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  FWC Enforcement Report July 7-13. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 07-18-2017, 12:18 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
HOLMES COUNTY

Environmental Investigator Brown, while off duty, received a call from a Commander of a local Sheriff’s Department. His deputy was out on a traffic stop in a remote part of the county with a fuel tanker suspected of dumping waste fuel. The deputy had not made an environmental stop before and needed guidance. Investigator Brown provided the deputy with advice and instruction on interviewing the driver, collecting commercial documentation, evidence, miscellaneous considerations, and relative charges. Based on this guidance, the deputy obtained the necessary probable cause and made the charge. Investigator Brown later made the necessary contacts with the Department of Environmental Protection, went to the scene, and helped to get the site assessed for any possible cleanup required. Further investigation revealed that the tanker was on the way for repairs to the trailer. The driver admitted to intentionally discharging an estimated volume of 3-15 gallons of fuel to facilitate the repairs.

CASES
BAY COUNTY

Officers Hellett and Alsobrooks were on water patrol near the DuPont Bridge and saw three subjects fishing in a vessel under the bridge. They conducted a resource inspection on the vessel and the subjects were in possession of 29 juvenile red snapper. All three subjects were issued citations for over the bag limit of red snapper and issued written warnings for the undersized violation.

Officers Lipford and Hayes were conducting patrols in Grand Lagoon when they saw a vessel with four people on board violating the posted wake zone. During an inspection of the vessel, it was determined that the operator was impaired and no one on board was over the age of 21. During the field sobriety test, the operator showed multiple signs of impairment. He was placed under arrest for BUI. During the BUI investigation, one of the passengers continually interfered with the investigation and was also placed under arrest. During the arrest, he began to resist and fought with the officers. At the Bay County Jail, the operator refused to provide a breath sample and was charged with BUI, refusal to submit a breath sample, and possession of alcohol under 21 years of age. The passenger was arrested for battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence, possession of alcohol under 21 years of age and interference with an FWC officer.

Officers Basford and Hayes were conducting patrols in Grand Lagoon when they saw a vessel violating the posted idle speed zone. During the stop for the violation, they discovered that the vessel had been fishing for the day. While conducting a resource inspection, the operator of the vessel showed the officers several fish in their fish box. During an inspection of a second cooler that contained mostly bait, the officers found two plastic bags containing fish fillets. The fillets were determined to be gag grouper and gray triggerfish. The operator was issued citations for gag grouper and gray triggerfish not landed in whole condition and possession of gray triggerfish during closure.

Officer Basford was on patrol at Bay Point Marina in plain clothes when he saw a large vessel returning to the dock. After the vessel was secured at the dock, he saw six individuals begin to remove personal gear and fishing gear from the vessel. After a few minutes, he saw an individual come out of the cabin and begin to look up and down the dock. After doing this, the individuals brought two large coolers from inside the cabin of the vessel. Officer Basford walked down the dock and as he approached, he noticed the two coolers contained multiple bags of fish fillets. Officer Leonard arrived to assist and conducted a resource inspection along with Officer Basford. During the inspection, the officers found 211 fish fillets. The fillets consisted of suspected red snapper, gag grouper, red grouper, amberjack, and gray triggerfish. Charges pending will be landing reef fish in other than whole condition, possession of gray triggerfish during closure, and possession of amberjack during closure. Other charges will be pending after analysis of the fillets.

ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer Clark saw an individual operating his vessel in a careless manner. The individual had the outboard motor trimmed mostly out of the water revving it up, while several people were standing near the prop. He was attending the Blue Angel Air Show and was attempting to leave the area. Officer Clark stopped the vessel and immediately noticed signs of impairment from the operator. The operator agreed to perform several field sobriety tasks. He performed poorly on these tasks and was arrested for BUI. The operator gave a breath sample of more than double the legal limit. Officer Clark transported the individual to the Escambia County Jail.

Officer Bartlett was on vessel patrol providing public safety enforcement at the Blue Angels Airshow when he encountered a highly‑intoxicated individual. The officer was concerned for the welfare of the individual and brought him to the nearest dock and instructed him to stay on land. Within a few minutes, Officer Bartlett saw the same individual attempting to swim across a vessel channel, barely keeping his head above water, obviously struggling to stay afloat. The officer quickly reacted and rescued the individual. For the welfare of the individual, the officer arrested him for disorderly conduct and transported him to the Escambia County Jail for processing.

Officer Bartlett was on vessel patrol providing public safety enforcement at the Blue Angels Airshow, when he saw a boat being loaded/trailered at the 17th Avenue Boat Ramp. The boat speed was too fast causing it to strike the vehicle. The officer approached the operator who showed signs of impairment and was asked to perform field sobriety tasks. Based on the operation of the vessel and the performance of the tasks, the operator was arrested for BUI. The operator refused to provide a breath sample and was transported to the Escambia County Jail for processing.

LEON COUNTY

Investigator James Bryant responded to assist the Leon County Sheriff’s Office on a complaint regarding illegal dumping of used tires on Sand Drive in Tallahassee. Upon arrival, they discovered 70 used tires which had been dumped along the roadside bordering the Apalachicola National Forest. Information and a photograph was provided about a U-Haul rental truck leaving the scene. The Sheriff’s Office began a search for the vehicle and shortly thereafter, the suspect vehicle was located. Investigator Bryant identified and interviewed the driver who admitted to dumping the tires. The subject was taken into custody and charged with felony commercial dumping over 500 pounds and transported to the Leon County Jail.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Corbin responded to a boating accident that occurred at Liza Jackson Park. The investigation revealed that a personal watercraft (PWC) struck the pier at the park. The impact ejected the operator, who landed on the pier. The operator was the sole occupant on the PWC. The operator sustained a hematoma to her head and spiral fracture to her tibia and fibula. She was transported to a local hospital for treatment. The accident is still under investigation and charges are pending.

Officers Wilkenson and Corbin responded to a boating accident involving a single vessel in Choctawhatchee Bay near Crab Island. Officer Wilkenson determined the rented personal watercraft (PWC) was traveling at an unknown high rate of speed when it struck a wave. The impact caused the operator’s and passenger’s heads to collide against each other. Both occupants sustained injuries. The passenger was found unconscious, had water in the lungs causing inflammation, and facial bruising. Both were transported to a local hospital for treatment. The passenger was later admitted.

Officer Nichols was patrolling at Henderson Beach State Park when he received a report of a dog locked in a parked car. The officer located the vehicle and saw the dog in the car and the windows were barely cracked. There was no one around the vehicle and the car owner could not be found. This occurred at 4:00 pm and the outside temperature was about 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The officer pushed the window down enough to unlock the car. The dog displayed signs of heat exhaustion. While the officer was providing the dog with water, the dog owner returned to the vehicle. The dog owner was issued a notice to appear citation for animal cruelty.

Officer Nichols was patrolling the beach at Henderson Beach State Park when he saw several individuals openly consuming alcoholic beverage. The officer approached the individuals and determined they were all under the age of 21. Five individuals were given a notice to appear citations. One of the individuals provided the officer with a false name to hide his age/identity.

Officer Corbin was on land patrol conducting state fisheries inspections in the Destin Harbor, when he saw an inshore charter vessel displaying on the cleaning table what appeared to be undersized red snapper. The fisheries inspection revealed one grossly undersized red snapper. The owner/operator of the charter boat was cited and issued a notice to appear citation.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

While on his way home from working the Blue Angels Air Show, Officer Hutchinson saw a truck being driven erratically and almost causing an accident. He stopped the driver and immediately determined that the man was showing signs of impairment. The man’s young son was also in the truck. After field sobriety tasks, Officer Hutchinson determined that the man was under the influence of alcoholic beverages and placed him under arrest for DUI. He later provided a breath sample of .12 g/210L. The man’s son was taken to a family member’s home.

Officer Mullins and Lieutenant Hahr were patrolling at the Blue Angel Air Show when they were requested to respond to assist Fire Rescue with a vessel that was seen operating in a reckless and erratic manner. As they approached the vessel, the officers saw that the sole occupant was covered in fresh blood and had a partially bandaged hand that was dripping blood. The man told the officers that he had gotten a rope burn on his hand. Due to the amount of blood, the officers requested assistance from EMS. While waiting for them to arrive, they saw multiple indicators of impairment. After EMS bandaged the man’s hand properly, Officer Mullins conducted field sobriety tasks and determined that the man was intoxicated. The man was arrested for BUI and later refused to provide a breath sample. After receiving several stiches at the hospital, the man was booked into jail for operating a vessel while normal faculties are impaired.

RESCUES
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Corbin and Wilkenson were on vessel patrol conducting public safety and boating safety enforcement near the Marler Bridge. During a vessel stop, the officers heard people from shore yelling “Lifeguard.” The officers quickly noticed two children being swept away by the swift tidal current, taking them further away from shore. The children were struggling to stay afloat and were not strong enough to swim toward shore. As the officers approached, one of the children went under the water and could not be seen. When the child surfaced, Officer Corbin quickly grabbed and pulled the child on the vessel. The second child was quickly taken aboard the vessel. Neither child was injured, just exhausted. Two Good Samaritans noticed the children and were swimming out to their rescue before the officers arrived on the scene. They were also placed on board the officers’ vessel, and the children were reunited with their parents.

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Officers Greene, Brooks, Baber, Hayes, Walker, Rice and Leonard responded to a search and rescue on Econfina Creek. Eight subjects were lost after tubing down the creek earlier in the day. With help from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and Bay County Sheriff’s Aviation Unit, all subjects were located unharmed and taken back to their vehicles.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

FWC officers made several fisheries cases this week. Multiple citations were issued for possession of gray triggerfish, possession of undersized red snapper, possession of red snapper not in whole condition and interference with an FWC officer. The interference charge was made when an individual dumped red snapper fillets overboard as the officer approached.

FWC officers took part in the annual Blue Angels Airshow on Pensacola Beach where approximately 500,000 people attended over the three-day period. FWC officers, along with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department, were responsible for waterborne security and all public safety on area waterways during this event. Over the three-day period, FWC law enforcement officers conducted 952 hours of law enforcement patrols, 714 of which were on the water. The officers issued several citations and warnings for boating safety violations, including four BUIs, conducted four boat accident investigations and had numerous public assists and calls for service. At the peak of the event, it was estimated that there were more than 2,500 vessels with over 12,500 people on board, within a ten‑square-mile area along Pensacola Beach.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Jarvis and Maltais spoke to a group of Junior Lifeguards at Henderson Beach State Park. The officers discussed water safety and the work that FWC officers do on a routine basis. There were 65 kids and 7 lifeguard instructors in attendance.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
CITRUS COUNTY

FWC officers worked the opening of scallop season and the holiday weekend. They checked over 2,000 users which resulted in 18 reckless citations, 3 BUIs and 150 boating safety warnings. There was also one boating accident involving a diver being hit by a passing vessel. The diver was treated at a local hospital and released.

Officer Suttles was on water patrol in Crystal River when he saw a vessel inbound with evidence of having been fishing that day. A fisheries inspection revealed the vessel occupants had harvested nine American red snappers over their bag limit. The nine snappers were seized as evidence. The vessel operator was issued a citation to pay or appear in Citrus County Court.

DIXIE COUNTY

Lieutenant Futch received information that a dog was attacking an injured deer near a road in a subdivision in Old Town. He arrived on the scene and saw a dog standing near a dead, six-point buck. The dog had a collar with the owner’s name on it. Lieutenant Futch called K-9 Officer Wiggins to assist with the investigation. The officers back-tracked the deer by blood and determined it was shot almost half a mile away from where it expired. The officers met with the owner of the dog to question him about the incident. He admitted to shooting the deer in the neck with a .22 rifle near his home. He stated when he went to recover it, the deer jumped up and ran off. The man went back to his house and got his dog to trail it. Charges for taking deer out of season and allowing dogs to pursue deer out of season will be direct-filed with the state’s attorney office.

DUVAL COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigators Doricchi and Bean conducted a follow-up inspection at a Jacksonville reptile business. After the inspection, the licensee was issued citations for failure to provide clean drinking water, failure to properly dispose of fecal and food waste and possession of venomous reptiles with an expired license. The licensee was also issued one warning for selling wildlife with an expired License to Possess Class III for Exhibition and/or Public Sale, which allows for the legal possession of Class III wildlife for exhibition or public sale.

Officers Christmas and Sweat were working a routine patrol checking vessels at Jim King Boat Ramp in Duval County when they saw a vessel operator loading his boat onto the trailer. The officers approached him to do a safety inspection. The operator showed signs of impairment such as having bloodshot, watery eyes, slurred speech and a smell of alcohol on his breath as he spoke. Officer Christmas requested that the operator perform seated field sobriety exercises and the operator performed poorly. The operator was arrested and transported to the Duval County Jail where he blew .115 and .114 BAC on the breath test.

Officer Barry was patrolling the area around White Shell Island when she stopped to speak with an angler. Another angler thought her attention was diverted, reached down, picked up an obviously undersized mangrove snapper and tossed it into the water. Officer Barry questioned the subject who admitted to throwing the fish in the water. He was cited and given a court date for failure to return the food fish immediately to the water since it was not being retained due to the size.

TAYLOR COUNTY

Officers Robson and Butler were working from a vessel in the Steinhatchee River when they conducted an administrative inspection. Officer Robson determined that the operator appeared to be impaired. Field sobriety exercises were conducted and probable cause was obtained for an arrest. The subject was transported to the Taylor County Jail where a breath test was conducted by Lieutenant Guy. His breath alcohol content (BAC) was recorded at .144.

Investigator McMillan saw a group of people scalloping from a vessel in the Steinhatchee area. While conducting surveillance, he saw the vessel bringing in a limit of scallops to the ramp, offload them and return to the scalloping area. When they returned to the ramp, they were met by Officers Burnsed and Tyler who found them to be in possession of nearly another vessel limit. The appropriate citations were issued after the occupants admitted to “double dipping.”

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROL
LEVY COUNTY

FWC Officers Hilliard, Schulz, Starling, Willis, Fox, and Lieutenant Umhoefer, patrolled the Withlacoochee, Waccasassa and Suwannee rivers along with the Gulf of Mexico off the Levy County coast over the four days of the Independence Day holiday. They completed a total of 182 vessel inspections, speaking with 649 people collectively. The officers issued 80 boating safety and resource warnings and citations, and effected one custodial arrest for BUI. Twenty-nine boating safety compliance decals were issued and 289 waterborne and terrestrial patrol hours were conducted.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
OSCEOLA COUNTY

Environmental Investigator Conlin investigated a subject who was running an illegal landfill. The subject was burning most of the debris that was coming in and using fill dirt to fill in wetlands. Investigator Conlin obtained an arrest warrant for the subject and a search warrant for the property. With assistance from the Special Operations Group (SOG) and patrol officers, the arrest warrant and search warrant were served and additional evidence was gathered. The subject was booked into jail on charges of felony commercial littering and running an unpermitted landfill. Additional charges for wetland violations may be forthcoming.

PUTNAM COUNTY

Officers Jones and Bernard were conducting a fisheries inspection at Rodman Dam when Officer Jones detected the odor of marijuana emitting from a vehicle. The vehicle’s owner initially stated that he had a couple of marijuana cigarettes and, upon subsequent investigation, was found to be in possession of 126 grams of cannabis in various storage containers. The suspect was arrested and charged with possession of cannabis over 20 grams, a felony amount, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officers Lawshe and Meade attended an outreach event at Daytona Public Safety College. They spoke to approximately 30 people on several different topics including what an FWC officer does routinely, hunting and fishing regulations, boating safety and the different types of flotation devices and living with alligators and bears. Officer Lawshe also displayed his agency-issued Pathfinder vessel and discussed the different types of vessels used by our officers.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officers Sehl and Morrison responded to a call about a hit-and-run boating accident. The officers located the vessel and after interviewing the operator, they got enough evidence to determine the man was involved in the accident. The man also showed signs of being impaired and after sobriety exercises, the man was placed under arrest for BUI and failing to report a boating accident. While placing the man in handcuffs, he resisted by pulling his arms away and the officers had to use control techniques to gain compliance. The man was delivered to the Charlotte County Jail where a drug recognition expert identified signs of the man being impaired on narcotics.

DESOTO COUNTY

The Desoto County Sheriff’s Office contacted the FWC regarding a vessel accident on the Peace River. Lieutenant Bontrager, Investigator Ervin, Officers Salem and Kobs responded to Lettuce Lake Boat Ramp. Apparently, one subject had fallen from a vessel and suffered injury. The subject was airlifted to an area hospital.

HARDEE COUNTY

Officers Kobs, Franks, and Lieutenant Bontrager saw a vehicle moving slowly down a roadway with a spotlight shining from the driver’s side window. After the vehicle stopped in the middle of the roadway, the officers heard what sounded like a gunshot from the same location of the truck. The driver of the truck admitted to shooting a rifle out of the window, but said he was not shooting at any animals. Three loaded rifles were seized from the driver and he was charged with hunting from the roadway and hunting with a gun and light.

LEE COUNTY

Lieutenant Ruggiero was on land patrol at the Cape Coral Yacht Club. He conducted a fisheries and safety inspection on a vessel which had approached the ramp after a rain storm. During the inspection, Lieutenant Ruggiero saw signs of impairment by the operator because he was unsteady, appeared to be experiencing mood swings, and admitted to drinking. The man was later arrested for BUI and delivered to the Lee County Jail where he would not submit to a lawful breath test. He was charged with boating while his normal faculties were impaired and issued a $500 civil fine for refusing to provide a breath sample.

Officer Perry responded to a report of a person who caught a snook and filleted it. Officer Perry located the person and found the fillets in a cooler. While speaking with the owner of the cooler, it was determined his girlfriend was the subject who caught and filleted the fish. Officer Perry located a picture of the subject posing with the snook at the location. She was issued a citation for possession of a snook during closed season.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officers Dalton, Davidson and Lieutenant Hinds were on water patrol around Jew Fish Key. While on patrol, they performed a boating safety inspection on a vessel leaving the sandbar surrounding the key. During the inspection, the officers had probable cause to believe that the captain of the vessel was operating while under the influence of alcohol. After the operator performed field sobriety tasks, the officers had enough evidence to place the captain under arrest for BUI and he was taken to the Manatee County Jail.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Officer Ludtke and Lieutenant Laskowski were dispatched to Tierra Verde by water to investigate the report of a person stealing items from an anchored sailboat. Upon arriving by vessel, the officers saw an individual in the cabin of a vessel located near the sailboat where the alleged crime occurred. The officers approached the individual who advised he was trying to move and reposition the sailboat, which was marked as derelict, further away from the seawall of an apartment complex at the request of the homeowner’s association. No items of value appeared to be taken from the derelict sailboat. The individual provided several spelling variations of his name and gave his middle name as his first name to the officers. Further investigation revealed the individual had two confirmed warrants for his arrest out of Florida. He was transported and booked into the Pinellas County Jail.

While on water patrol near the Skyway Bridge, Officer Bibeau conducted a fisheries inspection on a vessel with five occupants that were actively fishing. After the inspection, Officer Bibeau located two gag grouper which were both 15 inches long. Officer Bibeau read the occupants on board the vessel their Miranda Rights and after a short series of questions, one occupant admitted to catching both grouper. Officer Bibeau wrote the individual a misdemeanor citation for possession of undersized gag grouper.

During late-night resource inspections at the Dunedin Causeway, Officers Ferguson and Lieutenant Van Trees checked three individuals to see if they were fishing and discovered they were in possession of drug paraphernalia and a small amount of marijuana. One of the subjects also had an active warrant for his arrest for violation of probation. As the officers were arresting the subject with the warrant, one of the individuals fishing said a man had been harassing them while they fished underneath the bridge. Lieutenant Van Trees went to address the issue with the man and once the subject saw him coming, he threw what was later identified as a prescription pill. Officer Phillippi arrived to help, and it was determined the subject was illegally in possession of a schedule II narcotic. The subject was arrested and became belligerent, yelling racial slurs at an individual, and threatening to hurt people. The subject was booked into the Pinellas County Jail, along with the first subject, for possession of a schedule II narcotic, disorderly intoxication, and threatening harm to a public servant or his family.

POLK COUNTY

While conducting water patrol on the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes, Officers Earls and Tyer saw a PWC operating after legal sunset. Officers Earls and Tyer conducted a vessel stop and saw a 13-year-old operating the PWC, with her father riding behind her. The operator reported that her father had instructed her to operate because he was too drunk to operate. The officers saw signs of impairment with the father and Officer Earls asked the father to complete field sobriety tasks, and he refused. The father was arrested for allowing a person under the age of 14 to operate a PWC and BUI.

Lieutenant Brooks and Deputy Farrell were conducting water patrol on the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes when they saw a vessel with improperly spaced registration numbers. Lieutenant Brooks and Deputy Farrell conducted a vessel stop and saw signs of impairment. Lieutenant Brooks conducted field sobriety tasks and determined the operator was impaired. The operator was arrested for BUI and refused to provide a breath sample.

Officer Carter was patrolling Saddle Creek Fish Management Area when he saw a vehicle in the park during closed hours. Officer Carter contacted the operator of the vehicle and saw signs of impairment. Officer Carter conducted field sobriety tasks and determined the operator was impaired. The operator was arrested for DUI, and refused to provide a breath sample at the jail.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
LEE COUNTY

Officer Furbay conducted speed enforcement in the Lee County panther protection areas. While on patrol, he stopped several vehicles for speed-related violations. The operators were educated on the protection areas and the enforcement resulted in five written warnings and two infractions being issued. The fastest documented speed was 72 miles per hour in the 45 miles per hour zone.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
POLK COUNTY

Officers Kobs, Sweat and Lieutenant Bontrager staffed an FWC-sponsored booth at the Big Buck Expo in Lakeland. Over 15,000 people attended and the officers answered many questions. The new hunting regulations, management area brochures, and fishing regulations were popular items and were handed out at the booth. Officer Cloud and Lieutenant Fugate helped score antler racks that were brought in from those attending the show.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officers Grant and Brock were on vessel patrol in Port Everglades. They conducted a marine fisheries inspection on a vessel coming in from the ocean. Officer Grant issued one individual a criminal notice to appear citation for possession of undersized dolphin. Four dead dolphin were seized as evidence.

Lieutenant Carcasses and Officers Brock, Vacin and Matthews were on patrol near the Las Olas Bridge area of the ICW. They saw fishermen filleting fish at a dock. After approaching the individuals and inspecting the fish, Officer Vacin issued a criminal notice to appear citation for possession of undersized dolphin. Five dead dolphin were seized as evidence.

Lieutenant Laubenberger and Officer Brock responded to a boating accident with injuries at Markham Park. Officers Vacin and Matthews responded to Broward General Hospital to check on the individuals involved in the boating accident. The investigation is ongoing.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officers Dial and Toby saw an individual fishing with a cast net on Lake Okeechobee at the Nubbin Slough. The officers conducted surveillance in the area and approached the individual to conduct a resource inspection. The individual went to his vehicle and began leaving the area quickly. Officers Dial and Toby attempted to stop the vehicle for a resource inspection, but the individual sped past the officers despite their attempts. Officers Dial, Toby and Lieutenant Harris located a house near the area where the individual had stopped. The homeowner provided consent to search the property and the officers located a trash can hidden under the home’s foundation siding that contained a cast net and twelve game fish, five of which were undersized. The homeowner stated that the individual had stopped by briefly and hid the fish and net. Officers Crosby, Keen, Mclendon and Investigator Lafoy assisted in the investigation which led to the positive identification of the individual. A large rock was located inside the plastic bag with the cast net and game fish, believed to have been included as a tool used to sink the bag into the water to avoid inspection. While conducting the investigation, multiple witness statements were obtained from the homeowner and other fishermen. Additionally, multiple photo lineups were conducted that positively identified the individual. After concluding this investigation, four misdemeanor charges and two infraction charges will be direct filed with the state attorney’s office for failure to allow inspection by an FWC officer, resisting without violence, taking freshwater game fish by illegal method, possession of undersized black crappie, expired freshwater fishing license, and driving with a suspended license.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

The FWC responded to the report of a boating accident that occurred at the Lake Worth Inlet. A couple was fishing offshore from the Boynton Inlet to the Lake Worth Inlet. The male fisherman was bringing in the trolling gear before going into the Lake Worth Inlet while his wife maintained control of the boat at idle speed. The fisherman reached toward the water to grab something and fell overboard. His wife attempted to throw him a line and then brought the boat back to him to throw the line again. When her husband sank below the surface, she called 911. A search and rescue by multiple agencies was conducted over a two-day period. The fisherman is still missing.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MARTIN COUNTY

Environmental Investigator Luher and Officer Cobo completed a boating safety talk for a group of approximately 20 Boy Scouts at Jonathon Dickenson State Park. The two reviewed the required safety equipment and other pertinent regulations. The Boy Scouts were camping at the park and learning skills related to outdoor safety.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Yaxley and Kleis saw two individuals fishing the docks behind a condominium complex from a concealed location late at night. The complex and its docks are posted No Trespassing areas. The officers saw the subjects fishing the snook lights for approximately 20 minutes, at which point one of the subjects caught a snook. The officers then watched the subject run with the snook towards a building, and then return to the dock without the snook. Snook season is currently closed, and when the officers searched the area, they found an undersized and out-of-season snook, concealed in the bushes near the building, that had been freshly killed. After speaking with the property manager and explaining the situation, he advised the officers that he wanted to pursue trespassing charges on both individuals. One individual was issued a criminal notice to appear for trespassing and the second was issued a criminal notice to appear for trespass, as well as the snook violation. The snook was seized as evidence.

Officers Barringer and Reams conducted surveillance on a group of fisherman near Doctor’s Pass Jetty. During their surveillance, they saw one of the fishermen catch a snook and wrap it in a towel. The snook was placed in a bucket and covered with a cast net. Eventually, the individual left the area and proceeded to a nearby parking area. The officers met the individual as he approached his vehicle to conduct a fisheries inspection which revealed the fisherman in possession of an out-of-season and undersized snook. The fisherman was cited accordingly and the snook was seized as evidence.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Landa and Officer Dunn responded to a complaint regarding the possible illegal possession of wolves. After examining the animals, it was determined the animals were wolfdog hybrids and a license was not required for their possession. While on location, a porcupine was seen in a cage as well. Further investigation revealed the owner of the property was not licensed to possess the porcupine, and the animal was on loan from a licensed individual that was traveling. A citation was issued for the illegal possession and arrangements are being made to return the porcupine to the licensed individual.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Smith concluded an investigation regarding the illegal sale of two Class I Gibbon Apes. The investigation revealed an individual licensed to sell the apes sold them to an unlicensed individual. One misdemeanor citation was issued for the illegal sale. The apes were placed at a licensed facility.

Two FWC lieutenants were on patrol near a boat ramp in Miami and stopped 2 PWCs for a boating safety inspection. They determined that the PWCs had been illegally rented and contacted the individuals who rented them. One subject was charged with 5 misdemeanor charges for operating an illegal livery and not complying with the statutory requirements.

An FWC lieutenant was on patrol at a boat ramp in Miami and conducted a vessel stop on a PWC returning to the ramp. His inspection revealed the PWC had the Hull Identification Number altered. The owner was arrested and charged with 8 felonies and 2 misdemeanor charges related to title fraud and altering the serial numbers on the PWC and trailer. The PWC and trailer were seized as contraband and FWC will seek forfeiture.

MONROE COUNTY

Officers Piekenbrock and Carroll were on water patrol near Vaca Cut in Marathon and conducted a vessel stop to perform a boating safety and resource inspection. Seven males from out of town (6 from Alabama and 1 from Georgia) were on board. The resource inspection revealed a bag containing 137 out-of-season wrung spiny lobster tails. The officers determined 117 of the out-of-season tails were undersized. Also in the bag were 4 out-of-season stone crab claws, 2 of which were undersized, and 8 reef fish fillets. The men admitted to spearing the lobster, which is an illegal method. The officers searched the house the men were renting nearby and located another 183 out-of-season spiny lobster tails or parts (109 of these were undersized), 1 out-of-season stone crab claw, and 1 undersized black grouper carcass that the men admitted to taking the day before. All 7 individuals were arrested and transported to the Monroe County Jail. Their spear guns and snorkel gear were seized for forfeiture. Each man was charged with 2 third-degree felony counts for more than 100 undersized lobster, 586 first-degree, misdemeanor counts for out-of-season lobster and wrung tails, 14 second-degree, misdemeanor counts for speared lobster, out-of-season stone crab, undersized stone crab, and reef fish not landed in whole condition. The operator of the vessel received an additional second-degree misdemeanor for the undersized black grouper.

Officers Mobley and Garcia were on water patrol near the Whale Harbor Sandbar when they saw a jet ski overturned in the middle of the channel. They saw three males in the water and one subject flipped the jet ski over, climbed on board and switched seats with the original operator. Officers Mobley and Garcia activated their blue lights to conduct a vessel stop. The jet ski came on plane and rolled over again. Once alongside, they saw signs of impairment from the original operator and the operator at the time of the stop. After conducting a BUI investigation, both operators were arrested for BUI and transported to Plantation Key Jail.

Officer Rubenstein watched 3 individuals fishing from the Bahia Honda Bridge area. Officer Rubenstein watched them harvest what appeared to be 2 undersized schoolmaster snapper and put them on a stringer in the shade. Officer Rubenstein approached the 3 individuals and asked how the fishing was going? They said they had been fishing for a couple of hours and had caught a fish on the stringer. On the stringer were 42 schoolmaster snapper, a barracuda, and a dog Snapper, 33 of which were undersized. The 3 individuals were cited accordingly.

A Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Deputy conducted a traffic stop in the southbound lane on US-1 in the Lower Keys. He advised FWC Dispatch that the vehicle had 2 subjects with two endangered Key Deer in the backseat. Deputy Hopp explained that he initiated a traffic stop because the vehicle's tail light was out and when he approached the vehicle, he noticed the deer bound in the back seat. Officers Wagner and Rubenstein arrived on the scene, approached the vehicle and saw two Key Deer "hog tied" with twine in the back seat. The deer had wounds all over their body and head and were struggling to break free. Blood was soaked into the seats and deer hair was heavily scattered throughout. The officers opened the trunk to find a third, bound Key Deer alive inside. The Key Deer were checked out and released, but the buck that was in the vehicle trunk was euthanized after suffering a broken leg. The 2 men were arrested and transported to jail and charged with 3 felonies, 6 counts each for first-degree misdemeanors.

Officer Messier was patrolling south of Sisters Creek in the Atlantic Ocean near Marathon when he conducted a vessel stop with fisherman on board. The men were in possession of 47 dolphin, 44 of which were undersized. The men had no valid fishing licenses on board the vessel and they possessed 17 dolphin over the bag limit. All 3 fisherman were cited for 17 dolphin over the bag limit, 44 undersized dolphin and no saltwater fishing license.

Investigator Hein was on state land patrol when he noticed there was no license plate on a PWC trailer that was being towed. Investigator Hein conducted a traffic stop and determined the PWC to be fraudulent. The owner was arrested and transported to a detention facility and was charged with numerous felonies and misdemeanors. The PWC was taken as evidence.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MONROE COUNTY

Officer Dube took part in a multi-agency Honor Guard detail to present colors at the Trump National Hotel in Dade County. The detail was for the 65th Annual Chief of Police Conference where agency leaders gather to explore and talk about new methods and ideas for policing in the future.


Now I have had some bad trips to the Keys with trailer, boat and car problems as well as being run off by a hurricane but nothing like this!

MONROE COUNTY

Officers Piekenbrock and Carroll were on water patrol near Vaca Cut in Marathon and conducted a vessel stop to perform a boating safety and resource inspection. Seven males from out of town (6 from Alabama and 1 from Georgia) were on board. The resource inspection revealed a bag containing 137 out-of-season wrung spiny lobster tails. The officers determined 117 of the out-of-season tails were undersized. Also in the bag were 4 out-of-season stone crab claws, 2 of which were undersized, and 8 reef fish fillets. The men admitted to spearing the lobster, which is an illegal method. The officers searched the house the men were renting nearby and located another 183 out-of-season spiny lobster tails or parts (109 of these were undersized), 1 out-of-season stone crab claw, and 1 undersized black grouper carcass that the men admitted to taking the day before. All 7 individuals were arrested and transported to the Monroe County Jail. Their spear guns and snorkel gear were seized for forfeiture. Each man was charged with 2 third-degree felony counts for more than 100 undersized lobster, 586 first-degree, misdemeanor counts for out-of-season lobster and wrung tails, 14 second-degree, misdemeanor counts for speared lobster, out-of-season stone crab, undersized stone crab, and reef fish not landed in whole condition. The operator of the vessel received an additional second-degree misdemeanor for the undersized black grouper.

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  FWC Enforcement Report June 30-July 6. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 07-10-2017, 01:53 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
FRANKLIN COUNTY

Officer Sauls and Investigator Cook were on water patrol on the Apalachicola River when a vessel running with no navigation lights headed towards the officers. The officers had to take evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision. Upon stopping the vessel, they detected a strong odor of alcoholic beverages. There were beer cans all over the deck of the vessel including one in the operator’s hand. The operator was being difficult and could not stand up on the deck. The operator failed the field sobriety tasks and was arrested for operating a vessel while impaired. He was transported to the Franklin County Jail where he refused to submit a breath test and sign any documents.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Bartlett was on vessel patrol in the Crab Island area when he was dispatched to a boating accident. The accident involved two anchored vessels, a 24-foot rented Harris pontoon and a 25‑foot Mako. The officer noted there was a strong outgoing current. The operator of the rental pontoon was positioning the boat attempting to drop anchor. The pontoon drifted due to the strong current and struck the anchored Mako. The officer determined the primary cause of the accident was the operator's inexperience with operating a vessel in waters affected by tidal current. There were no injuries reported in this incident.

Officer Corbin was on vessel patrol conducting boating safety and state fisheries inspections in the Destin Pass/Harbor. The officer saw a known local charter boat returning from the Gulf of Mexico from a fishing trip. The officer conducted a state license and fisheries inspection. The inspection revealed the owner/operator had an expired 10 plus state charter fishing license. The operator was issued a citation for an expired license.

Officers Corbin and Wilkenson were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety and state fisheries inspections in the Destin Pass/Harbor. The officers saw a boat returning from the Gulf of Mexico with rods and reels displayed. The officers stopped the boat and conducted a fisheries inspection. The vessel displayed an out-of-state vessel registration. The inspection revealed three undersized red snapper. The operator was cited and issued a notice to appear citation.

Officers Pifer and Bartlett were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety and state fisheries inspections in the Destin Pass/Harbor. The officers saw a boat returning from the Gulf of Mexico with rods and reels displayed. The officers stopped the boat and conducted a fisheries inspection. The inspection revealed two gray triggerfish, which is currently out of season in both state and federal waters. The operator stated he did not know triggerfish was out of season. The officer saw a current FWC fishing regulation guide on the boat. The operator was cited and issued a notice to appear citation.

Okaloosa County officers participated in Operation Dry Water, a national campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of boating under the influence (BUI). The officers took initiative to educate the boating public of the dangers of boating while impaired. The officers took a zero-tolerance approach. Their efforts resulted in five BUI arrests, 382 vessel inspections, 1,439 public contacts, 24 issued boating safety violations, 28 boating safety written warnings, 16 citations for possession of alcoholic beverage under the age 21 and investigation of 2 boating accidents with injuries. The officers accumulated a total 85 hours of vessel patrol.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officers Lewis and Jernigan were patrolling in the Blackwater State Forest when they saw a truck parked well beyond established barricades at a primitive campsite. The owner of the truck told the officers that he wanted his truck parked in his campsite. The vehicle damaged the trail and creek bank and caused deep ruts along its path. The man was charged with damaging state lands with a motor vehicle.

Officer Ramos was on vessel patrol in the Quiet Water beach area of the Santa Rosa Sound when he saw a pontoon boat with many people on board. After conducting a boating safety inspection on the vessel with 15 passengers, it was determined the boat had been rented from a local livery and the livery did not ensure the occupants had sufficient safety equipment. The livery had only provided 14 adult Personal Flotation Devices (PFD’s) on board for the 15 passengers. Eight passengers were children, one of which was a toddler who is required to wear a PFD while the vessel is underway. The livery did not provide any children’s PFD’s with the rental pontoon. Officer Ramos contacted the livery and issued a criminal citation for leasing, hiring, or renting a vessel without the proper safety equipment.

While on late-night vessel patrol in the Intercostal Waterway, Officer Ramos stopped a boat with eight men on board returning from an offshore fishing trip to conduct a boating safety and resource inspection. The boat was a for-hire charter boat and had 14 red snapper in the fish cooler. After determining that only six of the passengers paid for the charter trip, Officer Ramos inquired why there were 14 red snapper in the cooler when the vessel limit was 12. The captain advised that his deckhand kept two fish for himself. Officer Ramos checked the captain’s history and confirmed that he had been previously charged with other fisheries violations and knew that the charter boat crew on a commercial trip cannot keep a recreational limit of red snapper for themselves. The individual was cited accordingly.

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Officer Gore was on patrol in the Econfina Wildlife Management Area (WMA) when he saw a spotlight being shined in a manner that can disclose wildlife from a vehicle. Upon conducting a traffic stop, he determined that the three subjects were consuming alcohol and saw a bag of cannabis on the center console. He started identifying the subjects. After providing a name and date of birth, one subject ran. Washington County Sheriff’s Deputies and Lieutenant Walsingham responded to assist. Officer Gore deployed K-9 Kane and tracked the subject for approximately one hour until the track went cold. Methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia were found in the vehicle. The two remaining subjects were arrested and transported to the Washington County Jail for possession of methamphetamine, possession of cannabis less than 20 grams, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The subject who fled was positively identified and determined to have numerous outstanding felony warrants. New warrants will be obtained for resisting an officer without violence and the same charges as the other occupants of the vehicle.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
DUVAL COUNTY

Officer Christmas was on routine patrol when he saw an open gate to a hunting club. He saw a vehicle parked down a wooded road with the brake lights on. Officer Christmas proceeded to go and check the vehicle and the well being of the occupant. A female was seen sitting in the driver’s seat who stated she had just parked there to read a book. Officer Christmas informed the lady she was trespassing on private property. He requested identification from the driver and noticed she seemed very nervous. Officer Christmas also noticed the driver was clutching something in her left hand and then threw it on the console of the vehicle as she went to obtain her ID. The item the driver threw on the console was a clear baggie that had a white powdery substance. The item tested positive as cocaine, and the driver was arrested and booked into the Duval County Jail. The cocaine was seized as evidence.

While on patrol, Resource Protection Officer Sweat and Investigator Holleman saw a man empty the contents of a blue crab trap into his vessel. When contact was made, the man stated that he was baiting his traps but the information on the traps were not consistent with his information. The man later admitted he was checking his and his wife’s traps. After pulling the traps, it was discovered that the man was working fourteen traps as a recreational trapper. He was issued three warnings on trap requirements and a citation for harvesting blue crabs as a recreational trapper with more than five traps.

HAMILTON COUNTY

Officer Nichols and Lieutenant Kiss responded to a boating accident with an injury at Big Shoals State Park. Upon arrival, they learned that a female kayaker capsized and struck her ankle on a rock, possibly breaking it. EMS and Fire Department personnel responded and treated the victim. Officer Nichols submitted a boating accident report of the details.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Lieutenant Kiss received a call for assistance for a man who was overcome with heat exhaustion while hiking the trails at Gar Pond on water management district land. Upon arrival, Lieutenant Kiss assisted officers from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and EMS personnel in bringing the wary man to safety.

Officer Nichols responded to a hit-and-run accident while he was working at Ichetucknee State Park. Upon arrival, Officer Nichols saw damage done to the rear quarter panel of a visitor passenger car. The suspect vehicle fled the scene and there were no witnesses. Officer Nichols submitted a traffic crash report of the details.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROL
DUVAL COUNTY

During one day of Operation Dry Water, Jacksonville Squads divided and focused on late-afternoon patrol of boaters returning to the ramps at dusk. In a two-hour period, four impaired boaters were identified, arrested and booked for BUI. Officers Stuhr, Lumpkin and Christmas made the BUI arrests. Additionally, Officer Christmas made a felony arrest on a man in possession of powdered cocaine and several resource misdemeanors were issued. One boating accident investigation resulted in criminal charges to the owner for failure to report a boating accident and leaving a vessel abandoned in the water.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

While on water patrol in the Banana River, Officers Balgo and Graves saw two individuals walking along the shoreline with two buckets. Officer Graves beached the vessel along the shoreline while Officer Balgo tried to make contact with the individuals. Officer Balgo saw a silver, F-150 truck drive off under the causeway. Two buckets full of undersized fish were in the bushes. Officer Graves drove the vessel away from the buckets to try and locate the F-150 while Officer Balgo hid in the bushes. About 15 minutes later, the two individuals returned to the buckets. One of the individuals grabbed the buckets and began walking away. Officer Balgo made contact with the individual and, upon performing a fisheries inspection, Officers Balgo and Graves found 8 undersized sheepshead. The individual also could not be positively identified. He was arrested and taken to the Brevard County Jail. Proper citations were issued.

While on water patrol in the Banana River, Officers Balgo and Graves stopped a personal water craft for violating the slow speed manatee zone. During the vessel stop, Officer Balgo smelled a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the operator. Officer Graves then performed a standardized field sobriety test on the operator, which indicated that the operator’s normal faculties were impaired. The operator was placed under arrest and provided a breath sample at the jail which was recorded at a .186 BAL.

Two men were cited by Lieutenant Lightsey earlier in the year for hunting from the roadway. The men plead and were sentenced to hunting from the right of way and hunting with dogs not properly collared. The fines were $489 and $629 for the two men.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

A fish house owner was adjudicated guilty and assessed over $1,000 in fines by a county judge. Officers Dubose and Hallsten had discovered undersized fish and insufficient records earlier in the year at the owner’s business.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officer Birchfield was working water patrol near Boca Grande Pass and saw a vessel returning from the Gulf with multiple fishing poles and a removable filet station protruding from the vessel. Officer Birchfield stopped the vessel and conducted a fisheries inspection. When asked, the captain said he only caught a couple of snapper. The inspection revealed a 16-inch red grouper, 4 inches under the minimum size limit. The individual was issued a criminal citation for undersized red grouper.

Officer Sehl responded to a request for assistance from the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office at the Interstate 75 bridge. When she arrived on the scene, she saw a naked man who claimed to have been living on the piling for a couple of days. Charlotte County deputies identified the man as one on which they had an open case for arrest. The man was eventually convinced to board Officer Sehl’s vessel so he could be transported to shore, but the man repeatedly threatened to jump overboard when officers tried to handcuff him. After the man tried to jump from the boat, the officers used their taser on him to gain control of the situation and get the man handcuffed. The officers handcuffed the man and delivered him to a nearby boat ramp where he was evaluated by medical personnel, and then turned over to the Sheriff’s Department.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

After completing vessel patrol near Apollo Beach, Officer Martinez stopped by a small fishing dock to do some resource inspections. Officer Martinez approached an individual who he saw fishing and asked if he had any fish. The subject stated he didn’t and gave Officer Martinez permission to check the cooler in the back of his truck. After checking the cooler, Officer Martinez asked about another cooler inside the truck. The subject grabbed the cooler, opened it and, in doing so, accidently revealed a syringe. Officer Martinez asked what the syringe was when suddenly the subject threw it towards the water. Officer Martinez attempted to restrain the subject when he pulled away from him and began throwing more items from the cooler. The subject pulled away from Officer Martinez’s grip again and continued to disobey his orders. After subduing and handcuffing the subject, it was later found that the subject was in possession of drug paraphernalia, numerous different pills not prescribed to him, and the syringe he threw had methamphetamine in it. The cooler also contained knives that were concealed. The subject was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail on numerous felony and misdemeanor charges.

While on water patrol near Apollo Beach, Officers Baker, Martinez and Gonzales stopped a vessel violating a slow speed zone. As the officers approached, the male operator switched positions with a female occupant. The officers noticed numerous signs of impairment and he tried denying he was driving. The officers asked if he would perform field sobriety tasks and he refused. Based on their observations, the officers arrested the subject for BUI. The subject also refused to give a sample of his breath. It was later learned that the subject was on felony probation, as well, and he was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail.

While on water patrol at the Skyway Bridge, Lieutenants Laskowski and Van Trees approached a vessel displaying a dive flag to conduct a resource inspection. The inspection revealed that one of the two occupants on board had speared 13 mangrove snapper. The subject stated that he thought the bag limit was 10 per person and that he was getting the limit for both people since they both had fishing licenses. The subject was told the bag limit is five and he could not get another person’s bag limit, especially since the second subject wasn’t even participating in fishing. The subject was issued a notice to appear citation for his violations.

Lieutenant Holcomb, Officers Gaudion and Dearborn were on water patrol in the late-evening hours. They saw an individual cast netting along a shoreline. The officers hid their vessel and watched the individual from a concealed location until he returned to his cooler. The officers approached the subject and conducted a fisheries inspection. Lieutenant Holcomb saw a blanket covering what appeared to be a large fish. He removed the blanket and located a 39.5-inch snook that the subject admitted to catching in his cast net. The subject was charged with possession of snook during the closed season, snook taken by illegal method, and possession of oversized snook.

LEE COUNTY

Officer Furbay saw several males cleaning fish near a public boat ramp and approached them to see what they had. As he spoke with the men, he saw several fish in a cooler which appeared to be legal. One of the men handed him a bag of fish claiming he had caught them the day before, and was only there to give the fish to his brother. Inside the bag was an undersized redfish and an undersized sheepshead. Officer Furbay educated the man on the fishing regulations and issued a misdemeanor notice to appear for the violations.

Officers Stanley and Winton were on water patrol in the Gulf of Mexico when they saw a fishing vessel coming in from offshore waters. The officers stopped the vessel to conduct a resource inspection. While on board, Officer Winton discovered an undersized red snapper and a plastic bag containing a red snapper head, a lane snapper head, and cut chunks of red snapper. The captain of the vessel told the officers a barracuda had eaten the fish, but the remains had defined edges and fillet marks that were consistent with being cut with a knife. The captain was issued a citation for the undersized snapper and failure to land reef fish in whole condition.

Officer Bradshaw and Lieutenant Barrett were on water patrol near Matanzas Pass when they stopped a boat to conduct a safety equipment inspection. During the stop, the officers saw the operator displaying several signs of impairment. After conducting standardized field sobriety tasks, the operator was arrested for BUI and booked into the Lee County Jail.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Davidson was on land patrol when he received a call that a group of individuals were cast netting game fish. Officer Davidson found the subjects in the City of Palmetto cast netting fish out of the ponds in a residential neighborhood. Upon completion of his fisheries inspection, Officer Davidson found that one of the fisherman had cast netted several largemouth bass and blue gill. The subject was cited criminally for taking game fish by illegal method and must appear in court for his violation.

Officers Davidson, Dalton, Lieutenant Hinds and Captain Carpenter were on water patrol around Long Boat Pass when they performed a boating safety inspection on a vessel near Jew Fish Key. During the inspection, the officers had reason to believe that the operator of the vessel was under the influence of alcohol. The operator was given field sobriety tasks and it was determined that the operator’s faculties were impaired beyond normal function. The operator was placed into custody for BUI of alcohol and taken to the Manatee County Jail.

Officer Davidson and Lieutenant Hinds were on water patrol in the Manatee River. While on patrol, they performed a boating safety inspection on a vessel near the mouth of the Braden River. During the inspection, the officers had reason to believe that the operator of the vessel was under the influence of alcohol. The operator was given field sobriety tasks and it was determined that the operator’s faculties were impaired beyond normal function. The operator was placed into custody for BUI of alcohol and taken to the Manatee County Jail.

Multiple officers were on water patrol in Long Boat Pass and Jew Fish Key performing fisheries inspections and boating safety inspections. During the inspections, the officers issued three criminal citations for possession of undersized red grouper, one warning for undersized red snapper, and one operator was placed into custody for BUI of alcohol and taken to the Manatee County Jail.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on water patrol, Lieutenants VanTrees and Laskowski saw a vessel under the Skyway Bridge displaying a dive flag. They initiated a resource inspection and one of the individuals on board said he had been spear fishing and the second individual was only there to operate the boat. The inspection revealed 14 speared mangrove snapper. One of the individuals said he speared all the fish and thought the bag limit was 10 per person. He was given a copy of the fishing regulations and informed the bag limit for mangrove snapper was 5 per person. He was issued a citation for possession of over the bag limit of mangrove snapper.

Officer Larosa was on land patrol when he saw an individual catch a snook. The individual placed the snook on some rocks in the sun near where he had been fishing. A second individual pointed out Officer Larosa’s presence. Officer Larosa approached the two individuals and initiated a resource inspection. She advised them to release the snook because it was caught during a closed season. The two individuals demonstrated no sense of urgency when attempting to release the fish. After being instructed to release the fish, they walked back to their vehicle, picked up a cast net, and threw the net a few times. During this, the condition of the snook deteriorated and by the time the two individuals attempted to release the fish, it was not able to be released alive. Since the individuals made no immediate attempt to release the snook, greatly reducing its chance of survival, the individual who caught the snook was cited for possession of a snook during closed season.

Lieutenant Laskowski and Officer Ludtke were on water patrol conducting boating safety inspections at Bunces Pass. The officers saw a vessel operator tilt his motor up, rev the engine, and attempt to spray a nearby vessel with water. While this was taking place, one of the passengers associated with the vessel was hanging off the side of the vessel in the water near the stern of the vessel. The vessel was stopped for improper display of registration and a subsequent boating safety inspection took place. During the inspection, Officer Ludtke detected signs of impairment from the operator. After conducting seated standardized field sobriety tasks, the operator was placed under arrest for BUI. He was booked into the Pinellas County Jail.

Officer Pettifer was conducting safety inspections at the Belleair Boat Ramp when he saw an individual pull up to the dock on a pontoon boat. Upon tying up the vessel, the individual proceeded to urinate off the end of the dock in plain view of everyone else at the ramp. Upon contacting the individual, Officer Pettifer could smell alcohol on his breath and a subsequent vessel safety inspection revealed further signs of impairment. Officer Pettifer conducted seated field sobriety tasks and determined the individual had been operating his vessel while impaired. The individual was taken to Pinellas County Jail where he provided a breath and urine sample. He was cited with operating a vessel while normal faculties were impaired.

While on water patrol near the Maximo Boat Ramp in St. Petersburg, Officers Bibler and Rivard saw a jet ski driving erratically and shouting at them incoherently, while returning to the dock. The officers approached and immediately saw signs of impairment. The officers conducted field sobriety tasks with the individual and determined he was BUI. The subject refused to give a sample of his breath and was booked into the Pinellas County Jail.

While on water patrol near Treasure Island, Officer Bibeau and Lieutenant Van Trees saw a vessel operating on plane in a slow speed zone. The officers stopped the vessel to address the violation and noticed signs of impairment from the operator. They conducted field sobriety tasks with the individual and determined he was BUI. The subject refused to give a sample of his breath and was booked into the Pinellas County Jail.

Officer Bibeau and Lieutenant Van Trees stopped another vessel in the Treasure Island area that was packed with people, empty beer cans, trash, and pool furniture. The vessel’s occupants were heading home from a sandbar party when the officers stopped them. The officers saw signs of impairment from the operator and conducted field sobriety tasks with him. It was determined the operator was impaired and BUI. The subject refused to give a sample of his breath and was booked into the Pinellas County Jail for BUI.

While on water patrol at Pass-a-Grille Channel, Officer Bibeau and Lieutenant Van Trees stopped a vessel with numerous individuals on board that they later discovered were all under the legal drinking age of 21. The operator and owner of the vessel admitted to having alcohol on the vessel and, after dumping numerous bottles of liquor out, was issued a notice to appear for a minor in possession of alcohol.

Lieutenant Holcomb and Officer Dearborn were conducting fisheries inspections in south Pinellas County. They saw two individuals standing under a bridge and filleting fish. Upon inspection, Lieutenant Holcomb located a 21.5-inch snook, five undersized mangrove snapper and an undersized sheepshead. All the fish were harvested with a cast net. The subject in possession was charged with possession of snook during a closed season, snook taken by illegal method, possession of undersized snook, and possession of undersized mangrove snapper. The subject was warned for the undersized sheepshead.

SARASOTA COUNTY

Officers Ridgway, Hughes, Investigator O’Horo and Captain Carpenter were on water patrol in New Pass Inlet. While on patrol, they performed a boating safety inspection on a vessel near the New Pass Bridge. During the inspection, the officers had reason to believe that the operator of the vessel was under the influence of alcohol. The operator was given field sobriety tasks and it was determined that the operator’s faculties were impaired beyond normal function. The operator was placed into custody for BUI of alcohol and taken to the Sarasota County Jail.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES

Officers and investigators participated in a boating safety campaign “Operation Dry Water.” It is a campaign launched in 2009 by the National Association of Boating Law Administrators in partnership with the USCG. The goal is to raise awareness to the hazards of BUI of alcohol and drugs by using education and enforcement.

MARTIN COUNTY

Investigator Patterson located a vessel operator and conducted field sobriety tests. The operator was subsequently booked into the Martin County Jail and charged with BUI. The vessel operator had a blood alcohol level of 0.108.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Hankinson responded to a vessel capsizing in the Jupiter Inlet. The vessel was removed and no occupants were injured.

Captain Jones, Lieutenants Russo, Ornold and several officers searched for a missing boater that fell overboard from a vessel near the Lake Worth Inlet. The USCG, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and local police departments were involved in the search. Investigator Fowler of FWC is investigating the boating accident.

The FWC was notified about and responded to a boating accident at the Old Port Cove Marina. Responding officers and investigators were informed that a male subject was cleaning the bottom of a vessel at the Old Port Cove Marina and was sucked into the starboard bow thruster. His body was retrieved from the bottom by a Good Samaritan. Next of kin notification was made by the North Palm Police Department.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Officers Brodbeck, Payne and Investigator Patterson were dispatched to a complaint regarding individuals trespassing and keeping snook at the Belcher Canal spillway. The spillway is currently undergoing some renovations and is posted as a No Trespassing construction site. Upon arrival, they saw six subjects fishing inside the 8-foot, chain-link fence. Upon seeing the officers, one subject attempted to flee, but then changed his mind and sat down on the rocks. The other five were instructed to reel in their fishing lines and come to the top of the embankment. A search of the area revealed two oversized and out-of-season snook. When asked about the snook, all subjects denied catching the fish. All subjects were charged with trespass and four were additionally charged with harvest of oversized snook and possession of snook out of season.

Officers Miano and Irwin were on water patrol late one evening when they saw a vessel underway without proper navigation lights. A vessel stop and contact with the individuals on board revealed that all subjects appeared to be intoxicated. Contact with the operator and subsequent field sobriety tasks confirmed the officers’ suspicions. The subject was arrested for BUI and taken to jail. The vessel was towed to a local boat ramp where a sober individual was called in to assist and take control of the vessel and other subjects.


While at the Fort Pierce Inlet State Park on stationary patrol utilizing a radar unit, Investigator Turner obtained a target speed of forty-three in a posted twenty-five mph zone. Subsequent to a vehicle stop, the vehicle operator was issued citations for operating a motor vehicle with: (1) Suspended Driver License without knowledge; (2) Expired Tag; and (3) No Insurance. Investigator Turner seized the operator’s suspended driver license, and told the operator he could not operate a motor vehicle without a valid driver license. Approximately fifteen minutes later, Investigator Turner saw the same vehicle being operated by the same subject within the state park. Investigator Turner stopped the vehicle and booked the operator into the St. Lucie County Jail for driving while license suspended or revoked with knowledge.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Officers were busy during the four-day Fourth of July holiday weekend when hundreds of vessels and contacts were made with the public. Boating safety and violations of vessel speed while operating in manatee zones were also addressed. Multiple citations and warnings were issued.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MARTIN COUNTY

Officers Cobo and Morrow instructed a boating safety and fishing class to campers at the Tanah Keeta Boy Scout Camp in Tequesta. The campers were educated on safety equipment, fishing regulations, water safety and were given the opportunity to ask questions.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

FWC officers participated in the Nationwide Operation Dry Water safe boating campaign during the weekend. Operation Dry Water focuses on enforcing and educating the public about BUI laws and safe boating practices. During the operation, FWC officers performed 570 vessel inspections, checked 2,336 users, issued 238 boating citations, arrested 15 suspects for BUI, and issued 112 boating-related warnings.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Rubenstein watched two individuals spear fishing from shore at Sunshine Key. When they came to shore, Officer Rubenstein made contact with them. One individual was in possession of multiple fish on a stringer, including 2 undersized black grouper which the individual admitted to shooting, stating he thought they were big enough. The individual was cited accordingly.

During Operation Dry Water, Officer Mattson was fueling his boat at a local marina when he saw a rental boat returning for the day. Several people were sleeping on the boat and the operator almost crashed into the dock. The rental attendant had to fend the boat off in order to prevent damage. Officer Mattson approached the suspect and recognized slurred speech, watery, glassy bloodshot eyes and saw several empty alcohol bottles. Officer Mattson asked the man twice if he would perform some field sobriety tasks. The man refused, was placed under lawful arrest, and also refused to provide a breath sample. He was taken to jail for BUI.

Officer Garrison and Investigator Munkelt were in plain clothes and in an unmarked vessel on the bayside of the 78 MM when an individual waved them down. Investigator Munkelt moved the patrol vessel to the individual. Once beside the individual, he asked Officer Garrison if he could use a net that was visible in the back of the unmarked patrol vessel. The individual stated that he saw some lobster and wanted to catch them. Officer Garrison explained to the individual that the lobster were out of season and he could get in trouble for catching them. The individual persisted in his attempts to have the net after being told 5 times that he could get in trouble for the lobster. The individual then stated “It’s only illegal if I get caught.” Officer Garrison then handed the individual the net. The individual proceeded to catch one spiny lobster, showed it to his son and then released the lobster unharmed. The individual gave the net back to Officer Garrison and then proceeded to swim around the area. Investigator Munkelt and Officer Garrison then drifted a short distance away and saw the same individual. After a short time, the individual returned to shore with his family. He then packed his car but returned to the water and retrieved a queen conch from the water’s edge and placed it under his car. Officer Garrison and Investigator Munkelt approached the individual and as they were close, the individual placed the conch in the back of the car. Officer Garrison identified himself as a law enforcement officer and asked to see the conch and the individual agreed. An inspection of the conch shell revealed a live queen conch inside. The individual admitted to harvesting the conch and stated that he put it in the car so no one else would take it. The individual was cited for harvesting queen conch.

Investigator D. Munkelt and Garrison were in plain clothes on water patrol in an unmarked vessel on the bayside of the west end of the Channel 5 Bridge. They saw an individual in the water with a mask, snorkel and fins and he was not displaying a dive flag. Investigator Munkelt operated the patrol vessel while watching the diver through binoculars. After approximately 5 minutes, the diver exited the water holding a yellow pole spear. The officers approached the diver and asked him if he had caught anything and he stated that he had. The officers could see a blue mesh bag in the shallow water next to shore. The officers asked him what he had caught and he stated some lobster. The officers identified themselves and asked the individual to show them the lobster, and the diver handed over the blue mesh bag. Upon inspection of the mesh bag, it contained 15 spiny lobster and 2 live rocks. Upon inspection of the lobster, all 15 showed signs of being punctured and 13 were undersized. The diver was placed under arrest and transported to the Marathon Jail. He was charged with harvesting spiny lobster out of season, harvesting spiny lobster by spearing them, spearfishing in the upper keys, possession of undersized spiny lobster, no measuring device, and possession of live rock and was issued an infraction for no dive flag.

RESCUES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Yurewitch, Johnson, and Osorio responded to a Marine Emergency Response Team alert about a boating accident with injuries in the Marco River. Officers Johnson and Osorio waded through the water to the grounded vessel to assess the extent of the injuries and provide first aid. The officers helped secure the victim to a stretcher and waded back to an EMS vessel to transport the victim to an ambulance. Officers Yurewitch and Johnson waded back to the vessel to collect information and make sure the other passengers on the vessel were safe. Officer Reams met the victim at the hospital and collected information.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Mobley and Lieutenant Haney were on water patrol during Operation Dry Water and were traveling through Tavernier Creek when they saw a vessel come around a curve at a high rate of speed, lose control, and crash into the mangroves. There were 4 people on board and one was ejected into the water. During the crash investigation, the operator showed signs of impairment and after the officers conducted a BUI investigation, he was arrested and charged with BUI resulting in a crash with property damage. The operator submitted to a breath test which measured .063 g/210 L of breath. The officers saw signs of drug use and the operator admitted to smoking marijuana prior to the crash. He refused to submit to a urine test and refused to submit to a drug influence evaluation. In addition to the BUI and refusal to submit to the urine test, the operator was charged with two violations causing the accident and two more boating safety equipment violations.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
MONROE COUNTY

In the early morning, a car with a broken taillight was pulled over by a Monroe County Sherriff’s deputy. He contacted the FWC when he discovered endangered Key deer bound with heavy twine in the vehicle. When officers Wagner and Rubenstein arrived on the scene, they found two struggling, hogtied Key deer in the back seat and another in the trunk of the car. Law enforcement backup arrived along with a USFWS officer and they worked quickly to document the scene, gather evidence, safely untie and evaluate the endangered animals. In order to prevent further stress to the deer, all three were released back into the wild. Two of the deer ran off, and wellness checks are being conducted by USFWS on the third. The two men in the vehicle were arrested on multiple charges, including felonies and misdemeanors for injuring an endangered species, taking deer out of season and animal cruelty. Their vehicle and cell phones were seized as evidence and they were booked into the Monroe County Jail.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Richards and Foell, along with NOAA Officers Widener and Robb were patrolling the East Hump, a marine protected area surrounding Marathon on board the OPV “Interceptor.” While on patrol, the officers performed a resource inspection on a vessel fishing for dolphin. The inspection revealed ten undersized dolphin on board and the subject was cited accordingly. Later during their same patrol, the officers saw a vessel with deep-drop fishing gear. A fisheries inspection revealed commercial quantities of blueline tilefish, and an out of season snowy grouper for commercial harvest. The subject claimed he was commercial fishing, but only possessed a saltwater products license and no federal commercial permits. The NOAA officers documented the violations.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Janzen, Larios, Maldonado, McKay, Rafter and FHP troopers assisted the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office with the annual 4th of July parade along US 1 in Key Largo. They provided traffic assistance and answered questions from the public. Officers Dube and Steinmetz pulled an FWC vessel in the parade, and the officers passed out candy and treats to the onlookers while the crew aboard the patrol vessel sprayed the crowds with their water soakers and squirt guns.

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  FWC Enforcement Report June 23-29. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 07-10-2017, 11:42 AM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Corbin was conducting state fisheries inspections and license checks on Okaloosa Island at Marler Park and saw two individuals actively fishing with rods and reels. The individuals harvested pinfish and a mullet. During the resource inspection, one individual provided a false name and was issued a notice to appear citation for providing a false name and a citation for no fishing license.

WALTON COUNTY

Officer Corbin responded to a single-vessel boating accident and determined the vessel was traveling on Choctawhatchee Bay heading back to the Choctaw Beach Boat Ramp. The vessel struck an unknown submerged object and there was severe damage to the vessel hull. The operator managed to get the vessel back to the boat ramp and trailered. There were no injuries.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
OKALOOSA COUNTY

The Gulfarium scheduled a sea turtle release at Henderson Beach State Park. Approximately 250 people attended and four sea turtles were released in the Gulf of Mexico. One of the two Loggerhead turtles released had been rescued by Officers Jarvis, Maltais and Lieutenant Clark in March of this year. Officers Jarvis and Lieutenant Clark provided security and traffic control and answered questions from the public.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officer Stanley was patrolling private property for trespassing in northeast Alachua County when he noticed several large trash bags that had been recently dumped. After digging through the garbage, Officer Stanley found an address on several pieces of mail and located the person whose name was on the envelopes. After Miranda rights were read, the individual admitted to the violation and provided a written statement. Charges will be direct-filed with the state attorney’s office.

DUVAL COUNTY

Officer Geib was on land patrol and performed a resource inspection on an individual fishing from the bank. The individual did not possess a valid saltwater shoreline license and was in possession of undersized gray snapper. The individual was also in possession of stone crabs during closed season and blue crabs. Several of the stone crabs and blue crabs were egg-bearing. The individual also possessed clams in a closed area. Appropriate citations were issued for the violations.

Resource Protection Officer Stuhr pulled into the parking lot of Saw Pit Creek Boat Ramp and noticed several people walking off the bridge. An individual reached into his cooler, grabbed something and walked to the end of the bridge to hide it. An undersized red drum was retrieved from where it had been hidden. The appropriate citations were issued.

Officers of the Resource Protection Squad (RPS) have been working to find individuals who were operating unlicensed seafood retail businesses and received information about a start-up business in a house. The house was located and the RPS coordinated with investigations to contact the owner. The investigation revealed that seafood was being sold without a license and there were quality control issues. The owners voluntarily shut the business down and were cited for licensing, quality control and records violations.

Investigator Izsak and Officer Shearer were conducting resource inspections at Oak Harbor Boat Ramp when a disturbance broke out across the parking lot from the ramp. A female subject was trying to leave the scene in a jeep and driving in an erratic manner. The officers immediately noted signs of impairment in the driver and she was unable to complete seated field sobriety tasks. The driver was arrested for DUI and refused to submit to a breath test after being booked into jail.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Officer Cline was on foot patrol at Kirby Pit when he located a subject trespassing inside the fenced perimeter and fishing in one of the ponds. The subject caught several fish and threw them into some nearby brush. When a resource inspection was attempted to address the trespass, the subject fled on foot. Officer Cline gave chase and ended up in a nearby neighborhood where the subject committed burglary of an occupied residence to prevent being caught. The subject escaped apprehension at the residence. The subject was identified through interviews with the residents and the appropriate resource violations, along with burglary charges, have been direct-filed with the state attorney’s office.

CLAY COUNTY

Officer Starling received information alleging two subjects were unlawfully parked and picking mushrooms in Bayard Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Officer Starling saw both suspects not only picking the mushrooms, which are known to have a hallucinogenic effect if ingested, but also caught the suspects with a pillow case full of the toxic mushrooms. The mushrooms were destroyed and both suspects were issued appropriate notices to appear for WMA violations.

CITRUS COUNTY

Officers targeted the opening of gag grouper and red snapper seasons working both inshore and offshore harvest of the fisheries. The officers conducted approximately 50 vessel resource inspections which resulted in six resource citations for unlawful reef fish and multiple boating safety citations and warnings.

Officers conducted a Citrus-Hernando Shrimp Zone detail to target gear compliance and commercial boating safety. During a vessel stop, the officers saw that the roller frame on one vessel appeared to be over the 16-feet allowable length. The frames were measured and found to be 18 feet long. The vessel had multiple history entries in the system for other shrimping violations. The captain was cited to pay or appear in court for the use of roller frames greater than 16 feet.

Officers were working inbound shrimp vessels to determine if they were harvesting scallops. During the detail, several vessels were inspected and no scallops were located. Following the shrimp boat inspection, the officers shifted their attention to the possibility that boaters may be taking scallops in Citrus County. The officers arrived in the Bird Keys area and saw a vessel at anchor with a diver’s down flag. The officers saw two divers in the water as they approached. A fisheries inspection revealed that the divers were in possession of bay scallops. The two divers were cited for the harvesting of bay scallops during the closed season.

HAMILTON COUNTY

Officer Ransom discovered a picture on Facebook of a subject holding a dead softshell turtle. He identified the subject in the picture and questioned him about the turtle. The subject confessed to killing the softshell turtle during closed season. Charges for taking softshell turtle out of season will be direct-filed with the state attorney’s office for further prosecution.

TAYLOR COUNTY

Officers Wilcox and Albritton were on foot patrol in the East entrance gate area of the impoundment inside Hickory Mound WMA. The impoundment is closed to vehicular traffic by an FWC administrative closure. The public is aware of this closure, but the lock on the East gate is being continually cut and removed by someone. The officers saw several individuals in a vehicle approach the gate, look around to see if anyone was near, then open the gate and drive into the impoundment. The officers contacted the individuals and issued the appropriate criminal citation to the driver.

RESCUES
CITRUS COUNTY

Officers responded to a search and rescue mission where three persons left the Homosassa River in a 22-foot hurricane deck boat to fish approximately 22 miles offshore. The vessel was occupied by two elderly men and a 13-year-old child. The vessel was reported overdue at 10:30 p.m. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) and FWC officers responded offshore. The overdue boaters were located by shrimpers offshore from Hernando Beach. The USCG towed the vessel to shore without incident.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers are working area lakes for boating and resource compliance.

DUVAL COUNTY

Officer Justus assisted the USCG in Kingsley Lake by participating in many mock search-and-rescue exercises with Officer Justus playing an important surface-to-air role in this lifesaving training. Officer Justus was commended by USCG Lieutenant Cinque for his participation in this exercise which demonstrates inter-agency cooperation and coordination during emergency situations.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
SUWANNEE COUNTY

Officer Boone spoke to approximately 25 children and parents at the Branford Public Library in Suwannee County. He provided a boating safety demonstration which explained the importance of wearing a life jacket and being safe when on or around the water.

LAFAYETTE COUNTY

Officer Mobley held a Defensive Tactics instructional class for 35 Naval Sea Cadets at the Middle Florida Baptist Assembly at Pickett Lake.

ALACHUA COUNTY

Officer Mims attended a radKIDS Summer Camp at the University of Florida. A two-hour presentation was given to about 37 children, ages ranging from 8 to 12. The children also had a chance to see a baby alligator while Officer Mims was explaining FWC’s role in preserving our resources.

Officer Mims attended an Aquatic Leadership Camp at Poe Springs County Park. After a 1 ½-hour presentation about the FWC, Officer Mims displayed a small live alligator to 14 children between the ages of 13 and 15.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Marroquin was patrolling an area for illegal night hunting when he saw two vehicles operating along a secluded roadway. The rear vehicle was operating without lights and with multiple hunting dogs present with tracking collars. A traffic stop was conducted to address the light violation and to conduct a resource inspection. During the stop the operator showed signs of impairment and admitted to not having a driver’s license. The operator then refused to give his name and became belligerent. The operator was arrested for driving while license revoked, DUI (2nd offense), resisting without violence and an infraction for no tail lights. The operator also refused to provide a breath sample.

While on patrol, officers received a report of a missing woman in the Banana River. After speaking to the male vessel operator, it was discovered that he and the female passenger had a verbal altercation resulting in her jumping from the vessel. The operator had waited approximately thirty minutes before calling law enforcement, stating that they had been drinking alcohol. The woman was found at a relative’s residence after a thorough search. The operator was asked to perform standard field sobriety tasks and was subsequently arrested for operating a vessel while normal faculties were impaired and received a citation for refusal to provide a breath sample.

PUTNAM COUNTY

Officers Bernard and Guirate were conducting a fisheries inspection on a vessel in Grandin Lake when they noticed the operator appeared impaired. After completing seated field sobriety tests, the subject was placed under arrest for BUI. Breath alcohol test results were .187 and .191, more than double the legal limit.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Officer B. Miller received a report from a St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office Marine Deputy that a local man was transmitting live video footage on Facebook of himself petting and stroking a manatee for several minutes near Julia’s Island in the Intra-Costal Waterway just north of the St. Augustine waterfront. Officers B. Miller and Harris quickly responded to the scene in their patrol vessel and found the man on the west side of the island in waist-deep water next to his boat, playing with an adult manatee. The man told the officers that although he was a life-long resident of St. Augustine, he was unaware of the law prohibiting his interaction with the manatee. Officer Miller explained the law to the resident and then issued him a notice to appear for the misdemeanor violation.

In the early morning hours, Officer Harris was on foot patrol at the Guana WMA/State Park complex, near the dam at the south end of Lake Ponte Vedra and a popular saltwater fishing spot. From a concealed position, he saw a subject, who had remained in the park after closing hours, actively fishing. Over the course of a few minutes, Officer Harris saw the man catch what appeared to be two undersized redfish and conceal them in his cooler. Officer Harris then approached the subject and asked if he had caught any fish. The man replied “No,” but was found to be in possession of two undersized redfish, hidden under a bag of ice in the cooler. He was issued a notice to appear for harvesting undersized redfish and a warning for remaining in the park after hours.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officers Malicoat and West responded to a reported 36-foot motor yacht beached in downtown Daytona Beach. Eye witnesses reported that the vessel came on shore at around 10:30 AM at approximately 30 mph. Volusia County Beach Safety Officers immediately boarded the vessel and determined there was no one on board. A search for a missing vessel operator was initiated by Volusia County Beach Safety, with assistance from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, USCG Ponce Inlet, and FWC. FWC Investigators responded to the scene and, through the course of the investigation, an adult male was identified as the operator. It was determined he had taken the vessel without the owner’s permission and FWC Investigators and Daytona Beach Police arrested the adult male for grand theft. He was booked into the Volusia County Jail.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
BREVARD COUNTY

Officers Hallsten, Balgo, Graves, Eller, Lejarzar and D. Humphrey teamed up with Elizabeth Winchester from FWC’s Division of Marine Fisheries Education and Outreach Subsection and assisted her with a kids’ fishing clinic in Port Canaveral. More than 400 kids attended and the officers provided insight into ethical fishing, fishing techniques, tackle preparation, and their roles in the conservation circle. FWC officers and staff helped tie tackle, bait hooks, and gave examples on how to remove fish safely.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officers Norris and Sehl were on water patrol in Lemon Bay when they conducted a resource inspection on a vessel and located an undersized spotted sea trout. The fisherman had been warned two months prior for the same violation. He was issued a notice to appear for the violation.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Officers Godfrey and Baker planned a detail in the Tampa area focusing on BUI and personal watercraft (PWC) violations. The area has seen a substantial increase in PWC operators. The concentrated effort resulted in 25 citations and 40 warnings issued, as well as a response to a PWC and vessel accident with injuries.

LEE COUNTY

Lieutenant Ruggiero completed an investigation into a gopher tortoise violation at a new home development. During his investigation, Lieutenant Ruggiero got statements from witnesses and an admission from the developer that he opened the burrows to look inside for gopher tortoises instead of applying for the required permits. When the developer did not see any gopher tortoises inside the burrow, they contacted a grading company and told them to clear the property. The case has been filed with the state attorney’s office for review and possible prosecution.

Officers Price and Winton were on water patrol on the Estero River when they noticed a small boat with two individuals cast netting. The officers stopped the boat to conduct a resource inspection and discovered an undersized mangrove snapper and an undersized sheepshead in the hatch. While measuring the fish, the officers noticed one of the individuals stacking fish and life jackets on top of a pile of fish on the deck. The officers searched the pile and discovered another undersized mangrove snapper. The individuals were written citations for the sheepshead and failure to have a fishing license and a warning for the undersized mangrove snapper.

Lieutenant Spoede and Officers Price and Winton were on water patrol in Boca Grande Pass when they noticed a vessel coming in from offshore waters. They stopped the vessel to conduct a resource check and discovered that the boat had three red grouper over the bag limit. The operator informed the officers that he had kept one extra because “it was bleeding a lot,” but could not explain why he had two additional fish over the limit. The operator of the vessel was cited for the violation.

Multiple officers from Lee and Charlotte counties responded to a call for assistance from the Florida Highway Patrol and the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office about two subjects that ran into the woods after being approached by a trooper who spotted them in a stolen car. The two subjects were tracked through a series of wooded lots and into a small neighborhood. FWC officers captured one subject behind a manufactured home, then noticed fresh foot sign indicating the second subject was hiding under the home. When an FHP K-9 unit arrived, the second subject came out from under the home and was also arrested.

MANATEE COUNTY

Lieutenant Hinds was on land patrol around the South Skyway Fishing Pier and performed a fisheries inspection on a subject that had been spearfishing around the base of the bridge. During the inspection, Lieutenant Hinds found that the subject was hiding two out-of-season snook. Both snook had been speared and were well under the 28-inch minimum size limit. The subject was issued several citations and must appear in court for his violations.

PASCO COUNTY

Officers Bergwerff, Williams and Lieutenant Parisoe were on water patrol in the Pithlaschascotee River and stopped a vessel violating an idle speed zone. During the stop, the officers saw signs of impairment. Based on their observations, Officer Williams conducted seated field sobriety tasks which the subject performed poorly. Officer Williams arrested the operator for boating under the influence. The individual was transported to Pasco County jail where he refused to provide a sample of his breath.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on land patrol, Officers Caldwell and Boogaerts received a call from Tarpon Springs Police Department reference a snook spearfishing complaint at Fred Howard Park. Upon arrival, Officers Caldwell and Boogaerts met with the Tarpon Springs officers who advised them that the subject had admitted to spearing three snook. A fisheries inspection was conducted which revealed three snook in a cooler with puncture wounds near the gill plates of the fish. In addition to the illegal method violation, the three snook were also undersized and harvested during closed season. The subject was issued resource citations for harvesting snook by illegal method, possession of snook during closed season, and issued warnings for undersized snook and over the bag limit of snook.

While on water patrol in Boca Ciega Bay, Officer Bibeau received a call from dispatch advising that a subject had caught and kept a snook at a nearby beach. Officer Bibeau arrived a short time later via vessel, and approached the suspect as he was preparing to leave the area. A fisheries inspection revealed the suspect to be in possession of a large snook that was stuffed inside a small cooler. The individual was issued a misdemeanor citation for being in possession of a snook during a closed season.

RESCUES
PASCO COUNTY

Officer Bergwerff and Lieutenant Parisoe responded to Hudson Beach to assist Pasco County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) with a domestic dispute. The officers learned that a vessel containing a family was stuck in shallow water. The vessel owner had left the vessel and was walking around in the water at night trying to get to shore. A shallow draft vessel was utilized, and the officers located the vessel owner standing near a pylon. The vessel was left anchored and all occupants were returned safely to shore. The PCSO investigated and determined no crime was committed. The individuals were released to family friends. They planned to return after daylight to retrieve their vessel.

Officers Williams, Godfrey, Ferguson, Investigator Tsongranis and Lieutenant Van Trees responded to a report of an overdue kayaker out of Salt Springs State Park. The information was obtained from park staff who located a vehicle at the kayak launch after hours. Officer Williams, Investigator Tsongranis, and Park Manager Belden utilized an FWC airboat to begin a search of the area. They were assisted in their efforts by the Pasco County Sheriff’s Aviation personnel who located a kayak a short distance from the park. However, by the time the officers arrived, the kayak was gone. A short time later, PCSO noticed the vehicle had left the park. The search was concluded as the kayaker had returned and left the area.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
SARASOTA COUNTY

Officers Sierra, Hertel and Lieutenant Gerkin assisted with the Sarasota Offshore Grand Prix Friendliest Catch Fishing Tournament. This was the 33rd annual tournament, and is held for clients with special needs that receive services from the Suncoast Charities for Children. This tournament was started in 1984 by the late FMP/FWC Officer Erickson.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Toby saw an individual fishing and then return to his vehicle to leave the area. Officer Toby stopped the vehicle as it was leaving to conduct a resource inspection and determine if the driver was the registered owner. A records check revealed the driver had a suspended driver’s license that expired in 2010. The individual stated he was aware of this issue and drove regardless. The individual was issued a misdemeanor citation for driving with a suspended driver’s license with knowledge. There was no violation pertaining to the resource inspection.

Officers Stone and Trawinski responded to a call from an FWC aviation unit reporting that two Jeeps were driving off trail in the J.W. Corbett WMA. The officers responded and intercepted the two vehicles. The drivers were issued citations for the violations.

Officer Toby conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle and the driver/owner had a suspended driver’s license. The individual was provided notice by the court system of this suspension prior to this stop. He was issued a misdemeanor citation for driving with a suspended driver’s license with knowledge. The individual’s suspended driver’s license and vehicle registration tag were seized and turned in to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Osorio and Barringer were conducting federal fisheries patrol approximately 11 miles west of Doctor’s Pass when they saw a vessel inbound displaying fishing equipment. The officers stopped the vessel to conduct a resource inspection and determined that the captain of the vessel was on a paid charter. Further investigation determined that the captain did not possess the required licenses to guide and retain resources in federal waters. The investigation is ongoing.

Officers Yurewitch and Kleis were conducting land-based water patrol on US 41 near Everglades City. They saw two individuals fishing and a pickup truck parked near them. The officers contacted the two individuals to conduct a fishing license and resource inspection. During the encounter, the fishermen said that the truck was theirs. The officers saw a bucket containing legal fish, and found that neither subject had a fishing license in their possession. When the officers walked by the fishermens’ truck, they looked in the window and saw what appeared to be drugs and drug paraphernalia in plain view near the center console, along with a partially empty bottle of whiskey. The subsequent search revealed marijuana, paraphernalia and a bag of cocaine. The subject was arrested and booked into the Collier County Jail on multiple charges including felony possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The second fisherman was released from the scene and issued a warning for fishing with an expired fishing license.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Two officers, an investigator and a lieutenant participated in a special enforcement detail that targeted personal watercraft operations at Blue Lagoon and Snapper Creek Canal. The entire Blue Lagoon is a regulated slow speed/manatee zone, and Snapper Creek Canal has been the source of frequent calls from citizens reporting PWCs being operated in a careless and/or reckless manner. The two-day weekend detail included 36 vessel inspections, 67 users checked, 19 written warnings and 26 boating citations issued, 1 subject arrested for a felony violation and 2 PWCs seized for suspected title fraud and/or theft.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Piekenbrock and Officer Way were on water patrol when they received a call from dispatch regarding multiple abandoned crawfish traps in the water south of Western Dry Rocks. They responded and identified the owner of the traps by his commercial crawfish endorsement number. A month-long investigation was conducted, subjects were interviewed and traps were seized. The subject was arrested by Officer Piekenbrock and charged with five misdemeanors totaling 51 counts. Officers involved in the investigation include Investigator D. Munkelt, Investigator J. Munkelt, Officer Garrison and Officer Wagner.

Officers Wilkins and Larios were on state water patrol in the Upper Keys when they received a call from a Good Samaritan stating he saw several people taking queen conch from Alligator Reef SPA. Upon arrival, the officers located the vessel in question and performed a resource inspection. Laying on the deck of the vessel were 10 queen conchs, all of which were still alive. Officer Wilkins cited the captain of the vessel accordingly and all the queen conch were returned to the water alive.

Officer Wagner was dispatched to a call of two males harvesting queen conch from shore in the lower keys. He watched one of the individuals holding two conchs and when he saw Officer Wagner, he immediately put them on the ground. The individual said he wasn’t sure what kind of conch they were and led him to more by the shoreline. Officer Mason arrived on the scene to assist. The conch was identified as Queen Conch and there were 12 of them. Officer Wagner searched the vehicles and found a cooler with 7 undersized schoolmaster snapper. The other individual claimed possession of the illegal snapper. Both males were charged with notice to appear citations for the violations.

Officers Garrison and Wagner were on land patrol in the middle keys when they noticed a man talking with a family and holding a reptile in a mesh bag. Officer Garrison recognized the vehicle from earlier in the day when he saw the man capturing Iguanas. They watched the man hand the mesh bag over to the family in exchange for money. They approached them and saw that the mesh bag contained two Iguanas. They asked the individual if he had a permit to sell wildlife and he admitted he did not. In the vehicle were multiple pillow cases and mesh bags which contained Iguanas. He was issued a criminal citation for selling wildlife without a permit.

Officer Mattson saw a vessel aground on the oceanside of Tavernier Creek. The operator admitted that he “thought” he was following his GPS unit. The operator had tried to power his vessel off the sea grass flat as Officer Mattson saw a prop scar at least 75 yards in length. The scar was consistent with his single engine vessel and direction of travel. He was issued a federal citation for the vessel grounding.

RESCUES
MONROE COUNTY

Officer Wagner was off duty at a community pool with his family. He noticed a woman frantically screaming on the pool’s edge looking at a little girl in the center of the pool. The girl was struggling to swim and her head was under the water’s surface. Officer Wagner swam to the girl and pulled her out of the water. The girl coughed up water but was in good health and returned safely to her mother.

Officer Wagner received a call from a Good Samaritan who found four individuals on a broken-down vessel in the back country of the lower keys. The Good Samaritan could not assist because he was already at full capacity on his vessel and had to go back to shore to beat the incoming storms. Officer Wagner went out on his patrol vessel and located the individuals tied up to the mangroves. They had no VHF, no anchor, no dry clothes, and their cell phones were dead. Officer Wagner brought the individuals safely back to shore where Officer Mobley was waiting to drive them to their residence.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Barringer, Hazelwood, Collazo, and K-9 Roscoe were invited to attend the Vineyards Community Park Summer Camp Program. The camp hosted 135 children ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade. The officers talked to the campers about water safety around pools and beaches as well as boating safety. The children were also taught about when to call 911 and what to do if separated from their families. Officer Collazo and K-9 Roscoe demonstrated how they work together to find lost people and hidden objects.

MONROE COUNTY

Lieutenant Dipre participated in a multi-agency honor guard presentation of colors during the opening ceremony of the 85th Annual United States Conference of Mayors at the Fontainebleau Hotel on Miami Beach. The conference was hosted by Miami Beach Mayor Phillip Levine and attended by 300 mayors from around the nation. Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett presided, along with former President Bill Clinton.

Officer Dube was the guest host on the “Ladies’ Night Out” radio show at the iconic Green Turtle Inn in Islamorada. Officer Dube gave some helpful boating tips for the upcoming July 4th holiday weekend and promoted Operation Dry Water, which is a National Boating Under the Influence campaign.

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  FWC Enforcement Report June 16-22. All Regions.
Posted by: bigefromlc - 06-27-2017, 12:09 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Corbin and Pifer were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety and resource inspections in the Destin Pass and Crab Island areas and saw a vessel in violation of the idle speed/no wake zone area. The operator was instructed three times to place his vessel in neutral. The operator kept shifting the boat’s throttle, but it remained in gear. During the boating safety inspection, the operator exhibited signs of impairment and was asked to perform field sobriety tasks which showed indicators of impairment. He was arrested for BUI transported to the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Station where he refused to provide a breath sample. He was then transported to the Okaloosa County Jail where the intake process was completed.

Officers Pifer and Bartlett were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety and resource inspections at the Destin Pass and saw a vessel in violation of the idle speed/no wake zone. When Officer Pifer was addressing the idle speed violation, the operator had a blank stare. During the safety inspection, the operator continued to show indicators of impairment such as slurred speech, watery/glassy eyes, and difficulty maintaining his balance. The operator also paused while trying to answer simple questions. The operated stated he had consumed 12 beers. He performed field sobriety tasks which showed indicators of impairment and was arrested for BUI. He was transported to the USCG Station where he provided a breath sample resulting in 0.151, 0.142 over the 0.08 legal limit. The operator was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail where the intake process was completed.

Officer Pifer was on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections just offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. saw a PWC in violation of a county ordinance, stopped the PWC and determined the vessel was rented from a local livery company. During the safety inspection, Officer Pifer discovered the livery failed to provide the required safety equipment. Officer Pifer followed the rented PWC back to the livery location and issued a notice to appear citation to the livery for failure to provide required boating safety equipment.

Officer Pifer was on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections near Crab Island when he received a request for assistance from the USCG regarding a Florida registered vessel. Officer Pifer arrived on the scene and initiated contact with the vessel owner. The registration decal had expired in 2009, and when the vessel owner provided the boat title to the officer, the date of sale was listed as October 2, 2015. The vessel owner was issued a notice to appear citation for failure to title the vessel in his name within 30 days after purchase.

Officer P. Rockwell was dispatched to a complaint of three bears digging in a dumpster off Mary Esther Cutoff. The officer located two dumpsters behind two local food businesses. The fencing surrounding the dumpsters was heavily damaged and the bears were using the dumpsters as a food source. Officer Rockwell educated the owner and manager of their respective businesses about their responsibilities in securing their garbage. One of the business owners was issued a non-compliance letter. Both were provided a bear brochure.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Ramos was on vessel patrol in the Santa Rosa Sound and conducted a boating safety and resource inspection on a vessel he saw returning from offshore fishing. The officer discovered that the individuals had harvested regulated fish species that included six red snapper, three of which appeared to be under the legal 16‑inch size limit. Officer Ramos asked the boat operator how they measured their fish. The operator showed the officer a homemade ruler he constructed using tape. Officer Ramos showed the individual that his homemade tape ruler was an inch short compared to a certified metal ruler. The three, undersized snapper measured 15 inches each. The operator was cited accordingly.

Officer Ramos received information from a resident that an individual on a boat was harvesting oysters in a closed area in Blackwater Bay. After gathering details from the complainant, Officer Ramos saw the individual in an area closed for the harvesting of oysters. A boating safety and resource inspection was conducted and the individual admitted he was intentionally smashing oysters and their attached mollusks to attract fish that he could catch with fishing poles. The man received one boating safety warning and was charged for harvesting oysters in a prohibited area.

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Officer Gore was patrolling an area of Choctawhatchee River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) at Boynton Cutoff Landing for illegal fishing activity when he encountered two subjects in a parked car with a Georgia tag. During a casual conversation, he felt the male subject may have been impaired on drugs due to his erratic actions and speech. He asked the subject if there were any illegal substances in the vehicle. The subject reached into the center console and produced a pill bottle that contained methamphetamine and marijuana. A search incident to arrest revealed additional marijuana. The subject was transported to the Washington County Jail and booked for possession of methamphetamine and possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officer Reith responded to a possible alligator attack in Paynes Prairie State Park in the late afternoon. When Officer Reith arrived, the victim had not been attacked but his tripod and camera were sitting on top of a female’s nest. While taking pictures, his camera slid down the embankment and landed on the nest. Unaware that it was an alligator’s nest, the cameraman attempted to retrieve his equipment. The female alligator became protective of her nest and while the man was attempting to retreat, he landed in a briar patch and received minor scratches. Officer Reith was eventually able to retrieve his equipment with a rope and snatch hook. No charges were filed and no alligator attack report was necessary.

DUVAL COUNTY

While on state water patrol in the Fort George River, Lieutenant Bridwell and Officer Griffis saw a vessel being operated in a reckless manner. The vessel was operating in a narrow channel at a high rate of speed, weaving in and out of a high concentration of vessel traffic. The operator finally stopped after ignoring several commands to do so, and Officer Griffis detected possible impairment. Standardized field sobriety tasks were conducted and the operator was subsequently placed under arrest for BUI and reckless operation of a vessel. An occupant in the same vessel was arrested by Lieutenant Bridwell for disorderly intoxication and resisting without violence.

DIXIE COUNTY

Officer Allen received a report from dispatch that the USCG had a subject who was suspected of BUI detained in Steinhatchee. Officer Allen arrived and met the USCG officer the on scene. After the investigation, the subject was arrested for BUI and transported to the Dixie County Jail without incident.

Lieutenants Futch and Jones were working the opening of scallop season when they saw a vessel on plane pass near divers in the water. The operator was subsequently issued a notice to appear for reckless operation.

Lieutenant Futch, Officer Allen and K-9 Officer Wiggins received information about a deer carcass that was recently dumped in Dixie County. They arrived on the scene and saw fresh tire sign leaving the area. They canvassed the nearby neighborhood and found the same tire sign entering a driveway. They met with the resident and discovered a vehicle behind the house with the same tire sign. After a brief interview, the subjects admitted to killing a deer the day before and dumping the carcass. Charges for taking deer out of season will be direct-filed with the state attorney’s office.

BAKER COUNTY

Lieutenant Huff patrolled the Osceola WMA targeting illegal dumping and damage to state lands. He was concealed down a road closed to vehicular traffic when he saw a truck pull down the closed road and back up to a pit filled with water. The driver then got out of the truck and began to dump pallets onto the ground. The officer came out of his concealed location and made a stop on the vehicle. The driver stated that he thought it was okay to dump in the area. The subject was charged with misdemeanor dumping of litter.

LEVY COUNTY

Officer Fox was conducting safety and resource checks at the County Road 40 ramp in Yankeetown when he saw a male subject fishing with a rod and reel from the bank. He approached the fisherman and asked if he had any luck. The man admitted to catching and keeping two undersized mangrove snapper. Officer Fox issued a citation for possession of undersized mangrove snapper and returned the two snapper to the water.

Officer Johnston was on night patrol in Cedar Key near the Dock Street Marina when he saw a vessel arriving at the dock with no navigation lights on. When he approached the operator of the vessel, he smelled an odor of alcoholic beverage emanating from him. He also saw several empty beer bottles in the boat. Officer Johnston conducted a vessel safety inspection and then conducted standardized field sobriety tasks. The operator showed significant indicators establishing that he was impaired. Officer Johnston placed him under arrest for operating a boat while impaired and transported him to the Levy County Jail without incident.

Officer Willis was on patrol in the highway 40 area boat ramp in Yankeetown when he saw a white boat approaching the ramp with no boating safety decal. He contacted the boat operator and conducted a vessel safety inspection and then asked the occupants if they had caught any fish. They replied that they had caught several sharks. Officer Willis inspected the three, black-tip sharks in a cooler on board the vessel. He explained to the fishermen that the possession limit for sharks in Florida waters (recreational) is two per vessel or one per person, whichever is less. Officer Willis photographed the sharks for evidentiary purposes, seized one shark over the bag limit, and issued the operator of the vessel a citation for the limit violation. The seized shark was returned to the water and no further action was taken.

Officer Schulz was on land patrol in the Gulf Hammock WMA when he found an abandoned truck in the management area. The truck was not in running condition, had flat tires and contained garbage and debris in the bed. Officer Willis arrived on the scene to assist with the investigation. The officers determined through the investigation that the owner of the truck had been issued a warning for dumping the truck some eight months previously by another officer. When they contacted the owner, he admitted to not having removed the truck and said he would do so within a few days. The truck was removed by the owner later that week. Officers Schulz and Willis filed dumping charges through the Levy County State Attorney’s Office.

During a three-week period, Officers VanNess, Hilliard, Starling and Lieutenant Umhoefer conducted a RADAR speed measurement detail in Manatee Springs State Park. The manager made the request due to numerous complaints by park visitors regarding excessive speeding on the main road. The speed limit is posted at 15 MPH and after checking 227 vehicles, 36 citations were issued for excessive speed with several citations for more than double the posted speed. There was also one custodial arrest of a driver who was driving at a rate of 28 MPH. When the driver was stopped, he only had a State of Virginia ID card and no valid driver’s license. His Ohio license had been revoked and his Virginia driver’s license had been suspended. The subject knew he was in violation of the law by driving with full knowledge of his license being suspended or revoked.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers are working area lakes for boating and resource compliance. With high water conditions on several lakes, flooding is occurring in the woodland areas along the edges. Bream species, including speckled perch, are being caught regularly. Bag limits and safety gear violations are being documented appropriately.

When time permits, officers are continuing to work local management areas for mudding and drinking alcohol while driving through the areas. Officers are issuing appropriate paperwork to individuals violating state laws.

Officers are working compliance issues in San Felasco and Devils Millhopper State Parks. Numerous warnings and citations have been issued to gain compliance for the honor pay systems.

RESCUES
CITRUS, DIXIE, LEVY AND TAYLOR COUNTIES

FWC K-9 officers and local FWC officers worked a detail focusing on resource violations in Citrus, Dixie, Levy and Taylor Counties. Several cases were made including resource, drugs and BUI. The officers also responded to three search and rescues with all missing parties being accounted for. The K-9s were deployed nine times during the detail to conduct resource inspections.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officer Stanley attended a classroom event for forty pre-school children. He displayed a baby gator and answered some serious questions about what FWC officers do.

GILCHRIST COUNTY

Officers Butler and Wilder taught the law portion of a hunter education class in Trenton. The officers explained the importance of ethical hunting practices and how vital it is to the conservation of wildlife. They also answered questions about local WMAs, the FWC quota system and general hunting regulations.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Officers Eller, Miller and Graves inspected numerous crab traps being fished throughout the Indian River to ensure they were compliant with blue crab trap regulations. Numerous violations, such as no degradable material and untagged traps, were noted during these inspections. The owners of the traps were identified and cited accordingly.

Lieutenant Bonds, Officers Eller and Lejarzar conducted numerous off-shore fisheries inspections while on patrol in the Atlantic Ocean outside of Port Canaveral. A fisheries inspection of a vessel revealed an undersized dolphin. The subject was made aware of the violation and cited accordingly. The officers made another vessel stop to conduct an off-shore fisheries inspection and the vessel operator appeared to lack balance, had slurred speech, and had a strong odor of alcohol emitting from his breath. A five-gallon bucket of empty beer cans was visible on the deck and the operator appeared to be impaired. Officer Eller performed standard field sobriety tasks on the subject and, due to the subject’s poor performance, determined that he was impaired. The subject was arrested, charged for BUI and transported to the Brevard County Jail.

FLAGLER COUNTY

Officers Meade and Jones were observing a man in Crescent Lake using a steel rod to probe the bottom. After two hours, the man returned to the Shell Bluff Boat Ramp. Officers Meade and Jones preformed an inspection and found the subject to be in possession of an arrowhead. The arrowhead was tied to the steel rod so as not to be seen. The man was issued a notice to appear for the violation.

Officer Meade was working local boat ramps on Crescent Lake. Upon inspection, one fisherman was found to be over the limit of black crappie. A citation was issued for over the bag limit and the fish were released back to the water.

MARION COUNTY

K-9 Officer Simpson and Investigator Miller responded to the former Wild Waters portion of Silver Springs State Park in response to a trespass complaint. Upon arrival, they started a K-9 track where it was found that someone had cut the fence to enter the park. A short time later, the subject was located and arrested inside the attraction.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY

The crew of the OPV Osprey, the Fincat and assisting NOAA officers conducted patrols offshore from St. Augustine for turtle excluder device (TED) compliance. During one patrol, three commercial shrimp vessels were stopped without incident. A fourth commercial shrimp vessel was stopped, and the operator was arrested for fleeing to elude, two counts of battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence and interference with an FWC officer.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Lieutenant Eason responded to Deleon Springs State Park to a report of a subject causing a disturbance. Lieutenant Yetter arrived on the scene to assist. The officers located the subject who was lying on the ground. After initially failing to follow instructions to stand up, he eventually stood up and began creating a disturbance again. He was subsequently arrested without further incident and booked into the Volusia County Jail.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Officer Ramsey assisted our Ocala Bear Biologist with a bear-wise presentation for the Nocatee homeowners in Ponte Vedra. One-hundred and forty residents attended the presentation.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Lieutenant Frantz was conducting an inspection of the Coral Creek Archaeological Site. He climbed to the top of the mound and found several tools and freshly dug holes. A suspect was standing there, by himself, in camouflage pants and a camouflage jacket. He had a metal detector and several tools for digging. Lieutenant Frantz read the suspect his Miranda rights. The suspect agreed to answer Lieutenant Frantz’s questions and stated he was there digging and looking for a lost ring. He was standing by an approximately 5-foot-deep by 2-foot-wide hole. The suspect was booked into Charlotte County Jail on two felony charges.

Officer Birchfield was working plain-clothes water patrol and conducted a fisheries inspection at a local boat ramp. When asked, the captain said he only caught one snapper. During the inspection, multiple fish fillets, which still had skin on, were located and identified as red grouper. The individual was issued a criminal citation for not landing fish in whole condition.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Officers Gonzales and Berg were on land patrol in Ruskin when they noticed a man fishing off the US 41 bridge that crosses the Little Manatee River. During a resource inspection, they found that the man had caught and kept an undersized and out-of-season snook. The man was cited for possession of snook out of season and must appear in court for the violation.

Officers Gonzales and Berg were on land patrol around Kracker Avenue and US 41 when they stopped and performed an inspection on a fisherman who was leaving the area where he had launched. The subject told the two officers that he was in possession of a 27-inch red drum, but when the two officers measured the drum, it was 29 inches in length. The fisherman was cited for possession of oversized red drum and must appear in court for his violation.

While on ATV patrol on the Mosaic property near Fort Lonesome, Officers Godfrey and Baker noticed a suspicious truck and vessel trailer parked on the property with the doors open and no one in sight. The officers confirmed that the truck and trailer were stolen and had been taken from the Williams Park Boat Ramp a few days prior while the owner was out on his vessel. Numerous parts of the truck had been stolen and the suspects left the remaining parts of the vehicle. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office was notified and took over the case.

While on land patrol in Tampa, Officer Martinez saw a suspicious vehicle in an area where no trespassing was allowed. Officer Martinez approached the subjects to educate them about the trespassing issue when he realized the car was running and the two occupants were passed out in the front seats. A subsequent investigation revealed the operator of the vehicle was impaired, and Officer Martinez found Xanax as well as drug paraphernalia in the car. The subject was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail for DUI, possession of a controlled substance, and driving without a valid license.

While following up on a case for operating a vessel without a hull identification number, Officer Phillippi learned the subject failed to appear in court and had a warrant for his arrest. Officers Phillippi and Ferguson then found the subject and arrested him on his outstanding warrant for failing to appear.

After stopping to assist a disabled vehicle on the side of the road in Tampa, Officers Phillippi and Ferguson learned that the operator had a warrant for her arrest for failure to appear in court for driving while license was suspended. The officers booked the subject into the Hillsborough County Jail and the vehicle was towed.

LEE COUNTY

Officers Price and Winton were on water patrol in Estero Bay when they saw two individuals wading and throwing a cast net. The officers found a cooler hidden in the mangroves nearby, and then attempted to approach them. As they approached the individuals, the one carrying the fish dumped them in the water. Officer Price jumped in the water and retrieved some of the fish only to determine they were all legal. The men later admitted the fish in the cooler were theirs, and a search of the cooler revealed four undersized permit. A misdemeanor citation was issued for the fish and an infraction was issued for no fishing license.

Officers Price and Winton conducted surveillance on an individual cast netting fish at Lover’s Key State Park. The officers witnessed the individual cast net fish and return to the shoreline before wading back out. The officers left the area to get a patrol vessel and when they returned, the individual was gone. The officers interviewed a group of people at the park and located a cooler with undersized permit hidden in the mangroves. The officers located the net fisherman and as they approached, his partner began dumping fish out of a bucket. Officer Price jumped in the water and retrieved the fish. Citations were issued for the permit violations and for failure to have a saltwater fishing license.

Officers Price and Winton were on patrol at Lover’s Key State Park when they saw a group loading a fishing boat onto a trailer. The officers approached the individuals to conduct a fisheries inspection and were told by the individuals that they had fish in their live well. The officers found an undersized spotted seatrout and over the bag limit of mangrove snapper in the live well. The captain of the vessel was issued a citation for the seatrout violation and a warning for the snapper violation.

Lieutenant Barrett was patrolling the Estero Bay Buffer Preserve when he spotted several four-wheel drive vehicles that had driven over a gate to access a closed area of the preserve. As Lieutenant Barrett approached the vehicles, they attempted to back down the trail away from his position. Lieutenant Barrett contacted Officers Fogle and Thompson to assist, and the three worked in unison to close off all exits to the area. The drivers of all the vehicles were stopped and cited appropriately.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Dalton was performing fisheries inspections on the South Skyway Fishing Pier. While on patrol, he stopped and performed an inspection on a man who had been fishing on the pier all day and was now leaving. During the stop, Officer Dalton discovered that the man was in possession of 13 grey mangrove snapper. The subject was charged for being over the possession limit of five mangrove snapper per day.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Officer Phillippi received a complaint about a reckless jet ski at Philippe Park in Safety Harbor and responded to the boat ramp. The officer contacted a subject on a jet ski, and found that he had two warrants for his arrest. Officer Phillippi arrested him for his outstanding warrants and cited him for the expired registration on his jet ski.

Officer Martinez coordinated a detail at the Skyway Fishing Piers in Manatee and Pinellas counties focusing on resource violations and enforcing state park rules. The detail was extremely successful and utilized FWC’s K-9 unit as well. Numerous resource citations were written for violations like undersized gag grouper, undersized cobia, and over the bag limit of mangrove snapper. In addition, there were many arrests made for DUI, driving while license was suspended, and possession of drugs.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
LEE COUNTY

Officers Winton and Price conducted panther enforcement in Estero. During their patrol, they stopped five vehicles for excessive speed-related violations. The officers issued three citations and two warnings. The highest recorded speed was 74 mph in the 45-mph zone.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
PASCO COUNTY

Officer Pulaski conducted an outreach event at Centennial Middle School, where he educated approximately 90 children. He taught them the duties and responsibilities of an FWC officer, resource rules and regulations, and the important role of the FWC biologists and resource conservation.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Officer Godfrey attended the City of Oldsmar Kids Fishing Camp at Bicentennial Park. He spoke to the children about conservation, boating safety, living with alligators, and answered various other questions regarding local issues.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officers Ryan and Holcomb were on patrol near the 14th Street Boat Ramp and conducted a marine fisheries inspection on a vessel that had just returned from fishing.
With information gathered, Officer Holcomb issued two individuals citations for possession of undersized dolphin and possession of over the bag limit of dolphin. Thirty-two fish were seized as evidence.

Officers Ryan and Holcomb were dispatched to the Hillsboro Inlet in response to a complaint that individuals were in possession of undersized snapper. The officers arrived on the scene and conducted marine fisheries inspections on individuals fishing in the area. Officer Holcomb issued two individuals citations for possession of undersized mangrove snapper. Thirteen undersized mangrove snapper were seized as evidence.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officers Keen and Allen were checking water control structures for fishing activity when they encountered two subjects who had moored their boat at the S-84 structure near the Kissimmee River. The men had walked across the structure and were catching sunshine bass in the running water. They received notice to appear in court citations for trespassing on a South Florida Water Management District water control structure.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Douglas obtained an arrest warrant for an individual in possession of conditional species without a license. The subject was in possession of three Reticulated Pythons, two Burmese Pythons, and one Green Anaconda. The subject was arrested for twelve misdemeanor charges regarding the illegal possession of the snakes and other related violations. This individual has a history of captive wildlife violations and his bond was set at $240,000. The snakes were placed at a licensed facility. Investigators Holcomb and Patterson assisted with this investigation.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
BROWARD COUNTY

Officers Brock and Holcomb participated in a conservation day at a Learning Center in Plantation. The officers spoke to children from 4 to12 years old. They spoke about environmental stewardship and explained the responsibilities of the FWC. They also brought some animals to display for educational purposes.

Lieutenant Laubenberger and Officer Banks attended the Change of Command ceremony for USCG Station Fort Lauderdale. They represented the FWC in addition to many other law enforcement agency representatives. The Change of Command ceremony is a time-honored military practice.

MARTIN COUNTY

Officers Cobo and Morrow conducted a boating safety and fishing class to campers at the Tanah Keeta Boy Scout Camp in Tequesta. The campers were educated on safety equipment, fishing regulations, water safety and were given the opportunity to ask questions.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officers Davis, Crosby, Alford, Lieutenants Strenth and Brown assisted the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Department’s two-week Summer Camp program. It consisted of fishing clinics and programs covering conservation, boating safety and hunter safety. Each person attending the camp was given a new fishing rod and reel and a small tackle box. A total of 90 kids were in attendance.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Yaxley and Kleis were on patrol on US 41 when they saw a truck towing a vessel. The officers saw several equipment violations on the trailer and conducted a traffic stop. When they approached the vehicle, they noticed fishing rods, tackle boxes, fish blood and scales. The driver of the truck stated that he had been fishing and allowed the officers to inspect his catch. Their inspection revealed 9 undersized mangrove snapper. The driver admitted that he had caught and kept the fish even though they were under the size limit. The fish were seized as evidence and the driver was issued the appropriate citations.

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) requested assistance from FWC regarding a subject who fled into Picayune Strand State Forest during a traffic stop on I-75. Deputies found approximately 35 pounds of marijuana in the trunk of the subject’s car and while placing him under arrest, he scaled the high fence separating the interstate from the forest and fled. Lieutenant Bulger and Officers Araujo, Curbelo, Reams, Yaxley, Tidwell, Polly, Osorio, and Pilot Simons assisted the CCSO deputies and K-9 in searching the forest via foot, UTV and buggy. The officers searched for several hours before the CCSO called off the search.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

FWC officers were on night-time water patrol when they saw a vessel heading north on the ICW and north of the Julia Tuttle. The vessel was being operated in a careless and reckless manner almost crashing into other vessels. The officers followed the vessel to inquire about the careless operation and to conduct a boating safety inspection. The operator eventually decided to slow down at the mouth of Little River. As a boating safety inspection was conducted, the officers noticed empty beer cans on the vessel’s deck. The operator had a strong odor of an unknown alcoholic beverage emitting from his breath, his speech was slurred and he admitted to drinking. Field sobriety tasks revealed that the operator’s normal faculties were impaired. The operator was placed under arrest for BUI and transported to the Miami-Dade County Jail.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Sapp received a call from dispatch regarding a grounded vessel near Big Pine Key. The vessel operator was reported as being intoxicated, and nearly struck other vessels in the area. Officer Sapp located the vessel and conducted standard field sobriety tasks on the operator. The subject displayed numerous signs of impairment and was arrested for BUI. Once in jail, the subject’s breath alcohol level was found to be .158 and .151 two hours after the initial contact with Officer Sapp. The subject was charged with boating while normal facilities impaired, and for operating a vessel with a breath alcohol level at .08 or higher. The subject’s vessel was safely removed from the grounded position.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Araujo, Arbogast, Yaxley and Kleis conducted speed enforcement in two Collier County Panther Zones. All drivers stopped were educated on the importance of the Panther Zones and public safety in regards to speed. In total the officers issued 11 citations and 8 warnings. The highest speeds noted by the officers were 86 mph and 95 mph in a 45 MPH zone.

MONROE COUNTY

Officers Way, Messier, and Lieutenant Peters conducted a 3-day offshore patrol of the Dry Tortugas. The patrol focused on the enforcement of state and federal fisheries, and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS). The officers conducted several vessel inspections of recreational and commercial vessels. The crew issued a total of 5 citations to various vessels for undersized fish and violating the Magnuson Stevens Act along with marine sanitation device violations. The crew also wrote several warnings during their patrol.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
COLLIER COUNTY

Lieutenant Bulger was asked to participate in the Collier Sheriff’s Office Youth Leadership Academy Q&A Panel to begin the 2017 program. The program invites select incoming high school seniors and freshmen from around Collier County to participate in a week-long leadership course. The first day, leaders from area agencies and businesses are invited to answer student’s questions about their careers and leadership philosophies.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Dube and his 11-year-old son attended the week-long Everglades Youth Conservation Camp (EYCC) in Palm Beach County. Officer Dube assisted staff throughout the week with instructing and teaching campers about the importance of boating safety as well as boating and fishing skills. The campers also learn archery, hunter and gun safety in addition to a long list of other activities. Officer Dube’s son was part of the “Wild Life Adventures” group and this is his third year attending the camp. The EYCC is part of FWC’s Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network (FYCCN) which is an initiative to introduce our youth to the conservation and the outdoors.


I will bet this caught his attention!

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Douglas obtained an arrest warrant for an individual in possession of conditional species without a license. The subject was in possession of three Reticulated Pythons, two Burmese Pythons, and one Green Anaconda. The subject was arrested for twelve misdemeanor charges regarding the illegal possession of the snakes and other related violations. This individual has a history of captive wildlife violations and his bond was set at $240,000. The snakes were placed at a licensed facility. Investigators Holcomb and Patterson assisted with this investigation.

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  FWC Enforcement Report June 9-15. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 06-20-2017, 02:44 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
BAY COUNTY

Officer T. Basford was on land patrol near the Bailey Bridge in North Bay when he saw three subjects in an aluminum boat who appeared to be intoxicated and smoking marijuana. Officers N. Basford and Wicker arrived and approached the vessel. All three subjects on the vessel appeared to be impaired. A BUI investigation was conducted on the operator and, after he completed the standardized field sobriety tasks, the operator was taken into custody. A plastic bag containing less than 20 grams of marijuana and a glass pipe were seized. The operator claimed ownership of the seized evidence. At the jail, the operator provided two breath samples reading .219 and .223. He was booked into the Bay County Jail for operating a vessel with a breath alcohol level of .08 or higher and charged with possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

CALHOUN COUNTY

Officer Baber was conducting boating safety inspections at a boat ramp along the Apalachicola River when he noticed a vehicle towing a vessel with an expired registration. Before the boater launched the vessel, he walked over to speak to him about the registration and noticed the boat owner was very nervous and he could smell a strong odor of burnt cannabis coming from the vehicle. A consent search of the vehicle produced a plastic bag of cannabis and methamphetamine. The suspect was booked into jail for possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis and possession of methamphetamine.

When Officer Hayes approached a vehicle leaving a boat ramp along the Chipola River, the two occupants appeared nervous. A small plastic bag containing a crystal-like substance was in plain view. A deputy with the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department responded to assist. The substance tested positive for methamphetamine and the suspect was booked into the Calhoun County Jail.

CALHOUN COUNTY

Officers Cushing and Pettey were on federal water patrol in the Gulf of Mexico and issued one federal citation for possession of greater amberjack during closed season and two state citations for undersized red snapper.

While on park patrol within the Big Lagoon State Park, Officer Long saw a subject throwing a cast net near an area that is frequently used as an illegal access point into the park. After approaching the subject and accompanying him back to his vehicle to retrieve his fishing license and identification, a strong odor of cannabis could be smelled coming from inside the vehicle. The cannabis was seized and misdemeanor citations were issued for possession of cannabis under 20 grams. Warnings were issued for state park violations.

Officers Cushing and Pettey, with the assistance of Officer Tolbert, were patrolling state and federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and conducted a marine resource inspection of a vessel in federal waters. The persons on board stated that they knew they were in federal waters and were not allowed to have red snapper but undersized red snapper was found in their cooler. One of the individuals admitted to catching and keeping the red snapper. The appropriate action was taken for the violation.

Officers Cushing and Pettey saw a vessel in federal waters with two persons on board actively fishing. When asked if they had any fish on board, the owner of the vessel stated that they had one amberjack. During the resource inspection, an undersized greater amberjack was found during closed season. The appropriate action was taken for the violation.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

Officers Fletcher and Nelson were conducting vessel patrol before daylight in Apalachicola Bay and saw several commercial oyster vessels with a large harvest of oysters on the deck/cull board of the vessels. The appropriate action was taken for the harvest of oysters before daylight. The illegally harvested oysters were returned to the water.

GULF COUNTY

Officers M. Webb and Lipford conducted JEA patrol in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. During their patrol, they conducted numerous resource inspections targeting the enforcement federal reef fish regulations. Four separate inspections revealed violations regarding the possession of red snapper in federal waters during a closure, which resulted in the issuance of four citations.

Officers H. Webb and M. Webb conducted JEA patrol in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. While patrolling, they saw a recreational vessel actively fishing. As the officers approached, the passenger in front quickly started dumping red snapper over their starboard side of the vessel. The officers instructed the fishermen to stop dumping fish. There were four red snapper floating in the water, one of which was taken by a dolphin. The officers retrieved the other three with a net. When boarding, Officer H. Webb asked the captain if they had any more fish on board. The captain of the vessel said no, but upon inspection, six additional red snapper, two gray triggerfish and one greater amberjack were located in the fish box. Six of the nine red snapper were undersized and one of the two triggerfish was undersized. The appropriate action was taken for the violations.

JACKSON COUNTY

Officers Little and Baber responded to a complaint in which a landowner had game camera photos of a suspect trespassing on his property. The officers backtracked the suspect’s tracks to a residence on an adjacent property. They located and interviewed the suspect, who was subsequently charged with trespass.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officers Ramos and McHenry were on vessel patrol in the Santa Rosa Sound and conducted a safety and resource inspection on a boat returning from offshore fishing. After a check of all required safety equipment, the operator stated they didn’t have any luck and that they had no fish on board. Officer Ramos received consent to look in the coolers and live wells. He didn’t locate any fish but discovered clues leading him to believe the operator was lying. He asked a passenger to move to the front of the boat and found a gray triggerfish hidden under her seat. The harvest of triggerfish is prohibited in Gulf waters for the remainder of 2017. The operator admitted he caught the fish. When asked for a fishing license, the man stated he had one but forgot to bring it with him. FWC dispatch confirmed that the man’s fishing license had been expired for a year. The man was issued a citation for the expired fishing license and a criminal citation with required court appearance for the harvest of triggerfish during the closed season.

Officer Lewis was patrolling in the Blackwater River State Forest when he saw two men and a woman getting ready to leave Krul Lake. When asked if they paid the Krul Lake day-use area fee, they said they had not. While speaking to the group, Officer Lewis smelled the odor of cannabis and asked the driver about it. The man retrieved a mason jar containing cannabis from the vehicle’s center console and handed it to the officer. The tag also was not assigned to the vehicle. The man admitted to possession of the cannabis and attaching the improper tag. The subject was charged with possession of not more than 20 grams of cannabis, possession of drug paraphernalia, and attaching tag not assigned. The subjects were issued warnings for not paying the day-use area fee.

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Officer Gore was conducting boating safety inspections on Holmes Creek at Culpepper Landing when he encountered a vessel with two subjects cheering loudly and waving their hands in the air as they approached the ramp. The operator had difficulty showing his safety equipment and was very unsteady. Officer Gore performed standardized field sobriety tasks and determined that the subject was impaired. He was arrested and transported to the Washington County Jail where he refused the Intoxilyzer and was booked into jail for BUI.

RESCUES
OKALOOSA COUNTY

While on foot patrol at Wilderness Landing, Officer J. Rockwell received a complaint about two missing teenagers. The complainant stated that they were 13 and 16 years old and had been missing for over an hour after heading down river. Officer Rockwell notified dispatch and began to search a few known forest roads that lead to the river. In a joint effort with Officers Arnette and Jenks of the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, the officers located the missing teens two miles south of Wilderness Landing.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
ALACHUA COUNTY

Lieutenant Ferguson and Officer Troiano responded to a complaint of dogs running a young deer in a rural area neighborhood south of High Springs. The complainants met the officers and showed them where the dog had caught the spotted fawn. The owner’s information was on the dog’s collar. After receiving sworn written statements from the complainant, the officers made several attempts to contact the owner. The dog was eventually turned over to Alachua County Animal Control. Officer Troiano will be contacting the state attorney’s office for possible violations.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Officer Johnston was on land patrol in a rural area of Columbia County when he saw a vehicle moving slowly along an adjacent public road. Officer Johnston noticed a spotlight being displayed from the passenger side of the vehicle illuminating an agricultural field. While Officer Johnston maintained surveillance, Officer Yates and Investigator Bembry arrived to assist. A traffic stop was conducted and the two occupants of the vehicle were discovered to be in possession of a .22 caliber scoped rifle loaded with hollow point ammunition, including one in the chamber. The driver was found to be driving on a revoked driver’s license as a habitual traffic violator. The passenger was determined to be a convicted felon and was in possession of an open alcoholic beverage. The driver was arrested and transported to the Columbia County Jail where he was booked for felony driving while license suspended or revoked and attempting to take deer at night with gun and light. The passenger received a citation for the open container and was released on the scene. A sworn complaint will be filed on the passenger for attempt to take deer at night with a gun and light. Pending further investigative efforts, an additional charge may be filed.

Officer Johnston was on foot patrol at the Montgomery Lake Fish Management Area when he saw a subject fishing with a rod and reel. The subject did not have a valid freshwater fishing license and had an active warrant for his arrest. The warrant was for failure to appear for a violation of parole hearing out of Columbia County, stemming from a previous arrest made by Officer Johnston for driving while license suspended or revoked on water management land. The no bond warrant was confirmed and the subject was transported by Officer Johnston to the Columbia County Jail where he was booked without incident. The subject also received a non-criminal citation for fishing without a freshwater fishing license.

Officer McDonald was traveling a well-traveled highway in Lake City when he saw a vehicle backing up to a county fence. A gate was lying on the ground behind the vehicle and a strap was attached to the gate and truck. The subject at first denied tampering with the fence, but later admitted to pulling it down so he could go fishing. The hinges to the gate were in the man’s vehicle, but no fishing pole was found. The back of the man’s vehicle contained other metals suspected to be sold as scrap. The suspect was issued a citation for criminal mischief and damage/injuring a fence. The suspect repaired the gate before leaving.

Officers Johnston, Yates and Investigator Bembry responded to the Fort White area in Columbia County to assist with a multi-agency manhunt for an inmate who escaped from a correctional facility in Hamilton County earlier in the day, stole a vehicle, and fled to Fort White where the vehicle was found abandoned at a residence. The subject was still believed to be in the area. FWC Pilot Cain and Officer Geib responded to the area and assisted from the air. The search was eventually called off that evening; however, the suspect was apprehended by deputies, without incident, a few days later.

HAMILTON COUNTY

Officers Johnston, McDonald, Yates and Cline assisted with a multi-agency manhunt in White Springs. A local bail bondsman was attempting to apprehend a suspect when the subject suddenly turned during a foot pursuit and fired a single shot from a handgun at the bail bondsman. The single shot missed the bail bondsman who ended the foot pursuit and called for additional help. The officers assisted with searching for the suspect for several hours with no success. The suspect was apprehended by deputies a few days later without incident.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROL
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers are diligently working area lakes for boating and resource compliance. Numerous citations and warnings have been issued over the last couple of weeks.

Officers have been working complaints in the local management areas for mudding and drinking alcohol while driving through the areas. Officer Reith issued some warnings and citations to help gain compliance. They will continue to patrol the areas for all violations.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

While on patrol, Investigator Horst saw a subject unload a cooler from his vessel onto a dock. During a resource inspection, the subject stated that the cooler contained sheepshead. The subject was in possession of 22 sheepshead and was issued a resource citation for possessing over the daily bag limit of sheepshead and a citation for not having a saltwater fishing license.

PUTNAM COUNTY

Officers Guirate, M. Jones, Campbell and Mason received a tip that members of the Putnam County Hunting Association were using dogs to run deer during the closed season. They responded to the area and found that there were dogs running deer at night during a closed season. Two individuals were found with the dogs and were cited for the violation. In addition, three citations were issued for possession of alcohol under 21 years of age.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
LAKE COUNTY

Officers Phillips and Morrow gave a boating safety presentation at the Florida Scrub Jay Trail Youth Summer Camp to a group of approximately twenty children, ranging from ages nine to fifteen. The officers had a patrol vessel on display and educated the group on how to properly navigate a vessel in channels and restricted speed areas, vessel safety equipment requirements and rules and regulations on fishing in fresh and saltwater. At the end of the presentation, the officers discussed the job description and responsibilities of a conservation officer and shared some of their experiences with the group.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on patrol, Officers Berg and Gonzales received an anonymous call regarding an oversized, out-of-season snook being filleted at Williams Park Boat Ramp. Upon arrival, the complainants approached the officers and offered photographs of the suspects, including their vehicle tag numbers. The officers used the information given to locate the residence of the suspect. Upon arrival at the residence, Officer Berg read the suspect his Miranda rights. After questioning, the subject stated he had the fish inside his house. The officers collected the evidence and the subject was charged with harvesting out-of-season snook.

Officers Berg and Gonzales were conducting fisheries inspections along the Little Manatee River and discovered an undersized out-of-season snook and two undersized mangrove snapper in a subject’s cooler. The officers collected the evidence, and the subject was charged with harvesting out-of-season snook and issued multiple warnings.

While on land patrol, Officers Berg and Gonzales were conducting fisheries inspections along US 41. The officers discovered a truck parked in a high-crime area and awaited the occupants return. During the inspection, the suspect stated he caught a redfish right at 27 inches (maximum size limit). Inspection of the subject’s redfish revealed it was grossly oversized, measuring at 30 inches. The officers collected the evidence and the subject was cited accordingly.

PASCO COUNTY

Officer Balfour was on land patrol in Richloam Wildlife Management Area (WMA) when he came across a suspicious vehicle. He identified drugs in plain view in the rear seat of the vehicle. Officer Balfour decided to conduct surveillance and he also requested assistance from Officer Pulaski. The officers also learned the registered owner of the vehicle had a suspended license. After a short time, the vehicle occupants returned, and the officers stopped the vehicle. During the stop, Officer Balfour witnessed the passenger in the back seat throw the drugs out the window. The driver (registered owner) was issued a citation for driving with a suspended license. The passenger was arrested for possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis and resisting arrest without violence.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on foot patrol at the North Skyway Fishing Pier, Officer Bibeau contacted two individuals that were actively fishing to conduct a fisheries inspection. The two subjects told the officer that they didn’t have any fish and had only been fishing for a little while. Officer Bibeau asked to look inside the trunk of their vehicle since he saw one individual place something in the trunk and close it prior to the inspection. The subjects permitted the officer to inspect the vehicle and upon the inspection, a 16-inch gag grouper was found. One of the subjects admitted to catching the grouper and was given a misdemeanor citation for the violation.

While on land patrol near the North Skyway, Officer Bibeau saw two individuals that were actively spearfishing along the shoreline. Officer Bibeau watched the individuals from a concealed location, and contact was made with them as they returned to their vehicle to conduct a fisheries inspection. After the inspection, Officer Bibeau found one of the subjects to be in possession of a 23-inch cobia. Officer Bibeau wrote the subject a misdemeanor citation for the fisheries violation.

Officers Martinez and Klobuchar were on land patrol at the Fort DeSoto Boat Ramp when they saw a vessel coming into the boat ramp. The officers approached the vessel and learned that the three passengers of the vessel were returning from offshore fishing. Officer Klobuchar performed a resource inspection of the vessel, and found that the three subjects were in possession of eight, out-of-season gray triggerfish. All eight of the fish were under the legal-sized limit of 14 inches. The officers seized the fish, and Officer Klobuchar issued misdemeanor citations for possession of out-of-season gray triggerfish and warnings for possession of undersized triggerfish.

While on land patrol at Gandy Beach, Officers Martinez and Klobuchar saw a male and a female cleaning multiple fish on the shoreline. Officer Martinez approached the two subjects and could immediately identify one of the fish on the shoreline as a snook, which are currently out of season. Officer Martinez read the subjects their Miranda Warnings, and the female subject claimed possession of the snook. Officer Martinez measured the fish and found it to be 20 inches (legal size is 28-33 inches while in season). Officer Martinez issued the subject misdemeanor citations for being in possession of undersized and out of season snook.

Officers Martinez and Ludtke were on vessel patrol near Egmont Key State Park when they approached an anchored vessel which was actively fishing. While performing a resource inspection, the owner of the vessel advised that he was in possession of an undersized gag grouper. The officers seized the fish, measured it, and found it to be 14 inches (legal size for gag grouper is 24 inches). Officer Martinez educated the subjects on the importance of keeping only legal-sized fish and issued the subject a misdemeanor citation for being in possession of undersized gag grouper.

Officer Martinez was on land patrol at Treasure Island when he saw an SUV next to a seawall with multiple fishing poles sticking out of the trunk. Officer Martinez pulled behind the vehicle to see if the subjects inside had been fishing when the vehicle suddenly turned on, pulled away and did not stop for a stop sign. After witnessing numerous traffic violations, Officer Martinez performed a traffic stop. Immediately, the driver stated he did not have a driver license and the subject was slurring his speech and moving very slowly. The female passenger was also acting suspiciously. After both subjects were out of the vehicle, they gave consent to search the vehicle. Methamphetamine, numerous syringes, and other drug paraphernalia were found. Officers Enos and Alvis arrived on the scene to assist. Upon completion of the stop, the driver was arrested for felony possession of a controlled substance, misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, driving under the influence, and driving with a suspended license. The female was charged with felony possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

While on land patrol at the North Skyway Fishing Pier, Officers Caldwell and Ludtke conducted multiple resource inspections. Through the course of their inspections, they discovered an individual to be in possession of an approximately 12-inch gag grouper. The individual was cited for possession of an undersized gag grouper.

Officer Hinds and Lieutenant Laskowski were on land patrol near the Gandy Bridge when Officer Hinds noticed two individuals walking back to their car carrying a bucket. A redfish tail was visible above the top of the bucket. A subsequent resource inspection revealed one individual in possession of two redfish, one of which was oversized. The individual was cited for possession of over the bag limit and possession of oversized redfish.

SARASOTA COUNTY

Officer Brown was on patrol near the Cocoplum Waterway and noticed a man fishing the waterway. During a resource inspection, Officer Brown discovered that the individual had caught and kept a 25-inch snook out of season. The subject was issued a criminal citation and a notice to appear in court.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
PASCO COUNTY

Officers Bergwerff, Pulaski and FWC Biologist Gardener conducted an outreach event at a local marina. They presented information on boating safety, marine fisheries, and fishing regulations. Approximately 40 adults and 15 children attended the event.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officer Banks was on late-night patrol on State Road 84 in Fort Lauderdale when she saw individuals catching blue land crabs. After a fisheries inspection, one individual was cited for having over the legal bag limit of blue land crabs. The individual was permitted to keep the legal limit and, with the help of Officer Brock, 32 blue land crabs were released back to the mangroves alive.

Officers Brock and Banks responded to the Deerfield Beach Pier regarding a complaint of someone catching and keeping undersized mutton snapper. The officers conducted marine fisheries inspections on individuals at the pier. One individual was in possession of 2 undersized mutton snapper. Officer Brock issued the individual a citation for the violation.

Officers Grant and Brock were on patrol at the Dania Beach Pier conducting marine fisheries inspections. One individual was found to be in possession of 2 undersized mutton snapper. He was issued a citation and the fish were seized as evidence.

Officer Vacin was patrolling the beach area in central Fort Lauderdale when he saw a diver offshore that appeared to be spearfishing. As the individual exited the water, the officer conducted a marine fisheries inspection. The individual had indeed been spearfishing and was issued a notice to appear citation for possession of 2 undersized mutton snapper.

Investigator Luher, Lieutenant Bruening, Officer Coker and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Specialist Choi traveled by water to follow up on an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) complaint at Loggerhead Marina in Hollywood. The marina was storing, placing and discarding used oil inappropriately and without properly labeling used oil or any secondary containers. The marina manager was given clear and specific instruction to correct and come into compliance. The unannounced inspection revealed the marina was compliant with the direction DEP and FWC had given the marina manager the previous week.

MARTIN COUNTY

Officers Cobo, Meeks and Rogers were dispatched to a dog in distress inside Jonathan Dickinson State Park. A golden retriever was left by his owner inside a black SUV in the middle of the day with the windows slightly down. The dog was visibly nervous and panting very hard and had been left with no food or water. The owner of the dog was issued a citation for improper treatment of an animal and said he had been on a two-hour boat cruise.

GLADES COUNTY

Multiple FWC officers, investigators and supervisors responded to the report of a vessel accident on Fisheating Creek. A recreational airboat operating north of Highway 78 in Fisheating Creek discovered an overturned airboat resting on its side. One male subject was recovered from the water a short distance from the overturned airboat and was unresponsive. The victim was pronounced deceased on the scene by responding emergency medical personnel. He was the only occupant of the overturned airboat. The FWC is investigating the incident.

HENDRY COUNTY

Multiple FWC officers, investigators and supervisors responded to the report of a fatal gunshot wound to a subject reportedly engaged in a hunting activity. The incident occurred on private property. Upon arrival, a white male (deceased) was located with a gunshot wound to the chest. The incident is currently under investigation by a team of FWC investigators.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
MARTIN COUNTY

Officers Kirkland and Morrow responded to a complaint of an alligator underneath a resident’s vehicle. Upon their arrival, the officers utilized a catch pole and removed the alligator from underneath the vehicle. The alligator was released alive in an area away from the community.

RESCUES
BROWARD COUNTY

A report was received about a capsized vessel 1-2 miles off Dania Beach. The wind was approximately 25 knots with gusts of 30 and seas 4 to 6 feet. Officer Coker was operating the patrol vessel with Lieutenant McDonald managing radio traffic with FWC and other agencies on the scene. After approximately 10 minutes on the scene, Investigator Luher spotted one subject face down in the water and jumped into the water to retrieve the victim. She tilted the victim’s head back to establish an open airway in the rough conditions. The victim was transported on Fort Lauderdale’s Fire Rescue boat to the United State Coast Guard (USCG) station.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Morrow spoke with a group of high school students attending an annual Criminal Justice Camp, hosted by Florida Atlantic University, in Boca Raton. The campers were educated on the FWC’s mission and given the opportunity to ask questions.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

While on water patrol in the northern part of Biscayne Bay National Park, officers stopped a vessel entering the Biscayne Channel. The vessel was returning from the Bahamas and had been fishing for several days. During a boating safety inspection, officers asked if they were returning with fish on board. The captain of the vessel said “yes.” While inspecting whole fish in the cooler, they discovered what appeared to be fish filets in plastic bags. The captain stated that the fish were fileted in the Bahamas and consisted of grouper and snapper. The captain was cited for transporting fish from the Bahamas without leaving the skin intact. A total of 40 filets were counted.

FWC officers on water patrol stopped a vessel for violating a speed zone on the ICW entering the Miami River. While conducting a boating safety inspection, the officers discovered the vessel was smuggling 15 migrants. The operator/smuggler had the migrants concealed in the cabin of the vessel. The FWC officers contacted the USCG who took over the case.

FWC officers conducted “Operation Deep South” in the Southern and Rocky Glades. A total of 120 users were checked. The officers issued13 misdemeanor citations, 6 WMA infractions and 15 written warnings.

FWC officers conducted “Operation Zero Tolerance” in the waters of Miami-Dade. The officers issued 4 resource misdemeanor citations, including 12 undersized mutton snapper, 1 undersized nurse shark, 3 undersized vermillion snapper and 3 BUI citations.

FWC investigators provided back-up assistance to Miami-Dade Police Officer Garcia during the arrest of an individual that was aggressively resisting arrest. As Officer Garcia was struggling with the suspect on the ground, Investigators Corteguera and Nelson, who were across the street working a detail, noticed the physical struggle with the suspect and came over to assist in taking him into custody. Investigator Corteguera held the suspect’s legs in place while Investigator Nelson and Officer Garcia pulled the suspect’s arms behind his back and handcuffed him

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Sapp received a call from dispatch regarding a grounded vessel near Big Pine Key. The vessel operator was reported as being intoxicated, and nearly struck other vessels in the area. Officer Sapp located the vessel and conducted standard field sobriety tasks on the operator. Once in jail, the subject’s BAL was found to be .158 and .151, two hours after the initial contact with Officer Sapp. The subject was charged with boating while normal facilities were impaired, and for operating a vessel with a BAC at .08 or higher. The subject’s vessel was safely removed from the grounded position.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
MONROE COUNTY

The South B Region Dive Team members trained in conjunction with the Monroe County’s Sheriff’s Office Dive Team in Key Largo. The teams conducted a drift dive through Adam’s Cut in Key Largo. The divers picked up debris and other trash as they conducted their drift dive down the waterway. Officers Rafter and Schroth provided vessel support for the teams.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Curbelo and Bear Biologist Sarah Peltier visited Henry H. Filer Middle School in Miami. Officer Curbelo, a former student, was invited to speak. Officer Curbelo and Ms. Peltier gave presentations on bears, alligators and pythons, as well as allowing students to interact with juvenile alligators.

Officers Curbelo, Reams and Bear Biologist Sarah Peltier attended the Collier County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Club at Oakridge Middle School in Naples. The officers spoke to the students about bears, alligators, and pythons.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Dube gave a presentation to a summer camp group at the Islamorada Fishing Club. Officer Dube talked about the FWC’s core missions, being good stewards of our oceans and life jacket safety while enjoying paddleboard sports. The group consisted of approximately 25 campers, both boys and girls, along with some special needs campers. The campers were treated to a luncheon sponsored by the Islamorada Fishing Club.

Officer Carroll spoke with about 20 students at Key West Community College who are attending a summer camp for the week. Officer Carroll covered topics ranging from FWC's mission to fishing regulations and boater safety to the kids and counselors.

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  FWC Enforcement Report June 2-8. All Regions
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NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
BAY COUNTY

Officers N. Basford and Wicker were on water patrol in Watson Bayou when they received a call from dispatch regarding a woman who was being threatened and held hostage on a sailboat near Shell Island. The complainant stated that she was contacted by a girlfriend of hers who told her that she was being threatened and held hostage by a male subject on a white sailboat. The officers started canvassing the area, checking white sailboats, and identifying the male subjects on board. It was later determined that they were on a blue sailboat. The officers located the sailboat near the city marina and conducted a vessel stop. The female on board stated that she was not being threatened and she was not being held hostage. She said that the male subject earlier had seen her smoke a cigarette and told her their relationship was over and that he does not date smokers. She stated that since it was not her boat that she felt like she had nowhere to go. The male subject stated to the officers that he had seen her smoking and that he told her he was done dating her. She asked to be taken back to where he keeps his boat, but because of the high winds, they were not able to return to where the boat is kept. He was having a friend meet them at the city marina to take the female subject to her home. Charges will be filed on the female subject with the state attorney’s office for filing a false police report to law enforcement authorities.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

The FWC and partner agencies, Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office marine unit and security personnel, Okaloosa County Jail Processing Center, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), Escambia County Sheriff’s Office marine unit, Fort Walton Beach Police Department, Fort Walton Beach Fire and Rescue, Okaloosa Island Fire and Rescue, and Air Force Security Forces provided public safety for the 62nd Billy Bowlegs Pirates Festival. The joint efforts of law enforcement and first responders resulted in 199 vessel checks, 700 citizen contacts, 13 BUI arrests, 33 uniform boating citations issued, 35 written warnings issued, 9 fight interventions, 47 calls for service/public assistance, 10 medical responses/transports, 1 felony warrant arrest, 2 drug possessions, 6 intoxicated individuals secured at the drunk tent, 1 transported to the county jail, and
a person transported to the emergency room. No boating accidents occurred. Ten patients were assessed and received medical treatment.

Officers Corbin and Pifer responded to a complaint of a burglarized vehicle at Henderson Beach State Park. There were two vehicles, both 2011 Chevrolet Tahoes. No forced entry into either vehicle was evident. Both vehicle owners had secured their personal items and locked their vehicle. It is believed that access was obtained with the use of a remote universal fob. An intel report was completed and forwarded statewide to all Florida state parks.

Officers Corbin and Wilkenson were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections and state fisheries inspections in the Destin Pass and saw a vessel returning from the Gulf of Mexico. A fisheries inspection revealed an undersized scamp and red snapper fillets in a 4‑gallon plastic bag. The owner/operator was cited and issued notice to appear citations.

Officer Nichols did a follow-up with a homeowner who recently received a letter of notification regarding the intentional feeding of bears. Upon arrival, the officer noticed the homeowner not only failed to remove the existing bread and birdseed, but had placed additional feed down. Officer Nichols cited the homeowner with a written warning and will follow up with another compliance inspection.

Officer Corbin conducted a dockside commercial fisheries inspection/offload on a federal-documented vessel. The inspection revealed undersized red snapper and vermillion snapper. The inspection also revealed the crew harvested gray triggerfish during a closed season. After the offload was completed, Officer Corbin discovered five additional gray triggerfish that were shoved and hidden underneath a fish box. The operator admitted to hiding the fish from the officer. This commercial vessel/operator has been cited with four federal fisheries violations in the last seven months. A National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) law enforcement officer was dispatched and several federal charges are pending.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Maltais was a guest speaker at Duke Field. He spoke to base personnel regarding boating safety, BUI enforcement, boating accident reporting, local waterways and state parks in preparation for the busy boating season and summer holidays.

Officers Maltais and Jarvis participated in an outreach event with a local news channel. The news channel interviewed the officers regarding boating safety. The officers took the media crew on vessel patrol to Santa Rosa Sound (Brooks Bridge) and Crab Island where they conducted vessel stops and addressed a diver’s complaint call. The footage was aired the following day.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
COLUMBIA COUNTY

Officers Johnston and Cline were on land patrol at Rum Island Park along the Santa Fe River when they discovered a subject with multiple felony warrants. The officers ran the subject’s vehicle registration for general investigative purposes and determined the tag attached to the vehicle was not assigned. A check through FCIC/NCIC also revealed the registered owner of the vehicle had active felony warrants. Officer Cline set out on foot along the Santa Fe River for a better vantage point to determine if the vehicle was occupied and if the occupant matched the physical description of the subject with the warrants. Officer Cline determined the vehicle was in fact occupied by the wanted subject. Shortly thereafter, both officers approached and detained the subject without incident. His identity and active warrants were confirmed. He was then transported by the officers and booked into the Columbia County Jail for four active felony warrants for failure to appear on multiple charges.

Officers Johnston and Cline were on patrol around Lake Desoto when, from a concealed location, they saw three subjects fishing with rods and reels. The officers made contact to conduct a resource/fishing license check. Officer Johnston recognized one subject from a previous contact and suspected he may have an active warrant for his arrest. The subject could not provide a fishing license, and FWC Dispatch reported the subject had an active warrant for failure to appear on an original charge of driving while license suspended or revoked (DWLS/R). The officers transported the subject and booked him into the Columbia County Jail. This was the subject’s second fishing license violation within 36 months which requires him to pay an enhanced fine amount. Officer Cline also issued another of the three subjects a citation for no freshwater fishing license.

Officer McDonald was on foot patrol in Kirby Pit when he encountered two individuals fishing. Kirby Pit is a lake on DEP lands and is closed to the public. Upon inspection, 12 largemouth bass were found on a stringer in the water. The female admitted to catching three of the bass and the male subject admitted to catching nine of the bass. Citations were issued for taking over the daily bag limit of black bass and no fishing license. Warnings were issued for trespassing on property other than a structure or conveyance. The fish were released alive.

LEVY COUNTY

Officers Johnston, Hilliard, Starling and Lieutenant Umhoefer conducted a targeted speed enforcement detail in the Manatee Springs State Park at the request of park management personnel. They had been receiving numerous complaints of excessive speeding on the main entry road leading to camping areas and around adjacent walking trails. During the detail, 39 vehicles were speed checked with radar and 11 citations were issued for exceeding the speed limit (in some cases double the posted limit). Park personnel reported that they received positive feedback from several park visitors after the detail.

DUVAL COUNTY

The Resource Protection Squad responded to the report of illegal harvest and possession of goliath grouper at a local marina. A plain-clothes officer responded and located the spot on a dock where a large fish had apparently been cleaned. The officer spoke to the manager who at first denied any knowledge of a fish being cleaned. When the manager’s attention was directed to the fish blood, fish slime and rather large grouper-looking scales stuck to his shirt, he admitted to harvesting and cleaning the fish. He was issued a misdemeanor notice to appear and more than 100 pounds of grouper meat was seized.

Officer Sapp and Lieutenant Conboy were on water patrol when they noticed a man in a kayak, in the middle of the ICW channel, waving his paddle in the air and yelling at passing boaters. When they got near the kayaker, Lieutenant Conboy asked the operator if he was ok. The subject told the officers that he was drunk. The kayaker was brought on board the patrol vessel and was given a series of field sobriety tasks. He performed poorly on the tasks and was handcuffed and arrested for BUI. While the officers were leaving the docks to take him to a patrol truck, the man became belligerent, kicked Officer Sapp and tried to run. Officer Sapp and Lieutenant Conboy restrained the subject, but he continued to yell and resist for a few minutes. Eventually, the subject was taken to the Duval County Jail where his breath alcohol was measured at over two and one-half times the legal limit. The subject was charged with BUI and resisting arrest with violence.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS

The Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) Fincat conducted enforcement patrol in federal waters during the three-day recreation red snapper season, resulting in numerous vessel stops.

On the opening day, Officers Canfield, Boyer and NOAA’s Officer Widner were aboard the OPV Fincat just outside the Middle Grounds, and saw a charter vessel engaged in fishing. Officer Boyer boarded the vessel to conduct an inspection. Officer Boyer found one of the charter captains to be in possession of an American red snapper and the vessel had exceeded the one-day bag limit on the first day of fishing. After consulting with NOAA’s Officer Widner, the captain was issued a federal citation for charter vessel captain or crew in possession of an American red snapper and given a verbal warning for possession of more than the daily bag limit. Officer Boyer issued numerous boating safety warnings after several other vessel checks during this patrol.

On the second day of the season, Officers Canfield and Boyer were aboard the OPV Fincat in federal waters when a commercial sponge vessel was seen engaging in diving. During an inspection of the vessel, Officer Boyer located an undersized gag grouper. Officer Boyer issued the captain of the vessel a state citation for the violation. Later during the day, a stop was conducted on a recreation vessel which resulted in Officer Boyer issuing a federal citation for over the limit of red snapper and possession of a greater amberjack during the closed season. A separate recreational vessel stop resulted in Officer Boyer issuing a state warning for possession of an undersized gag grouper. Several other vessel checks resulted in Officer Boyer issuing boating safety warnings during this patrol.

On the last day of the season, Officers Canfield, Boyer and Fox were aboard the OPV Fincat in federal waters when, during a stop of a recreation vessel, Officer Boyer found the vessel to be over the limit of American red snapper. The captain of vessel was issued a state citation for the violation. Several other vessel checks were conducted and no other violations were found.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Officers Miller and Graves stopped a vessel on the Banana River for violating a Manatee Zone. When the officers approached the operator of the vessel, they noticed that the vessel operator seemed to be under the influence of alcohol. The officers performed field sobriety tasks on the operator and determined that he was too impaired to operate a vessel. The operator was taken to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office East Precinct to give a sample of his breath. The operator of the vessel had a blood alcohol level of .152. He was arrested for BUI and taken to the Brevard County Jail.

Officers Miller and Graves were on water patrol on the Banana River. Officer Miller dropped Officer Graves off under the SR520 bridge so he could conduct a resource inspection on some fishermen. One subject was in possession of an undersized redfish and one subject in possession of an undersized trout. Both subjects denied catching the fish, saying that another fisherman gave them the fish. Officer Graves issued both subjects citations for possession of undersized fish.

While on airboat patrol, Officer Hadwin saw an individual throwing a cast net from the shoreline and harvesting a largemouth bass. A resource inspection revealed the individual had harvested four largemouth bass, two bluegill, and several tilapia. The individual was issued a citation for taking game fish by illegal method.

NOAA Office of Law Enforcement, in coordination with FWC’s OPV program, served a $7,285 notice of violation to the vessel captain and owner of a commercial fishing vessel. This fine stems from a 2016 case the OPV Sea Hawk made in April 2016. During that patrol, which was the day before the opening of the commercial amberjack season, FWC Officers Bohne and Luce boarded and documented more than 1,200 pounds of illegally harvested amberjack. The vessel had begun fishing before the legal season opened to beat the competition to the best fishing spots. In addition to protecting the resource, one of the main roles for FWC’s OPV program is to maintain a fair playing field for commercial fisherman.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

Officers Stelzer and Cybula were conducting water patrol of Sebastian Inlet State Park when a PWC was seen running carelessly at an excessive speed through a congested slow speed manatee protection area. A vessel stop was initiated and the operator appeared to be impaired. Seated field sobriety tasks were performed and the operator was placed under arrest for BUI and cited accordingly.

Officer Summers and Investigator Loeffler were on water patrol in Sebastian Inlet for Memorial Day weekend and noticed an individual operating a zodiac-style vessel in a bizarre manner. The individual was leaning over the port side of the vessel with half of his torso outside the boat and his head in the water with one hand on the motor. Officer Summers did a boater safety inspection and the operator was showing signs of impairment during the inspection. Officer Summers conducted field sobriety tasks that indicated signs of impairment. The subject was taken to the Indian River County Jail. Infractions were issued for refusal to submit to a breath test and for not having a life jacket on board his vessel.

MARION COUNTY

Officer Rice was patrolling the Ocala Wildlife Management Area (WMA) when he saw a vehicle parked near a pond. The officer went to the woodline and saw one subject fishing with a rod and reel and two subjects fishing with cane poles. Officer Dias was contacted to assist with surveillance from a plain-clothes capacity and saw the subject with the rod and reel catch multiple bass and put them on a stringer that already had bass on it. The subjects stopped fishing and began walking back to the vehicle. Officer Dias contacted Officer Rice and advised him they were leaving. Officer Rice encountered the individuals at their vehicle, but they did not have the stringer of fish. He walked down towards the water and saw the rod and reel leaning against a tree and the stringer of fish on the ground. There were ten black bass and one blue gill on the stringer. Post Miranda, one of the subjects admitted to catching nine of the bass. The subject was issued a notice to appear for over the bag limit of black bass and a warning for no freshwater fishing license.

ORANGE COUNTY

Officer Mendelson patrolled Tosohatchee WMA where he saw a set of headlights more than an hour after the WMA closed. During an inspection on the vehicle, Officer Mendelson saw a cooler with tilapia, black bass, and a cast net nearby in the bed of the truck. The black bass showed signs consistent with being taken by a cast net. The driver also admitted to taking the bass with the cast net. The individual was charged with illegal method of taking game fish and was issued a warning for being inside the WMA after dark.

SUMTER COUNTY

Officer Teal received a call about subjects lost in the Richloam WMA and responded to the area along with forestry personnel. When the subjects were found, Officer Teal went in search of the two vehicles. Both vehicles were found stuck deep in the state forest, far from a closed road. Both subjects were issued criminal citations for destruction of state lands by motor vehicle.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
SUMPTER COUNTY

Officer Sweet steered a Target Enforcement Action for public safety in the Richloam Wildlife Management Area involving two regions – the Northeast Region and the Southwest Region. Officers from the Northeast Region involved were Officers Sweet, Morrow, Teal, Phillips and Lieutenant Chase. Officers from the Southwest Region were Officers Balfour, Spradlin, and Lieutenant Parisoe. A total of 11 Citations and 22 warnings were issued during two nights including charges of destruction of state lands, driving on closed roads, ATVs, possession of alcohol, and litter. The multi-regional enforcement detail was very successful.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
LEE COUNTY

Lieutenant Spoede and Officers Perry and Winton were on water patrol and conducted a vessel stop in New Pass on a vessel with an expired registration sticker displayed. During their investigation, the officers noticed several empty beer cans on the deck of the boat and saw that the operator displayed signs of impairment. The officers took the suspect on their patrol vessel and conducted field sobriety tasks. After completing the tasks, the officers determined the suspect was impaired and he was placed under arrest for BUI. He was charged with operating a vessel while normal faculties impaired, and refusal to provide a breath sample.

Officers Bradshaw and Price received a tip that several subjects were cast netting snook at a popular local fishing location. The officers arrived on the scene, set up surveillance of the area, and quickly identified three men matching the description from the tip. When the three men gathered up their fishing gear and began to leave the area, the officers approached them. A search of their vehicle revealed five undersized snook hidden in the trunk. Appropriate charges were filed.

PASCO COUNTY

Lieutenant Parisoe responded to a complaint of juveniles removing a gopher tortoise from the water at a local park. While in route, he learned the juveniles had left the area and returned to a nearby residence. Lieutenant Parisoe was successful in speaking with the juveniles at the residence. He also located two gopher tortoises that were kept as pets. Lieutenant Parisoe took possession of the tortoises and educated the juveniles about the law. The tortoises were released at a local permitted facility.

While patrolling the waters of Pasco County, Officer Williams saw a vessel with several individuals fishing. As the vessel was leaving the area, Officer Williams conducted a resource inspection and found an out-of-season snook in the live well. The operator of the vessel was issued a citation for the violation and the snook was seized.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on water patrol, Officers Pettifer and Martinez stopped a vessel in Bunces Pass. During a resource inspection, the officers found one 21-inch gag grouper. The operator of the vessel admitted to catching the grouper and was cited for possession of gag grouper during a closed season and possession of undersized gag grouper.

While on land patrol, Lieutenant Laskowski saw two individuals in a vessel fishing. During a subsequent inspection, three gag grouper were discovered in a cooler measuring at 14, 15.5 and 15.5 inches in length. One of the individuals admitted to catching all three grouper. He was issued a citation for possession of undersized gag grouper and given a written warning for possession of over the bag limit of gag grouper.

While on vessel patrol offshore of Bunces Pass, Officers Caldwell and Ludtke conducted a vessel stop on an inbound vessel returning from a fishing trip. A resource inspection was conducted which revealed one undersized gag grouper measuring 16 inches. Post Miranda, one of the subjects on board admitted to catching the grouper and was cited accordingly for possession of undersized gag grouper. The minimum size limit for gag grouper in the Gulf of Mexico is currently 24 inches.

The OPV Gulf Sentry completed a three-day patrol for the opening of the federal waters red snapper season. The crew consisted of Officers Smith, Burks, Martin, Alvis and Bergwerff. The officers worked the commercial reef fish fleet as well as recreational fishermen. The OPV Gulf Sentry covered a large area ranging from Pinellas County north to Dixie County, out to approximately 88 nautical miles west of the coast. The officers also patrolled the Florida Middle Grounds, Edges and the Desoto Canyon. The OPV Gulf Sentry had the following activity: 51.5 Joint Enforcement Agreement (JEA) hours, 30 vessel inspections, four federal commercial cases, three federal recreational cases, three state recreational cases, and several warnings. Some of the violations consisted of closed season red snapper, over the bag limit of red snapper, red snapper as bait, undersized red snapper, closed season amberjack, reef fish not in whole condition and over the bag limit of grouper.

Officers Alvis, Bergwerff and Burks were conducting fisheries inspections of vessels off-shore. During an inspection, they discovered anglers who harvested a greater amberjack out of season and over the bag limit of American red snapper. As they pulled alongside the vessel, they noticed an individual surreptitiously drop a fish in the water. The fish was later recovered and identified as a red snapper. Also, the bait the subjects were using was cut red snapper. Officer Bergwerff issued several citations and warnings for taking over the daily bag limit, harvest during closed season, interference with an FWC officer, and not landing snapper in whole condition. The unlawful fish were seized as evidence.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
PASCO COUNTY

Officers from the Southwest Region assisted personnel from the Northeast Region with a detail in the Richloam WMA. The officers checked numerous personnel for compliance with forestry regulations. Over several days, the officers issued numerous warnings and citations for violations.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
LEE COUNTY

Officer Sehl conducted a hunter’s education seminar at the local Bass Pro Shops where she got the opportunity to interact with the public and discuss laws pertaining to hunting. She also answered questions about local WMAs, FWC’s quota system, and general hunting regulations.

PASCO COUNTY

Officer Pulaski conducted an outreach event at Crews Lake Park and educated 30 children that were participating in the summer day camp. The day camp is offered by Pasco County Parks and Recreation and Natural Resources Department. During the outreach, Officer Pulaski taught the children (ages 8-12) the duties and responsibilities of an FWC officer, resource rules and regulations, and the important role of the FWC biologists and resource conservation. Finally, Officer Pulaski assisted in instructing archery classes to the students along with certified National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) instructors.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Lieutenants Carcasses, Laubenberger, Investigator Teems, and several officers responded to a boating accident involving two vessels. The accident resulted in two fatalities and several injuries. The incident occurred on the Intracoastal Waterway in Fort Lauderdale. FWC is handling the boating accident investigation.

Lieutenants Carcasses, Harp, McDonald, Investigators Coffin, Teems, Luher and several officers responded to the report of a capsized vessel with multiple subjects in the water offshore of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. A Good Samaritan on a vessel rescued one of the three subjects who was located near the sunken vessel. The remaining two subjects were later located by responding FWC and Fire Rescue vessels and were pronounced deceased a short time later. The FWC is handling the boating accident investigation.

Captain Hodges and Officer Brock were on water patrol in central Broward County when they conducted a vessel stop on a vessel violating a wake zone. With information gathered, Officer Brock placed the operator of the vessel under arrest for BUI. The operator was transported to the Broward County Jail without incident.

Officers Ryan and Banks conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle in western Broward County. The occupants were previously trespassing and fishing in a posted area of the storm treatment area. Officer Ryan discovered that one juvenile in the vehicle had been reported as a missing juvenile. He transported the person to the Margate Police Department, and the juvenile was reunited with his parent.

Lieutenant Laubenberger and Officers Brock and Vacin were on water patrol just offshore of the Broward/Miami-Dade county line. They conducted a marine fisheries inspection on an individual spearfishing. Officer Brock issued the individual a criminal citation for possession of an undersized mutton snapper. One undersized mutton snapper was seized as evidence.

HENDRY COUNTY

Officer Nasworth was conducting patrol in the stormwater treatment area when he saw a subject trespassing. Officer Nasworth approached the subject and discovered he also had multiple warrants out of Hendry County. Officer Nasworth confirmed the warrants with dispatch and placed the subject under arrest. Officer Nasworth transported the subject to the Hendry County Jail for the outstanding warrants and issued the subject a warning for trespassing.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Investigators and officers investigated possible gill net violations in the St Lucie and Indian River counties during the mackerel migration season. Intelligence gathered by investigators and officers indicated that a suspect was possibly fishing with a gill net. Subsequently, an arrest warrant was filed for a suspect for the charge of carriage of proscribed nets across Florida waters. Investigator Patterson booked the subject into the St. Lucie County Jail on the outstanding warrant.

RESCUES
BROWARD COUNTY

Captain Hodges, Lieutenant Laubenberger, and Officers Brock, Vacin, Banks, Ryan and Defeo were having a squad briefing late at night at the Marina Boat Ramp at Mizell-Johnson State Park. The meeting had just ended when all officers heard a faint voice. They listened and made out a faint scream for help. All Officers responded by foot, by boat and by vehicle. Officers Vacin, Ryan and Brock ran into the water at the beach and reached a female as she was about to go under. They successfully pulled her to safety and onto the beach. The Hollywood Fire Department responded and transported her to the hospital.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
GLADES COUNTY

Lieutenant Brown, Officer Nasworth and Officer Worrell participated in the Hurricane Preparedness Day in Moore Haven. Officers Worrell and Nasworth brought a swamp buggy for display. Lieutenant Brown, Officer Nasworth and Officer Worrell spoke with several citizens and had positive interactions with them.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Araujo was on foot patrol near the Jolly Bridge in Marco Island when he saw a subject fishing from shore. He saw a small cooler and a bucket of shrimp near the subect, and asked if he had any fish. The subject said no. When asked to see inside his cooler, the subject opened and closed the cooler before Officer Araujo could see inside. When the subject opened the cooler the second time, the officer saw a white bag in the bottom, and concealed beneath were four undersized mangrove snapper. The subject also stated he had a fishing license, but did not have it with him. A license check revealed that his license had expired in 2015. The subject was cited accordingly.

MONROE COUNTY
Officer Garcia was patrolling northbound on US1 near mile marker 54 in Marathon. He saw a vehicle almost go onto the sidewalk on the northbound lane. Officer Garcia gave dispatch a description of the vehicle along with the tag number. The vehicle came back as a stolen van out of Jensen Beach, FL. Lieutenant Cox, along with Officers Carroll, Piekenbrock and Garcia conducted a high-risk felony stop on the vehicle and detained the driver with neither party being injured. While conducting an inventory search on the vehicle, Officer Carroll discovered a machete hidden behind the passenger seat. The driver of the stolen vehicle was charged with grand theft of a vehicle, possession of a concealed weapon, driving with a suspended license with knowledge, careless driving, not producing a driver’s license and was transported to jail.

Officers Hettel, Rubenstein and Lieutenant Payne responded to a call regarding a large tarpon being harvested from a local commercial dock on Stock Island. Upon arrival, the 5 individuals stated there was no tarpon, only a yellowtail snapper. Having found tarpon scales in the vessel, Lieutenant Payne went in the water with mask and fins to look for evidence. Under the vessel were the guts of a large fish. After searching the area and the transport truck, a large tarpon carcass was found in the commercial truck under ice. The captain of the vessel admitted to harvesting the large tarpon and cutting it up. The captain was arrested and taken to Stock Island Jail and cited for 4 misdemeanors.

Officer Pestka was on land patrol near the Channel 5 fishing bridge and noticed 2 men on the east side under the bridge near the sea wall. One male subject was actively fishing while the other male subject was seated, but both were near fishing equipment and a large red cooler. She asked the subjects if they had any luck and they indicated that they had only caught small fish. Officer Peska searched the red cooler and found 11 undersized schoolmaster snapper and 5 undersized yellowtail snapper. Both men were charged with possession of the undersized snapper and failing to possess a valid fishing license.

RESCUES
MONROE COUNTY

Officer Carroll was dispatched to a call of multiple men in the water after a boat sank near Marathon. Officer Carroll rode to the scene with the local USCG Marathon response team, and arrived at where the vessel was sinking and three males were using it to keep themselves above water. The officers pulled the subjects on board and the owner stated that they were at anchor when a wave came over the stern and caused the batteries and bilge to fail after the vessel was swamped. Once the boat was swamped, it slowly took on more water which caused it to sink. All the passengers were transported to shore and no injuries were reported. The vessel was recovered the following day by a commercial salvage company.

Officers Swensson and Sutter responded to an overdue boater call near Card Sound in North Key Largo. A teenager had taken a jet ski and told his father he would meet him at an area beach. When the subject never made it to the beach, the father called FWC. Pilots Willman and Perez began a search of the Card Sound area, including the many nearby creeks. Officers Swensson and Sutter began searching the ocean side as they worked their way into Card Sound. Officer Swensson spotted a jet ski, matching the description given by dispatch, aground on a flat. The officers positioned the patrol vessel as close to the flat as they could. Officer Swensson walked out to the individual and identified him as the overdue boater. He then helped the subject push the jet ski from the flat. The subject stated that he had been stuck for almost 3 hours and the tide had been falling. Once the jet ski was removed from the flat, the subject was escorted back to his father safely.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Yurewitch and Plussa were on patrol when they received a call about an alligator inside a hallway in an East Naples condo complex. When the officers arrived, they discovered a 9 ½ foot alligator blocking a doorway in the entry way of the condo building. The officers secured the alligator utilizing techniques they learned in their recent alligator handling training, and turned the alligator over to the licensed trapper.

Officers Yurewitch, Plussa and Arbogast assisted FWC, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Mote Marine Laboratory biologists in releasing “Frank,” a recently rehabilitated Green Sea Turtle. “Frank” was transported to a remote area of Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge and successfully released back into the wild.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
MONROE COUNTY

Lieutenant Lyne (Dive Team Leader) and Officers Rafter, Baumgartner (Dive Team) and Investigator Daniels, along with USCG Station Islamorada, joined forces at the Whale Harbor Sandbar in Islamorada for an after-holiday clean-up effort. With the high level of visitors over the Memorial Day weekend, it’s not uncommon for trash to accumulate on the sandbar, detrimental to the environment. Marine life mistakes the plastics for food and people visiting the sandbar risk injuries from broken bottles and cans.

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  FWC Enforcement Report May 26-June 1. All Regions
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NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
BAY COUNTY

Investigator Thomas received a complaint regarding a 12-foot tiger shark that had been landed on the Bay County Pier earlier in the week. The complainant reported that, after being caught with hook and line, the subjects put additional lines its head and tail and, with the help of nineteen people, pulled the shark up and over the rail onto the pier. The shark lied on the pier for approximately six minutes while people sat on its back and had their picture taken. The shark was then released by dropping it approximately twenty-two feet to the water below. The subjects stated that the shark swam off upon being released. Appropriate citations and four written warnings were issued for possession, harvest and landing of a prohibited species of shark.

Officers Hellett and Alsobrooks conducted a vessel stop in St. Andrews Bay near the Panama City Port. Both the operator of the vessel and the passenger appeared to be intoxicated. While trying to conduct a BUI investigation on the operator, the passenger was verbally abusive to the officers. The operator agreed to perform field sobriety tasks and was subsequently arrested for BUI. Officer Hellett asked the operator if he was a member of SeaTow and the operator answered “yes.” Officer Hellet asked dispatch to contact SeaTow to come and get the vessel and female passenger. When SeaTow requested the operator’s member number, the operator told officer Hellett that it was on his key ring in his boat. As Officer Hellett stepped onto the operator’s vessel, the female passenger told the officer to get off her boat and pushed the officer. The female passenger was then arrested for interfering with an officer and resisting arrest without violence. Both subjects were transported to the Bay County Jail. The operator gave breath samples at the jail, which were .113 for both samples, and was charged with BUI with a breath alcohol level (BAL) of .08 or higher.

While patrolling in federal waters approximately 12 miles southwest of Panama City on board the OPV Vigilance, Officers Rockwell, Cushing and Land located a charter vessel headed south further into federal waters. While making way toward the vessel, it turned around and headed due north abruptly. The officers proceeded to the charter vessel rapidly and stopped it at approximately 10.5 miles offshore. During the inspection, the vessel and occupants were found to be on an active charter trip and in possession of red snapper during closed season. The captain did not possess a federal reef fish permit or a valid charter license. The appropriate action was taken to address the violations.

ESCAMBIA COUNTY

While on water patrol, Officer Cushing conducted a fisheries inspection on a recreational fishing vessel entering Bayou Chico. A large red drum was protruding from a cooler, and he confirmed who caught the fish and that they had knowledge of the regulations. The red drum measured 35 inches and a citation was issued for the violation. Another individual was issued a warning for an undersized red snapper.

While on vessel patrol aboard the Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) Vigilance, Officers Cushing, Land, Nelson and Rockwell conduced an inspection of a commercial shrimping vessel in the Pensacola Bay area. During an inspection of the vessel’s Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs), it was revealed that one of the nets being fished had a TED that had the netting around it sewed in a manner that would not allow a turtle to pass through the TED and out of the net as intended. The appropriate action was taken in regards to the violation and the TED was fixed by the shrimping vessel’s crew prior to departure of the officers.

While on vessel patrol in Big Lagoon State Park, Officers Clark and Long approached a vessel after noticing the operator throw a cigarette into the water. They initiated a vessel stop and while talking with the operator, he showed signs of impairment. Officer Clark conducted field sobriety tasks and determined the operator was impaired. The operator was taken into custody and transported to the Escambia County Jail where he refused to provide a breath sample. The operator was booked into Escambia County Jail and cited for BUI and refusal to submit a breath test. He was also issued a warning for littering.

Lieutenant Hahr was working in the Perdido River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) at Fillingim Landing and saw several subjects drinking beer. Two of the men smoked a cannabis cigarette and placed it in a backpack. As they were leaving, Lieutenant Lambert stopped them in the parking lot. The officers located three cannabis cigarettes and issued the two men a notice to appear for possession of not more than 20 grams of cannabis.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

While patrolling in the Apalachicola Bay on board the OPV Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow, Officers Boyd and Nelson located seven commercial shrimping vessels. During the boarding of those vessels, the officers inspected the catch, gear, and licenses. Three of the vessels had TEDs with illegal dimensions. The appropriate action was taken for the violations and the vessels were instructed to fix their gear to prevent any drownings of sea turtles.

While patrolling in the Gulf of Mexico on board the OPV Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow, Officers Boyd and Nelson located a large commercial shrimping vessel just south of St. Vincent Island. They watched the vessel for approximately 30 minutes while conducting another vessel inspection. Upon completion of the vessel stop and approach of the shrimping vessel, they recognized that the vessel was one that typically uses 4 nets simultaneously for offshore shrimping use. The vessel was boarded in nearshore waters and upon hauling the gear, the vessel was found to be trawling with 4 large nets. The nets were measured and found to be over 2,000 square feet a piece, thus exceeding the 500 square feet maximum. The nets had additional measurements that exceeded legal thresholds and inspection of their catch revealed 5 undersized Spanish Mackerel. The appropriate action was taken for the violations.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico on board the OPV Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow, Officers Boyd and Nelson located two vessels together in federal waters south of St. George Island. Upon inspection of the vessels, the occupants of one vessel were found to be in possession of red snapper and gag grouper during federal closure. The other vessel was found to be in possession of red snapper during federal closure. The appropriate action was taken for the violations.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico on board the OPV Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow, Officers Boyd and Nelson located a vessel approximately 11 miles south of St. George Island. Upon inspection of the vessel, the occupants were found to be in possession of red snapper during federal closure, lane snapper not landed in whole condition and use of reef fish for bait. The appropriate action was taken for the violations.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico on board the OPV Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow and Officers Boyd and Nelson located a vessel approximately 12 miles south of East Pass. Upon inspection, the occupants were found to be in possession of red snapper and gray triggerfish during federal closure. The appropriate action was taken for the violations.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico on board the OPV Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow, Officers Boyd and Nelson located a vessel approximately 11 miles south of St. George Island. Upon inspection, the occupants of the vessel were found to be in possession of red snapper during federal closure and were using cut up red snapper for bait. The appropriate action was taken for the violations.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers conducted vessel patrol throughout the Memorial Day holiday weekend. There were approximately 1,000 recreational and commercial vessels each day. Officers conducted boating safety inspections and Officers Bartlett, Pifer and Wilkenson made four 4 BUI arrests. Officers Pifer, Corbin, Jarvis and Investigator Schafer investigated 4 separate boating accidents. Citations were issued for no life jackets, violation of idle speed zone, expired vessel registration, livery violations and underage boat operators.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officers Clark, Hutchinson and Long were in Blackwater State Forest checking fisheries and alcohol violations when they approached two individuals on a sand bar. One male was fishing and could not produce a valid freshwater fishing license. They also saw open containers of alcohol. Officer Long found the subjects in possession of 8 grams of Methamphetamine, numerous pills, cash and paraphernalia. Both subjects were placed in custody and transported to the Santa Rosa County Jail. They were charged with a total of seven felonies, three misdemeanors and two infractions.

Officer Lewis was on patrol in Blackwater River State Forest at a primitive campsite when he saw an adult male, adult female and two children camping. The officer saw alcoholic beverages and glass containers within their campsite, and explained to them that those items were prohibited in the area. The children were sleeping in the tent, and the officer could smell a strong odor of cannabis emanating from the tent. The officer explained the odor to the adults. The adult female retrieved cannabis and paraphernalia items from the tent and stated that the items belonged to her. Officer Lewis seized the cannabis and paraphernalia from the female, and issued her a notice to appear for possession of cannabis not more than 20 grams, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The officer issued them both warnings for the alcoholic beverages and glass bottles.

Officers McHenry and Ramos were patrolling the Perdido River WMA and saw two Jeeps enter the WMA. Almost immediately after leaving the paved road, they began to fish-tail and drive in a careless manner. When they came across a large clearing used for horse trailers, each of the vehicles began cutting donuts in the sand, leaving large ruts and destroying the recreation area. The officers stopped both vehicles and citations were issued for the violations. One of the suspects did not have a valid driver’s license and received the corresponding criminal citation.

While on vessel patrol in Escambia Bay, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) notified Officer Ramos that they had received a distress call from a woman on board a sailboat. She stated that her husband, who was operating the vessel, was extremely intoxicated and she was fearful for her safety. The USCG reported that they heard the man make multiple threats to his wife while she was speaking. The USCG relayed identifying information of the vessel to Officer Ramos, enabling him to locate the vessel underway in open water approximately 20 minutes later. The USCG launched a cutter to assist Officer Ramos at the sailboat. Officer Ramos conducted a BUI investigation of the operator of the vessel. The vessel operator was highly uncooperative and subsequently taken into custody due to extreme signs of impairment. He was transported to a nearby boat ramp and taken to the Santa Rosa County Jail where he was booked for BUI.

RESCUES
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Bartlett responded to a report of a vessel passenger who fell off a personal watercraft (PWC) at the Marler Bridge. The distressed swimmer was located, but he lost sight of her when she went underneath the water’s surface. He located her quickly when she briefly resurfaced and pulled her from the water and onto his patrol vessel.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officer Stanley found five large bags of garbage and an old TV dumped on the side of a dirt road in Alachua County. After digging through the garbage, he found three names and three different addresses. Officer Stanley tracked down and interviewed several subjects. Two of the subjects admitted to the violation and gave sworn written statements. Sworn complaints for misdemeanor dumping were filed with the state attorney’s office.

Officer Stanley received a phone call from a member of a hunting club who stated that someone had dumped a large amount of garbage at one of their main gates. He located the garbage and found several items that belonged to one individual. The individual was contacted and informed that they had moved and the house was for sale. The realtor was contacted and they provided the name of the person who was paid to clean the house. Officer Stanley met with one subject who admitted to taking payment and dumping the garbage on the side of the road. Charges were filed for felony dumping with the state attorney’s office.

Officers Troiano and Reith worked area lakes over the holiday weekend. With an unusually large number of people fishing area lakes, the officers saw several fishermen catching specks on Lochloosa Lake. After observation, they began stopping vessels for fishing licenses and safety gear. One vessel had 71 specks with only two fishermen on boat. After a brief conversation, one of the fishermen admitted that the 21 fish over the limit were their fish. The individual was cited for over the daily bag limit and the fish were properly disposed of.

CITRUS COUNTY

Officers targeted impaired boaters during the holiday weekend and conducted 15 impaired boater investigations, which resulted in six BUI arrests and multiple boating safety citations and warnings. One BUI arrest resulted in an additional charge of resisting with violence when the impaired operator became physically resistant to the officers’ attempt to arrest him. The subject attempted to jump overboard while handcuffed. The subject was subdued and later transported to jail.

Numerous other arrests included: two possessions of alcohol of persons under 21; possession of cannabis under 20 grams; possession of redfish over the slot limit; and three boating accidents. There was one search and rescue for a missing boat operator. The operator was later reported to have abandoned the vessel at the ramp and failed to inform FWC.

DIXIE COUNTY

Officer Butler received information from a local landowner about subjects actively trespassing on his property. K-9 Officer Wiggins was asked to assist in the investigation and saw two subjects actively trespassing on the property. Both subjects were issued a notice to appear for the violation.

Lieutenant Futch, Officers Allen, Butler and Wilder received information that commercial oyster harvesters were harvesting oysters from prohibited waters in Dixie County. The officers began surveillance on the area and determined several subjects were harvesting oysters from prohibited waters. Appropriate citations were issued for the violations.

DUVAL COUNTY

Captain Angiuli and Officer Shearer were conducting surveillance in an unmarked vessel and spotted a vessel on plane under the Beach Boulevard Bridge in a restricted speed zone. The vessel slowed when the operator saw a marked FWC vessel conducting a vessel stop nearby. Captain Angiuli and Officer Shearer conducted a vessel stop on the speeding vessel and noted that the driver appeared to have been drinking. The vessel was escorted to a nearby dock to address the violation where further signs of impairment were detected. The subject admitted to consuming alcoholic beverages and all seated field sobriety tasks indicated impairment. He was transported to jail and booked for BUI.

LEVY COUNTY

Officers Fox and Johnston were on patrol and conducting vessel safety/resource inspections at the main boat ramp in Cedar Key during the Memorial Day weekend. During one inspection, the captain of the vessel informed Officers Fox and Johnston that he had four black tip sharks inside his cooler. The officers saw three black tip sharks in whole condition and two fillets from an additional black tip shark. The captain was issued a notice to appear for over the bag limit of sharks.

Officer Fox was on patrol in Cedar Key near the main boat ramp when he heard a vessel revving its engine. The vessel was traveling at a high rate of speed and nearly collided with another vessel in a narrow channel near the boat ramp. It was also navigating erratically near the shore where several children were playing in the water. During the subsequent vessel stop, the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage was immediately smelled from the operator’s breath. The operator was asked and agreed to perform seated field sobriety tasks. The operator performed poorly and was arrested for operating a vessel while impaired. The vessel was towed to the boat ramp where Officers Johnston, Starling and Lieutenant Umhoefer assisted with the investigation. The operator later refused to provide a breath sample and was transported to the Levy County Jail.

Lieutenant Umhoefer performed a vessel stop during the Memorial Day weekend and conducted a safety inspection and resource check. When asked if there were any fish on board, the captain of the vessel said he and his fishing companion had three sharks in his cooler. Lieutenant Umhoefer seized one bonnet head shark and the captain of the vessel retained two blacktip sharks (legal bag limit). The appropriate citations were issued to the captain for over the daily bag limit.

Officer Schulz was conducting a vessel safety and resource inspection on a boat with three male occupants. When the owner/operator opened a cooler for inspection, Officer Schulz noted a 13-inch spotted sea trout and a 13.5-inch gag grouper among the numerous fish in the cooler. The undersized spotted sea trout (must be a minimum of 15 inches) and gag grouper (must be a minimum of 24 inches) were seized for evidence and misdemeanor citations were issued to the captain who claimed both fish.

Officers Willis and Fox were on water patrol on the Withlacoochee River when they saw a vessel speeding through the manatee zone. The officers stopped the vessel for this violation and discovered the vessel had fish on board. Officer Willis inspected the cooler containing fish and found the subjects to be in possession of three undersized spotted seatrout. The operator was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of undersized spotted seatrout. The undersized seatrout were seized and documented as evidence.

TAYLOR COUNTY

Officers Wilcox, Robson, Albritton, Lieutenant Guy and K-9 Officer Anderson responded to the Lower Econfina WMA regarding a report of a suspicious vehicle. K-9 Officer Anderson located a male subject near his vehicle at the creek cleaning sand from his arms and out of breath. A female was located swimming down the river. Further investigation revealed that the subjects were actively digging and collecting artifacts on state land. When the subjects saw the officers, they attempted to flee the dig site on foot. Officer Anderson deployed his K-9 partner and located the dig site with tools still present, and located the female’s shoes where she jumped into the creek to clean up. Both subjects were charged with two felonies and two misdemeanors each. Several artifacts were seized as evidence.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officers were busy on all lakes over the holiday weekend. The officers issued several citations and warnings for boating violations. They also responded to complaints regarding a five-foot monitor lizard walking through an apartment complex in Gainesville and shots being fired in San Felasco State Park. The gunshots were on private property. Paynes Prairie State Park had hundreds of people walking the trails to view and observe all the alligators, bison and mustangs that live in the area. With water levels at extremely low levels, large alligators sunning had some of the trails blocked. All individuals made it back safely after waiting for the alligators to move back into the water.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ALACHUA COUNTY

Officer Troiano assisted Investigator Holmes with a public speaking event in Alachua County. The event included topics on the duties of a FWC officer and boating safety gear and laws.

RESCUES
DIXIE COUNTY

Lieutenant Futch and Officer Allen were patrolling the Suwannee River during the Memorial Day weekend when they saw a vessel stop and the passengers began waving them over. Upon their approach, they discovered a female on board who had just been struck in the leg by a jumping sturgeon. The officers administered first aid and cautioned the boaters to continue to be on the lookout for jumping sturgeon, especially during this time of year.

LEVY COUNTY

Officers Johnston and Schulz were on water patrol on the Suwannee River during the holiday weekend when a vessel approached them and reported that two occupants on their vessel had been struck by a Gulf Sturgeon. The officers saw a middle-aged male on the front of the vessel with abrasions on his stomach and leg. A juvenile on the vessel had also been struck in the head by the sturgeon and moderate swelling was evident. The officers quickly rendered first aid and escorted the vessel to the nearest boat ramp. Dixie County EMS and fire personnel quickly responded to the scene and treated the two patients. Both patients were released by EMS and went to the hospital in their personal vehicle. The boating accident is currently under investigation.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

While on foot patrol at Sebastian Inlet State Park, Officer Balgo received information that an individual was keeping undersized fish and placing them in his vehicle. After getting a description of the individual and his vehicle, a fisheries inspection was conducted. One undersized mutton snapper and one undersized sheepshead were found. Proper citations were issued to the individual.

While on foot patrol at Freddie Patrick Boat Ramp, Officer Balgo saw a vessel come in from the south jetty. A fisheries inspection revealed that the individual had four undersized mangrove snapper, two undersized black drum, one undersized mutton snapper, and one undersized sheepshead. Proper citations were issued to the individual.

While on foot patrol under the SR520 causeway, Officers Balgo and J. Humphrey saw an individual catch one large black drum and place it by his vehicle. Shortly after, the same individual caught another large black drum and placed it by his vehicle. After performing a fisheries inspection, both black drum were found to be over 24 inches. Proper citations were issued to the individual.

LAKE COUNTY

Lieutenant Chase and Officer Teal were contacted in April by park staff at Lake Louisa State Park about a subject who tried to cash a gift card that was not activated. The subject returned the following day with another gift card and rented a cabin for three days. During the three days, it was discovered that the gift card was obtained with a worthless check. The park asked the subject to leave and after she checked out, park staff found her cabin had extensive damage on the inside. Upon further investigation, Officer Teal obtained an arrest warrant for defrauding an innkeeper for more than $300 and criminal mischief for more than $1,000.

Officer Morrow received information that a subject was taking gopher tortoises off State Roads 44 and 46A. He located the subject and immediately noticed two gopher tortoises inside a green plastic tote container and a rifle in the cab section of the truck. In the distance, Officer Morrow spotted a subject shoveling dirt. As he got closer, he saw that the subject was shoving a large stick down the hole of an active gopher tortoise burrow. The subject was approached and admitted that he was trying to catch another gopher tortoise and was going to take it home to eat. Upon closer inspection of the gopher tortoises, it was discovered that one was injured. Lieutenant Tye arrived on the scene and took possession of the injured tortoise and transported it to the Florida Wild Animal Hospital in Deland. The subject was charged with the unlawful possession of a gopher tortoise.

MARION COUNTY

Officer Rice was conducting water patrol on Lake Weir when he saw a vessel not displaying a boating safety decal. He approached the two subjects on the vessel to conduct a boating safety inspection. During the inspection, Officer Rice saw that the operator’s eyes were bloodshot and watery. He could smell a strong odor of alcohol coming from the operator and noticed the subject’s speech was slurred. While walking up the boat ramp, the officer saw that the subject was unsteady on his feet and staggering. Field sobriety tasks were conducted and the subject was determined to be under the influence and was arrested. The subject provided two breath samples with results of .260 and .264. He was transported to the Marion County Jail and booked for BUI.

Officer Rice was conducting water patrol on Lake Weir when he saw a vessel improperly displaying the registration decal. He encountered three subjects on the vessel to address the violation and conduct a boating safety inspection. During the inspection, the operator was very unsteady on his feet and used the sides of the boat to hold himself up. The officer saw that the operator’s eyes were bloodshot and watery and could smell a strong odor of alcohol on his breath. While walking up the boat ramp, the subject was staggering and stumbled over his feet. He also had to use poles along the boat dock to brace himself as he walked. Field sobriety tasks were conducted and the subject was determined to be under the influence. The operator was placed under arrest and transported to the Marion County Jail for BUI. At the jail, the subject refused to provide a breath sample.

Officers M. Jones, Bernard and Lieutenant Dickson investigated the report of the theft of dead-head logs from Chapman Logging of the TV Series “Ax Men.” An arrest warrant was acquired and served on a subject for grand theft.

K-9 Officer Simpson and Officer Barber conducted a vessel inspection in Salt Springs Run. The operator of the PWC was found to be impaired and was charged with BUI.

K-9 Officer Simpson, and Officers Barber and Bernard were on vessel patrol in Salt Springs Run when they noticed the smell of burning marijuana. They located the vessel the smell was coming from and encountered the persons on board. One female was charged with possession of cocaine, possession of cannabis under 20 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia. Two males were charged with possession of cannabis under 20 grams.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officers Sapp and Haskins responded to a residence in Deland after receiving a report of a fresh alligator head on the front porch. The officers arrived and saw the alligator head on the porch where the reporting party said it would be. The head showed evidence of a gunshot or bang stick wound. When questioned, the homeowner said he found the head and brought it home for his daughter. He was cited for unlawful possession of alligator parts.

Officer Ward was on patrol at Deleon Springs State Park when he saw a suspicious vehicle leaving the parking lot. He ran the license plate and the tag came back as stolen out of Deland. Officer Ward initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle and found that the operator had no driver’s license. A computer check of the vehicle identification number showed that it was not stolen, but that it was not currently registered. The operator was arrested and booked into the Volusia County Jail for knowingly driving on a suspended license, operating an unregistered vehicle and petit theft.

Officers Sapp and Haskins were patrolling the St. John’s River on Memorial Day weekend when they stopped a PWC violating the Astor slow speed zone. During the stop, the officers detected signs of impairment from the operator. After conducting standard field sobriety tasks, the officers placed the operator under arrest for BUI. He was transported and booked into the Volusia County Jail where he refused to give a breath sample.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Balgo and Lieutenant Davis attended a youth angler fishing outreach at Kiwanis Island Park. They handed out fishing and boating regulations and answered questions. Approximately 80 kids attended the event.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Lieutenant Frantz contacted a vessel that was coming from a sand bar party. The operator showed signs of impairment, and admitted to drinking eight beers during the day. The operator was arrested for BUI and transported to Charlotte County Jail.

DESOTO COUNTY

A statewide investigation resulted in the arrest of five men from Arcadia, and executed search warrants. The five men were charged with illegal take of alligator, alligator eggs, and conspiracy to commit racketeering. Many items were seized during this investigation.

HIGHLANDS COUNTY

Officers Infante, Adams, Smith, Investigator Ervin and Lieutenant Fugate were floating off Bishop Park Boat Ramp on Lake June when they noticed a large vessel approaching on plane. The operator did not alter his course until the vessel was near the officers. Lieutenant Fugate and Officer Infante followed the vessel to shore to conduct a boating safety inspection. Officer Infante conducted field sobriety tasks on the individual that revealed the operator’s normal faculties were impaired. The individual was arrested for BUI and Highlands County Sheriff’s deputies transported him to jail.

Officer Adams responded to a boating accident with injuries involving two personal watercraft. The accident occurred on Lake Isis in Avon Park. He is conducting an ongoing investigation.

During the Memorial Day weekend, Officer Infante and Lieutenant Fugate were patrolling Lake June’s busy sandbar. One evening, they stopped a pontoon vessel with nine people on board who had been drinking throughout the day, including the captain. Seated field sobriety tasks were administered on the captain of the vessel and he was determined to be impaired. Officer Infante transported the individual to the Highlands County Jail where he provided a breath sample of .144, almost twice the legal limit.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on water patrol near Beer Can Island, Lieutenants Laskowski and Van Trees stopped a vessel for a boating safety inspection. After completing the vessel inspection and noticing some indicators of impairment, Lieutenant Laskowski asked the operator to do some seated field sobriety tasks to make sure he was okay to drive the vessel. The tasks revealed the operator was impaired and he was then arrested for BUI. The operator refused to give a sample of his breath to determine his breath alcohol content and was transported to and booked into the Hillsborough County Jail.

While on foot patrol at Cypress Point Park in Tampa, Lieutenant Van Trees saw three individuals wade fishing just off the beach. He watched them from a concealed position and waited for them to return to the beach. When the men began to pack up their belongings, he approached the subjects and identified himself, at which point one subject threw a bait bucket down off the seawall and out of sight. When asked if they caught any fish, the subjects said they did not have any. When asked about the bait bucket that was thrown down, the subjects said it just had bait in it. An inspection of the bait bucket revealed an 11-inch spotted sea trout and stone crab inside. The subject with the bait bucket was cited for possession of undersized spotted sea trout and possession of out-of-season stone crab, and warned for possession of whole stone crab and possession of undersized stone crab.

LEE COUNTY

While on patrol around the boat ramp at Pineland Marina, Officer Hardgrove saw a vessel pull up to the dock and moor up. Upon approaching the vessel, he asked the captain if they had any fish on board. The captain responded that they had some grunts, snapper and grouper on board. Three gray triggerfish, all of which were under the legal minimum length of 14 inches fork length, were found. The captain was issued a notice to appear for possession of undersized gray triggerfish and possession of out-of-season gray triggerfish.

While on patrol at the Punta Rassa Boat Ramp, Officer Hardgrove saw a vessel pull up to the boat ramp dock and moor up. A resource inspection revealed five gray triggerfish, all of which were under the legal minimum length of 14 inches fork length. The captain was issued a notice to appear for possession of undersized gray triggerfish and possession of out-of-season gray triggerfish.

Officer Hardgrove was patrolling the boat ramp at Pineland Marina when he saw a vessel pulling up to the dock and mooring up. A resource inspection of the cooler revealed an undersized gray triggerfish and two undersized yellowtail snapper. The subjects were both issued a notice to appear for possession of undersized gray triggerfish, possession of out-of-season gray triggerfish, and possession of undersized yellowtail snapper. Additionally, both subjects were issued written warnings for not having valid saltwater fishing licenses.

MANATEE COUNTY

While Officer Davidson and Lieutenant Hinds were on water patrol around Long Boat Pass, they stopped and performed a boating safety inspection on a vessel transiting the pass. The vessel had numerous safety violations and the operator was also found to be in possession of cannabis. The operator was given warnings for his safety violations and a criminal citation and court date for the possession of cannabis.

Officer Dalton had just returned to his patrol truck from a day of water patrol when he got a call from dispatch, who advised him that an individual on Long Boat Key was keeping snook off the beach. The subject was in possession of two undersized and out-of-season snook. Officer Dalton cited the subject criminally for possession of snook out of season, and gave him a warning for over the bag limit of snook and undersized snook. The subject must appear in court for his violation.

Officers Dalton, Davidson and Lieutenant Hinds responded to a fight that broke out on the sand bar in front of Jew Fish Key. The three officers, with the help of Long Boat Key Police Department and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Department, broke up the fight and arrested two of the instigators. While breaking up the fight, Officer Davidson was shoved by both subjects, and a sixteen-year-old girl was struck in the face by one of the subjects. Subsequently, the two men were charged for battery on a Law Enforcement Officer, resisting, causing an affray, and the one subject that struck the sixteen-year-old was charged with child abuse. Both were taken to jail.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on land patrol in Tierra Verde, Officer Bibeau saw a group of individuals that were actively fishing from the seawall. At the conclusion of a resource inspection, he located a 12-inch gag grouper. Officer Bibeau wrote one of the individuals a citation for possession of undersized and out-of-season gag grouper.

Officers Burks and Smith were on patrol in full uniform and utilizing an unmarked vessel during the Memorial Day weekend. The officers inspected numerous boats for fishing and boating safety violations. They also arrested two operators for BUI.

While on water patrol at Bunces Pass, Officers Martinez and Pettifer conducted a resource inspection on a vessel that was returning from offshore. The operator of the vessel advised he only had lane snapper on board. Officer Martinez requested to see his fish; at which point the operator opened the cooler revealing a gag grouper. The grouper was out of season and undersized. After being read his Miranda Rights, the operator admitted to catching the grouper and knowing the rules. The subject was cited accordingly for his violations.

Officers Pettifer, Alvis, Bibler and Enos were on water patrol when they received a call from St. Petersburg Police Department about an intoxicated operator at the Maximo Boat Ramp. Officer Pettifer approached the subject and asked the subject if he would do seated field sobriety tasks since he had reason to believe he was impaired. The subject became belligerent with the officers and, while falling over, continued to refuse to complete any sobriety tasks. The subject was placed under arrest and refused to give a sample of his breath to determine his breath alcohol content. The operator was booked into the Pinellas County Jail for BUI.

While on foot patrol at the North Skyway Fishing Pier, Officer Bibeau contacted two individuals that were actively fishing to conduct a fisheries inspection. The two subjects told the officer that they didn’t have any fish and had only been fishing for a little bit. Officer Bibeau asked to look inside the trunk of their vehicle since he saw one individual place something in the trunk and close it prior to the inspection. The subjects permitted Officer Bibeau to inspect the vehicle and, after the inspection, he found a 16-inch gag grouper. One of the subjects admitted to catching the grouper and was given a misdemeanor citation for the violations.

Officer Bibeau was on land patrol near the North Skyway Fishing Pier when he saw two individuals that were actively spearfishing along the shoreline. Officer Bibeau watched the individuals from a concealed location and contacted them as they returned to their vehicle to conduct a fisheries inspection. After the inspection, Officer Bibeau found one of the subjects to be in possession of a 23-inch cobia. Officer Bibeau wrote the subject a misdemeanor citation for the fisheries violation.

While on water patrol near Tierra Verde, Officer Bibler saw a jet ski violating a slow speed zone. Officer Bibler initiated a stop to address the violation and noticed the operator was quite nervous. It was found that the operator had an out-of-county warrant and was booked into the Pinellas County Jail.

POLK COUNTY

Officer Carter was patrolling the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes during the Memorial Day weekend when he saw a vessel try to leave Lake Howard with the vessel still anchored. During a vessel stop, signs of impairment were evident. After conducting field sobriety tasks, the operator was arrested for BUI.

Officers Earls and Young were patrolling Lake Shipp during the Memorial Day weekend when they saw a vessel with a navigation light violation. During a vessel stop, signs of impairment were evident. After conducting field sobriety tasks, the operator was arrested for BUI.

Lieutenant Brooks and Detective Farrell of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office were on water patrol during the Memorial Day weekend when they saw a vessel with improperly spaced registration numbers and no boating safety decal. Lieutenant Brooks and Detective Farrell conducted a vessel stop and saw signs of impairment. After conducting field sobriety tasks, the operator was arrested for BUI.

RESCUES
HIGHLANDS COUNTY

Lieutenant Fugate, Bontrager, Brooks, Officers Cloud, Smith and Stephens responded to Lake June to search for a missing person who disappeared while swimming. The Southwest Dive Team responded to assist Highlands County Dive Team on searching for the missing swimmer. Using the sector scan sonar, the dive team recovered the missing swimmer. A Highlands County Sheriff’s deputy is conducting the death investigation.

LEE COUNTY

Over the Memorial Day weekend, officers and investigators responded to a single-vessel boating accident that occurred on the Caloosahatchee River, resulting in serious injuries. The vessel was coming up on a plane in the Caloosahatchee River near Jaycee Park when the vessel abruptly turned hard to the side causing the operator and one passenger to be ejected into the water. The injured parties were transported to a local hospital. This is an active and ongoing boating accident investigation.

During the Memorial Day weekend, officers and investigators responded to another single-vessel boating accident that occurred on the Caloosahatchee River, also with serious injuries. The vessel struck the fender system of the Midpoint Bridge, ejecting two juveniles. Both juveniles were recovered from the water and all injured occupants were transported to a local hospital for evaluation. One of the passengers, a juvenile, was pronounced deceased at the scene. This is an active and ongoing boating accident investigation.

POLK COUNTY

Lieutenant Brooks and Detective Farrell of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office were on water patrol during the Memorial Day weekend when they received a request to assist with a subject making suicidal threats and attempting to drown himself on Lake Fox. Lieutenant Brooks and Detective Farrell recovered the subject from the water and the subject was Baker Acted.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
PASCO COUNTY

During the Memorial Day weekend, officers provided an enhanced presence in the Pasco County area by checking numerous vessels for boating safety compliance. The officers also assisted with the arrest of an impaired vessel operator, and responded to the report of a stolen vessel that occurred on Anclote Key Preserve State Park.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
LEE COUNTY

K-9 Officer Collazo and Officer Stanley participated in an outreach event at St. Michael’s School in Fort Myers. Officer Collazo conducted a K-9 demonstration and Officer Stanley spoke about the Burmese Python population in South Florida. K-9 Rosco was popular with the students and a 10-foot Burmese Python was brought in as an aid for the talk about non-native species.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officer Tarr saw a group of individuals fishing from Highway US 27. While performing a fisheries inspection, one of the individuals was found to have four warrants out of Broward County. The subject was arrested and booked into Broward County Jail.

MARTIN COUNTY

While on foot patrol at a boat ramp, Officer Morrow and Investigator Patterson encountered a subject who was driving erratically through the parking lot, nearly striking a truck with vessel in tow. The officers initiated a traffic stop, at which time the subject appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. Following completion of field sobriety tasks, the subject was then transported to the Martin County Jail. He provided a breath sample and was determined to be over twice the legal limit. The subject was charged with DUI.

During a routine traffic stop, Officer Morrow detected the odor of marijuana emitting from inside the vehicle. Upon being questioned about the odor, the subject admitted to possession and indicated he had marijuana in the vehicle. Officer Morrow then located two large containers of marijuana, weighing 79.4 grams, a scale, and a grinder. The subject was charged accordingly and the illegal items were seized and placed into evidence.

While conducting fisheries inspections at the Stuart Causeway, Officers Morrow and Cobo encountered a subject who was found to have multiple warrants out of two counties for charges ranging from burglary to reckless driving. The subject was taken into custody and booked into the Martin County Jail without incident.

Officers Morrow and Cobo responded to a report of a subject who was illegally harvesting undersized snook. The reporting party stated that the subject had left the area, but provided the license plate number of the suspect. Officer Morrow then responded to the subject’s residence where she saw the subject unloading the back of his pickup truck. While speaking with the subject, Officer Morrow heard a loud thumping sound coming from the back of the subject’s vehicle, consistent with the sound of a fish out of water. She then asked the subject about what fish he had in his possession, and the subject walked to the bed of his truck and removed a sheepshead (which was determined to be undersized) and a sand perch. Officer Morrow then inspected the bed of the truck and saw two, 20-inch snook covered in sand in a plastic bag. The subject was then issued three misdemeanor citations for two counts of undersized snook and one count of over the bag limit of snook, and three warnings for an expired fishing license, an expired snook stamp, and an undersized sheepshead. The illegal fish were seized and returned to the resource.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officers Allen and Keen found a boat moored near E-Lock on the Kissimmee River and encountered three subjects trespassing and fishing on the lock. Two of the subjects stated they were in their boat and saw the third subject catching sunshine bass from the lock and could not resist trespassing on the lock themselves to catch the fish. All three were issued notices to appear in court for trespassing on a South Florida Water Management District Water Control Structure.

Officers Allen and Keen checked three subjects fishing near the Okee-Tantie Boat Ramp. One of the subjects stated he had caught some fish and indicated they were in a cooler in his vehicle. Officer Allen inspected four black bass in the cooler and found two that were 19 inches long and one that was 22 inches long. The daily bag limit for bass 16 inches or greater is one. The subject received a notice to appear in court for the violation.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

While on patrol in western Broward/ Palm Beach County, Officer Tarr saw an individual stop on a levee, pull a rifle from the back of his vehicle and discharge several rounds into a canal system in the direction of US 27. Officer Tarr stopped the individual and an inspection revealed an AK 47 assault rifle. The individual who discharged the rifle was arrested and booked into the Belle Glades Jail on charges of public discharge of a firearm and exhibiting a firearm in a careless manner. The assault rifle, a 30-round magazine and 9 rounds of ammunition were seized as evidence. The subject was also a convicted felon out of Georgia and an additional charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon was later filed with the state attorney’s office.

Officers Spradling, Godward and Mclendon patrolled from Peanut Island to the Boynton Beach Inlet over the holiday weekend. The officers performed search and rescues, assisted a swimmer in distress, rescued people from an overturned jet ski and issued numerous boating safety and resource citations/warnings.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Investigator Turner conducted patrols at the Fort Pierce Inlet State Park. During the 3-day holiday weekend, he issued 2 resource-related warnings, 12 traffic-related warnings, 20 traffic-related citations, 1 arrest for operating a motor vehicle with no driver’s license, 1 arrest by active warrant, 2 arrests for possession of marijuana less than 20 grams and 2 arrests for possession of drug paraphernalia.

RESCUES
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Alford saw a female subject on the side of Highway 27 at Lake Harbor with her two young children. The woman was pulling her children in a wagon and was visibly in distress. Officer Alford pulled over to see if he could be of assistance. The family had no water and was walking to Belle Glade. Officer Alford provided water and had the children sit in his truck to cool off while he talked with their mother. The female subject had already called 911 due to fatigue and a deputy was in route. Officer Worrell arrived to assist. Officers Alford and Worrell assisted the Palm Beach County deputy in transporting the family to Belle Glade.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
PALM BEACH COUNTY

At the annual Palm Beach County A.S.I.S. Law Enforcement Awards banquet, Duty Officer Brianne Muniz was nominated for and won the Christine Braswell PEERS Award (in honor of the Delray Beach Police Officer that was killed in April). Brianne was accompanied to the event by Captain Ardelean and Lieutenant Haworth. Every state and local law enforcement agency in Palm Beach County was represented, with more than 500 people in attendance. It was an outstanding honor for Duty Officer Muniz and the FWC.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Barringer and Lieutenant Mahoney conducted a fisheries and boating safety inspection on a vessel in Gordon’s Pass. During the inspection, multiple boating safety equipment violations were found. A resource inspection revealed six undersized gray (mangrove) snapper. The average size of snapper was around eight inches in total length. Multiple citations were issued and the mangrove snapper were released alive.

Lieutenant Shea was conducting resource patrol near Tiger Tail Beach, in Marco Island, when he saw subjects fishing with cast nets near the mangroves. As he watched, two of the subjects produced a monofilament entanglement net (gill net) and began working the area. Lieutenant Shea requested backup units and Lieutenants Sushil, Bulger, Officers Johnson, Lugg and Osorio responded to the area. Lieutenant Sushil captured photos of the subjects working the illegal net, but when the subjects were detained on the beach, they did not have the net in their possession. Lieutenant Bulger and Officer Lugg began searching the area, and located the net partially submerged in knee-deep water. The illegal net and 10 mullet were seized as evidence and the subjects were cited accordingly.

Officers Yurewitch, Plussa, and Kleis were conducting holiday weekend water patrol near Marco Island and saw a pontoon vessel drifting in Marco River with multiple people in the water. They conducted a vessel stop on the rental vessel and found multiple safety violations regarding safety equipment. Rental companies failing to equip vessels properly and failing to provide adequate pre-ride instruction as to their use are both misdemeanor criminal violations in the State of Florida. Officers followed the vessel back to the livery (rental facility) and discussed the violations with the owner. Officer Yurewitch issued him a combination of citations and warnings for the violations.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Officers concentrated their efforts on boating safety over the busy Memorial Day holiday weekend. They collectively issued 262 uniform boating citations, 184 warnings, 48 citations, 10 misdemeanor citations and arrested 15 suspects for BUI. In addition, the officers worked 12 boating accidents over the weekend and were an integral part of the marine security detail for the Miami Beach Air and Sea show.

MONROE COUNTY

Investigative Lieutenant Peters and Investigator J. Munkelt were on routine plain-clothes vessel patrol when they saw a subject snorkeling in the water without a dive flag and with a spear gun in an area where spearfishing is prohibited. Investigator. D. Munkelt and Resource Protection Officer (RPO) Garrison were also in the area on plain-clothes vessel patrol. RPO Garrison was dropped off on shore out of the subject’s sight. The subject in the water passed a bag up to a subject on land. RPO Garrison met the subjects in the parking area and gained consent to search the cooler. The subjects possessed 5 out-of-season, undersized, and wrung Spiny Lobster tails. One of the lobster tails had a puncture mark consistent with it being speared. The cooler also contained 3 oversized speared angelfish and 3 oversized speared parrotfish. RPO Garrison issued them citations accordingly.

Investigator Adams and Officer Wagner were on water patrol in an unmarked vessel when Investigator Adams saw an individual snorkeling near the shoreline without a dive flag. Investigator Adams dropped Officer Wagner on land around nearby so he could conduct a resource inspection. Officer Wagner inspected the cooler and found a bag with four speared lobster. The individual was issued four criminal charges for undersized lobster speared out of season and not using a measuring device. He was also issued three citations for no licenses and no dive flag.

Investigator Munkelt and RPO Garrison were in plain clothes at the Channel 5 Bridge as they watched a group of people snorkeling. RPO Garrison saw an individual exit the water carrying a silver-handled, green mesh net containing wrung lobster tails. Once onshore, he watched the man walk behind some mangroves and place the net under a wooden plank in the rocks. After retrieving the mesh bag, RPO Garrison found 12 undersized, wrung lobster tails and placed the subject under arrest and transported him to Monroe County Jail in Marathon. He was charged with possession of 12 spiny lobster out of season, possession of 12 wrung tails on the waters of the state and possession of 12 undersized lobster.

Officers Richards, Mattson and Foell were on board the OPV Interceptor patrolling off shore south of Big Pine Key when they stopped a commercial trap boat with stone crab traps on board. During a fisheries inspection, the officers located out-of-season stone crab, noted improper vessel identification markings and confirmed the vessel did not have authorization to possess stone crab traps on the water and out of season. The subjects were cited and booked into the Monroe County Jail.

Officers Hettel and Way were called by dispatch to assist an Animal Control Officer and the Director of the Florida Keys Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to assist them with a case in the Key West area. The officers met with and took them out to check on a dog and cat that were left on a vessel. The man on board was arrested for 4 misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals.

Officers Baumgartner and Schroth responded to Carysfort Lighthouse after hearing the report of a vessel collision over VHF radio. Witness statements from all parties involved concluded that the operator of a 35-foot Rampage yacht was pulling anchor when the operator left the vessel’s helm while the vessel was still in reverse. The operator’s actions resulted in the Rampage colliding with two vessels at anchor, a 43-foot Azimut and a 31-foot Boston Whaler. Both vessels at anchor had swimmers in the water at the time of the collision. No injuries were sustained, and the operator of the Rampage was cited for multiple violations.

Officer Baumgartner and Lieutenant Haney were on patrol at Whale Harbor when they noticed a vessel plowing off the stern of an FWC patrol vessel in a restricted area. The officers conducted a vessel stop and a boater safety inspection, and the operator indicated significant signs of impairment. Field sobriety tasks were conducted and the operator was arrested for BUI with normal faculties impaired. The operator refused a breath test and was cited for BUI and other boating safety violations. The operator was transported to the Plantation Key Jail.

RESCUES
COLLIER COUNTY

While working in Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park on Memorial Day, Lieutenant Mahoney was approached by a frantic man stating his four-year-old cousin had been missing from the family picnic area for at least thirty minutes. After gathering the information for the missing child, park staff and the Collier County Sheriff's Office were notified of the incident. Just as the search began, the Collier Sheriff’s Department received a report that a beach goer found a child at a resort approximately two miles away matching the description of the lost child. The officers responded to the location and determined that he was the missing child. After assessing his condition, he was reunited with his family in the state park. The entire family was thankful for the quick response and efforts made to safely return the child to them unharmed.

MONROE COUNTY

Officers Baumgartner and Schroth were traveling north through Grouper Creek when a flats boat flagged them down. The flats boat stated there was a vessel that had just crashed into the mangroves. The officers searched the creek and located the vessel that crashed. The wreck caused the vessel to enter approximately 25–50 feet back into the mangroves. The operator sustained head injuries and was transported to shore and to EMS. On shore, the operator advised the officers that his dog was still on board the vessel. The officers returned to the scene and crawled through the mangroves and safely recovered the dog, later reuniting it with his owner at the hospital.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Rubenstein and Piekenbrock assisted the turtle hospital in honor of National Turtle Day with the release of “Don,” a Loggerhead Sea Turtle. The turtle was previously rescued in Vaca Cut in Marathon with tangled fishing line on his flippers. Don was rehabilitated at the Marathon Turtle Hospital until he was ready to be returned to his home in the ocean. He was released off the Sombrero Beach in Marathon.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MONROE COUNTY

Officer Dube taught the “BOAT SMART” Boating Course, along with members of the USCG Islamorada. Officer Dube taught the law portion of the course in addition to giving a presentation on the core missions of the FWC. As always, Officer Dube gave recruiting information for the FWC and had a couple of students that were interested. There were approximately 30 students in attendance.

Officers Sapp, Mobley and Carroll participated with a Career Day event at Stanley Switlik Elementary School in Marathon. The officers spoke with over 100 students in grades K-5 about FWC’s core missions, why it’s important to protect our state’s natural resources, and how to be safe on the water. The students were entertained with some of our equipment as well as baby alligators.

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  FWC Enforcement Report May 19-25. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 05-31-2017, 06:24 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer McHenry was working in Perdido River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) when he observed three individuals enter the area after hours. He approached the individuals in his patrol vehicle and turned his blue lights on. All three individuals fled the area on foot, but Officer McHenry caught up to one of the individuals. A notice to appear citation was issued for resisting arrest without violence, under age possession of alcohol and illegal entry into the WMA. The two other individuals were identified and warrants will be filed for their arrest.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers Corbin and Pifer were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections in the Destin Pass area and were dispatched to a boating accident involving a 21-foot boat and a personal watercraft (PWC). The accident occurred in the Santa Rosa Sound near marker 31. The operator of the PWC was injured, sustaining a laceration under the armpit that required stitches. The operator transported himself to an emergency room in Destin. Officer Corbin interviewed both operators concerning the cause of the accident. It was determined the PWC operator lost control of the PWC he was operating, striking the 21-foot vessel. The PWC operator was cited for the violation of a navigational rule resulting in an accident (navigational rule 6-unsafe speed).

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

While on patrol, Officer Mullins observed two individuals fishing the Garcon Point area. He conducted a fisheries/license inspection and one subject was unable to produce a fishing license or identification. The subject provided several different names and dates of birth. Despite the false information, Officer Mullins and FWC Dispatch discovered the subject's identity. It was revealed that the subject had an active warrant for probation violation. The subject was placed under arrest, booked into the Santa Rosa County Jail and issued citations for interference with an FWC officer and no fishing license.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
HOLMES COUNTY

Officers Greene and Yates attended a career day at Bethlehem High School where they spoke about the duties of an FWC officer and the role of FWC as an agency to approximately 75 students.

Officers received actionable intelligence in the fall of 2016, that night-time dumping of asphalt shingles and commercial roofing debris was occurring in a remote area of the Choctawhatchee River WMA. Lieutenant Walsingham, Investigator Brown, Officers Yates and Greene initiated an investigation, began intelligence collection efforts and set up electronic surveillance in an effort to identify the perpetrators. Officers and investigators determined that approximately twenty-three loads of roofing debris had been transported over a period of six months and dumped on the WMA by employees of an Alabama roofing company. The roofing debris contained tar, asphalt, rubber and other prohibited materials. It was illegally burned at night in the river swamp during a period of severe drought using no wildfire safety or suppression measures. After an image of the crew foreman was obtained by surveillance cameras, the foreman and two additional employees confessed to burning the material and transporting it across state lines using the company owner’s truck and hydraulic trailer. All three employees either admitted to being paid to dump or to participating in the operation. Cleanup costs are estimated at several thousand dollars.
The investigation was protracted and complex in nature and involved the establishment of remote surveillance, monitoring of social media, retrieval and review of detention facility calls, identification of multiple suspects, vehicles, and associates, completion of numerous interviews, interrogations, and records searches, and regular consultation with the local prosecutor. During the investigation, it was necessary to coordinate with multiple agencies and divisions to obtain a successful outcome. These included the FWC intelligence section, 14th Circuit State Attorney’s Office, U.S. EPA-CID, FHP, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Holmes County Sheriff’s Office, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, and the DEP Office of Emergency Management.
The FWC obtained warrants for the company’s owner and three employees on numerous felony and misdemeanor charges which included:
58 felony counts relating to commercial dumping, criminal mischief exceeding $1,000, tampering with evidence, and habitual offender driving while license suspended or revoked; 25 misdemeanor counts related to the burning of prohibited materials, damages to the WMA, and violation of DEP rules;
Grand theft charges were also filed on two of the defendants through the local Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the investigation.


SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officers Lewis, Jernigan, Hutchinson and Clark coordinated with the Blackwater Pirates and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Auxiliary to perform voluntary vessel safety inspections on multiple vessels at Carpenter's Park and Russell Harbor boat ramps in Milton during the weekend. Everyone involved educated the public on boating safety; distributed boating safety literature, and answered various questions from the public. The FWC reminds boaters to check their safety equipment before heading out onto the water during the first holiday of the boating season.

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Lieutenant Walsingham and Officers Gore, Basford, Hellett, Alsobrooks, Hayes, Bartlett, and Pifer teamed with Washington County Sheriff’s deputies to conduct a detail on Cypress Springs on Holmes Creek. The 165 users and 71 vessels inspected resulted in 13 uniform boating citations, 6 written warnings for boating safety violations, 1 BUI arrest, 1 notice to appear citation for possession of cannabis less than 20 grams and 3 uniform traffic citations.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
CLAY COUNTY

Officer Starling received a report that a subject was taking freshwater gamefish with a cast net on Lake Geneva in Keystone Heights. Officer Starling arrived on the scene and found the subject in possession of a cast net and a bucket full of bream. After a brief interview, the subject admitted to taking the bream with the cast net. Officer Starling issued the subject a notice to appear for taking freshwater gamefish by illegal method.

TAYLOR COUNTY

Officers Albritton and Wilcox were on land patrol at Hickory Mound Impoundment when they observed a Ford truck parked at the locked entrance gate to the impoundment. The truck had a .22 caliber rifle lying behind the driver’s seat. Blood and suspected deer hair were found on the tailgate and truck bed. The officers drove into the impoundment and found the owner of the truck crabbing. During an interview, the subject admitted that he killed a doe deer the previous weekend with the .22 caliber rifle. The officers seized the rifle, deer hair and blood as evidence. The appropriate charges will be direct filed with the state attorney’s office.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Cybula was conducting fisheries inspections at a local bridge while on patrol and observed a man fishing from the bridge with a bucket containing spotted seatrout. A resource inspection revealed ten undersized seatrout between 12-14 inches in length, well under the minimum legal size limit. The man was issued a citation for possession of undersized seatrout and a warning for over the bag limit of seatrout.

Environmental investigators and Brevard County patrol officers conducted a two-night targeted enforcement action focusing on three separate marinas for marine sanitation device (MSD) violations. The Melbourne area marinas had been the source of numerous complaints about the direct discharge of raw sewage into the Eau Gallie River. Over the course of the two-night detail, the officers issued 15 citations for MSD violations, made a warrant arrest and issued multiple warnings for other violations.

FLAGLER COUNTY

Officer Ramsey was checking fishermen at Moultrie Creek in St. Augustine when he found one individual in possession of five undersized gray snapper. The proper citation was issued. Later in the week, Officer Ramsey was conducting a resource inspection of a boater and found an undersized red drum. The fish was returned to the water and a citation was issued.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

Lieutenant Lightsey and Officer Marroquin were conducting boating safety inspections when Officer Marroquin encountered an operator who appeared to be impaired. After the safety inspection, the operator participated in standardized field sobriety tasks and was placed under arrest for operating a vessel while normal faculties were impaired. Once at the jail, the operator, who was under twenty-one years of age, provided a breath sample almost twice the legal limit. The operator received additional charges for possession of alcohol by a person under twenty-one years of age.

Lieutenant Lightsey and Officer Cybula were working an area where trespassing and poaching had been occurring. The officers observed a vehicle fitting the description that one of the known offenders had been seen with. Once the officers located the men, two of the three fled the area with their dogs. After positively identifying the men that fled, warrants were issued for their arrest for failure to allow inspection by an FWC officer and resisting arrest without violence.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
BREVARD COUNTY

Officers attended the Annual Police Officers Hall of Fame Memorial in Titusville. The event drew hundreds of people from around the nation for the memorial service honoring fallen law enforcement officers.

FLAGLER COUNTY

Officers Lawshe, Ramsey and Investigator Brechler participated in an annual event called “Feel the Wheels” in St. Augustine. This event draws over 4,000 children and adults for a day of being able to see what it’s like to be a law enforcement officer, forest ranger, firefighter, EMT, large equipment operator and many other careers. The children got to climb on, sit in, touch and make lights and sirens flash and wail on the emergency vehicles. Many questions were answered and a good time was had by all.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

Lieutenants Dougan, Lightsey and Officer Cybula attended the wreath laying ceremony to honor fallen law enforcement officers at the Indian River county courthouse. Guest speaker retired Colonel McKnight was in attendance, as well as a joint agency flyover by Lieutenant Dougan and the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HARDEE COUNTY

Officers Franks, Smith and Infante responded to assist Hardee County Sheriff’s Office with a traffic stop. During the traffic stop, they discovered the subject was in possession of a snook and 12 largemouth bass. The officers investigated the incident and found the subject possessed two bass over the two-day bag limit, three bass over the 16-inch size limit, and one snook out of season. Three resource citations were issued with a requirement to appear in court.

LEE COUNTY

Officers Thompson, Hazelwood, Bell and Lieutenant Ruggiero responded to an out-of-control vessel off the coast of Fort Myers Beach. When they arrived on the scene, there was a vessel making circles at full throttle with no occupants on board. The officers quickly located the passengers, who were fortunate enough to not get run over by the vessel as it made circles. A nearby vessel saw the passengers get thrown from the boat in rough seas, and quickly picked them up. The officers, along with Sheriff’s deputies and the USCG, tied some lines to their Type IV throwable devices, hoping to slow the boat down or stall out the motor by snagging the prop. After several attempts, the deputies threw several lines around the prop, and the boat slowed down enough to board while it made circles. The USCG maneuvered their soft-sided vessel close enough to have an officer jump on board and shut it down. Fortunately, no one was injured, but it was a great reminder of the importance of wearing a kill switch lanyard when operating a motor vessel. The incident could have been much worse than it turned out to be.

While on patrol at Pine Island, Officers Perry and Winton noticed several individuals fishing from a bridge. When the officers approached to conduct a fisheries inspection, a female from the group picked up a bucket and quickly walked to a nearby vehicle. Officer Winton approached the female and immediately recognized her from an undersized fish case the week before. Upon inspecting the bucket, the officers found undersized mangrove snapper and seatrout. Through their investigation, the officers determined which individual caught the fish and cited him for the violations.

POLK COUNTY

Officers Tyer and Earls were dispatched to Lake Garfield with a report of several vehicles stuck in the lake. When the officers arrived, they observed two vehicles stuck in the lake bottom. They also observed where the vehicles had destroyed the lake bottom. Both operators were issued notices to appear for the violations.

Officer Sweat was conducting fisheries enforcement in Saddle Creek Fish Management Area (FMA) when he observed two subjects that were in possession of a cast net. When asked for their permits for the area, neither subject could provide one. Both subjects were issued citations for failure to check in and the subject with the cast net was issued a notice to appear for possession of a cast net in Saddle Creek FMA.

Officer Carter was patrolling Saddle Creek FMA during closed times and observed a van in the area. He advised them that they were in the FMA during closed times. A check of both subjects in the van found the driver had a protection order from the other subject in the van. Officer Carter arrested the driver for violation of the protection order and transported him to the Polk County Jail.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
LEE COUNTY

Officers Bradshaw, Perry, Rogers, Hazelwood, Winton, and Hardgrove worked a multi-day operation focusing on unlawfully marked blue crab traps in the Caloosahatchee River. Over several days the officers could identify locations of suspicious traps and observed commercial fishermen using those traps. These observations and the resultant stops of those fishermen resulted in two arrests and more than 20 criminal charges. Officers will continue to work with commercial blue crab fishermen in the area to ensure continued compliance with trap marking and working regulations.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
LEE COUNTY

The FWC, represented by Public Information Officer Norris, along with other local law enforcement agencies, held a press conference for National Safe Boating Week. Officer Norris discussed local boating accident statistics and provided safe boating tips for four local television stations.

MANATEE COUNTY

Lieutenant Hinds performed an outreach event for a local Girl Scout troop. He covered boating safety with the scouts and even brought a boat for them to sit in while he gave his presentation. He also covered knot tying, showing the scouts a few useful knots for boating. The scouts were very energetic and happy when they received their knot-tying badge. Most important, the scouts learned some very useful information to keep them safe while on the water this summer.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
BROWARD COUNTY

Officer Ryan was on patrol when he observed an individual fishing inside a fenced and posted “No Trespassing” area near the Fort Lauderdale Airport. He conducted a fisheries inspection on the individual and issued him a criminal notice to appear citation for possession of undersized black drum.

Officers Brock and Grant were dispatched to the Plantation area in response to a raccoon call. After interviewing an individual, the officers issued a criminal notice to appear citation for rehabilitating wildlife without a permit. Three baby raccoons were seized and taken to the South Florida Wildlife Care Center.

Lieutenant Laubenberger and Officers Brock, Grant, Vacin and Matthews were on vessel patrol near the 15 Street Boat Ramp in Fort Lauderdale. They were conducting fisheries inspections on various vessels and individuals fishing at the boat ramp. Two individuals were fishing and had fish in their possession. After checking the fish and status of the two fishermen, one individual was given a criminal notice to appear citation for interference with an FWC officer and the other individual was placed under arrest for an active warrant out of Broward County. He was transported to jail by Officers Brock and Grant.

Officers Vacin, Ryan and Holcomb were on vessel patrol offshore from Birch State Park. They conducted a marine fisheries inspection of an individual that was spearfishing. With information gathered, the individual was issued a criminal notice to appear for possession of undersized red grouper and possession of undersized yellowtail snapper.

Officers Brock and Grant were on patrol in the Hillsboro Inlet area and conducted a marine fisheries inspection on two individuals that were spearfishing. The individuals were each in possession of a speared parrot fish and were issued criminal notices to appear for harvesting parrot fish by illegal method. The dead parrot fish and spear guns were seized as evidence. Due to other actions taken by the individuals, they were also charged with interference with an FWC Officer.

Lieutenant Laubenberger and Officers Banks, Vacin, Matthews, Brock, Grant, Ryan and Holcomb responded to a serious boating accident near the Oakland Park Boulevard Bridge. Investigator Teems and Investigative Lieutenant Carcasses also responded to the scene. Two vessels were involved in a serious boating accident. The boating accident remains under investigation.

OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officer Allen was conducting surveillance at the E-Lock Structure on the Kissimmee River because of several complaints of trespassing on the lock and structures. Two subjects arrived in a boat and walked onto the structure and began catching sunshine bass. The subjects were issued notices to appear in court citations for trespassing on a South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) water control structure.

Officers Toby and Dial saw two individuals fishing with a cast net and operating a small vessel on Lake Okeechobee at Nubbin Slough around midnight. They observed that the vessel had no navigation lights when operating. At one point, the two individuals docked the vessel up to the shore and walked to their truck on the bank. The individuals lit a substance with a flame while inside the vehicle, then exited the vehicle and headed back to the area of the vessel. Officers Toby and Dial approached them and one of the individuals was in possession of a glass pipe with methamphetamine inside. This glass pipe was located on top of the rear tire next to where the individual was standing when the stop was initiated. The individual admitted ownership and stated that it contained meth. A subsequent field drug test confirmed this statement. Upon inspection of the vessel, all fish were of legal size and species; however, the vessel was shown to have numerous safety violations. Lieutenant Brown and the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office K-9 team arrived on the scene to assist due to the presence of the methamphetamine. The individual in possession of the methamphetamine was arrested and booked into the Okeechobee County Jail for the felony charge of possession of methamphetamine and the misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. In addition, the individual was issued four uniform boating citations for no lifejackets, no Type IV throwable, no navigation lights and operating an unregistered vessel.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Spradling was advised by dispatch that the Jupiter Police Department was with a subject who had an oversized snook in his possession at the Jupiter Inlet. The subject had one 37-inch snook and one 24-inch snook inside his cooler. The legal size for snook is a minimum of 28 inches and a maximum of 32 inches. The subject advised that the 37-inch snook was given to him to take a picture with, but then died before he could return it to the water. He advised he kept the 37-inch snook due to it being dead. The subject also advised he saw the 24-inch snook floating dead in the water at the inlet so he jumped in the water, grabbed the snook and put it in his cooler. Officer Spradling advised him that it’s illegal to possess undersized/oversized snook. The subject was cited accordingly.

Officer Toby saw five individuals inside the SFWMD’s A1-FEB property, which was closed to public access. Each of the subjects was walking with a fishing pole in hand. All five individuals were escorted out of the property and the violations were addressed. The four adults in the group were issued one misdemeanor citation each for trespassing in a restricted property. Additionally, one of the individuals was issued a written warning for litter under 15 pounds as he illegally discarded a bottle during the stop. Officer Toby had the individual retrieve the bottle and discard it properly.

Officers Ryan and Holcomb were on patrol in western Palm Beach County and approached the driver of a car who was then placed under arrest for possession of narcotics and issued a citation for an open container of an alcoholic beverage.

Officer Cobo and Lieutenant Russo were conducting vessel inspections at Burt Reynolds Boat Ramp in Jupiter and observed a commercial kingfish vessel unloading his catch. The fish inside the fish box located on the vessel had very little ice on the fish as required by law. The fish were in acceptable condition so the fisherman was only written a warning and allowed to keep his catch.

Officer Toby approached an individual fishing on Lake Okeechobee at the Pahokee Marina to conduct a fisheries inspection. As he approached, the individual began kicking fish that were at his feet into the water from the pier. Officer Toby gave loud verbal commands to stop, but the individual continued kicking the fish into the water below. Multiple fish were located in the water below the individual, some of which were still alive and trying to swim away. The individual was also in possession of a marijuana cigarette. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation pertaining to obstructing an FWC inspection and a warning for possession of marijuana under 20 grams.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

Investigator Turner, Lieutenant Rogerson and Officers Fretwell and Crosby responded to a report of a vessel accident that occurred in the North Fork of the St. Lucie River. It was reported that an airboat with two occupants had crashed into a mangrove island, ejecting the operator. One of the parties was airlifted and the other was transported by ambulance to a local hospital to receive treatment for injuries. Investigator Turner is conducting the ongoing vessel crash investigation.

RESCUES
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Spradling, Webb and Lieutenant Harris responded to a vehicle fire in the Hungryland Wildlife Environmental Area (WEA). Officer Webb found three individuals with the vehicle and helped transport them away from the dangerous fire. The fire had spread to the brush near the vehicle causing a wildfire. Officer Spradling assisted Martin County Fire Rescue by leading them through gates into the Hungryland WEA to get to the fire.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officer Crosby responded to the Winn Dixie store in Okeechobee in response to the report that a two-foot alligator was loose in the rear of the store. Officer Crosby captured the alligator in the back storage area of the store and released it back into Lake Okeechobee.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officer Allen and the Okeechobee Fisheries Office manager participated in a drug awareness event (DARE) for the 5th graders of Okeechobee County at the Agri-Civic Center. They spoke about the harmful effects of alcohol and drugs on boating safety. The use of several different types of PFDs were demonstrated and the students were informed about the reasons why they should wear them. A total of 535 students were in attendance.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

While on JEA patrol on the OPV RT Randall near the southern end of the Quicksands in the Atlantic Ocean, Officers Johnson, Thurkettle and Bell conducted a resource inspection on a commercial fishing vessel. Upon inspection, the officers discovered 3 undersized yellowtail snapper and 1 undersized black grouper. The fisherman stated, “I was being greedy and didn’t think I would be getting checked.” The fisherman was citied accordingly.

While patrolling Doctor’s Pass in Naples, Officer Araujo observed several subjects fishing from the beach. Officer Araujo continued to watch the subjects and observed a male subject place fish in a white bucket. When the subject packed up and started to leave the beach, Officer Araujo approached the subject and asked to inspect his catch. He asked the subject what he had caught, and the subject replied “a snapper and a jack.” When Officer Araujo inspected the contents of the bucket, he discovered 1 mangrove snapper, 1 Spanish mackerel, 1 jack crevalle and 4 pompano. All 4 pompano were undersized and were seized as evidence. The subject was cited accordingly.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Officers working a boating safety detail during the weekend arrested five subjects for BUI. Two of them were also charged with careless operation of a vessel and possession of a controlled substance (cocaine).

Officers responded to reports of a vessel explosion in southern Miami-Dade County. The explosion sent several people to the hospital, one of them severely injured. Investigators assessed and secured the scene, conducted witness interviews and inspected the vessel. The investigation is still ongoing.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Mattson was on water patrol near Islamorada when he observed a large commercial charter head-boat coming in from a morning trip. He checked the records of the vessel license and found that it was expired. He boarded the boat and inspected the catch along with the paperwork. The captain received, for a second time, a citation with a fine of $850.

Officers Wilkins and Janzen were patrolling the area of Tea Table Relief in the Upper Keys when they came across a group of people fishing near the bridge. As he approached, one of the individuals reached inside a cooler near him, grabbed a lobster and threw it into the mangroves. Officer Wilkins told the man to stop what he was doing, and the man grabbed another lobster from the same cooler and threw it towards the water near a small patch of mangroves. After securing the scene, Officers Wilkins and Janzen recovered both lobster that were thrown. Officer Wilkins then placed the individual under arrest and booked him into the Plantation Key Jail for charges of undersized and out-of-season lobster and interference with an FWC officer.

RESCUES
MONROE COUNTY

Officer Messier responded to a boating accident in Calda Channel near Key West involving a catamaran pleasure vessel with five people on board. One of the passengers was reportedly riding on the bow of the vessel when the vessel hit some choppy waves causing him to fall overboard into the water. The passenger fell head first into the water and was struck by the vessel’s propellers, sustaining injuries/lacerations to both legs. The USCG was notified and dispatched to the scene. The victim was transferred to the USCG vessel and transported to Lower Key Medical Center for treatment. The FWC is still investigating the accident.

Officers Rafter, Pino and McKay responded by water to a sailboat in Key Largo where a male was reported to be suffering from a stroke. The victim was located as he was about to try making it to shore in a small skiff. The officers brought the man to shore to a waiting Fire Rescue unit. The officers secured his skiff to his anchored sailboat. He was taken to a local hospital for advanced care.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Mobley and Garrison were dispatched to a baby key deer that was rescued from a canal on Big Pine Key. The officers searched the area to find the baby key deer’s mom, but were unsuccessful. The key deer was released in the same area with the hope that the mother will come looking for it. The coordinates were turned over to the USFWS.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
MONROE COUNTY

Officers Richards and Foell were on federal water patrol on board the OPV Interceptor inside East Hump Marine Protected Area (MPA). The officers located two vessels actively bottom fishing with electric reels inside of the protected area. Inspections revealed both vessels possessed queen snapper and blue line tilefish, which are prohibited to harvest and possess inside of the MPA. The vessel operators were issued federal citations.

Officers Way, Messier and Lieutenant Peters conducted a 17-hour, offshore patrol of the Dry Tortugas. The patrol focused on the enforcement of state and federal fisheries, and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS). The officers conducted several vessel inspections of recreational and commercial vessels. They conducted an inspection of a commercial fishing vessel actively fishing at the “K” Buoy off Fort Jefferson National Park in the Dry Tortugas. The “K” Buoy is located inside gulf state waters of Monroe County. The officers discovered several red grouper, 2 of which were undersized, hidden amongst their catch of 600 pounds of lane snapper. A federal fisheries inspection revealed the vessel’s V.M.S. was on and transmitting. The vessel also declared its commercial fishing trip with the VMS system. The federal fisheries inspection also revealed that the vessel did not have IFQ shares required to possess the red grouper. The captain of the vessel stated the red grouper were not for sale, but for his recreational consumption. He was educated on the boundaries of the FKNMS North and South Ecological Reserve. An inspection of the vessel’s marine sanitation device confirmed it in compliance with state and FKNMS Regulations. The captain of the vessel was issued one notice to appear for possession of red grouper during the closed season, possession of undersized red grouper, and possession of over the bag limit of grouper.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MONROE COUNTY

Officer Dube was invited to speak at the United Sates Coast Guard Auxiliary’s 13-8 Flotilla’s Quarterly meeting at Station Islamorada. Officer Dube spoke to approximately 35 auxiliary members and civilians about FWC current events, recent law updates and regulation changes. He also spoke about the FWC Boating Safety Decal program along with the upcoming Boating Safety Week campaign. The presentation concluded with a question-and-answer session.

Officer Dube attended the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) Awards Banquet at Schnebly’s Winery in Homestead. He was selected as their South Florida Officer of the Year and presented an award, a beautifully framed piece of artwork, by Captain Rick Murphy of the ”Chevy Outdoors Fishing Report” TV show. The banquet concluded with both a silent and live auction to raise money for the CCA and its conservation efforts.

Officer Dube and Carol Lyn Parrish, the South Region’s Public Information Coordinator, participated in a National Safe Boating Week event at the Bass Pro Shops in Miami’s Dolphin Mall. The event was attended by several police and fire departments along with representatives from the USCG. There were activities for children of all ages.

Honor Guard Lieutenant Dipre participated in the Monroe County Law Enforcement Memorial service at Bayview Park in Key West. Keynote speakers included Sheriff Rick Ramsay and several government dignitaries. Attendees included FWC Officers Hettel and Martino, members of the public, numerous veterans and local military personnel.

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  FWC Enforcement Report May 12-18. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 05-31-2017, 09:37 AM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
BAY COUNTY

Lieutenant Allen and Officer Rice were patrolling in federal waters when they saw a vessel returning from offshore. During the resource inspection, the operator stated that each of the four people on board had their limit of red snapper. Officer Rice located 8 red snapper in the cooler. The operator was issued a citation for possession of red snapper in federal waters during closure.

Officer T. Basford was on patrol near the Warren Bayou Canal (Steam Plant Canal) when he saw two ATVs being operated at a high rate of speed on a paved county road. The operators each had fishing gear and were heading towards the Steam Plant Canal. One of the ATVs drove around a locked gate to access St. Joe Company property. The two individuals were contacted while they were fishing at the Steam Plant Canal, which is Gulf Power Company property. Both individuals were in possession of undersized red drum and were issued citations for operating an ATV on a public road, possession of undersized red drum and trespassing.

Officers Hellett and Alsobrooks were on foot patrol at a local marina when they saw three individuals on a vessel that appeared to have been on a fishing trip. When asked if they had been out fishing, one of the subjects stated they had been on a two-day trip. Upon inspection, they were in possession of 56 mahi-mahi and two red grouper. The fishermen were over the daily bag limit for mahi-mahi by 26 fish. The bag limit and extended trip rules were explained to the vessel captain and he took responsibility for the violation. A citation was issued to the vessel captain.

ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officers Cushing and Land were on water patrol in Pensacola Bay and conducted a marine fisheries inspection on a small fishing vessel near a navigational buoy. Upon contacting the two persons on board, they said that they had a few lane snapper. An inspection revealed they were in possession of 17 juvenile red snapper, all of them measuring between six and thirteen inches. The appropriate action was taken for the violation of possession of red snapper during closed season.

Officers Allgood and Manning patrolled federal waters south of Pensacola and found five different vessel operators in possession of red snapper during closed season. Federal citations were issued for the violations.

Officer Long checked vessels as they returned to Navy Point Boat Ramp and found one individual in possession of 15 undersized red snapper and another individual in possession of an amberjack during closed season. Officer Long issued notice to appear citations for the violations.

Officer Manning received information that someone was selling seafood at a local flea market without a license. When he arrived, he found an individual selling blue crabs, shrimp and blue runners. The individual did not have a saltwater retail license or any records on where the fish were purchased. Notice to appear citations were issued for the violations.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

Officer Matechik saw a vessel and two subjects harvesting oysters past the required harvesting time. Officers Matechik and Fletcher conducted a resource inspection and found ten bags of culled oysters. Both subjects were charged with over the bag limit and possession of untagged oysters. They were also warned for failing to deliver oysters directly to a dealer and possession of undersized oysters. Officers Matechik and Fletcher seized the oysters and returned them to the bay alive.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico on board the Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow and Officers Boyd, Nelson, Rockwell and Trueblood located a commercial shrimping vessel approximately 12 miles south of St. George Island. During a resource inspection, the officers located egg-bearing slipper lobster in the vessel’s ice hold. Interviews of the crew revealed the deckhand placed the illegal product in the hold. The appropriate action was taken for the violations.

Officers Nelson and Raker were in plain clothes on Resource Protection Service patrol at the Old Ferry Dock Boat Ramp in East Point. While walking across the parking lot, Officer Nelson was approached by a female and asked if he wanted to buy some shrimp. The female then showed Officer Nelson three coolers containing shrimp and scales in the back of her truck. When asked if she had a saltwater products retail license, she said “No.” The appropriate action was taken for the violations.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the OPV Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow and Officers Boyd, Nelson, Rockwell and Trueblood located a commercial shrimping vessel approximately 11 miles south of St. George Island. During a resource inspection, the officers located egg-bearing slipper lobster, spiny lobster during closed season and a prohibited Bahama starfish. Further inspection of the turtle excluder devices (TEDs) revealed that all four TEDs exceeded legal specifications with six violations. The appropriate action was taken for the violations.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the OPV Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow and Officers Boyd, Nelson, Rockwell and Trueblood located a commercial shrimping vessel approximately 10 miles south of Little St. George Island. During the boarding, the officers inspected the TEDs and two of the four TEDs exceeded legal specifications. The appropriate action was taken for the violations.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the OPV Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow and Officers Nelson and Richardson located two vessels approximately 12 miles south of Carrabelle. While approaching the vessels, the occupants threw red snapper overboard upon seeing law enforcement. The officers addressed the violations of possession of red snapper during federal closure and throwing fish overboard upon law enforcement approach.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the OPV Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow and Officers Nelson and Richardson located a vessel approximately 12 miles south of St. George Island. During a resource inspection, Officer Nelson located red snapper and gag grouper aboard the vessel. Both occupants possessed salt water products licenses and admitted to knowledge of the federal closure. The appropriate enforcement actions were taken for the violations.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the OPV Vigilance, Officers Rockwell and Trueblood, Captain Martin, and NOAA Officer Harwell located a vessel approximately 14 miles southeast of Carrabelle. During a resource inspection, Officer Trueblood located red snapper in the cooler. The violations of possession of red snapper during federal closure were addressed with the appropriate actions.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the OPV Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow and Officers Boyd, Fletcher, Matechik and Captain Wood located a commercial vessel approximately 65 miles south of Carrabelle in the marine protected area referred to as “The Edges.” The vessel was using illegal “J” hooks with use of natural bait for reef fish. The appropriate enforcement action was taken for the violation.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the OPV Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow and Officers Nelson and Richardson located a vessel approximately 15 miles south of Carrabelle. During a resource inspection, Officer Richardson located undersized black sea bass, red snapper and gag grouper during federal closure and the use of “J” hooks with natural bait intended for reef fish, cut-up red snapper on their bait table and hooks. An interview of the occupants reinforced that they had cut-up red snapper and were using it for bait during closed season. The violations of possession of red snapper during federal closure, not landing in whole condition and using reef fish for bait were addressed with the appropriate warnings and citations.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the OPV Vigilance, Officers Rockwell and Trueblood, Captain Martin, and NOAA Officer Harwell located a vessel approximately 22 miles southeast of Carrabelle. Upon boarding the vessel, Officer Trueblood and Harwell interviewed the vessel owner who admitted to possession of filleting amberjack and placing it in a refrigerator. The violations of possession of greater amberjack during a closed season and not landing in whole condition was addressed with the appropriate action.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the OPV Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow and Officers Nelson and Richardson located a vessel approximately 16 miles south of Carrabelle. During a resource inspection, Officers Nelson and Richardson located nine red snapper taken during federal closure. An interview of the occupants revealed they had knowledge of the closure and their location. The violation of possession of red snapper during federal closure was addressed with the appropriate action.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the OPV Vigilance, Officers Rockwell and Trueblood, Captain Martin, and NOAA Officer Harwell located a vessel near the “O” Tower south of Carrabelle. During a resource inspection, Officer Harwell located red snapper in the cooler. The violations of possession of red snapper during federal closure was addressed with the appropriate action.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the OPV Guardian, Lieutenants Marlow, Hoelscher, Officers Nelson and Boyd located a commercial vessel approximately 52 miles south of St. Vincent Island. During a resource inspection, Officers Nelson and Boyd located multiple fishing rigs with “J” hooks baited with natural bait for reef fish. The appropriate enforcement action was taken for the violations.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the OPV Vigilance, Officers Rockwell, Trueblood, Captain Martin and NOAA Officer Harwell located a commercial vessel approximately 50 miles south of Carrabelle. During a resource inspection, Officer Harwell found the vessel was not in compliance with the required turtle mitigation gear. The violations were addressed with the appropriate action.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the OPV Guardian, Lieutenants Marlow, Hoelscher, Officers Nelson and Boyd located a commercial vessel approximately 60 miles south of St. Vincent Island. While approaching the vessel, the officers saw the occupants looking at the vessel, then start removing reef fish from the lines and throwing them overboard. A vermillion snapper was recovered and a lane snapper was not recovered. Upon boarding the vessel, Officer Nelson and Boyd located undersized lane snapper, red snapper, grey triggerfish, and vermillion snapper in their bait wells and on the hooks. They also issued charges for use of reef fish for bait, possession of marijuana and interference with an FWC officer. The appropriate enforcement action was taken for the violations.

While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico aboard the OPV Guardian, Lieutenants Marlow and Hoelscher and Officers Nelson and Boyd located a commercial longline vessel approximately 55 miles south of St. Vincent Island. Upon boarding the vessel, Officers Nelson and Boyd located cut-up shark pieces placed on hooks and rigged for fishing. Further inspection revealed approximately 40 pounds of amberjack fillets in a bait container. The vessel operator was asked to retrieve the gear and more shark pieces were located on the hooks, including red snapper pieces. A count of the hooks revealed that they exceeded the allowable amount of 750 rigged hooks and 1,000 total hooks aboard with nearly 1,200 fished, 180 more rigged hooks and an additional 150 plus hooks for a total exceeding 1,500 hooks. Additionally, the crew threw several pieces of shark and trash overboard during the stop. The appropriate enforcement action was taken for the violations.

GULF COUNTY

Officers H. Webb and M. Webb were on patrol in federal waters and made three separate federal fisheries cases. The first vessel they checked was actively fishing 10½ miles out and was in possession red snapper. The second vessel was inbound from offshore federal waters when the officers approached it. The vessel made a sudden stop and then continued in a northbound direction. Once the officers stopped the vessel, they noticed a large red snapper floating behind them. After a brief discussion, the occupants admitted to dumping the red snapper. The third vessel was actively fishing 13 miles out in federal waters and found to be in possession of red snapper. All the vessels were written federal citations for possession of red snapper during the federal closed season.

JACKSON COUNTY

Officers Little, Hayes and Baber responded to an ongoing trespass complaint, but when the officers arrived, the individual was no longer present. The officers spoke with the landowner who had game camera photos of the suspect trespassing on a tractor. The officers followed the tire sign for more than a mile to a neighboring residence. As the officers approached the male subject on the property, they located the tractor, a small dog, fishing poles and a cooler that were captured on the landowner’s game camera. They also noticed that the subject was wearing the same clothes as in the photos. Appropriate charges will be filled with the state attorney’s office for the violations.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Bartlett was on vessel patrol in Choctawhatchee Bay conducting boating safety inspections when he was dispatched to a boating accident at the Marler Bridge. The accident involved a single vessel striking the Marler Bridge piling. The vessel was a 24‑foot rental pontoon with three people on board. The investigation revealed the primary cause of the accident was operator inexperience in waters affected by tidal current. The impact resulted in damages of approximately $6,000 to the starboard side pontoon on the vessel. No one was ejected from the vessel and there were no injuries. A livery operator was issued a notice to appear citation for renting to someone that is required to have a boater safety card.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Investigator Molnar followed up on a complaint about a subject possibly killing over the bag limit of turkey during the 2017 spring season. After multiple interviews with several people, Investigator Molnar interviewed the subject. After the interview, the subject confessed to killing five turkeys in northwest Florida during the 2017 spring turkey season. Three sets of turkey spurs and beards were seized as evidence. Charges will be filed on a later date.

WAKULLA COUNTY

Officer Hughes saw a commercial oyster vessel returning to Mashes Sands Boat Ramp. Upon seeing the officer, the boat stopped short of the dock and Officer Hughes noticed one of the occupants bending over something in the boat. Officer Hughes made his way to the boat and saw the individual attaching commercial oyster harvest tags to four bags of oysters on board. Commercial harvesters are required to fill out and attach the tags before leaving the harvest area. When the vessel came to the dock, Officer Hughes discovered that all the harvest tags were blank. Officers Stephens and Sauls arrived to assist. When questioned about where they harvested the oysters, the men claimed they had harvested them at the mouth of Chaires Creek in the Ochlockonee Bay, an area that was temporarily closed to all shellfish harvest. In addition to the oyster harvest violations, the vessel did not have a hull identification number attached and was missing some required safety gear. The operator was issued multiple criminal charges and warnings and all bags of oysters were seized and returned to the water alive.

WALTON COUNTY

Officers Letcher, Brooks, and Tison patrolled Point Washington Wildlife Management Area (WMA) targeting ongoing violations such as destruction to gates, wildlife food plots, and roads with motor vehicles. The officers saw two vehicles traveling together through the WMA in a careless manner causing damage to the road. When a traffic stop was attempted, the drivers fled into opposite directions. As he attempted to avoid being apprehended, one of the drivers operated his vehicle in an aggressive manner toward Officer Tison’s patrol vehicle causing him to exit the roadway into a ditch. A short time later, the driver decided to stop and was taken into custody. A records check revealed the driver had a pending case for DUI which involved a traffic accident. A search of his vehicle revealed a small amount of cannabis. The subject was booked into the Walton County Jail for fleeing and eluding, aggravated assault with a motor vehicle, reckless driving, damage to state property, and possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis. The other driver was identified and located the following day and charges will be direct filed for reckless driving and damage to state property.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officer Cushing spoke to a group of approximately 20 members of the Pensacola Recreational Fisherman’s Association. Officer Cushing gave an overview of the agency’s core mission and answered many questions in regards to current saltwater regulations and boating safety.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officers Jernigan and Lewis participated in a Career Field Day at Chumuckla Elementary School. The FWC officers, Santa Rosa Sheriff’s K-9 deputies, and local EMT’s, paramedics, and volunteers from the local fire departments spent time with different classes to tell about their careers and what they do each day in the field. Officers Jernigan and Lewis spoke to more than 150 children about boating and gun safety. Each child boarded a patrol vessel, received coloring books, stickers and fun facts about Florida’s bears and alligators.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
BAKER COUNTY

Officers Burnsed and Tyler responded to a report of illegally dumped household trash off a county roadway. The officers found numerous bags of trash dumped along the roadway and proceeded to find information in the trash that would indicate a suspect. The officers found several documents and went to the location provided by the information. The owner of the documents advised they had paid two individuals to haul their trash off and stated to the officers they must have dumped the trash. The owner provided the names of the suspected dumpers. The officers located both suspects named by the owner and, after questioning, they admitted to dumping the trash at the location. Both suspects will be charged with misdemeanor dumping of trash through the state attorney’s office.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Officer Johnston and Investigator Bembry were working together at the Montgomery Lake Fish Management Area when they saw a subject fishing with a rod and reel. A subsequent resource/ license inspection revealed the subject could not provide a valid freshwater fishing license. The subject was also found to be fishing with a revoked fishing license due to a child support enforcement violation and was flagged as “Do not sell.” Officer Johnston issued the subject a notice to appear in court for the violation. The subject was released on the scene with no further law enforcement action required.

DIXIE COUNTY

Officers Allen and Wilder were conducting surveillance on an area that is known for illegal oyster harvest. They saw a vessel leaving the area and contacted Officer Cooper to assist. Officer Cooper stopped the subject a short distance from the boat ramp and conducted a resource inspection. During the resource inspection, the subject was found to be in possession of several bushels of untagged and unculled oysters. Following a brief interview, the subject admitted to illegally harvesting the oysters at night in closed waters. Charges will be direct filed with the state attorney’s office.

Lieutenant Futch was on patrol when he conducted a vehicle stop on a truck pulling a boat. While talking with the driver, he noticed a blanket covering a large amount of unculled and untagged oysters in the boat. Dispatch reported that the driver did not possess a valid driver’s license. The subject was placed under arrest for driving with a suspended license and possession of unculled and untagged oysters in commercial quantities.

Lieutenant Futch and Officer Butler were on water patrol focusing on illegal oyster harvest when they saw a vehicle at a local boat ramp that belonged to a suspect with a warrant. The officers contacted Lieutenant Guy and Officer Robson to assist them from land with the arrest of the individual.

Lieutenant Futch and Officer Butler saw two subjects harvesting oysters from a vessel. As they approached, the vessel began to head towards the boat ramp. The suspects were contacted at the boat ramp and a resource inspection was conducted. The resource inspection revealed the suspects failed to properly tag their oysters and were oystering without a saltwater products license. The officers learned one of the suspects was on probation for drugs and received consent to search the suspect’s vehicle. After the investigation, the suspect was confirmed to have an active warrant out of Dixie County. Additionally, the suspects were charged with numerous resource and drug-related charges, including possession of methamphetamine, possession of cannabis and possession of drug paraphernalia.

DUVAL COUNTY

Over the weekend, a free-floating construction barge broke loose from its mooring from under the Fuller Warren Bridge (Interstate 95). With an outgoing tide and strong wind gusts, the barge was in danger of striking the Florida East Coast Railroad Bridge. The Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department (JFRD) responded, along with FWC Officer Green. Officer Green and the JFRD relocated the barge to a safe location back under the Fuller Warren Bridge just before it struck the Railroad bridge.

GILCHRIST COUNTY

Officers Allen and Wilder received information from a landowner that someone had dumped a recently killed deer on his property. The officers arrived and found fresh tire sign at the scene. The officers identified a suspect and initiated contact at his residence. Following a brief interview, the suspect admitted to killing the deer and dumping the carcass on the property. The officers will be direct filing the case with the state attorney’s office.

Investigator Ayers and Officer Wiggins were on patrol when they saw a subject riding in the back of a truck which turned onto a road that borders a local hunting club. The officers followed the truck for approximately two miles. When the vehicle stopped, Officer Wiggins exited his patrol vehicle and made his way on foot to observe the subjects. Moments later, the officers heard several gunshots coming from inside the hunting club. Officer Wiggins saw an individual return to the truck carrying a pistol. The officers approached the two subjects and following an interview, they admitted to attempting to take a hen turkey on the hunting club property. Investigator Ayers issued warnings for trespassing and a notice to appear for attempting to take turkey during the closed season.

Officers Allen and Wilder received information that an individual was keeping over the bag limit of redfish at Shired Island. During a resource inspection, the subject was found to be possession of over the bag limit of redfish and was cited accordingly.

NASSAU COUNTY

Officer Barry conducted a resource inspection on a commercial crabber fishing in the
St. Mary’s River. Several improper violations were noted including aerial and side displays, no vessel registration, no saltwater products license on board, safety violations and boxes of crabs sitting in oily bilge water next to the gas tank. The crabber was cited and warned appropriately. Later, Officer Barry checked 10 of those crabber’s traps in Little Sisters Creek off the St. Mary’s River. Of the 10 traps inspected, 8 had no biodegradable escape panel and no Florida commercial trap tags. Charges for the trap violations are pending.

Officer Barry was departing Eagan’s Creek Boat Ramp when a small inshore/nearshore shrimp trawler was seen returning to the dock. As the harvest of shrimp in the area is closed, a vessel stop was conducted and an inspection revealed a cooler filled with small brown shrimp, which are usually found only around inshore waters. The shrimper stated that he had harvested the shrimp outside of three miles in federal water. When asked if he had a federal shrimp permit, he hesitantly stated that he had applied for one, but did not have one at the time. The two men on the boat were issued federal notices of violation for harvesting shrimp in federal waters without the proper permits.

TAYLOR COUNTY

Officers Robson and Albritton received information of an illegal turkey being taken. Shortly after arriving, the officers saw turkey feathers on the ground around the suspect’s residence. The officers identified the suspect as a convicted felon and after noticing a bulge in his pockets, recovered ammunition from his pockets. The officers also noticed a pellet rifle leaning against a storage shed. After an interview, the suspect admitted to taking an illegal hen turkey the day prior and surrendered plastic bags from a refrigerator containing a turkey breast, back, neck and two legs. Firearm parts were also recovered from a storage box on the property. The case is being presented to the state attorney’s office for review.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
NASSAU COUNTY

Officers Barry and Shearer attended an FWC-sponsored Kids Fishing Clinic at Amelia Island State Park. Approximately 200 youths participated and received information on fishing and conservation from a wide spectrum of FWC professionals.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Marroquin was on patrol when he saw a vessel returning to a boat ramp. The officer initiated a vessel safety inspection and saw alcoholic beverages in the vessel. During the safety inspection, the operator showed signs of impairment and was asked to perform seated field sobriety tasks. The operator performed poorly and was arrested for BUI. He was then transported to the Brevard County Jail where he refused to submit to a breath sample.

Officers Kearney and Dubose were on patrol when they saw a man fishing at a local waterway. The officers conducted a fisheries inspection and discovered the man was in possession of undersized mangrove snapper. A records check revealed the man had received a warning the previous week for undersized fish. A citation was issued for the offense.

Officer Maslo was on patrol when she conducted a fisheries inspection of a man fishing under a causeway bridge. The inspection revealed the man was in possession of three undersized mangrove snapper. A citation was issued for possession of undersized mangrove snapper and the fish were returned to the resource.

While on vessel patrol, Lieutenant Lightsey conducted a vessel safety inspection on a vessel in the river. During the inspection, the man mumbled his words and had a hard time retrieving safety gear. Due to several signs of impairment, the officer administered field sobriety tasks on the operator. After the tasks were completed, the operator was placed under arrest for BUI. Officer Maslo arrived on the scene to transport the operator to the local police department. After a urine sample was obtained, the man admitted to taking prescription medications.

While conducting vessel safety inspections, Officer Balgo saw two men paddling a canoe. The men did not possess any life jackets or a sound-producing device. One of the men did not possess any form of identification. When provided a name and date of birth, the officer could not find any record for the man. After several attempts, the officer located the man’s actual name and date of birth. The man was found to have an active warrant out of Palm Beach and was placed under arrest for the warrant and giving a false a name to a law enforcement officer. The other man was issued citations for the safety equipment.

Officer Eller was on foot patrol on the southeast corner of Haulover Canal when he noticed a male and female fishing from the shoreline. He approached and asked both individuals if they had any luck. The gentleman responded saying that they were only catching small mangrove snapper but they were not keeping any. Officer Eller conducted a resource inspection which revealed four undersized mangrove snapper and one undersized sheepshead stuffed into a small bait bucket. The subjects were cited accordingly.

Officers Eller and Hallsten were on water patrol in the Indian River when they noticed a large vessel pass by without any registration stickers. Officer Eller stopped the vessel and explained that the registration numbers, which were now visible, were improperly displayed. Following that, both Officers Eller and Hallsten also conducted a safety inspection of the vessel. When the officers asked for the registration document, the operator handed Officer Hallsten a fire extinguisher warning label. The smell of alcohol was apparent from the operator’s breath, and he was asked to perform field sobriety tasks. The operator performed very poorly and Officer Eller arrested him for BUI.

FLAGLER COUNTY

Officer Greenier investigated a report that a local bait and tackle shop owner was unlawfully harvesting and then offering for sale blue crabs from his business establishment. The shop owner would harvest blue crabs from a recreational vessel and remove crabs from his recreational traps, transport them by vessel and vehicle, then place them in shop tanks and offer them for sale. Through his investigative efforts and personal observations, Officer Greenier issued the shop owner a notice to appear for multiple misdemeanor commercial blue crab gear and licensing violations.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

While on patrol, Lieutenant Lightsey saw a man loading his vessel out of the water. After dragging the motor’s skeg up the boat ramp, the officer approached him to conduct a safety inspection. During the inspection, the man slurred his words, forgot to retrieve items and leaned on things to maintain balance. When asked, the operator admitted to consuming several alcoholic beverages. After conducting standardized field sobriety tasks, the man was placed under arrest for operating a vessel while impaired. The operator refused to provide a breath sample. The man was transported to the Indian River County Jail without incident.

While on patrol near Fellsmere, Investigator Horst saw a truck towing a large trailer full of tires. The truck was not displaying a waste tire collector permit on the driver’s door so Investigator Horst conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle to check for a permit to haul waste tires. The stop revealed that the subject did not have a permit to transport waste tires and that he had been hired by a local tire store to transport the tires. The subject advised that the trailer contained approximately 300 tires. The area of the stop has an ongoing issue of tire dumping. The subject was issued a notice to appear for the violation and released from the scene.

MARION COUNTY

Officer Rice was on land based water patrol at a boat ramp on Lake Weir. After sunset, he saw a vessel underway coming in to the boat ramp without navigational lights displayed. Officer Rice watched the operator moor the vessel, climb on the dock and immediately began urinating from the dock. Before Officer Rice could make contact to address the violations, he saw the subject lose his balance and fall on the dock. Officer Rice conducted a boating safety inspection on the subject’s vessel, and during the inspection he saw several additional clues of impairment. After the subject performed field sobriety tasks, he was placed under arrest and charged with boating under the influence (BUI), operating a vessel with no navigational lights, and issued written warnings for several other boating safety violations.

K-9 Officer Simpson was dispatched to an area regarding an abandoned campsite in the Ocala National Forest. Officer Simpson identified three subjects that had been living at the camp and left all their unwanted belongings in the woods. All three subjects were criminally charged with littering over 15 pounds.

PUTNAM COUNTY

Officer Jones was assisting a disabled motorist when a vehicle passed by them at a high rate of speed and extremely close to both of their vehicles. Officer Jones had to take evasive action to keep the other motorist and himself out of harm’s way. Officer Jones left the scene and initiated a traffic stop on the suspect vehicle. An investigation led to the driver being charged with habitual traffic offender/driving while license suspended, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY

Officers Campbell and Taylor and Intern D. Delong were on patrol near Guana Dam and Lake Ponte Vedra for resource violations. Officer Campbell was working in plain clothes while Officer Taylor was in uniform and hidden from the fishermen’s view. They all saw a male subject catching red drum and placing them into a bucket. After observing the subject catch more than the legal limit, Officer Taylor made her presence known and conducted a resource inspection of the male subject. The subject was in possession of ten red drum. Some were found hidden in a cooler in the bushes by Officer Campbell. The subject was charged with a major violation and the fish were photographed and disposed of accordingly.

Officer Lawshe received information from an individual about a truck leaving from an area known for frequent trespassers. The reporting individual had seen the truck twice and provided the tag number. This was the same area where Officer Lawshe was working an ongoing case of a cannabis grow that would appear yearly off SR 206. His inquiry on the tag matched the one he had from two years prior on a suspect in the cannabis growing case. Officer Lawshe inspected the area further and found approximately 20 cannabis plants growing in plastic containers. Cameras were used to identify the vehicle entering and exiting the area to establish a routine. The color of the truck had changed from prior years’ pictures, but the tag number was the same. The times entering and exiting the area were random. Officer Lawshe visually checked the area where the subject parked his truck from the roadway off SR 206, but did not see a vehicle. For better surveillance, Officer Lawshe trimmed a trail to the grow site and noticed a white, five-gallon bucket sitting in the middle of the grow site. He heard and saw no movement and began to move quietly through the cannabis plants. As he rounded the trail, he could see a shirtless white male trying to hide, stooped down next to a cannabis plant and a five-gallon water bucket. Officer Lawshe announced himself and took the subject into custody. The subject was identified and booked into the St. Johns County Jail for marijuana-producing, schedule one drug and trespass on other than a structure or conveyance. Seventeen cannabis plants were photographed and seized as evidence.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officers Hastings and Dias were on patrol in Lake George when they saw a jet ski on plane in a posted, slow speed manatee zone. The jet ski continued operating to the point where the officers almost had to take evasive action to avoid a collision. The operator turned the jet ski abruptly and flung both the operator and passenger off. The officers made contact to address the violations and perform a boating safety inspection. Signs of impairment were evident and Officer Hastings conducted seated field sobriety exercises. Based on his observations, Officer Hastings placed the operator under arrest for BUI. The operator’s breath test results were .106 and .102.

Officers Haskins and McKee were performing resource inspections at a secluded boat ramp on Lake Monroe when they encountered two fishermen who were in possession of large amounts of panfish. A count revealed that one man possessed ten fish over the limit while the other possessed 14 fish over the limit. Both men were issued citations for the violation.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
FLAGLER COUNTY

Officers Aswall, Greenier, Harris, and B. Miller, along with Investigator Brechler and Lieutenant Zukowsky, assisted Regional Biologist A. Kropp and two local shorebird volunteers with the posting of Julia’s Island in the Intra-Coastal Waterway just north of downtown St. Augustine. With the advent of the shorebird season and the alteration of other local shorebird habitat following Hurricane Matthew last October, the island has seen an increase in bird numbers and species this spring. The officers transported Biologist Kropp and the volunteers in local patrol vessels to the island, working with them to erect information signage notifying island visitors of the nesting areas.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
OSCEOLA COUNTY

Lieutenant Trusley and Officer Wigley participated in the first annual “Kids for Kids Fish-A-Thon.” The event was located at the Kempfer Cattle Company property. Forty children attended the event and caught 238 fish. Lieutenant Trusley and Officer Wigley assisted in getting rods and reels donated, and each child received a donated fishing rod and reel to keep. They also received instruction on fishing etiquette and safety. The children were also taught how to properly fillet and preserve the fish they caught.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HARDEE COUNTY

Officer Franks was on patrol after a night-hunting detail and saw a vehicle headed the wrong way on US Hwy 17. He stopped the vehicle and could smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage. The driver was asked to complete field sobriety tasks. After the tasks were completed, Officer Franks arrested the driver for DUI and driving with a suspended or revoked license and cited the driver for driving the wrong way.

HIGHLANDS COUNTY

Officer Cloud received information about a stolen ATV in Lake Placid. He enlisted the help of Deputy Tagtmeir of the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office. The officers located and recovered the ATV, and it will be returned to its rightful owner. Charges are pending on the matter.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on land patrol near the Little Manatee River, Officer Ahlers and Baker saw several subjects trespassing and fishing on CSX property. The officers approached and asked if the men had any fish and were told “No.” The officers asked if they could search nearby coolers and after being given permission, found numerous undersized mangrove snapper, none of which were over six inches. Both men were cited for their violations and warned for trespassing on CSX property.

LEE COUNTY

While on patrol around the Cape Coral Bridge, Officer Hardgrove encountered a subject fishing from the bridge abutment. He watched him for approximately 10-12 minutes from a distance, and saw him catch what appeared to be a mangrove snapper and immediately deposit the fish into a bucket beside him. Upon approaching the individual, Officer Hardgrove asked him if he had caught any fish and he stated that he had no fish. Several mangrove snapper were located inside the bucket. Four of the snapper measured under 10 inches, the minimum size limit. The subject was issued a citation for possession of undersized mangrove snapper.

While on patrol at the Koreshan State Historic Site, Officers Stanley and Winton conducted a retail fisheries inspection on a vender at a weekend farmer’s market. During the inspection, the officers discovered the vender did not possess a valid retail license and had been warned about the same offense in the past. The officers issued the vender a citation for failure to have a retail license and educated him about how to obtain one.

Officers Price and Perry were working plain clothes in the Fort Myers Beach area when they saw a charter fishing boat returning to the dock. While the boat was docking, they saw two passengers quickly jump off the boat, taking a bucket and cooler to a van in the parking lot. Officer Price followed the men to the van and discovered the bucket and cooler were full of fish filets packed in gallon storage bags. During the inspection, the captain admitted the filets were red snapper. Eighty-seven filets of red snapper were discovered, along with three red grouper over the bag limit. The captain was charged with having red snapper out of season, not in whole condition and over the bag limit, as well as over the bag limit of red grouper. The illegal fish were seized and the case has been turned over to officers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The captain will face federal prosecution.

Lieutenant Ruggiero and Officer Price responded to a complaint about a gopher tortoise violation near a new development. The officers arrived on the scene and saw signs that a mower had cleared an area with several gopher tortoise burrows in the area. Biologist Sievers made a site visit, and together they documented 23 gopher tortoise burrows that had been impacted or destroyed because of the mowing activity. One burrow was slightly collapsed and had a tortoise trying to dig its way out of the burrow. Fortunately, Lieutenant Ruggiero widened the opening and the tortoise escaped unharmed. The officers documented the scene, conducted interviews, and completed a report on the case. The builder will face charges of $1,500 for every two burrows that were impacted. The case will be sent to the state attorney’s office for review and possible prosecution.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Officer Bibeau stopped a vessel that was returning from offshore to conduct a fisheries inspection and cited the captain for possession of reef fish not in whole condition. Officer Bibeau submitted the filets to the FWC forensics lab to determine the species of the fish. Officer Bibeau received the results of the testing that concluded the filets were gag grouper and red snapper, both of which were closed to harvest at the time of the stop. Officer Bibeau filed two more charges through the state attorney’s office for possession of the fish during a closed season.

While on water patrol in South St. Petersburg, Officers Bibler and Godfrey saw a vessel coming in from offshore at a high rate of speed. The officers caught up to the vessel and initiated a resource inspection. The subjects admitted to having red grouper and hog fish on board. A subsequent search of the cooler containing the grouper and hog fish revealed an undersized and out-of-season red snapper. Officer Bibler asked if there was any other fish on the boat, and one subject produced an out-of-season gag grouper that had been stuffed into the center console. Again, Officer Bibler asked if there was anything else, and the subject produced a spiny lobster also hidden in the center console. After being told there was nothing else, the officers searched the center console themselves and found another spiny lobster. Both lobsters had been speared and were out of season. The subjects were cited for undersized and out-of-season red snapper, possession of out-of-season gag grouper, possession of spiny lobster out of season and taken by illegal method.

Following up on a vessel that fled from them during a recent BUI detail, Officer Bibler and Lieutenant Van Trees arrested the operator of the vessel who fled. They booked him into the Pinellas County Jail for fleeing/eluding by a vessel, reckless operation of a vessel, and interference with a police officer. The subject was also cited for violation of a manatee speed zone, operating at night with no navigation lights, and scarring seagrass in an aquatic preserve. The officers could positively identify the operator the night of the incident, since he originally stopped for the officers before deciding to flee.

While on land patrol at the Skyway Fishing Pier State Park, Officer Bibeau conducted a resource inspection of a subject fishing from the pier. At the completion of the inspection, Officer Bibeau found an 11-inch red grouper in the subject’s cooler, well under the 20-inch minimum. The subject was cited accordingly for his violation.

Officer Martinez was following up on a boating accident in St. Petersburg, where an operator purposely raised his engine to spray water on an individual standing on the dock and, in doing so, hit another docked vessel and left the scene of the accident. Officer Martinez found the operator, interviewed him and, after his investigation, charged the subject with careless operation, a navigation rule violation and leaving the scene of an accident.

SARASOTA COUNTY

Officers Dalton and Alvis were working water patrol near Big Pass. While on patrol, they performed a boating safety inspection on a man operating a personal watercraft in the pass. During their inspection, the two officers became concerned that the operator of the personal watercraft was under the influence of alcohol. They asked the operator to perform field sobriety tasks to better gauge his level of impairment. The operator refused to perform all tasks and was subsequently arrested and booked into the Sarasota County Jail for refusal to submit, a criminal charge.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Officer Fogle responded to a report of an injured loggerhead sea turtle struggling to swim in the Gulf of Mexico, approximately ½ mile off Knight Island. The turtle had been discovered by a passing boater who reported it to the FWC dispatch center. The Florida Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network was contacted and a team of volunteer rescuers from the Coastal Wildlife Club were then dispatched to the nearby Stump Pass Marina, where they stood by for further direction. Using the last known latitude/longitude coordinates given by the passing boater, Officer Fogle searched for and located the injured turtle. After assessing the turtle’s general condition, Officer Fogle marked its updated location and proceeded to the marina to pick up the rescue team. When they arrived back on the scene, Officer Fogle and the team made numerous attempts in the choppy water to approach the turtle, only to have it dive down out of reach. However, due to the animal’s injuries, it was only able to stay under water for a short time and would then resurface again. Finally, the team could close in on the turtle, and one of the members jumped in the water to help facilitate safely bringing the now exhausted turtle on board the patrol vessel. Once on shore, the stranding team and marina personnel loaded the turtle in a vehicle and transported it to Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota for medical attention. Although the cause of the injuries is unknown, the sea turtle is expected to survive.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
LEE COUNTY

Officers Rogers, Thompson, Hazelwood, and Lieutenant Barrett spent Mother’s Day patrolling Lovers Key State Park. This park, with miles of hiking trails and access to a beautiful island beach, always draws a large family crowd on Mother’s Day. Thanks to the extra patrols and the hard work of park staff, the day went well without any serious incidents.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
OKEECHOBEE COUNTY

Officers Toby and Dial responded to an abandoned boat that was floating in the Lake Okeechobee Rim Canal near Taylor Creek. The vessel was unoccupied at the time it was located. Officers Toby and Dial requested the assistance of Investigator Lafoy. The vessel had been reported as stolen a few days earlier and the officers began to investigate. After visually inspecting the vessel and matching the hull identification number, the officers contacted the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (that had taken the initial report). The vessel owner arrived on the scene and verified the vessel and all items were still intact. The case was turned over to the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office for further investigation.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer LeBlanc assisted with a Kids Fishing Day, sponsored by the Palm Beach County Airboat Club and the FWC. Approximately 225 people attended the event including 90 youths that enjoyed some fishing time. Many fish were caught and there were a lot of smiles throughout the crowd.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

While conducting a JEA patrol aboard the OPV C.T. Randall near Western Dry Rocks, Lieutenant Shea and Officers Thurkettle, Johnson, and Bell performed a resource inspection on a vessel during the mutton snapper spawning season. Twenty undersized yellow tail snapper were found inside the live well of the vessel. The fish were seized as evidence and citations were issued for the violation.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Officers participated in an operation targeting boating safety violations and impaired boating in the waters of Biscayne Bay. There were 32 vessel inspections, 92 users checked, 18 uniform boating citations, 15 warnings, 2 BUIs, 1 warrant arrest, 1 felony drug possession and a total of 4 physical arrests during the operation.

MONROE COUNTY

While on water patrol just south of Pigeon Key off the Seven Mile Bridge, Officers Martino and Hettel came along side an anchored vessel with two persons on board to conduct a boating safety inspection. The operator stated they had not been fishing, and no fishing gear was visible. While checking the vessel’s safety gear, Officer Hettel noticed a small smear of blood near the vessel’s anchor hatch. When the operator was asked about it, he admitted to have been spearfishing and had some grouper on board. The spear guns had been concealed and covered up with life vests and gear bags. The subject then opened a cooler and pulled out two, legal-sized red grouper and a gallon-sized Zip-lock bag containing a gutted red grouper with the head missing. The subject was cited for the fish not being landed in whole condition and issued two warnings for no current registration on board and no fishing license in possession.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
MONROE COUNTY

Officer Way and Lieutenant Peters conducted a two-day patrol offshore of the Dry Tortugas. The patrol focused on the enforcement of state and federal fisheries, and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS). The officers conducted several vessel inspections of recreational and commercial vessels. During the patrol, the officers conducted a marine fisheries inspection on several commercial vessels. The officers stopped a vessel and conducted a marine fisheries inspection that revealed they were in possession of 64 snapper and over their aggregate bag limit of snapper. The captain of the vessel was cited for being over the aggregate bag limit of snapper. On the second day of patrol, the officers discovered a vessel fishing inside the Tortugas North Ecological Reserve of the FKNMS. A marine fisheries inspection revealed the vessel was over the daily bag limit of red grouper, possession of reef fish not in whole condition, and two of the vessel occupants did not possess a valid fishing license. The vessel’s catch was documented to include 11 red grouper, 12 mutton snapper (2 of which were not in whole condition), 5 other snapper (1 of which was not in whole condition), and 1 cero mackerel. An inspection of the vessel’s marine sanitation device (MSD) revealed the vessel was not in compliance with state and FKNMS regulations. The captain of the vessel was educated on the boundaries of the FKNMS’s North and South Ecological Reserve and educated on how to bring his vessel’s MSD into compliance with state and FKNMS regulations. The captain was cited for fishing inside the Tortugas North Ecological Reserve, being over their aggregate bag limit of red grouper, and being in possession of reef fish not in whole condition. Two of the occupants on the vessel were also cited for not having a valid fishing license. The captain was also issued three warnings for not remaining in continuous transit inside the Tortugas North Ecological Reserve without possessing a valid access permit, MSD not in compliance with state and FKNMS regulations, and for being over the bag limit of mutton snapper.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Barringer and Osorio assisted the Collier County Sheriff’s Office and Naples Police Department marine units with patrol during the 8th Annual Stand-Up Paddle Board Special Olympics in North Naples. Over 50 paddle-boarders participated in the event.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Mattson gave a presentation at Coral Shores High School in the Upper Keys and talked about the duties and responsibilities of FWC officers. He spoke to several commercial fishing classes during the day with approximately 50 students. The students asked questions about careers with FWC and the cases that the agency handles.

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  FWC Enforcement Report May 5-11. All Regions
Posted by: bigefromlc - 05-24-2017, 06:33 PM - Forum: Conservation and Legal Issues - No Replies

NORTHWEST REGION
CASES
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officers Allgood and Long found two people illegally camping in Perdido River Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Camping is only allowed in designated camping areas and entry into the area is prohibited one and a half hours after sunset. While speaking to the individuals regarding the violations, they were found to be in possession of marijuana. While addressing the violations, another vehicle drove into the parking area. Officer Long approached that vehicle, spoke to the driver and noticed there was a large pipe used for smoking marijuana on the passenger’s side floorboard. The driver and passenger of this vehicle were also found to be in possession of marijuana. Notice to appear citations were issued for possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis and possession of drug paraphernalia.

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officers responded to two boating accidents involving two rented deck boats that were attempting to return to shore when they were swamped near the mouth of Boggy Bayou in Choctawhatchee Bay. Nine people were rescued from each of the sinking vessels. A combination of Good Samaritan boaters, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)-Destin and Eglin livery responders returned the passengers safely to the boat ramp.

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Officer Gore was on patrol at Culpepper Landing on Holmes Creek when he encountered two subjects on a vessel. Upon conducting a boating safety inspection, he noticed the operator seemed unsteady on his feet, fumbled with removing equipment, and had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath. Field sobriety tasks were conducted and the subject was determined to be under the influence and was arrested. He refused to provide a breath sample and was transported to the Washington County Jail and booked for BUI

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
ESCAMBIA COUNTY

Officers concentrated on off-shore fisheries patrols. They issued notice to appear citations for possession of undersized and over the bag limit of red snapper and possession of an undersized amberjack. Two other individuals were cited for possession of red snapper in federal waters. Red snapper season is currently closed in federal waters.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Maltais assisted USCG-Destin with the annual safety meeting held by the U.S. Navy’s Strike Fighter Squadron 101 on Eglin Air Force Base. There were 220 sailors from the F-35 “Grim Reapers” squadron who attended the briefing. The USCG officers spoke about boating safety requirements on the water. Officer Maltais addressed BUI enforcement, boating accident reporting, local waterway navigation and state parks in preparation for the busy boating season and summer holidays.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Officer Lewis teamed up with FWC biologists to speak to approximately 120 students from Woodlawn Middle School at Blackwater River State Park. Officer Lewis spoke to the students about FWC’s mission, resource protection, boating safety and environmental laws.

Officer Arnette spoke to approximately 150 first-grade students from Baker Elementary School at the FWC Blackwater Fisheries Center in Holt. He talked about the role of an FWC officer and answered numerous questions from the young visitors.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION
CASES
CLAY COUNTY

Officer Barber and Lieutenant Glover were on water patrol in Black Creek conducting a safety inspection, with their emergency lights activated, on a vessel inside a no wake zone. The officers noticed a vessel coming in their direction on a full plane inside the no wake zone and had to make an evasive maneuver to avoid a collision with their patrol vessel. The officer broke away from their safety inspection and stopped the vessel that nearly collided with their vessel. Immediately, the operator showed signs of impairment and Officer Barber conducted field sobriety tasks to determine if the operator was impaired. Officer Barber determined the operator was under the influence of alcohol or drugs and placed the subject under arrest. The subject was transported to the Clay County Jail where he provided a breath sample that was over three times the legal limit. The operator was charged with BUI, reckless operation of a vessel and wake zone violation.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Officer McDonald was on patrol in Itchetucknee Springs State Park when he saw an alcohol violation. Upon approaching the vehicle, in plain view, a cigar package was visible containing cannabis. Officer Johnston arrived on the scene a short time later and located two more marijuana cigarettes in the vehicle. One subject admitted to possession and purchase of the cannabis. The subject was issued a citation for the violation and the cannabis was seized as evidence.

DUVAL COUNTY

Lieutenant Arkin was dispatched to the Saint Johns River and the mouth of Julington Creek regarding an injured bald eagle floating in the water. The injured bald eagle was reported by a Good Samaritan who noticed it while recreating on his vessel. With the assistance of the Good Samaritan, the bald eagle was netted and transported to the Mandarin Park Boat Ramp where Officer Schirbock was waiting to assist him. Lieutenant Arkin and Officer Schirbock then freed the eagle from the net and Officer Schirbock transported it to a local rehabber. The bald eagle is going to be fine.

Officers Schirbock and Lumpkin were dispatched to the Ortega River where a subject on a vessel was tying up and towing away a posted derelict vessel currently being processed by FWC at the Wayne B. Stevens Boat Ramp. The officers stopped the vessels at the Timuquana Bridge at the Ortega River. The subject operating the towing vessel gave officers a fictitious name several times. It was later discovered that this subject was the original owner of the derelict vessel and was tying it off to prevent FWC from removing the vessel from state waters. The subject had warrants for leaving a derelict vessel on the Florida waters, failure to transfer vessel title, and for violation of probation for driving while license suspended or revoked (DWLSR). The subject was also in possession of narcotics and hypodermic needles. Officers Schirbock and Lumpkin arrested the subject for giving law enforcement a fictitious name and for the outstanding warrants. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) arrested the subject for also giving law enforcement a fictitious name, the JSO warrant and the drug and paraphernalia charges.

Officer Schirbock initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle travelling at an unsafe speed for conditions and weaving in and out of traffic without signaling. Upon contacting the driver, Officer Schirbock smelled a strong odor associated with cannabis coming from the interior of the vehicle. Upon being questioned about the possible cannabis, the driver handed over a plastic baggy of approximately 13 grams of Cannabis. The driver was issued a notice to appear in court for possession of cannabis under 20 grams.

NASSAU COUNTY

Several officers from Duval and Nassau counties worked in Nassau County on vessel patrol, assisting the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office and the Fernandina Beach Police Department with the annual Shrimp Festival parade and fireworks event. Wind conditions made for minimal vessel traffic on Saturday, but Sunday turned out to be a perfect day for the annual festival.

RESCUES
CLAY COUNTY

Officer Barber and Lieutenant Glover received a call from dispatch stating that there was a subject who was separated from her party and floating down black creek inside Jennings State Forest. The caller was worried because she had not seen the subject in hours and it was now dark. The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office launched a helicopter with FLIR capabilities and located the subject on the river bank approximately 1½ miles from the party. Officer Barber arrived on the scene and walked down the bank of the creek toward the lost subject while Lieutenant Glover launched a kayak from the landing. Officer Barber found the subject waiting on the creek bank as she was unable to walk due to a medical condition. Lieutenant Glover arrived with the kayak, assisted the subject in it and walked/paddled the subject down to the second landing, approximately 1½ miles away where the rest of her party was waiting for her.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
CLAY COUNTY

Officer Starling and Lieutenant Glover attended the annual “Boy Scouts Merit Badge Blitz” at the Boy Scouts Camp on Doctor’s Lake. The officers discussed the duties of an FWC officer, hunting and fishing regulations, boating safety and the importance of conservation. There were 128 boy scouts in attendance with several interested in becoming an FWC officer.

NORTHEAST REGION
CASES
BREVARD COUNTY

While returning from patrol at Sebastian Inlet State Park in the early morning hours, Officer Marroquin saw a vehicle stopped at an intersection with no visible lights. A traffic stop was initiated to address the violation, during which the driver showed signs of impairment from drugs and/or alcohol. The driver was asked to submit to field sobriety tasks and agreed. The driver performed poorly and was placed under arrest for DUI. At the jail, the driver refused to provide a urine sample. The driver was charged with appropriate citations and turned over to the Brevard County Jail.

Officer Marroquin was conducting resource inspections at a local fishing pier. While checking an individual for a fishing license, dispatch advised that the individual was wanted on an in-county felony warrant. The individual was placed under arrest and transported to the Brevard County Jail.

Officer Marroquin was conducting BUI enforcement at a local boat ramp when he saw the operator of a PWC returning from a spoil island without a lifejacket and violating the manatee zone. The operator showed signs of impairment as he stepped off the PWC. The operator performed poorly on field sobriety tasks and was placed under arrest for BUI. Infractions were issued for refusal to submit to a breath test and for not wearing a lifejacket on a PWC.

A man charged with fleeing and eluding Lieutenant Lightsey earlier in the year pled guilty and was sentenced to 36 months of probation, 24 months of driver’s license revoked, 50 hours of community service and a $100.00 fine for the cost of prosecution.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

While working late-night resource protection at Oslo Boat Ramp, Officers Platt and Graves saw a vehicle stopped at the boat ramp. The driver started a conversation with the officers and, during the interaction, showed signs of impairment from drugs and/or alcohol. The driver was asked if he would submit to field sobriety tasks and he agreed. The driver performed poorly and was placed under arrest for DUI. At the jail, the driver was asked to provide a breath test which recorded over three times the legal limit of alcohol of .08 blood alcohol content. The driver was charged with DUI and turned over to the Indian River County Jail.

Officers Kearney and Dubose conducted a fisheries inspection at a local fish house. The inspection revealed numerous violations including undersized sheepshead, undersized amberjack and insufficient records. Criminal citations were issued for the offenses.

LAKE COUNTY

Officers Morrow and Teal received information that a man had shot a great blue heron on his dock. During their investigation, the subject admitted to shooting the bird. The officers seized an air pellet rifle used in the crime and transported the injured bird to the East Coast Rehab Center. Charges were direct filed with the state attorney’s office.

VOLUSIA COUNTY

The north and south Volusia County squads participated in a boating safety targeted enforcement which focused on a large boating event held annually on Lake George. Additional FWC officers and deputies from the Volusia and Lake County Sherriff’s Offices participated due to the expected size of the event. One BUI arrest was made and uniform boating citations and written warnings were issued.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
BREVARD COUNTY

Lieutenant Zamonis and Officers Platt, Griffin and Marroquin participated in an outreach event at Sweetwater and Midway Airboat Clubs this week during their monthly meetings. Topics included boating safety, airboat specific requirements, resource protection and BUI awareness. The airboat clubs were very excited to have FWC as guest speakers and appreciated all the information they shared.

RESCUES
BREVARD COUNTY

Officer D. Humphrey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife officers responded the to the report of a vessel that was overturned with people in the water at Mosquito Lagoon. Officer D. Humphrey responded by vessel and picked up the other officers on the way. With the assistance from the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office helicopter, they located the sunken vessel and two men floating near the vessel. The men were rescued with the assistance of life jackets and a throwable device. A dog was also rescued. Both men and the dog were transported to shore and sustained no injuries.

SOUTHWEST REGION
CASES
HIGHLANDS COUNTY

Officer Smith was on night patrol travelling to check a boat ramp in Sebring and saw subject fail to yield or stop from a parking area before pulling out in front of Officer Smith's patrol vehicle, causing him to slam on his brakes to avoid a side impact collision. A vehicle stop was initiated, and alcohol could be smelled emitting from the vehicle. Based on the results of field sobriety tasks, the subject was arrested for DUI. The subject’s breath samples revealed a result of 0.086.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Officers Ferguson, Martinez and Phillippi worked a targeted enforcement action plan focusing on freshwater net violations in Mobbly Bayou Preserve. The officers received numerous tips regarding the use of cast nets to harvest undersized snook in the brackish water of the ponds. Officer Martinez worked the area in plain clothes while fishing from the bank. Several fishermen were seen throwing cast nets in an area prohibited by a Pinellas County Ordinance. The fishermen were approached by Officer Ferguson and checked for freshwater fishing licenses. One of the fishermen did not have a fishing license, and one of them refused to identify himself when being told he was going to receive a written warning for the cast net violation. The subject refused to identify himself after numerous warnings and was arrested for obstruction without violence and taken to the Pinellas County Jail.

Officer Martinez was on land patrol near the Gandy Bridge when he saw a subject spearfishing just off the seawall. When the subject surfaced, he saw Officer Martinez and dropped his spear gun and a stringer of fish. The subject stated he didn’t have anything and was just snorkeling. Officer Martinez advised the subject that he saw all his gear and he needed to retrieve it and exit the water. As the subject went to retrieve his gear, he attempted to let the fish on his stringer go, and splashed the water to conceal the fish floating away from the officer. The fish floated to the surface and were seized. The subject had speared an out-of-season and undersized snook. Charges for illegal method of take, out-of-season and undersized snook, as well as obstruction, were issued to the subject.

LEE COUNTY

Officers Stanley and Winton conducted a marine sanitation inspection on a floating structure used as a bait shop near the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River. During their investigation, the officers discovered that the vessel’s sewage was pumped directly into the water. The bait shop owner was cited for the violation and provided information about how to properly dispose of human waste.

Officer Price and K-9 Officer Collazo were on ATV patrol in the South Florida Water Management District vacant lands west of Vincent Road, where they located a white Ford F250 pickup truck abandoned on Sand Road. The vehicle was reported stolen last month out of Lee County. Lee County Sheriff’s Office deputies were transported to the off-road site with a side-by-side utility vehicle to complete the stolen vehicle recovery. The vehicle was subsequently removed and the vehicle owner was notified.

Officers Smith, Burks, Martin, Bergwerff, and Hughes got underway on the Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) Gulf Sentry. The officers left Saint Petersburg for a multiday patrol. They located the shrimp boat fleet off Lee County. One of the numerous shrimp boats the crew inspected had multiple turtle excluder device violations on more than one net. The vessel was issued three federal citations. On the last day of the patrol, a charter boat was inspected and the vessel captain did not have the proper USCG credentials. A federal citation was issued and the case was turned over to USCG.

PINELLAS COUNTY

While on land patrol near the Courtney Campbell Causeway, Officer Martinez saw a subject swimming in the water next to the seawall. He watched the subject for several minutes and realized that he was swimming back and forth facing the seawall as if he were spearfishing. Officer Martinez approached the subject and asked if he was fishing. The subject stated he was only “grabbing oysters.” After inspecting a bucket of oysters, Officer Martinez asked the subject if he had any other resource in his car, and he replied “no” and gave permission to search. A bag was found in the vehicle with four whole stone crab, one of which was egg bearing. The subject said he hid them under the passenger seat because he wasn't sure if they were legal. The subject was issued the appropriate misdemeanor citations for his violations.

While on water patrol near the Gandy Bridge, Officer Phillippi and Lieutenant Van Trees saw numerous people fishing from the base of a bridge support. As the officers approached, a subject quickly ran away to the opposite side of the support beam where the officers couldn’t see him. Lieutenant Van Trees jumped from the boat to the support beam and followed the subject. He saw the subject taking a sheepshead off a string and was starting to throw it into the water. Lieutenant Van Trees shouted at the suspect right before he threw it into the water. Lieutenant Van Trees took possession of the fish and asked if there were any more fish. The subject replied “no,” but more undersized sheepshead were found in a nearby cooler. The subject was cited for possession of undersized sheepshead.

Officer Martinez was on land patrol on Gandy Beach when he saw a man wading in the water with a dip net and a plastic tub behind him. Officer Martinez performed a resource inspection and found that the man was in possession of 12 whole stone crabs, two egg-bearing and nine with claws smaller than the legal limit. Officer Martinez cited him for possession of whole stone crab and possession of undersized stone crab claws. He also issued the man a warning for possession of egg-bearing females.

Numerous officers responded to Belleair Causeway Boat Ramp in regards to a single vessel accident where one individual sustained serious injury. While gathering information, the officers saw signs of impairment from the operator. The vessel and other items were seized as evidence, and the operator was arrested for several navigation rule violations and BUI. Investigator Schefano will complete the accident report.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
LEE COUNTY

Lieutenant Ruggiero responded to a call about a hawk stuck in a fence at Cypress Lake High School. When he arrived, he met with the complainant who had video of a red-shouldered hawk with its beak stuck through a chain link fence and it was unable to free itself. The complainant got the hawk free and it ran off into some nearby bushes. The hawk was hiding in the bushes and was captured using a towel. The red-shouldered hawk was delivered to CROW where it received a health check-up. The hawk did not have any major injuries and should make a full recovery.

RESCUES
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Officers Phillippi and Ferguson responded to a call from dispatch about a jet ski that had run aground in the Rocky Creek area, just north of the Courtney Campbell Causeway. After other vessels were unable to get to the stranded subject, Officers Phillippi and Ferguson used a shallow-water flats boat to navigate the back waters during a very low tide. After pushing the vessel over a shallow grass bank, the officers located a subject wading through the water toward them. The jet ski operator was wet and complaining of being eaten by mosquitoes, but happy to see the responding officers. The officers took him on board and with the help of a full moon, transported him back through the skinny waters to the safety of the Courtney Campbell Boat Ramp.

PASCO COUNTY

Officer Cocke and Investigator Tsongranis responded to Lake Nash in Holiday to assist Pasco County Sheriff’s Office with the retrieval of three individuals that were stuck on the lake. One small vessel had become stuck when the wind had blown their vessel into heavy hydrilla. A Good Samaritan had also become stuck while trying to assist the other individuals. Officer Cocke and Investigator Tsongranis safely removed all the individuals and brought them back to shore.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
HARDEE COUNTY

Officer Franks conducted a community outreach at the Agri-Civic Center for the Hardee County Emergency Management Hurricane Expo. Officer Franks spoke to approximately 150 attendees about the role the FWC plays in emergencies and the equipment used to aid the public. He also talked about the many areas of conservation, law enforcement and boating safety. Officer Franks handed out a variety of information about Florida and answered questions from the public.

SOUTH REGION A
CASES
HENDRY COUNTY

Captive Wildlife Investigator Doricchi obtained a search warrant for a resident that was in possession of captive wildlife without a license. Members of FWC Special Operations Group (SOG) assisted by clearing the residence to ensure it was safe for the Captive Wildlife Investigators to enter. The search of the property revealed the illegal possession of a bobcat, raccoon, rattlesnake, red-tailed hawk and a crow. These animals were seized and placed at a properly licensed facility. The owner of the animals received 13 misdemeanor citations for the illegal possession of the animals, improper caging and other animal welfare violations. One non-criminal citation and nine warnings were also issued for violations related to this incident.

MARTIN COUNTY

Officer Cobo was called to assist Jonathan Dickinson State Park Ranger Bleau with a park patron flying an apparatus (drone) inside park boundaries. The patron refused to comply with the park ranger’s repeated requests to stop flying the drone. The park patron was issued two infractions, one for failing to comply with park staff and the other for deploying a flying apparatus inside a state park.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

A complaint was received that an unidentified subject was placing fishing lines in the water for catching turtles. During the months of May, June and July, no softshell turtles may be taken from the wild. Investigators Woolrich and Sierra responded to the area and located fishing lines. In addition, they saw softshell turtles hooked on several of the lines and no identifying information on the fishing lines (as required by law). The next day, Investigators Woolrich and Sierra contacted a subject they saw taking softshell turtles off the unmarked fishing lines. The subject was found to be in possession of seven softshell turtles. Investigator Woolrich issued the subject a citation for violations of possession of softshell turtles during closed season, over daily bag limit of softshell turtles, and taking softshell turtles using an unmarked fishing device. The Florida Administrative Code, 68A-25.002, contains general provisions for taking, possession and sale of reptiles, which includes softshell turtles.

Officers Godward and Spradling responded to a boating accident involving a dinghy that had crashed into the back of a motor boat. The operator of the dinghy was cited for careless operation and a boating accident self-report form was issued.

Officer Toby saw two individuals inside the South Florida Water Management District’s (SFWMD) Stormwater Treatment Area 1 West property. The two individuals were in an area that was closed to public access, were fishing in this area and had multiple game fish in their possession. Officer Muina arrived to assist. Officers Toby and Muina escorted both individuals out of the property and addressed the violations. Both individuals were issued two misdemeanor citations each; one for fishing in a closed area and one for illegal entrance into the property.

Officers Dial, Muina and Toby saw an individual fishing with a cast net near Belle Glade and conducted a fisheries inspection. The individual was unable to provide a valid freshwater fishing license and had caught six game fish with the cast net; specifically, two black bass, two bluegill, and two sunfish. The individual was issued a misdemeanor citation for taking game fish by illegal method and a written warning for fishing without a valid freshwater fishing license.

RESCUES
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officers Toby and Dial were notified of multiple individuals who were lost in the J.W. Corbett WMA. The individuals had been driving in an unfamiliar area and gotten their vehicle stuck off trail. Once stuck, they flagged down an individual that was passing by for assistance. The assisting individual ended up getting stuck as well. In total, five individuals, including one young child, were stranded in the WMA and in need of assistance. Officers Toby and Dial located them and gave them water to drink. They all appeared to be in good condition. A tow company was used to remove the stuck vehicles. The individual driving the vehicle which first became stuck was educated and issued warnings for an off-trail violation and no management area permit.

Officers Godward and Spradling rescued a man who fell off his sailboat and was unable to get back into his vessel. They physically pulled the exhausted boater from the water and placed him into their patrol boat.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROL
PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Hankinson patrolled the intracoastal waterway in West Palm Beach during the Sun Fest Event. He promoted and monitored boating safety compliance in the high-traffic areas. Numerous boating violations were addressed accordingly.

SOUTH REGION B
CASES
COLLIER COUNTY

While on patrol in Picayune Strand State Forest, Officer Lugg came across several subjects that were wet and seemed to have been fishing. When asked, they denied that they had been fishing. Upon further investigation, one subject admitted to fishing in the state forest and gave the officer consent to search his vehicle. In the trunk of the vehicle, a burlap bag was found that contained two snook, a tarpon, eight largemouth bass, and several other nonregulated freshwater species. The subjects were arrested for numerous misdemeanor violations, including undersized, out-of-season snook, taking saltwater and freshwater gamefish by illegal method, illegal possession of tarpon and over the bag limit for black bass.

Officers Curbelo and Polly responded to an anonymous tip that a subject had two small alligators in a fish tank in his residence. While investigating the complaint, the officers saw the subject leaving the area. Officer Polly remained near the subject’s residence to observe any activity, while Officer Curbelo followed the subject’s vehicle to a residence in Naples. When the subject exited his vehicle, Officer Curbelo approached the subject to speak to him. When the subject agreed to speak, he was read his Miranda rights. The subject stated that he still had the alligators in a fish tank in his bedroom and that he would take Officer Curbelo back to his house and turn the alligators over to him. While waiting for Officer Curbelo to return, Officer Polly was approached by the subject’s mother who asked why he was there. When Officer Polly replied that he was waiting for her son to return, the mother asked if it was about the alligators. Both the mother and son gave the officers consent to search the residence, and the officers discovered two juvenile American alligators in a fish tank in the subject’s bedroom. The subject was issued a notice to appear for two counts of illegal possession of American alligator.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Officers from the off-shore patrol vessel OPV Fearless took part in a multi-day Dry Tortugas marine fisheries enforcement patrol. During their patrol and while returning to Ft. Jefferson from Pulley Ridge, they noticed a radar contact within the boundary lines of the North Tortugas Ecological Reserve. Upon approaching the anchored fishing vessel, the Fearless crew saw two yellowtail snapper floating directly behind its stern. The floating fish were recovered the officers boarded the vessel. They discovered 40 yellowtail snapper on board and the two floating snapper put the four fishermen over their daily allowable limit. The vessel was also in possession of 6 scamp grouper, 1 red grouper, and 1 mackerel. A consensual look through the captain’s GPS revealed a manually inputted coordinate in the exact location where he was anchored. All the fish were seized and the captain was cited for interference and illegally fishing in the North Tortuga Ecological Reserve.

Captive Wildlife Investigator Landa responded to a complaint regarding the illegal possession of a marmoset monkey. The individual was not licensed to possess the monkey, provided the information of the licensed individual who he received the monkey from, and was issued warnings for illegal possession of captive wildlife. Investigators Landa and Smith next visited the individual that transferred the monkey illegally. Misdemeanor citations were issued for the illegal transfer and improper caging, which led to an escape.

RESCUES
COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Plussa was on patrol when he arrived on the scene of a two-car collision. Officer Plussa saw that one of the drivers was unable to exit her vehicle due to the damage on the driver’s side. Realizing that the vehicle was also leaking fuel, Officer Plussa assisted the driver from the vehicle from the passenger side and removed her to a safe distance. Officers Plussa and Johnson then remained on the scene to assist with traffic until the Sheriff’s deputies could respond.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

While OPV Fearless and crew were on patrol, Tow Boat US received a mayday call via cell phone. The persons in distress advised Tow Boat US that their vessel had sank and they were all in the water approximately 5 miles east of Elliot Key. Due to the rough offshore weather conditions, Tow Boat US called the OPV Fearless and relayed the information. The Fearless responded to the general vicinity and began searching along with a Miami-Dade police helicopter. Just minutes into the search, the Fearless saw the police helicopter hover over a specific area. The crew approached the area and noticed the sunken vessel with four individuals floating nearby. A rescue throw bag was tossed to them and all four individuals clung to the rescue line and were pulled to safety on board the Fearless. No medical treatment was necessary.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
COLLIER, MIAMI-DADE, MONROE COUNTIES

Officers from Collier, Monroe, and Miami-Dade counties, as well as the BUI Task Force, joined forces with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Marco Island Police Department, Naples Police Department, and the USCG for the 41st Annual Great Dock Canoe Race and resulting party on Keewaydin Island. This annual event draws large crowds of boaters and partygoers every year and this year was no exception. FWC officers checked 165 vessels and issued 36 boating safety citations. The officers arrested 6 subjects for BUI (the highest recorded blood alcohol content was .153).

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Officers and command staff attended the annual Law Enforcement Memorial which took place in Tropical Park. The ceremony to honor fallen officers included agencies from city, state and federal levels. A 21-gun salute and a helicopter flyover concluded the ceremony.

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