrol when a pickup truck on Interstate 95 swerved multiple times to either side of its lane of travel. Officer Eller saw the truck swerve to its left going over the alert strips and then again back to its right, crossing three lanes of traffic and sending the other unsuspecting vehicles into Officer Eller’s direction. As the pickup truck made it into the far-right lane it merged into another vehicle causing it to be sent off the roadway and into the grass. Officer Eller immediately conducted a traffic stop. Upon stopping the vehicle, the occupant began throwing empty beer cans out the passenger window. The occupant displayed several cues of heavy intoxication and performed poorly on standard field sobriety exercises. He was arrested and cited for driving under the influence (DUI) and numerous traffic violations.

Officer Hallsten was conducting patrols within Port Canaveral when he conducted a fisheries inspection on a commercial fishing vessel returning to the port. He discovered 16 sharks that had their fins removed prior to being landed. He was able to ascertain that the sharks were taken lawfully and the remains of the sharks were also on board. Citations were issued accordingly for failure to land in whole condition.

Officers Balgo and Humphrey received a complaint about an individual in possession of alligator at a residence. After a short interview with the man, he admitted to having the alligator. The man further stated he caught the alligator and then transported it to his residence. The alligator was removed and relocated. The subject was issued a citation for possession of American alligator.

Officers Dubose and Matthews conducted surveillance on a group of men fishing at Sebastian Inlet State Park late at night. They saw fish being taken, bagged, and placed into the rocks. While Officer Dubose approached the men to conduct a resource inspection, Officer Matthews stayed concealed to observe them. After being alerted to Officer Dubose’s presence, one of the men threw two bags into the Sebastian Inlet. Other bags next to the men were recovered and revealed two snook taken out of season. After speaking with the men and issuing them citations for the take of snook out of season, the four men refused to sign their citations. All four were then placed under arrest for the take of snook out of season, refusal to allow inspection, and refusal to sign their citations.

LAKE COUNTY

Officers Dias and Fahnestock were patrolling the Ocala National Forest when they saw three subjects riding ATVs on a closed road. They conducted a stop and a subsequent consensual search of the subjects. The search revealed less than 20 grams of cannabis and drug paraphernalia. The subjects were cited appropriately for the violations.

ORANGE COUNTY

Officers Teal and Fahnestock were conducting resource inspections at John’s Lake where they encountered a man fishing. A resource inspection of the subject’s cooler revealed four black bass over the 16-inch maximum size limit. The subject was cited appropriately and the oversized fish were returned to the water.

MARION COUNTY

Officers conducted proactive bear patrols in neighborhoods that generate a high volume of calls for service. The officers were passing out information pertaining to living with bears and checking for compliance of securing attractants in a neighborhood in the south end of the county. Officers Rice and Fahnestock were approaching a house to contact the residents when they saw a car in the yard that was running and had an occupant in the driver seat. When the officers approached the vehicle, the occupant exited the car. The officers could smell a strong odor of cannabis coming from the vehicle when the driver got out. A search of the vehicle revealed a plastic bag with cannabis and crack cocaine that was packaged in ten individual small bags. The subject was arrested and booked into the jail for possession of cannabis under 20 grams and possession of cocaine with the intent to sell.

While on water patrol on Lake Weir, Officers Rice and Fahnestock stopped a vessel for a safety inspection. The vessel had nine persons on board and was not displaying a boating safety decal. During the stop, the officers detected the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the operator and saw signs of impairment. Officer Fahnestock administered field sobriety tasks and determined that the operator’s normal faculties were impaired. The operator was arrested for boating under the influence (BUI) and transported to the Marion County Jail. At the jail, the subject refused to provide a breath sample.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officers Goodreau and Malicoat were on water patrol in Oak Hill conducting resource inspections of recreational and commercial fishing activities. One adult male was issued a criminal notice to appear for possession of under the legal-size limit of spotted seatrout. Another adult male was issued a criminal notice to appear for possession of egg bearing blue crabs. Other violations consisted of restricted speed zones violations, improperly marked recreational blue crab traps and possession of out of season stone crabs.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
VOLUSIA COUNTY

Northeast Region officers responded to assist with a search and rescue in Tiger Bay State Forest when a female called 911 and reported her vehicle had become stuck and she was lost in the forest. FWC patrol officers, the Northeast Region Special Operations Group (NESOG) team and K9 units assisted the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office and the Volusia County Fire Department in the four-day search. The subject was found alive and taken to a local hospital for evaluation.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Hallsten conducted an outreach at a local church’s vacation bible school. He showed the school-aged kids and staff a live alligator. Topics of discussion included alligator growth rates, the harmful effects of feeding wild alligators, and how to properly interact with alligators in the wild. There were approximately 300 people in attendance.

Port Canaveral conducted its first Port Canaveral Subjects Workshop at Seafood Atlantic in the Port. FWC Biologist Hart, NOAA Officer Boots, FWC Captain Bowlin, FWC Lieutenants Bonds and Lee, and FWC Officers Eller and Hallsten facilitated the event. Local stakeholders from the fishing industry also assisted in the workshop by providing the venue, advertising, and facilitation. Over 45 stakeholders attended and engaged in the meeting. Multiple Port Canaveral issues were discussed to include state and federal law enforcement efforts, health of the fishery, licensing issues, federal rules and allocation, and best management practices. This meeting will be held quarterly at the request of the fishing industry in Port Canaveral to continue to build relationships and address hot topics and rule changes.

SOUTHWEST REGION
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on water patrol at the Port Tampa Bay spoil islands, a Critical Wildlife Area (CWA) for nesting shorebirds that is posted “No Trespassing,” Officer Wilkins saw two men walking along the spoil island and approached them to address the violation. He told them they were not allowed to be on the island and pointed out the signs designating it as a no trespassing area. The men stated they saw the signs and knew they weren’t supposed to be there, but were looking for fossils. Officer Wilkins cited both men for trespassing and escorted them off the island.

Officer Godfrey was patrolling the Alafia Banks CWA, also known as Bird Island, and saw two subjects who had entered the restricted area with their vessel. The subjects had passed numerous signs warning not to enter and entered the area which has an abundant number of nesting shorebirds. The subjects were cited accordingly for their violations.

Lieutenant Van Trees and Officer Wilkins had two jet skis stopped at the Courtney Campbell Causeway boat ramp when another boat violated the slow speed zone and waked the officer’s vessel. Lieutenant Van Trees contacted the subject, who had now docked his vessel, to address the slow speed violation and the issue of waking the officers while they had other vessels stopped. The operator of the vessel apologized for the violation and tried walking away with a beach bag in his hand. The operator was extremely nervous and kept asking to leave to retrieve his registration from his car. Lieutenant Van Trees asked the subject if he had anything illegal in his bag and if he could look inside. The operator opened the bag and quickly closed it, but Lieutenant Van Trees saw a jar of marijuana inside. Officer Wilkins conducted seated field sobriety exercises with the subject due to the subject’s behavior. The operator performed poorly and was subsequently arrested. He was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail for felony possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, failure to transfer title, boating under the influence and cited for refusal to submit to breath/urine/blood sample.

While on land patrol near the Hillsborough River, Officers Martinez and Litherland conducted a resource inspection on two subjects who were fishing the river bank. At the completion of the inspection, the officers found that one subject possessed an out of season soft shell turtle. The subject was cited accordingly for the violation.

Officers Martinez and Litherland were on land patrol at Bullfrog Creek when they stopped three subjects to conduct a resource inspection. The individuals stated the only fish they had were in the back of a car and showed the officers a bucket of legal fish. While the officers were checking the fish, Officer Martinez heard fish flopping around in the center part of the car. Officer Martinez found two undersized snook hidden in the car. After being read their Miranda Rights, one subject admitted to cast netting the snook. The subject was cited for possession of undersized and out of season snook and taking snook by illegal method.

While on patrol at Williams Park Boat Ramp, Officer Rorer saw a vessel approach the docks. The operator of the vessel appeared to see Officer Rorer and switched vessel operation with one of the other occupants. At the dock, Officer Rorer introduced herself as a FWC Officer and told the vessel occupants she was going to conduct a boating safety inspection. The operator advised he was dropping one of the occupants off so they could back the trailer down the ramp. Officer Rorer advised the operator they could load the vessel before she conducted the safety inspection. After they dropped one of the occupants off at the dock to back the trailer in, the vessel exited the area and headed east on the Alafia River away from the boat ramp. The individual that was dropped off got in their vehicle and left the boat ramp. FWC Officers Messman, Caldwell and Rorer searched the area by land and from a patrol vessel and located the vessel, truck and occupants at a local bar east of the boat ramp. Since the operators of the vessel and truck were not free to leave because Officer Rorer advised them she would be conducting a boating safety inspection, they were cited for interfering with the duties of a FWC Officer. The operator of the vessel admitted to leaving the boat ramp to avoid the boating safety inspection and a possible BUI investigation. He was arrested and transported to the Hillsborough County Jail.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Bell and Officer Stapleton conducted a fisheries inspection on a chartered vessel approximately 13 miles off shore of Sanibel. During the inspection, it was discovered the charter captain did not have a valid federal reef fish permit for keeping mangrove snapper. NOAA was notified and charges are pending.

Officer Winton and Lieutenant Spoede stopped a vessel violating a manatee zone. It was determined that the vessel did not have a hull identification number (HIN) and was improperly titled/registered. An investigation was conducted, at which time the officers discovered additional violations. Officer Winton recently concluded the investigation and is charging the defendant with violations relating to title fraud, operating a vessel with no HIN, purchasing a vessel without a title, improper use of a transporter license plate, and misuse of 911.

Officers Winton and Hazelwood were on late night vessel patrol in the Charlotte Harbor Buffer Preserve State Park when they discovered two subjects camping on an island, a violation of state park rules. Upon contacting the subjects, the officers noted suspicious items around the campsite and asked for consent to search the tents. The search revealed drugs including crack cocaine, marijuana, prescription drugs, and drug paraphernalia. It was also determined that the female subject had provided a false name and had an active arrest warrant out of Lee County. The subjects were arrested and booked into the Lee County Jail on multiple felony and misdemeanor charges.

Officer Winton was on land patrol in North Fort Myers late at night when a vehicle passed him with no headlights on at a high rate of speed. As the vehicle approached an intersection, it attempted to turn at approximately 45 miles per hour, causing it to spin out of control and strike a pedestrian crossing signal, throwing the signal into oncoming traffic. The vehicle attempted to leave the scene, at which time Officer Winton conducted a traffic stop. A DUI investigation revealed that the subject's normal faculties were impaired and he was placed under arrest. Officer Perry responded to the scene to assist with the investigation. The subject repeatedly disobeyed officers' commands and struggled with officers as they tried to lead him into the jail. The subject was cited for DUI, DUI property damage, and resisting an officer without violence.

Officer Winton was on marine fisheries patrol in Matlacha when he saw a fishing vessel returning to the boat ramp. Officer Winton approached the vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection, at which time the sole occupant of the vessel began throwing fish out of the boat. Officer Winton commanded the subject to stop, but he continued to throw fish into the water. The subject was detained and was found that he still possessed two undersized mangrove snapper. The subject was issued a notice to appear for possession of undersized mangrove snapper and obstructing an FWC inspection.

Officer Winton was on patrol at a boat ramp in Matlacha when he saw a vessel being loaded onto a trailer. Officer Winton noticed that the subject had difficulty loading the vessel, causing damage to both the vessel and the trailer. Once the vessel was pulled out of the water, a BUI investigation was conducted. It was determined that the subject had been operating a vessel while his normal faculties were impaired, for which he was placed under arrest. At the jail, the subject, who was under 21, refused to provide a breath sample. The subject was booked into the Lee County Jail on charges of boating under the influence.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officers Gonzales, Dalton and Lieutenant Hinds were on water patrol in the area of Long Boat Pass when they noticed a vessel operating with what appeared to be a child under the age of six not wearing a life jacket. The officers stopped the vessel to perform a boating safety inspection and confirmed the child was only five. The officers then noticed the operator of the vessel may be under the influence of alcohol. Officer Gonzales investigated further to determine the operator’s level of impairment and concluded that he was under the influence of alcohol. The operator was placed under arrest for boating under the influence and taken to the Manatee County Jail.

PASCO COUNTY

Officer Specialist Balfour and Lieutenant Parisoe were on water patrol in the Gulf Harbors area when they saw a person snorkeling in the water. The officers did not see a divers down device displayed, so they approached the individual to discuss the violation. During the conversation, Officer Balfour determined the individual was spear fishing the area. A resource inspection revealed the diver was in possession of numerous sheepshead. Several of the sheepshead were found to be under the legal-size limit. The diver received a citation and several warnings for the violations and the fish were seized as evidence.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on water patrol, Officers Bibeau and Martinez saw an individual actively fishing from a vessel underneath a bridge. The officers stopped the vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection. They asked the individual if he had caught any fish and he told the officers that he had caught some grunts. Officer Bibeau conducted the fisheries inspection and located 2 undersized gag grouper, 3 undersized mangrove snapper and an undersized sheepshead. Officer Bibeau issued the individual a misdemeanor citation for possession of undersized gag grouper and warnings for the other fisheries violations.

While on land patrol, Officer Bibeau and Officer Litherland saw an individual actively fishing from the shoreline. The officers watched the individual fish from a concealed location and contacted him as he was preparing to leave the area. Officer Litherland conducted a fisheries inspection and located 14 mangrove snapper, 5 of which were undersized. He issued the individual a misdemeanor citation for harvesting over the daily bag limit of mangrove snapper and a warning for the other fisheries violation.

While conducting resource inspections at the North Skyway Fishing Pier, Officer Pettifer saw an individual close a cooler in the bed of a truck as he approached. The individual said he only caught some Spanish mackerel. An inspection of his cooler revealed a 14-inch undersized gag grouper in a plastic bag. The individual was cited for possession of undersized gag grouper.

Lieutenant Laskowski, Investigator Dallarosa and Officer Pettifer responded to the report of a hit and run single vessel accident with injuries in Boca Ciega Bay. Officer Pettifer located the injured victim at a local hospital based on information provided by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. He was able to determine the address and location of the vessel and the operator. Investigator Dallarosa and Lieutenant Laskowski responded to the address and interviewed the operator and other occupant of the vessel. The operator stated he lost steering and struck a bridge. Both the operator and injured occupant were ejected from the vessel. A good Samaritan transported the injured occupant to the hospital. The operator recovered his vessel and drove it to his house and did not report the accident. He was cited for leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage and injury.

SARASOTA COUNTY

Officer Nicholas Ridgway was on water patrol in the area of the Siesta Key Bridge. He performed a fisheries inspection on a vessel that was tied to the fender system of the bridge. During the inspection, he saw signs indicating that the captain of the vessel may be under the influence of alcohol. Officer Ridgway investigated further to determine if the captain was impaired and upon the conclusion of his investigation, the captain was placed under arrest and taken to the Sarasota County Jail for boating under the influence.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
PASCO COUNTY

A multi-agency detail was completed with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office and Tarpon Springs Police Department. The agencies were targeting boating under the influence violations. During the detail, Officer Specialist Pulaski saw a vessel violate an idle speed zone. He conducted a vessel stop and noticed indicators of impairment by the operator. The subject was arrested for BUI and later provided a breath sample of .156 /.153. The joint detail resulted in two arrests for BUI, one warrant arrest, and one medical emergency response.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Brodbeck was on patrol when a complaint was received by FWC dispatch regarding several individuals cast-netting snook at the Jupiter Inlet. Officer Brodbeck, along with Officers Godward and Pecko responded to the area and conducted surveillance. Subjects matching the provided description were observed and contact was made when they returned to the parking area. Two undersized and out of season snook were found along with a cast net. One subject received two misdemeanor citations for possession of undersized snook and snook out of season. A second subject received a citation for no valid saltwater shoreline license. The fish were photographed for evidence and returned alive to the water.

Officer Brodbeck was on patrol at Phil Foster Park late at night conducting surveillance. The officer saw a boat with fishing equipment in plain view return to shore and drop an individual off with a large backpack. Officer Brodbeck contacted the individual as well as the vessel operator. Inside the backpack were 15 snapper of several species, including 7 undersized mutton snapper. The operator took responsibility for the undersized fish and spontaneously stated that he had an upcoming court date for the same violation. Officers Spradling and Godward arrived on scene to assist. The undersized fish were photographed and seized for evidence. The operator of the vessel was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of undersized mutton snapper.

Officer Brodbeck and Officer Stone were on patrol in the J.W. Corbett WMA when they saw a vehicle driving erratically. They stopped the vehicle to determine if the occupants had a day use pass. Open containers of alcohol were in plain view in the vehicle. During an inspection of the vehicle, Officer Stone located marijuana in two bags totaling 30 grams. Both subjects were issued misdemeanor citations for possession of marijuana and possession of alcohol by a person under the age of 21. The drugs were photographed and seized for evidence.

Officer Brodbeck was on patrol in Loxahatchee when he saw a suspicious vehicle with an expired tag. When checked through law enforcement databases, the tag came back to a different vehicle. A traffic stop was initiated, but the vehicle continued another two miles down the road before stopping. Officer Brodbeck saw marijuana scattered throughout the vehicle. The driver had a revoked license with habitual status as well as 10 prior convictions for driving while license suspended or revoked. Additionally, the driver had a local warrant for failure to appear for DWLSR. During a search of the vehicle, a bag containing oxycodone pills was located. The subject was placed under arrest and transported to the Palm Beach County Jail for felony DWLSR, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana, attaching tag not assigned, as well as the active warrant.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Schroer responded to a caller advising he found an injured Coopers hawk under a tree in his front yard. The hawk was active and appeared to have an injured right wing and was unable to fly away when approached. Officer Schroer retrieved the hawk and transported it to a local rehabilitation center for treatment.

Lieutenant Hankinson and the Loggerhead Marine Life Center transported a rehabilitated leatherback sea turtle offshore. The leatherback sea turtle was released back to the wild in a favorable environment.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MIAMI DADE COUNTY

While on land-based water patrol near the entrance of Black Point Park, Officer Cartaya and Officer Fernandez saw a subject walking out of the park with a bucket, cooler and fishing poles. They approached the subject to conduct a saltwater fisheries inspection and discovered 4 schoolmaster snapper and 1 barracuda which were undersized. The subject was cited accordingly.

While on water patrol, Officer Blanco and Lieutenant Reynaud stopped a vessel to conduct a safety inspection. The operator had watery glassy bloodshot eyes, was drooling and spitting while he talked and had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from his breath. He was also yelling insults at the officers and behaving in a disorderly manner. The officers requested the operator to board their vessel to conduct standard field sobriety tasks (SFSTs). After conducting SFSTs, the defendant was placed under arrest for boating under the influence and disorderly intoxication. The subject unsuccessfully attempted to push Officer Blanco off the patrol vessel into the water. The subject was cited for assault on a law enforcement officer and boating under the influence. He provided two breath samples of .178 and .174.

Officer Perez and Officer Gomez were on water patrol when they saw a vessel with fishing rods actively fishing. A resource inspection revealed possession of multiple undersized mahi.

MONROE COUNTY

Investigator Mattson and Officer Rhoda were on water patrol working a BUI detail around Whale Harbor Sandbar in Islamorada. They saw a man jump off a 15-foot skiff in the congested channel. They approached the vessel to check on the welfare of the occupants who appeared extremely impaired. The operator agreed to field sobriety tests after showing signs of impairment and performed poorly. He agreed to submit to a breath sample which resulted in .139 BAC & .126 BAC. He was arrested and taken to the Plantation Key Jail.

The Interceptor team patrolled from Snake Creek to Carysfort Reef in the Upper Keys. Officers saw a large supply vessel operating very close to the reef line and marked the vessel on the radar inside of the FKNMS ATBA boundary line. The crew investigated and confirmed the vessel was being operated within the FKNMS. The captain of the vessel was contacted and informed of the violation. All required information for the ATBA violation was obtained and documented. A citation was written and the case is being turned over to NOAA.

Officers Conrad, Garcia, and Petru were patrolling around Hen and Chickens Sanctuary Preservation Area. They saw a vessel inside the SPA fishing, which is prohibited. Upon inspection, the subject was found to be in possession of 13 undersized yellowtail snapper, 1 undersized queen snapper, 3 undersized gray triggerfish, and two different species of marine life not landed alive. The subject was also found to be over the aggregate bag limit for snapper, which is 10. The defendant was cited accordingly.

COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Arbogast and Kleis, along with Lieutenant Sushil were patrolling Collier County’s local waterways participating in Operation Dry Water, focusing their enforcement efforts on BUI violations. While assisting the USCG with engine problems on the side of a channel, both patrol vessels’ blue lights were on to encourage passing boaters to slow down. A vessel with one male occupant onboard passed in close proximity without slowing down, producing a large enough wake to disrupt the mechanics on the USCG vessel. The officers initiated a vessel stop to conduct a boating safety inspection. During the vessel inspection the operator exhibited signs of impairment and approximately 14 empty beer cans were scattered around the vessel. Officer Arbogast administered SFSTs on the operator and placed the operator under arrest for BUI. The operator was booked into the Naples Jail Center and provided two breath samples of .145 and .158.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROL
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Richards, Foell and Way aboard FWC Offshore Patrol Vessel Trident patrolled South Atlantic federal waters from Key West to the Dry Tortugas. While on patrol, the officers conducted marine fisheries inspections and discovered violations on two commercial snapper-grouper vessels. Upon inspection, the first vessel was found to be in possession of an undersized black grouper and was using yellowtail snapper, not in whole condition, as bait. The second vessel contained approximately 700 pounds of reef fish species. Upon inspection, the vessel contained 19 mutton snapper, putting them over their three person commercial trip-limit. The product was seized, sold and all subjects were cited accordingly.

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  FWC Enforcement Report June 15-21. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 07-06-2018, 09:37 AM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
BAY COUNTY

Reserve Officer Cooper was conducting resource inspections of vessels returning from fishing in St. Andrews Bay prior to the beginning of the recreational red snapper season. During an inspection of one vessel, he found the vessel’s occupants to be in possession of undersized red snapper and undersized scamp. The captain of the vessel was issued a citation for possession of red snapper during closed season and warnings for undersized red snapper and undersized scamp.

Officer McMillion was contacted by Lt. Wass de Czege, who was off duty, about individuals at the Mexico Beach Canal that were in possession of gray triggerfish during the closed season. Officer McMillion located the individuals in possession of seven gray triggerfish during the closure. The captain of the vessel was issued a citation for the violation.

Officer McMillion was conducting resource inspections at the Mexico Beach Canal boat ramp when he saw a vessel with several individuals on board returning from a day of fishing. While he was conducting a resource inspection of the vessel the occupants stated that they had caught snapper and grouper. During the inspection, Officer McMillion located the snapper and grouper along with bags of ice. Once he moved the bags of ice, he located a gray triggerfish. The captain was issued a citation for possession of gray triggerfish during closed season.

Officer Basford was conducting resource inspections at the Mexico Beach Canal boat ramp when he saw a vessel with five people on board returning from fishing. He conducted a resource inspection of the vessel and found the individuals to be in possession of 14 red snapper; four fish over what they could legally possess. The captain of the vessel took responsibility for the violation and was issued a citation for over the bag limit of red snapper.

Officers Brady, Rice, Alsobrooks and Scott conducted an off-shore patrol in federal waters of the Madison-Swanson. The Madison-Swanson is closed to reef fishing. During their patrol, the officers located several vessels that were actively bottom fishing. The captain of each vessel was issued a federal citation for harvesting reef fish in the closed area. Additionally, during the inspections of the vessels, one vessel was found to be in possession of gray triggerfish. The captain of this vessel was also issued a citation for possession of gray triggerfish during closed season.

Reserve Officer Cooper was conducting resource inspections of vessels returning from fishing in St. Andrews Bay. During an inspection of one vessel, he located a bag containing two fish fillets. The fillets were determined to be from a gag grouper, possibly undersized. The captain of the vessel was issued a citation for failure to land reef fish in whole condition.

Officer Palmer was conducting resource inspections at St. Andrews State Park boat ramp of vessels returning from fishing. During a resource inspection of one vessel, he found the occupants to be in possession of an undersized gag grouper and an undersized red snapper. The captain of the vessel was issued a citation for possession of undersized gag grouper and a warning for possession of undersized red snapper.

Officer Basford and Reserve Officer Cooper responded to a single vessel boating accident in Upper Grand Lagoon on Panama City Beach. During the investigation, the officers noticed that the vessel operator was showing signs of impairment. The operator was put through standardized field sobriety tasks and placed under arrest for BUI. Once back at the Panama City Beach Field Office, the operator provided breath samples of .235 and .239 and was booked into the Bay County Jail for BUI.

Officer Basford and Reserve Officer Cooper conducted a resource inspection of a commercial charter vessel in Grand Lagoon. During the inspection they found five people on board: the captain of the vessel, a deck hand and three paying customers. While inspecting the catch, the officers found two whole gray triggerfish, four gray triggerfish fillets and seven red snapper. One of the red snapper was found to be undersized and with three paying customers they could only possess six red snapper. The captain of the vessel was issued citations for possession of gray triggerfish during closed season and possession of undersized red snapper. He was also issued warnings for failure to land gray triggerfish in whole condition and over the bag limit of red snapper.

CALHOUN COUNTY

Officers Hayes and Baber saw a vessel operating on the Apalachicola River at night without displaying navigational lights. When the vessel came to shore, the officers conducted a boating safety inspection. During the inspection, the officers noticed the operator’s speech was slurred and they smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage. Officer Hayes administered field sobriety tasks on the operator. Based on the results, the operator was placed under arrest for BUI. He refused to provide a breath sample.

Officer Baber was contacted by the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department regarding a call they received from a boater on the Apalachicola River. The caller stated they believed they saw a suspect breaking into a houseboat moored on the river. Officer Baber responded by water and located a suspect on top of one of the houseboats matching the description provided by the caller. He determined the suspect had not broken into the houseboat but was camping on top of it. The suspect was in possession of a .22 caliber rifle and a records check showed that he was a convicted felon. The suspect was cited for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and trespassing.

ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officers Allgood and Manning conducted offshore saltwater fisheries patrol and issued several notice to appear citations for federal and state violations. The charges include undersized red snapper, undersized gag grouper, possession of trigger fish during a closed season and possession of stone crabs during a closed season.

Officer Allgood performed a fisheries inspection on an individual fishing quota (IFQ) vessel as it returned to the dock in Pensacola to offload their catch. One of the subjects on board had a warrant for driving while his license was suspended. Officer Allgood arrested and transported the subject to the Escambia County Jail.

FEDERAL WATERS

More than 20 officers participated in targeted enforcement of reef fish violations in Gulf waters south of Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties. Multiple vessels from FWC’s Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) program in conjunction with aviation support checked nearly 300 subjects in state and federal waters. The enforcement effort resulted in 17 federal citations, three state citations and 19 resource warnings. Charges included undersized red snapper, undersized cobia, undersized greater amberjack, possession of gray triggerfish during closed season, undersized vermillion snapper and other reef fish species, along with charter fishing without a federal reef fish permit.

JACKSON COUNTY

Officer Burkhead saw a car stopped in the middle of the road and noticed the brake lights were on but the car never moved. He approached the driver’s window and saw the driver slumped over the steering wheel with the car in drive while the driver’s foot was on the brake. He woke the driver and put the car in park. The driver showed signs of impairment. Officer Burkhead administered field sobriety tasks on the driver and arrested him for DUI. He refused to provide a breath sample.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Investigator Molnar and Officer Corbin conducted a vessel stop at Crab Island on a personal watercraft (PWC) for a passenger not wearing a PDF. While speaking with the operator, he was showing multiple signs of impairment and the officers detected an odor of cannabis coming from the PWC. The operator admitted to consuming alcohol throughout the day and smoking cannabis about 30 minutes prior to the vessel stop. A search of the PWC revealed approximately five grams of unburnt cannabis. The operator agreed to perform field sobriety tasks. After the tasks, Investigator Molnar arrested the operator for BUI. The operator provided a breath sample of .018 and .020 blood alcohol content which was not consistent with the observations of the officers. The officers requested the operator to submit to a urine sample since drug impairment was suspected and the operator refused. He was booked into the Okaloosa County Jail for BUI with normal faculties impaired and possession of cannabis less than 20 grams. Officer Corbin issued a notice to appear citation to the passenger aboard for possession of cannabis less than 20 grams.

Officers Pifer and Long were on water patrol when they stopped a vessel in violation of the idle speed/no wake zone around Crab Island. The operator did not have identification on board and provided the officers with a name and date of birth. FWC dispatch advised they could not find a record of the individual with the information provided. The subject then provided a different middle initial and date of birth. Dispatch again advised that they could not find a record of the individual. The subject was given a final opportunity to provide his true information. He did and it was determined the subject had active warrants for his arrest in Alabama. The subject was placed under arrest and booked into the Okaloosa County Jail without incident.

Officer Corbin was on patrol when he recognized a subject operating a vehicle who had a suspended driver’s license. He confirmed the license was still suspended and conducted a traffic stop. The subject was asked to roll down his rear windows due to the dark tint and he complied. The officer then looked through the back window and saw a handgun laying on the floorboard underneath the driver’s seat. The handgun was removed and secured in the patrol vehicle. The serial number for the handgun was run through FWC dispatch, who advised the handgun was reported stolen. The subject and passenger were detained and gave consent for the vehicle to be searched. During the search, two vape pens containing THC oil and a partially smoked cannabis cigarette were located. Post Miranda, the subject admitted to knowing the handgun was stolen. Officer Corbin arrested the subject and charged him with dealing in stolen property, possession of a controlled substance, possession of cannabis less than 20 grams, and knowingly driving with a suspended license.

Officer Corbin was on patrol conducting resource inspections late at night when he saw a vessel with four subjects on board returning to the boat ramp. A resource inspection was conducted and a total of five redfish were located on the vessel, four of which were undersized. After interviewing everyone onboard, the subjects who caught the redfish were issued notice to appear citations for possession of over the bag limit and possession of undersized redfish.

Officers Corbin and Pifer were on patrol when Officer Corbin saw a derelict sailboat dragging anchor in the channel near a bridge. The officers tied off to the vessel and saw two dogs inside the vessel without food or water. The vessel was hip-towed to a nearby public dock and an attempt was made to locate the owner of the vessel. Animal control was notified and the owner of the vessel was located shortly thereafter. The owner did not have a title to the vessel but did claim ownership of it. The vessel did not have a means of propulsion, any working electrical or bilge, and was barnacle laden. Officer Corbin issued the owner of the vessel a notice to appear citation for derelict vessel stored on state waters and a uniform boating citation for interference with navigation.

Officer Corbin and Investigator Molar were on water patrol at Crab Island when they saw a vessel in violation of the idle speed/no wake zone. A vessel stop was conducted and the operator exhibited signs of impairment. After conducting field sobriety tasks, Officer Corbin placed the subject under arrest for BUI. The operator was cited for operating a vessel while normal faculties impaired and violation of the idle speed/no wake zone. The subject was also assessed a civil penalty for refusing to provide a breath sample.

Officers Bartlett and Pifer were on water patrol at Crab Island when they stopped a vessel for violation of the idle speed/no wake zone. While speaking with the operator of the vessel, signs of impairment were observed and the individual was asked to perform field sobriety tasks. Upon conclusion the operator was placed under arrest for BUI. The subject provided a breath sample of 0.164 and 0.153 blood alcohol content. He was booked into the Okaloosa County Jail and cited for operating a vessel with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher and issued a boating infraction for violation of the idle speed/no wake zone.

Officers Pifer and Bartlett responded to a report of a boating accident with injuries that occurred near the East Jetties in Destin. When the officers arrived on scene they determined that two personal watercraft rented from a nearby livery collided. An occupant on one of the personal watercraft suffered a leg injury and was transported to a local hospital. A follow up at the hospital with the injured party revealed they had suffered a broken leg due to the accident. After conducting the accident investigation, Officer Pifer issued the operator of the striking vessel a citation for violation of navigation rules resulting in an accident.

Several complaints over the past few months have been received regarding human waste being deposited in state waters at a marina. Officer Wilkenson organized a targeted enforcement detail in response to the complaints. The detail focused on inspecting vessels at the marina and ensuring the vessel owners followed marina sanitation laws. The officers working the detail inspected seven vessels and contacted 15 individuals. Two citations and five written warnings were issued for various violations. The officers also educated the marina owners on marine sanitation requirements so they can inform individuals renting wet slips of the regulations to prevent future violations.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Ramos was conducting patrol in a designated shorebird nesting site in Navarre where a colony of black skimmers were nesting. Black skimmers are a species of special concern and one of several imperiled shorebird species in the area. He saw the birds become visibly disturbed and flushed from their hatchlings when a subject ducked under the ropes and entered the closed area. Although the area was roped off and posted with multiple signs, the subject ignored the barricades and went down to the seawall where she began to fish. She was issued a notice to appear citation for the violation.

FWC’s dispatch received a Wildlife Alert complaint that various waste materials were disposed of in the Yellow River Wildlife Management Area. The complaint included the license plate for the vehicle and trailer involved. Officer Ramos and Environmental Investigator Hughes located a pile of waste debris on the south side of the management area. Using the tag number in the complaint they located the suspect. During an interview with the suspect he admitted to disposing of the waste materials. Investigator Hughes issued the defendant a criminal citation for disposing of solid waste at a non-permitted location.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
DUVAL COUNTY

Officer Christmas was on patrol in Duval County when he stopped by a creek known for fishing activity. He walked under a bridge and saw a subject attempting to light something on the end of a straw as he puffed it. He walked up behind the subject and identified himself and asked the subject if he was okay. The subject indicated he was fine and was smoking dope. Officer Christmas requested the subject hand him the items he was puffing on, read him his rights per Miranda, and asked the subject what kind of dope he was smoking and the subject said it was ice. Officer Christmas requested the subject walk up to his truck and the subject stopped, reached in to his left pocket and pulled out a clear baggy containing more drugs. He handed it to Officer Christmas and the drugs tested positive as methamphetamine. Officer McGregor responded to assist by taking control of the drugs while Officer Christmas arrested and booked the subject at the Duval County Jail for possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

LEVY COUNTY

Officers worked an enforcement detail in Goethe State Forest during the second special opportunity night time dog-hog hunt. A total of 11 misdemeanor citations were issued, as well as numerous infractions and written warnings. The misdemeanor violations include nine citations for hunting prior to legal hours and two citations for hunting with a gun and light. The gun and light violations consisted of one individual using a spotlight connected to a spare battery in the back of the vehicle and another individual using a vehicle mounted light bar. Lieutenant Umhoefer, Investigator Bembry, and Officers Fox, Starling, Johnston, Hilliard, Willis, Troiano, Stanley, Drew, Ulrich, and Browning assisted during the detail.

DIXIE COUNTY

Officer Sheffield was conducting fisheries inspections near Shired Island when he saw an individual near the water’s edge. Officer Sheffield contacted the person and discovered that the subject was recreationally harvesting oysters. The individual was issued a notice to appear for harvesting oysters from a prohibited area and harvest during closed season.

CITRUS COUNTY

Officer Nate Cheshire was on patrol in the Citrus Springs area when he saw a vehicle being operated in a manner that led him to believe the operator was impaired. Officer Cheshire followed behind the vehicle and saw the operator was unable to maintain a single lane of travel. Officer Cheshire conducted a traffic stop, saw signs of impairment and requested the operator submit to field sobriety tasks. The driver refused to participate in field sobriety tasks. Officer Cheshire saw a green leafy substance inside the vehicle which the driver identified as synthetic marijuana. The driver was placed under arrest for operating a motor vehicle while impaired. The vehicle was towed at the driver’s request.

Officer Crane and Lieutenant Jones were on water patrol in the Kings Bay area of Crystal River. The officers saw a boat operating in excess of the posted manatee idle speed zone. A vessel stop was initiated and during the boarding the operator exhibited signs of impairment. Officer Crane conducted a battery of field sobriety tasks. Based on the tasks, the operator was arrested for operating a vessel while impaired. During the investigation, the officers noticed that a 3-month-old infant was on the boat and was not wearing the required PFD. The subject was transported to the Citrus County Jail where he submitted to a test of his breath. The results of such test revealed that he had a breath alcohol content of .175.

Over the weekend, Citrus County officers worked the 34th Annual Cobia Fishing Tournament on the Homosassa and Crystal Rivers. Officers Browning, Suttles, Crane, Reid and Lieutenant Jones made a total of 12 resource cases. The cases included the following:

4 undersized gag grouper cases
1 amberjack case
2 undersized hog fish cases
2 undersized cobia cases
3 undersized black drum cases
1 undersized red grouper case


TAYLOR COUNTY

Officers Wilder and Tyler were offshore on patrol targeting illegal fish violations. The officers stopped a vessel that left their anchored spot upon seeing the officers’ patrol vessel approaching. A check revealed the occupants on board had harvested numerous undersized red grouper, hogfish, gag grouper, and mangrove snapper with spear guns. The fish, all notably undersized, were seized and donated and the subjects were cited for the violations.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
CLAY COUNTY

FWC officers in Clay County partnered with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol Unit and Chick-Fil-A to reward safe boating practices. Chick-Fil-A graciously donated gift cards good for a free ice cream cone. While on water patrol, officers rewarded children and parents who were wearing life jackets with the free ice cream gift cards. This provided an opportunity for positive encounters between law enforcement and families while on the water while rewarding safe boating practices.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
COLUMBIA COUNTY

Officer Cline assisted a private group on the Santa Fe River who were engaged in a river clean up. Approximately 40 members of the group arrived at Hollingsworth boat ramp where they set out for a day of river clean up in a variety of boats. The cleanup was a success with hundreds of pounds of refuse collected up river from the US 47 bridge on the Santa Fe. Officer Cline was thanked for keeping the vessel traffic at a reasonable speed throughout the day.

DUVAL COUNTY

Investigator Holleman was conducting port investigations. He inspected the Caribbean Cold Storage and requested the bill of lading for some spiny lobster (product of Venezuela) being stored at the facility. He opened two boxes of lobster but did not have time to thaw and check for egg bearing lobster because the storage facility was about to close. The following day, he and Officer Lentz returned to Caribbean Cold Storage and inspected the lobster. There were 2.5 pallets of lobster. The individual boxes on the pallet were 10 lb. boxes. The bill of lading showed 3,590 pounds of lobster total. Officer Lentz and Investigator Holleman randomly pulled six boxes of lobster and partially thawed each lobster and thoroughly inspected them for eggs. Eleven of 46 female spiny lobster were egg bearing and/or snipped. They seized the 11 egg-bearing/snipped spiny lobster and Investigator Rodriguez is investigating the seafood company in Miami in reference to the violations.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
PUTNAM COUNTY

Officer Mason responded to a traffic stop by Putnam County Sheriff’s Office where they located a spotlight, rifle, and doe deer in a vehicle at night. The subjects stated that they accidentally hit the deer with their vehicle and used the rifle to put it down. Upon investigating the deer, it was found that the only injury was a bullet entry wound through the shoulder and an exit wound. Both subjects were cited for unlawfully harvesting a doe deer out of season.

BREVARD COUNTY

While on patrol, Officers Cybula and Delano saw people in the BC49 Critical Wildlife Area (CWA). This area is full of nesting birds this time of year. Due to the imperiled species found here, the area is clearly marked alerting the public that access is prohibited. After speaking with the people, a citation was issued for violation of the CWA.

Lieutenant Lightsey and Officer Cybula participated in a non-jury trial where a man was found guilty of violating the BC49 Critical Wildlife Area. The violator received fines totaling $371 and must perform twenty hours of community service.

While on patrol of Sebastian Inlet State Park, Officer Dubose saw four men fishing. Once the men began to leave the area, the officer approached to conduct a resource inspection. His inspection revealed one snook that was gutted and missing its head. Snook season is closed in the Atlantic from June 1st to August 31st. A citation was issued for possession of snook out of season.

Officer Matthews conducted surveillance on a group of men fishing at Sebastian Inlet State Park. The group was fishing in an area common for snook violations. After watching the men for some time, they began to pack up to leave. They walked and looked around to see if any officers were in the area and quickly loaded their vehicle. Officer Matthews approached the men who were alerted to his presence. The men reversed their vehicle and threw a bag into a wooded area. After finally getting the vehicle to stop, Officer Matthews located the bag containing two out of season snook and one over the slot size redfish. Due to the men’s history of resource violations and failure to allow inspection, all three men were arrested. Charges included two counts of possession of snook out of season, one count of possession of oversized redfish and one count each for failure to allow inspection by an FWC officer.

OSCEOLA COUNTY

Officer Summers was on water patrol on West Lake Toho when he approached a vessel to conduct a resource inspection. The officer’s inspection revealed four black bass over 16 inches in length. It is illegal to possess more than one black bass over 16 inches per person. A citation was issued for the offense.

Officer Stelzer was on water patrol on West Lake Toho when he saw a man fishing from a vessel. After conducting a resource inspection, the man was found to be in possession of 61 panfish, 11 over the legal daily bag limit. The man was issued a citation for the offense.

Officers Summers and Stelzer were on water patrol on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes when a pontoon vessel waved them over. The occupants informed the officers that one of their pontoons was taking water and the stern was beginning to list. The officers had the occupants put on their life jackets and assisted them back to the ramp safely.

Officer Stelzer was on water patrol on West Lake Toho when he saw a man in a vessel fishing. A resource inspection revealed the man was in possession of three black bass more than 16 inches in length. It is illegal to possess more than one black bass over 16 inches per person. A citation was issued for the offense.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

Officer Dubose was on patrol off Vero Beach when he saw a man diving out of a kayak. A safety and resource inspection was conducted. During the resource inspection, the man retrieved two fish from his kayak. After the officer asked if he had any more fish the subject tipped his kayak up and used his spear gun to retrieve a mutton snapper. A measurement revealed the snapper was 15.25 inches in length, well under the 18-inch minimum. A citation was issued for the offense.

While on patrol in Indian River County, Officer Dubose and Reserve Officer Riccuiti conducted resource inspections at a local bridge. One of the subjects was found to have a warrant out of Brevard County for other FWC and weapons charges. The officers placed the man under arrest and delivered him to the Indian River County jail where he awaits extradition to Brevard County.

MARION COUNTY

Officer Dias received information of a velvet buck that had been taken off Sunnyhill Conservation Area from Forest Road 8. Officer Dias responded to the area to investigate. He located a truck on the side of Forest Road 8 that matched the description of the involved party. After a short surveillance a car pulled up to the truck. Officer Dias contacted a subject at the truck who stated that he and his brother killed a hog on private land earlier that night and he was on his way to dump the gut pile when he ran out of fuel. Officer Dias kept the individual’s contact information and got the information on the subject’s brother. He also made note of the tire tread on the truck. Officer Dias went to the site where he was informed that the deer had been taken and found the matching tire sign to the suspected truck and very unique boot prints going into Sunnyhill property. He tracked the foot sign into Sunnyhill and saw a buck lying down approximately 100 yards from the end of the foot sign. As he walked toward the buck, it stood up and walked off. When Officer Dias got near where the buck had been lying he located the dead velvet buck that had a bullet wound through the front shoulder. He seized the carcass as evidence and went to the residence of the involved party, where he found boots matching the prints found in Sunnyhill, still damp and sandy from the earlier activities. After a brief interview of the suspect, he admitted to taking the buck from Forest Road 8 and surrendered the rifle used. Officer Dias filed charges with the Marion County State Attorney’s Office for taking deer at night with gun and light, shooting from a county roadway, and taking a deer from St. Johns Water Management land.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officers North and Vanas were on land patrol along Bulow Creek when they stopped to check several males on the creek bank. The subjects were in possession of a bucket containing live blue crabs but no crab fishing gear. They told the officers they had caught the crabs earlier in a different location. The officers saw another male swimming down the creek with a commercial crab trap toward their location. He made it almost to them and dropped the trap when he saw the officers. The man admitted to taking crabs from a commercial trap without permission. The commercial crabber was notified and confirmed that the man did not have his permission to be in possession of the trap. He was cited for theft/molestation of a commercial crab trap.

Lieutenant Eason was on patrol near the St. Johns River within Blue Springs State Park when he saw two adult males and two females enter a red Volkswagen and began to leave the area. Upon leaving, the driver of the vehicle accelerated quickly, spinning his wheels and fish tailing out of the parking area. Lieutenant Eason attempted to conduct a traffic stop to address the violation. While driving eastbound on French Avenue, Lieutenant Eason saw additional track marks where the vehicle drifted severely around a blind curve. As Lieutenant Eason slowed down he saw the vehicle had crashed into the shoulder of the roadway. The four subjects were out of the vehicle, staggering and looking at the damage. Lieutenant Eason activated his emergency lights and contacted the subjects. Officers Thornton and Laroche arrived on scene to assist. The driver was arrested by for reckless driving, driving without a license (never issued), operating an unregistered vehicle, and he was cited for no proof of insurance, tag attached not assigned, destruction of park property, and a lifetime trespass warning from Blue Springs State Park was issued. Additionally, Officer Thornton completed the crash report. The other male subject was cited for possession of less than twenty grams of cannabis (located in front pocket) by Officer Laroche. The vehicle, which had been traded to the driver for tattoo work that had not been completed or even started, was towed from the scene and assessed as totaled.

While on water patrol in the New Smyrna Beach area, Officer West saw an adult male have great difficulty docking his boat at a local shoreside restaurant. Officer West approached and spoke with the operator and subsequently conducted standardized seated field sobriety tasks. The operator was arrested for boating under the influence (BUI) and transported to the county jail.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HARDEE COUNTY

While on night patrol, Officers Kobs and Karr spotted a vehicle driving slowly down a county road in east Hardee County. They saw a light being shined out of both side windows of the vehicle. They followed the vehicle for almost an hour as the truck turned onto many roads and shined a variety of private properties. Officer Kobs stopped the vehicle and after being read their Miranda rights, the two people in the truck admitted to shining alongside the road looking for hogs. They both admitted that if they saw a hog, they would have released the two dogs out of the back of their truck. Both men were issued a notice to appear for hunting off the roadway.

HERNANDO COUNTY

Officers Canamero and Scinta were on water patrol. They conducted a stop of a vessel that had violated a restricted speed zone. While conducting a resource inspection, the subject was found to be in possession of one undersized cobia. The subject was cited accordingly.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on water patrol near the Alafia River, Officers Wilkins and Martinez stopped a vessel to conduct a boating safety inspection. Upon contacting the operator, Officer Wilkins noticed the subject was bracing on items as to not fall, struggling to remember boating safety equipment, and was becoming argumentative. Officer Wilkins conducted field sobriety tasks with the operator and determined the subject was impaired. The subject was arrested for boating under the influence, cited for refusal to submit to test of breath/urine, and booked into the Hillsborough County Jail.

Officer Wilkins was patrolling the Critical Wildlife Areas (CWA) near Port Tampa Bay that are home to numerous species of nesting shorebirds. Officer Wilkins issued one subject a notice to appear for entering a CWA after it was discovered he was camping on one of the islands. The next day Officer Wilkins contacted a charter captain who had passed numerous signs warning of the area being a no entry zone and then anchored in the CWA to fish. Both subjects will have to appear in court for their violations.

While on water patrol near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, Officer Martinez stopped a vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection and asked the men on board if they had any fish. Officer Martinez was told there was no fish on board but when he started to question about different coolers on the vessel he was told there was one mackerel in a cooler. Upon inspecting the cooler with the mackerel inside, Officer Martinez found an undersized gag grouper. The subject who caught and kept the grouper was cited for violation.

While on water patrol near Little Harbor, Officer Martinez stopped a vessel to conduct a resource and boating safety inspection. While speaking with the operator, Officer Martinez noticed signs of impairment and conducted field sobriety tasks. The operator performed poorly and was arrested for boating under the influence. The subject was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail for boating under the influence and refusal to submit to a test of his breath/urine.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Furbay was on land patrol when he came across a man near a lake acting nervous and asking questions about fishing. During an inspection, Officer Furbay found a line attached to stake baited with a piece of pork. The man admitted it was his and later gave Officer Furbay permission to look in his vehicle for any fish and wildlife. While looking in the vehicle, the man covered up a sack with a jacket and claimed he did not have anything. Inside the sack was a softshell turtle. The man admitted to catching the turtle and showed Officer Furbay other lines he had set to catch them. The man was issued a misdemeanor citation for catching and keeping a softshell turtle during closed season.

Officer Winton received information about the possible destruction of burrowing owl burrows on a property in Cape Coral. Officer Winton responded to the scene and discovered that six burrows had been destroyed as the result of construction activities. An investigation was conducted and it was determined that the construction manager was aware that the burrows existed, but allowed construction to occur directly next to the burrows anyway. Six felony charges are being filed with the State Attorney’s Office.

Officers Hazelwood and Winton were on vessel patrol offshore of Sanibel when they saw a fishing vessel returning from offshore waters. The officers conducted a vessel stop and discovered eight undersized vermillion snapper and two lane snapper not in whole condition. The captain of the vessel was issued a notice to appear for possession of undersized snapper and a warning for possession of reef fish not in whole condition.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officers Dalton and Gonzales were on water patrol around Long Boat Pass near Jew Fish Key. While on patrol they stopped and performed a boating safety inspection on vessel that was transiting near the key. After the officers stopped the vessel and while going through the boating safety inspection, it appeared that the operator was under influence of alcohol. After an investigation by Officer Gonzales, the operator was arrested and taken to jail for boating under the influence.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on land based water patrol, Officer Bibeau saw a vessel return to a nearby boat ramp from offshore and contacted the vessel and the 5 occupants onboard to conduct a fisheries inspection. He located an out of season triggerfish and 12 red snapper. As he was completing his inspection, he located a separate cooler in the back of one occupant’s vehicles at the ramp. Officer Bibeau asked for permission to conduct an inspection on the cooler and was permitted to do so. He located an undersized gag grouper in the cooler. Officer Bibeau wrote the operator of the vessel a misdemeanor citation for being over the daily bag limit of red snapper along with a warning for possession of triggerfish during closed season. The other individual was written a misdemeanor citation for possession of undersized gag grouper.

While on land based water patrol, Officer Bibeau contacted two individuals that were actively fishing from a bridge. He conducted a fisheries inspection and located a 14-inch gag grouper. One of the individuals admitted to catching the grouper and was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of an undersized gag grouper.

While on water patrol, Officers Bibeau and Martinez stopped a vessel that was returning from offshore to conduct a fisheries inspection. Officer Bibeau performed the inspection and located a 14-inch red grouper and a 16-inch gag grouper. Officer Bibeau issued the operator a misdemeanor citation for possession of an undersized red grouper and a warning for the other fisheries violation.

While on land based water patrol, Officer Bibeau saw an offshore fishing vessel return to a nearby boat ramp. He contacted the vessel and the five occupants onboard to conduct a fisheries inspection. Officer Bibeau located 15 red snapper (their bag limit was 10). Officer Bibeau read the occupants their Miranda rights and one of the occupants admitted to taking the extra red snapper. The subject was cited accordingly for over the daily bag limit of red snapper.

While on land patrol in Clearwater, Lieutenant Van Trees saw four individuals fishing from the CSX railroad tracks going over Upper Tampa Bay. Lieutenant Van Trees contacted the subjects as they left the area and conducted a fisheries inspection. He discovered one of the subjects kept an undersized red drum and an undersized black drum. All the subjects were warned for trespassing and the subject with the fish was issued a notice to appear for possession of undersize red drum and a warning for the black drum violation.

POLK COUNTY

The Southwest Dive Team was requested by Polk County Sheriff’s Office to assist in locating a missing boater they believed had drowned near Lake Scott. Members of the team deployed sector scan sonar on the bottom of the lake in three separate locations. At the third location, the sector scan located an anomaly on the bottom matching the size and shape of the missing individual. The dive team directed Polk County divers to the location in low visibility who confirmed that it was the missing individual. The investigation is ongoing.

SARASOTA COUNTY

Officers Hudson, Ridgway and Grenz were on water patrol around Little Sarasota Bay. They stopped and performed a boating safety inspection on a vessel that was violating a manatee speed zone. After they stopped the vessel, it appeared to the officers that the operator was under influence of alcohol. After an investigation by Officer Hudson, the operator was arrested and taken to jail for boating under the influence.

Officers Hudson, Ridgway and Grenz were on water patrol around Lido Key. They received a complaint that someone on Lido Key Beach was catching and keeping undersized fish and placing them in cooler. The officers located the subject fishing from the beach and conducted a fisheries inspection. During the inspection, the officers discovered the subject had caught and kept one undersized and out of season snook as well as several undersized black drum. The subject also had an outstanding warrant for his arrest and was taken to jail.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
GLADES COUNTY

Officer Brodbeck was on patrol at the Moore Haven locks conducting license and resource inspections. One subject fishing with a rod and reel also had a cast net and a bucket in his possession containing both gamefish and non-game native fish. No violations were found. Officer Brodbeck conducted surveillance on the individual and saw the subject throw dead non-game fish from the bucket back into the water and proceed to throw the cast net. Many fish were captured and the subject dumped them all out on land and went back to fishing with a rod and reel. Officer Brodbeck returned to the location and found many of the same native non-game fish dead on land and the subject was still fishing nearby. When asked about all the dead fish the subject stated that he was keeping them for catfish bait. When asked if he had caught any catfish the subject replied that he had not. When asked why he had thrown the dead fish from the bucket back into the water, instead of keeping them for catfish bait, the subject did not have an answer. Officer Brodbeck issued the subject a citation for wanton and willful waste of native freshwater fish.

LEE

Officer Keen was on vessel patrol on the Caloosahatchee River when he noticed a subject operating a personal watercraft (PWC). Officer Keen initiated a vessel stop to conduct a boating safety inspection. During the boating safety inspection, multiple signs of impairment were seen from the operator. The operator agreed to perform seated field sobriety tasks. After the tasks were completed the operator was placed under arrest for boating under the influence (BUI). During an inventory search of the PWC,
Officer Keen discovered a small bag containing a white powdery substance which would later field test positive for cocaine. At the Lee County Jail two hours after arrest, the operator provided a breath sample of 0.137. The operator of the vessel was issued a criminal boating citation for BUI and possession of cocaine.

MARTIN COUNTY

While conducting water patrol, Officers Morrow and Pecko saw a vessel with improper navigation lights. They followed the vessel and it made a sharp turn to port in the direction of the mangroves and shallow waters. The officers conducted a vessel stop to address the violation and to check on the welfare of the occupants. Officer Morrow saw that the vessel operator had glassy, red eyes and was using fixed objects in his vessel for stability. After conducting field sobriety tasks on the operator, he was determined to be impaired and was placed under arrest for boating under the influence.

While conducting water patrol, Officers Morrow and Pecko responded as back-up to Officers McLeod and Boyd to a vessel passenger that had become belligerent and uncooperative during a vessel stop. Upon arrival, the subject who was hindering the initiating officer’s ability to complete his investigation was placed under arrest after continually refusing to comply with lawful orders. The subject was transported to the Martin County Jail where he was booked on charges of disorderly Intoxication, interference with an FWC Officer, and resisting arrest without violence.

Officers Rogers, Moss and Schroer were on federal fisheries patrol, 12 miles offshore near the Oculina Banks. Throughout the day, the officers made multiple vessel stops and conducted fisheries inspections. The officers stopped two center console fishing vessels and a commercial king fish vessel, all of which had multiple violations. The officers found both vessels to be in possession of multiple bottom fish. One of the vessels was using vermilion snapper as cut bait and had a hidden undersized mahi in a front floor hatch. The other vessel had multiple red snapper in a floor hatch of the vessel. The commercial vessel had multiple king fish with no ice. All violations were handled accordingly and the officers issued a total of four federal citations and multiple boating safety gear warnings.

Officers Boyd and McLeod were on water patrol a mile offshore of the St. Lucie Inlet. They stopped a vessel to perform a fisheries inspection and found the captain was in violation of the daily bag limit for vermilion snapper. The captain had 11 vermilion snapper over the daily bag limit of five per person. He also did not have his registration aboard his vessel. The captain was issued a notice to appear (citation) for the misdemeanor violation of possessing over the bag limit for vermilion snapper and a warning for not having the vessel registration on board.

While on patrol of Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Officer Norbrothen was dispatched to the report of a man acting erraticly and violently in the area of the concession stand pavilions. When the officer arrived, he saw a man in distress walking around the area disturbing visitors. Park staff said the man had grabbed them and they were actively attempting to keep the man away from visitors. An investigation by officers on scene concluded that the man had ingested drugs and needed medical evaluation. The man was transported to a local hospital and was later cited for disorderly conduct.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officer Hausler was on water patrol performing boating safety inspections in Taylor Creek when he saw a subject with slurred speech and fumbling with safety gear. The subject claimed to have been drinking and was also on prescription medication. After performing standardized seated field sobriety tasks, the subject was placed under arrest for boating under the influence and booked into the Okeechobee County Jail.

Officer Davis conducted a resource inspection on a subject fishing around the S84 Water Control Structure. Upon checking the subject’s identification through the FWC communication center, it was found that the subject had an active warrant out of Dixie County. The subject was placed under arrest and booked into the Highlands County Jail.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Boyd and McLeod were on patrol and received a call about subjects hiding snook in the rocks near the Palm Beach Inlet during the snook closed season. They conducted surveillance of the beach and saw the subjects walking back to their vehicles. When the officers inspected their property for contraband, they found a 35-inch snook in one of the subject’s possession. The legal slot for snook is 28-32 inches. The subject in possession of the snook was issued a notice to appear (citation) for two charges: possession of snook out of season and possession of oversized snook. The subject was also issued two warnings for no shoreline saltwater license and possessing a snook with no snook permit.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Officers Payne and Arnold were watching people fish at a spillway in Fort Pierce when they saw a subject place an undersized snook in the rocks. The subject went to a nearby truck and got a bucket and returned to the area. He went by a tree, lifted a palm limb and removed 3 undersized snook, placing them in the bucket. He went to some rocks and removed and placed a fourth snook in the bucket. When the subject returned to the truck, Officer Arnold started down the road to contact the vehicle. Upon making contact, no bucket or fish were discovered in the truck. After searching the area for a few minutes, Officer Payne, who had now arrived on scene, located the subject observed earlier hiding along a canal bank in tall grass. When asked where the bucket and fish were, the subject stated that he was not fishing despite fish scales and slime on his shirt. A further search of the area located the bucket containing 4 undersized snook in a nearby dumpster. The subject was placed under arrest for possession of snook out of season, possession of undersized snook, over the bag limit of snook and transported to St. Lucie County Jail.

Officer Payne was watching a spillway in Fort Pierce when a subject caught a snook. A different subject fishing there took the snook and put it in a bucket and began to leave the spillway. Officer Shermetaro located the subject with the bucket and snook, which was undersized. The subject was cited for possession of undersized snook and possession of snook out of season. A records check of the subject revealed that he had been cited for the same violation before.

Officer Arnold responded to a spillway in Fort Pierce about a subject in possession of a snook. Upon his arrival, Officer Arnold saw a single person fishing. After contacting the only individual there, the subject stated that he had no fish, however a snook was discovered on a stringer nearby. The subject was cited for possession of undersized snook and possession of snook out of season.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Lieutenant Hankinson responded to an apartment complex with an eight-foot alligator attempting to enter a screened enclosure. He caught the alligator before it did more damage to the resident’s porch and AC unit. The alligator was safely removed without further incident and turned over to a state licensed trapper.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
GLADES COUNTY

Officers Davis, Padgett, Dial and Fijalkowski were dispatched to a disabled vessel occupied by 2 adults and 3 small children on the Lake Okeechobee marsh. The weather was deteriorating quickly due to an approaching lightning storm and there was no place for the family to safely retreat. Officers Davis and Padgett located the vessel by airboat while Officers Dial and Fijalkowski responded by mud boat to assist with transporting the occupants to safety. All occupants of the vessel were safely transported to Indian Prairie Canal Boat Ramp in Glades county.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Lieutenant Hankinson was patrolling near the Lake Worth Avenue Bridge when a person approached him and advised of a female subject threatening to commit suicide. He located the subject on a fishing pier adjacent to the bridge. As he began to approach the subject she placed a garbage bag over her head and jumped into the Intracoastal Waterway. As he prepared for a water rescue, the subject surfaced and removed the bag from her face. Lieutenant Hankinson along with responding deputies and fire rescue safely intercepted the swimming subject. She was rescued and brought to land without further harm or incident. Fire rescue transported the subject for medical assistance and evaluation.


SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MIAMI DADE COUNTY

While on water patrol, Officers Moschiano and Blanco conducted a resource inspection on a vessel about a mile east of the Biscayne Channel. Upon inspection of the vessel, the subject was found to be in possession of three undersized mahi and was missing a type 4 PFD, current flares, a fire extinguisher and the registration to the vessel. The subject was cited accordingly.

While on water patrol near Deering Bay channel, Officers Moschiano and Blanco conducted a resource inspection on a vessel near the mangroves. Upon inspection of the vessel the officers found the subjects in possession of 15 undersized mangrove/gray snapper and 9 over the bag limit mangrove/gray snapper. Appropriate enforcement action was taken.

The Fearless crew consisting of Lieutenants Kaloostian and Yanez and Officer Delgado departed Miami for a multiday patrol. During the patrol, the crew wrote citations for many commercial fishery, recreational fishing and charter vessel violations. Violations included possession of seventeen undersized mangrove snapper, twenty-five undersized lane snapper, possession of four undersized mahi, over the bag limit of red snapper, twenty undersized yellowtail snapper and yellowtail snapper not in whole condition. They also cited possession of eighteen undersized lane snapper. They also stopped a charter vessel fishing in North Ecological Reserve in possession of red grouper, five mangrove snapper, two mutton snapper, two hogfish and one undersized black grouper. Appropriate enforcement action was taken for the violations.

MONROE COUNTY

Officers Richards, Foell, Sutter and Trueblood onboard FWC offshore patrol vessel Trident conducted a directed night-patrol focusing on the mutton snapper spawn. The officers patrolled outside the reef line from Marathon to Key West and saw many vessels fishing the popular spawn locations. Throughout the night eight recreational and commercial vessels targeting mutton snapper were inspected. One recreational vessel leaving Western Dry Rocks was inspected with three male subjects onboard. When asked how many mutton snapper were onboard the operator stated 15. A total of 18 mutton snapper were found onboard the vessel. The operator was cited accordingly for the bag limit violation.

Officer Maldonado conducted a vessel resource check on a boat with three persons on board. The occupants were fishing inside the Carysfort Reef Sanctuary Protection Area (SPA) in North Key Largo. Officer Maldonado saw a bucket with four speared hogfish. All four hogfish measured less than 16 inches in length. The bucket also contained five undersized yellowtail snapper measuring less than 12 inches in length, two undersized schoolmaster snapper measuring less than 10 inches in length, and one undersized mangrove snapper measuring less than 10 inches in length. All the hogfish were caught using a spear gun. Appropriate enforcement action was taken.

Officers Wagner, Rubenstein, and Piekenbrock were working a targeted enforcement action offshore of Cudjoe Key. The officers conducted an inspection of vessels leaving the weed lines in 250 feet of water where many small mahi were being caught. The officers found a vessel to be in possession of 9 undersize mahi. The individuals stated they lost count of how many they had and didn’t measure any of them. Officers issued 3 misdemeanors and a warning for vessels taking undersized dolphin.

Officer Petru was on water patrol near Whale Harbor Channel on the bayside when he saw a USCG vessel which had a boat stopped with numerous people on board. Officer Petru stopped as routine backup and the Coast Guard boarding officer told him the operator had a warrant out of Georgia. FWC dispatch found that he also had a warrant out of Florida as well for failure to pay child support. The man was placed under arrest for the outstanding warrants.

COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Kleis recognized a subject in a public area as having an active felony warrant with FWC. The warrant was issued because of a previous resource violation investigation conducted by Investigator White. Officer Kleis, along with Officers Yurewitch and Thurkettle waited for the subject to return to his vehicle in the parking lot. Officer Kleis approached the subject and explained to him that he had a warrant. The subject was placed under arrest and transported to the Collier County Jail.

Officer Plussa was conducting overnight foot patrol on Naples Beach when he saw two subjects carelessly shining bright flashlights and taking selfies. The subjects were near a posted sea turtle nesting location. Both subjects were shown the posted ordinance sign. The ordinance prohibits lights on the beach during the current nesting season. Officer Plussa explained the negative effects artificial light can have on both nesting sea turtles and hatchlings. Both subjects were issued the appropriate warnings.

The Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission jointly seized 11 shark fins and dismembered sharks aboard a 40-foot commercial fishing vessel near South Sound Creek. A Station Islamorada Special Purpose Craft- Law Enforcement crew with an FWC officer aboard located the boat off South Sound Creek with improper display of navigation lights. Through the course of the boarding, the boarding team discovered 11 shark fins and dismembered sharks aboard the boat Miss Shell. The boat was escorted to Port Largo and the catch was seized.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Kleis, Yurewitch, and Tidwell responded to a complaint of a bear in a Naples apartment complex. Upon arrival, the officers discovered the bear lying down on one of the building staircases. Due to the bear’s location, several residents were unable to enter or exit their apartments. A crowd began to congregate, and due to the size of the crowd and proximity of the bear, Collier County deputies were called to assist. Once the crowd was moved to a safe location Officer Kleis hazed the bear away from the building with his bear aversion shotgun and beanbag rounds.

Officer Plussa and Collier County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to multiple calls reporting a wildlife trapping company trespassing on private property in a residential neighborhood. The callers reported firearms being discharged to kill muscovy ducks. The trappers were found to be using air-powered pellet guns that are used to move the ducks out of an area. The trappers had been misinformed about the boundaries of the contract they were working. Officer Plussa reviewed nuisance wildlife regulations with the trappers and educated them on private property boundaries. Several trespass warnings were issued at the request of homeowners.

Investigator Alford, Officer Polly and Officer Araujo inspected two captive wildlife facilities in response to caging complaints from a concerned citizen. The nature of the complaint was regarding the shelter of the Bengal tigers and the Florida panther. After the inspection, the cages were found to have adequate shelter that exceeded the state law requirements. The citizen was notified of the facility’s compliance.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MONROE COUNTY

Officer Dube and his son attended the Everglades Youth Conservation Camp at the JB Corbett Wildlife Management area in Palm Beach County. The week-long summer camp has numerous programs that include a subject safety course, fresh and saltwater fishing, paddle sports, archery and equestrian activities. The Everglades Camp also teaches the young campers about conservation goals and initiatives while being a steward of our environment.

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