SANTA ROSA COUNTY
Officer Jones responded to a complaint of a boating accident in the vicinity of the Navarre Beach Boat Ramp. He found that two rental personal watercraft (PWCs) had collided resulting in property damage. The vessels were occupied by a total of three adults and there were no injuries.
Officer Maltais responded to a vessel accident involving serious injury when an occupant on board a rental pontoon fell overboard when the vessel hit a large wake in Choctawhatchee Bay. The occupant fell from the bow of the vessel and was struck by the prop resulting in severe lacerations. The injured subject was air lifted from the Destin United States Coast Guard (USCG) Station and transported to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola. The woman remains hospitalized in serious condition. Investigator Goley responded to the accident and the investigation is ongoing.
Officers White, Maltais and Molnar stopped a vessel near Destin Pass after receiving information that the operator may be intoxicated. Upon stopping the vessel to conduct a vessel safety inspection, the officers observed numerous empty beer cans and the operator struggling to stand and displaying signs of impairment. Field sobriety exercises confirmed he was impaired. He was placed under arrest and transported to the Destin USCG station where he refused to submit a breath sample to determine his breath alcohol content. The vessel operator was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail and charged with boating while impaired.
Officer Maltais responded to a vessel accident near Crab Island in Destin when a male jumped from a pontoon vessel for a swim. As the man left the vessel, his left ring finger became caught between the gate and the vessel railing causing amputation of the finger. The man was air-lifted to Sacred Heart hospital. Investigator Goley responded and the accident investigation is ongoing.
Officers Anderson and Allen were patrolling Alligator Point when they observed a net boat working along the shore line. The officers watched the vessel that had two men on board. As they watched the vessel deploy its nets several times, they could see that the nets were connected and being fished from the vessel. The officers watched as the net boat deployed the nets three or four times and each time the nets were deployed and retrieved as one continuous net. During the surveillance, Officers Anderson and Allen contacted Officer Gore who responded in a vessel so that an inspection of the net boat could be conducted. There were four nylon nets connected on board. There were also 120 pounds of mullet. The nets and mullet were seized and both individuals were cited for connecting two nets to exceed 500 square feet and fishing more than two nets from a vessel. The fish were sold to the highest bidder. A measurement of the connected nets indicated more than 2,300 square feet of net were being fished from the vessel. Additional charges of fishing over 2,000 square feet will be direct filed.
NORTH CENTRAL REGION
Officers Griffis and Blackburn stopped a truck coming out of an area known for hunting and dumping. Officer Griffis recognized the subject from having warned him a year prior for possession of alcohol under 21 years of age. The individual again showed signs of impairment and Officer Griffis administered Standardized Field Sobriety Tasks (SFSTs). The individual performed poorly on the SFSTs and was placed under arrest for DUI and possession of alcohol under 21 years of age. At the Nassau County Jail, the subject provided breath samples of 0.219 and 0.224.
Officers Brown and Griffis were conducting license and resource inspections at Gofinsville Boat Ramp in Fernandina Beach. Officer Griffis found an individual to be in possession of an egg-bearing blue crab. A records check confirmed the individual had a warrant out of Nassau County for possession of marijuana and cocaine. Officer Griffis arrested the individual and transported him into Nassau County Jail on the warrant and issued a written warning for the blue crab violation.
Investigator Izsak and Officer Griffis were conducting license and resource inspections at Stockton Park. Investigator Izsak made contact with an individual who showed a possible warrant out of Clay County. The warrant was confirmed and Investigator Izsak and Officer Griffis arrested the individual and booked him into the Duval County Jail for a writ of bodily attachment for failure to pay child support.
Officer Troedson conducted a fisheries check on a male subject and several of his friends who were fishing and drinking beer along the river at 1700 River Road in Jacksonville. Officer Troedson advised all that had a beer that they were in a city park and that alcoholic beverages were not allowed. All willingly poured their remaining beer out and presented their fishing licenses except the one male subject. The records check revealed an active warrant from St. Johns County for possession of less than 20 grams of Marijuana. Dispatch confirmed the warrant was signed on January 30, 2013, with no bond set and extradition to St. Johns County. The male subject was arrested and booked into the Duval County Jail.
Officer Troedson initiated a traffic stop on a male subject exiting Sheffield Park in Jacksonville. The park was closed, and the male subject had been swimming in a posted "No Swimming" area. A records check revealed two outstanding warrants on the subject for misdemeanor domestic battery and criminal mischief. The male subject was arrested and booked into the Duval County Jail.
Officers Holleman and Blackburn were able to save a canine in distress while on water patrol. There was a Greyhound that had become stranded in deep mud along Trout River. With the help of two citizens on a canoe, they rescued the dog from the elements and Officer Blackburn took the dog home and cared for it for the night. He took it to a Greyhound Rescue facility the following day in Jacksonville.
Officer Boone had been working the unlawful taking of alligators in Lafayette County. Officer Boone observed a subject at his place of work, just off of US highway 27, as he was attempting to clean two gator tails. Officer Boone made contact with the subject who admitted to taking the two alligators the night before in the southern end of Lafayette County. Officer Boone seized both of the gator tails as evidence and issued the subject a notice to appear for the unlawful taking of alligator.
Officer Boone talked to two different groups of children this past week in Suwannee County. The first group included 17 children at the Branford library, who were part of the Century 21 group, and the second group included 45 youth at Branford High School gym, who were part of a youth summer camp. Officer Boone talked to both groups about boating safety, and the job and duties of an FWC Officer.
Officers Morgan and Bohne were on water patrol in the area of Port Canaveral checking vessels for violations during the lobster mini season. A check of a vessel at the mouth of Port Canaveral revealed several lobster on board, one of which was egg bearing. An interview of the occupants revealed that one of them had harvested the illegal lobster as indicated by an identifying notch he had placed in the lobsterís tail fin. The man was issued a citation for possession of an egg-bearing spiny lobster.
Officer Bohne received a call from the public about illegal spearing activity on the buoy line leading out of the mouth of Port Canaveral. RPS Officers Zamonis and Humphrey responded by water and land, respectively, to provide surveillance. Officer Bohne responded in a marked patrol vessel. Working together in two separate vessels, the officers maintained surveillance on the suspect vessel until they confirmed they were spear fishing in state waters. A subsequent resource and boating safety inspection revealed two illegally speared Tripletail on the vessel. Officer Bohne issued the two men a combination of several charges ranging from misdemeanor charges for illegal method of harvesting Tripletail and no commercial fishing license to two boating infractions for no light on a commercial PFD and no dive flag. The fish and spear guns were seized as evidence.
While on night vessel patrol, Officers Lightsey and Rutherford conducted a vessel inspection in the Indian River Lagoon. While conducting the inspection, the operator of the vessel tossed a cigarette into the water in front of the officers. The man was disoriented and did not know which direction he was heading, what county he was in or where exactly his destination was. The man had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his body. A records check revealed the man had seven prior DUIs. He performed poorly on field sobriety exercises and was arrested for BUI as well as refusal to submit to a breath test (second or subsequent offense); a citation was also issued for littering.
While patrolling Sebastian Inlet State Park, Officer Rasey approached three subjects in the park's cove area to perform a resource inspection. While on scene, Officer Rasey discovered thirteen fish between the three males (seven Sheepshead and six Mangrove Snappers). Of those, three Snappers were undersized and all seven Sheepshead were undersized. When asked about the fish, the subjects stated they did not know what kind of fish they had and were not aware of the regulations. Each subject received a misdemeanor citation for possession of undersized Sheepshead and warnings for no saltwater fishing license and consumption of alcohol in a state park. Additionally, two of the three subjects received warnings for possession of undersized mangrove snapper.
While on patrol, Officer Lightsey observed a man he had spoken with before fishing in the Goat Creek area. Officer Lightsey approached the man and noticed a Snook tail sticking out of his front pocket. A resource inspection revealed the man was in possession of two undersized Snook, out of season, and did not possess a Snook stamp or fishing license. Officer Lightsey had explained the laws to the man previously. The man received a notice to appear for the violations.
Officers Lightsey and Rutherford were on foot patrol of the 192 Causeway in Melbourne when they heard yelling and screaming coming from under the bridge. The officers arrived in time to see a man yelling while being pulled out of the water by two people. The man and subsequent witnesses stated that he got into a confrontation with another angler who had come up behind him and pushed him into the water. Officer Rutherford placed the suspect under arrest for battery. While walking to the officerís car, the handcuffed man tried to pull away from Officer Lightsey to jump into the water. The man was charged with battery and resisting arrest without violence and booked into the Brevard County jail.
Officers from Brevard and Indian River counties worked Operation Tickle Stick 3 for the two-day lobster mini-season. The officers worked approximately 200 hours of patrol time specifically targeting anglers in search of spiny lobster in the Sebastian Inlet area. During the detail, the officers checked approximately 216 vessels and 750 users. Officers Rutherford, Saunders and Lightsey each made one case for possession of egg-bearing lobster. There were eight boating citations, six resource citations and forty-seven warnings issued for various violations.
While concluding their involvement in the first day of Operation Tickle Stick 3, Officers Lightsey, Rutherford and Ash were dispatched to a call of a subject allegedly using an entangling net in the area of VIP Island in southern Brevard County. The officers responded by boat to the island and conducted surveillance from shore. They observed a woman with a large net on her boat. When they made contact with her, they discovered it indeed was an entangling net. They escorted her to a boat ramp nearby to conduct their investigation. Investigator Corfield and Lieutenant Urban responded to assist. The net was found to be an entangling gill net approximately a hundred yards long. The female suspect admitted to using the net and knowing it was against the law. Officer Lightsey placed her under arrest for felony charges of possessing and using an entangling gill net and a misdemeanor for not having the net properly marked. She was booked into the Brevard County jail and the net was seized as evidence.
Officer Klein coordinated an outreach event at Loretto Elementary School summer camp with assistance from Officer Robison. They provided a brief overview of FWC's mission to approximately 90 children and helped them identify common animals by utilizing the wildlife trailer. The children were given the opportunity to touch and identify several animal pelts and were afforded the opportunity to touch a live alligator. Each child was photographed as they held the alligator and the director of the camp sent a picture home with them.
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY
Environmental Investigator Rutherford, in coordination with Department of Environmental Protection and Indian River County regulatory personnel, conducted an investigation concerning the unlawful discharge of chemicals by an auto salvage yard in Vero. During the investigation, he discovered several automotive chemicals, to include oils and battery acid, leaking from improper storage and crushing operations. Waste tires were stored out in the open at several locations at the facility allowing mosquito larvae to flourish in the water that had collected in the tires. During heavy rain, all of these pollutant sources would flow across the ground of the salvage yard and off site into a storm water drain. The owner was cited for five violations: the discharge of a pollutant upon water or land; storage of waste oil in unlabelled and leaking storage tanks; the discharge of used oil into soils; the discharge of waste to waters without a permit and maintaining a nuisance injurious to health. During Investigator Rutherfordís investigation, it was determined one of the co-owners of the facility had attended training by Indian River County on the proper procedures for operating an auto salvage business.
While on patrol of Sebastian Inlet State Park, Officer Lightsey observed a vehicle with an expired registration. A records check through dispatch revealed that the owner of the vehicle also had a suspended driverís license. Officer Lightsey conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle. Officer Rutherford arrived on scene to provide assistance. As Officer Lightsey approached the passenger side of the vehicle, he smelled the very strong odor of cannabis coming from the passenger compartment. A search of the passenger revealed cannabis in his waistband and a container with cannabis in the center console area of the car. The passenger was issued a notice to appear for possession of cannabis under 20 grams. The driver of the vehicle received a citation from Officer Rutherford for expired vehicle registration.
Officer Yetter received information and responded to Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge in reference to a subject throwing a cast net in the impoundment ponds. Upon arrival, Officer Yetter located and observed from a distance, four individuals, three fishing with rods and reels, and one throwing a cast net. Officer Yetter approached and found the subject who was throwing the cast net to be in possession of a soaking wet backpack. A resource inspection revealed a two-foot headless alligator inside the backpack. The head was located in another compartment of the backpack. The subject admitted to catching and killing the alligator. The subject was issued a notice to appear for the violation.
Officer Ervin tracked down a property owner who hired another subject to dig up aquatic vegetation with a tractor in Lake Jackson in Sebring. The subject who did the digging was apprehended by Officer Patterson and cited the previous week. The property owner wanted to remove vegetation along the lakeís edge to facilitate the mooring of a sea plane. After an interview, the subject confessed to hiring the other man to remove the vegetation and received a notice to appear in court for destruction of state lands.
SOUTH REGION A
Lieutenant Laubenberger, while on patrol in Ft. Lauderdale during mini- season in the early morning hours, observed an individual walking up from the beach near the Commercial Pier. Upon contact with the individual, he was found to be in possession of two spiny lobsters. One of the two had a large clutch of eggs. With this information, Officer Wright issued the individual a citation for possession of an egg-bearing spiny lobster. The lobster, which was still alive, was returned back into the ocean.
Officers Rodriguez and Wright were on patrol in Ft. Lauderdale during lobster mini-season. During the early morning hours, they observed individuals with a bag of spiny lobster at their vehicle. Among the bag of spiny lobster, three were found to be undersized. With this information, Officer Rodriguez issued one individual a citation for possession of three undersized spiny lobsters. The three lobsters were still alive and Officer Rodriguez released all three back into the ocean.
Lieutenant Laubenberger, while on patrol in Ft. Lauderdale during mini season in the early morning hours, observed a vessel in the Ft. Lauderdale Marina displaying a dive flag and several individuals around it. Upon conducting a marine fisheries inspection, one individual was found to be in possession of one egg-bearing spiny lobster. The live lobster was returned to the water. One individual was issued a citation for possession of an egg-bearing spiny lobster.
Officer Warne was on patrol in John U. Lloyd State Park. He observed a vessel heading towards the marina. He made contact with the vessel and noticed there was fish blood throughout the vessel. Shortly after stopping the vessel, Officer Wright arrived as a back- up unit. A marine fisheries and boating safety inspection was conducted. With information gathered, three individuals were issued citations for possession of undersized dolphin and over the bag limit of dolphin. The dead dolphin were seized as evidence.
Officer Warne was on enhanced patrol on South Florida Water Management District Property. He observed a vehicle pull onto the property and park. After a few minutes, he made contact with the vehicle and could smell the odor of cannabis emitting from the open window. Officer Warne asked if there were any drugs in the vehicle. A total of three clear, plastic bags containing a green leafy substance were turned over to Officer Warne. All three bags were field-tested positive for cannabis. Two subjects were cited for possession of cannabis under 20 grams. One subject was cited for possession of cannabis under 20 grams and possession of paraphernalia
On the second day of mini-season, Officer Brock was on water patrol in the vicinity of the Hillsboro Inlet. He stopped a vessel that was displaying diving gear to conduct a marine fisheries and boating safety inspection. During the inspection, the vessel was found to have two spiny lobsters on board that showed signs of having eggs stripped. The two lobsters still had eggs attached to themselves. With this information Officer Brock issued citation to one individual for the possession of egg bearing spiny lobster. The two female lobster were returned to the water alive.
Officer Brock stopped another vessel in the vicinity of Hillsboro Inlet that was displaying diving gear for a marine fisheries and boating safety inspection. Officer Brock observed three undersized lobsters that were located in the live well of the vessel. With this information, Officer Brock issued one citation for possession of three undersized spiny lobsters. The three lobsters were released back into the water alive.
Lieutenant Laubenberger assisted Hollywood Police Department with their honors funeral for one of their detectives. This took place at Fred Hunters Cemetery in Hollywood.
Officer Sullivan and Lieutenant Laubenberger patrolled in Storm Treatment Area 2 and made contact with participants in the Youth Alligator Hunt. The hunt was successful with juveniles learning how to hunt alligators in a controlled atmosphere. They then continued to patrol the large areas of Holeyland, Rottenberger and Everglades WMAs that are currently closed to public access due to the high water in the area.
Officer Coffin arrived to assist Ft. Lauderdale Fire Rescue with an individual that had apparently suffered a heart attack while recreating at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. The individual was transported and unfortunately died from his heart attack
While conducting fisheries inspections during the mini-lobster season, Officer Woolrich made three cases, two for possession of undersized lobster and one for no measuring device.
Officer Woolrich was conducting freshwater fisheries inspections at the C-23 Canal spillway when he came upon an individual that was over the recreational bag limit for black bass. The individual was cited for the violation.
PALM BEACH COUNTY
Officer Wright received a call from Palm Beach Sheriffs Office Deputy Miller that he had a vessel stopped off of the Jupiter Inlet with five undersized Florida spiny lobsters. Officer Wright notified Lieutenant Russo and Officer Kellerman who were patrolling near the Jupiter Inlet. Lieutenant Russo issued a citation to the vessel operator for possession of undersized Florida spiny lobster and returned the lobster alive to the water.
Officer Webb conducted resource inspections and found one subject to be in possession of undersized spiny lobsters. The subject was cited for the violation.
While patrolling in the Corbett WMA over the weekend, Officer Webb observed a vehicle traveling on the grade. Officer Webb stopped the vehicle to check for a day-use fee receipt or Wildlife Management Area stamp. While talking with the subject, Officer Webb noticed the smell of marijuana coming from the vehicle. Officer Webb asked for some ID and the subject could not produce a driverís license. Officer Webb noticed an open container of an alcoholic beverage in the vehicle. After running the subjectís name and date of birth, Officer Webb confirmed that the subject did have a driverís license but was under the age of 21. The subject was subsequently arrested for possession of marijuana, possession of alcohol by a person under the age of 21, and was cited for having an open container and not carrying a driverís license. The subject was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail and the vehicle was towed.
ST. LUCIE COUNTY
The St. Lucie crew was out in force during the two-day lobster mini-season. With help from officers from Okeechobee, five lobster cases, two fishery cases, and numerous infractions were written in the enforcement effort. Officers LaFoy, Irwin, JPayne and Patterson also assisted in a multi-agency search and rescue for a person reported missing in the water off the Jetty at the Ft. Pierce Inlet.
Officers Pifer and Deweese were conducting fisheries inspections in the Ft. Pierce Inlet during the two-day lobster mini-season. Officer Pifer stopped a vessel and found one individual on board to be in possession of one egg-bearing spiny lobster. The subject was issued a citation for the violation. Later in the day, Officer Pifer conducted a fisheries inspection on another vessel in the Ft. Pierce Inlet and found one individual on board to be in possession of two, egg-bearing spiny lobsters. The subject was cited for the violation.
Investigator Patterson and Officer Payne were contacted by Customs and Border Patrol and asked to assist with a vessel boarding. During the boarding they found ten queen conch shells, two bags of frozen conch and eight Bahama Star Fish. Misdemeanor charges have been filled for possession of conch on state waters, possession of conch shells on state waters, and possession of Bahama Star Fish.
Officers Pifer, Deweese, and K-9 Officer Kirkland were conducting fisheries inspections in the Ft. Pierce Inlet during the second day of lobster mini-season when Officer Pifer received information that St. Lucie Sheriffís deputies had a vessel stopped that was in possession of eleven undersized spiny lobsters. One individual claimed possession of the lobster and was issued a citation for the violation.
Officer Cogburn and Investigator Patterson stopped a vessel fishing in the Ft. Pierce Inlet to conduct a fisheries and boating safety inspection. They found the subjects to be in possession of an undersized mutton snapper. The individual was issued a citation for the violation.
Officer Pifer was conducting boating safety and fisheries inspections in the ICW in Ft. Pierce when he stopped a vessel with two individuals actively engaged in fishing. His fisheries inspection revealed one individual to be in possession of three undersized mutton snapper. The subject was issued a citation for the violation.
SOUTH REGION B
Lieutenant Barrett was on water patrol with the USCG, Station Key West, in Monroe County, during the lobster mini season. During a resource inspection, Lt. Barrett found two divers to have harvested 31 lobsters, which was 19 over their bag limit, as well as undersized mutton snapper. Appropriate citations were issued.
Lieutenant Barrett was on water patrol with the USCG, Station Key West, in Monroe County during the lobster mini season. Lieutenant Barrett witnessed a 30-foot center console vessel run on full plane through a cluster of vessels displaying dive flags with divers in the water. The vessel ran well within 300 feet of at least seven of those vessels without slowing down, seriously endangering the divers. The operator of the vessel was stopped and charged with reckless operation.
Officer Van Trees worked a double-tripping case in Monroe County during the lobster mini season. While the subjects were coming and going, Officer Van Trees watched the subjects unload lobsters during an eight-hour period. He called K-9 Officer Collazo for assistance as they returned from their final trip. After inspecting their catch and counting their lobster, Officer Van Trees confronted the subjects about what they had been doing. Subsequently, one subject admitted to double tripping and to keeping over the legal bag limit of lobster in his home. The subject was cited for having 21 lobsters over the legal bag limit. K-9 Officer Collazo and Officer Van Trees released 21 live lobsters back into the water.
Officer Smith was on water patrol with the United States Coast Guard (USCG) during the lobster mini season around the waters of Harbor Keys in Monroe County. While the USCG conducted boating safety inspections, Officer Smith conducted resource inspections. Officer Smith made three separate undersized lobster cases in which she found a total of 12 undersized lobsters between the cases. The live undersized lobsters were returned to the waters. The three subjects each received a resource citation.
K-9 Officer Collazo, Investigator Stiffler and Officer Stastny attended a childrenís summer camp at Vineyards Community Park to talk about resource protection and answer questions. Officer Collazo brought K-9 Jasmine and demonstrated her skills and abilities. Investigator Stiffler brought a corn snake, an indigo snake and a Burmese python to demonstrate the differences between them. Officer Stastny brought an alligator and spoke about its characteristics and habitat. There were over 100 children in attendance.
Officer Mert was on water patrol in the area of the Haulover sandbar when he overheard a call via VHF radio from a charter boat captain whose vessel was struck by a PWC. The PWC fled the scene and caused a party on his vessel to be injured. The captain gave a description of the fleeing PWC. Officer Mert immediately responded to the area and spotted a PWC that matched the description of the striking vessel. Officer Mert proceeded to stop the PWC and, based on the description and the physical evidence, determined that this indeed was the vessel involved in the accident earlier. After conducting his investigation, Officer Mert arrested the subject for fleeing the scene of an accident with injuries. The suspect was transported to jail.
While on water patrol at night assisting the USCG on an unrelated call, Officer Mert observed a vessel coming in to the Pelican Harbor Boat Ramp. Officer Mert proceeded to conduct a fisheries and boating safety inspection only to find the operator of the vessel was in possession of five undersized mutton snapper and one undersized yellow tail snapper. The subject was cited with two misdemeanors and issued two warnings.
Officer Padilla and Lieutenant Kaloostian were on water patrol during the mini lobster season.
They stopped a vessel whose subjects had obtained their limit of lobsters. However, further inspection revealed one large, freshly harvested stone crab claw hidden on board the vessel. The operator of the vessel was cited for the closed-season violation.
Lieutenant Maza and Officer Perez were on water patrol in the area of the Bayside Market Place, in Miami, conducting boating safety and fisheries inspections. During one stop, Officer Perez discovered that a subject on board one of the vessels had an active bench warrant for driving with a suspended license. The subject was arrested and transported to jail by Officer Negron.
Officer Perez conducted a vessel stop at Dinner Key Boat Ramp and located a Nassau grouper on the vessel. The subject was educated on the different types of grouper and cited for the violation.
Officer Ingellis responded to a call from the USCG involving two people in the water approximately one mile offshore in the Haulover Inlet. Upon arrival, with assistance from the Indian Creek Marine Patrol, USCG and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, Officer Ingellis retrieved both subjects from the water and brought them safely back to shore. Both subjects stated they were caught in a rip tide and pulled out to sea. Information was given to both subjects on how to safely swim out of a rip tide.
Officers Ingellis took several media outlets on ride alongs during the lobster mini season. As a result, the FWCís resource protection and boating safety message was delivered to the masses.
Lieutenant Peters was contacted by an anonymous source pertaining to an advertisement on craigslist regarding the sale of lobster tails. The advertisement read "Fresh Lobster Tails-$10 a tail. Officer Pena-Lopez received a reply by text to his attempts to contact the number listed later on that morning. Officer Pena-Lopez was able to agree to the purchase of twenty-five fresh lobster tails for the price of $250.00. The advertiser set up the sale located in the Kmart parking lot in Marathon that afternoon. The advertiser stated the lobster tails were frozen but had only been frozen for three days; thus, guaranteeing their freshness and indicating the lobsters were harvested during the recreational mini-season. Officers Messier, Adams and Lieutenant Peters set up in an unmarked patrol vehicle inside the parking lot while
Officer Pena-Lopez conducted the plain-clothes purchase. Officer Pena-Lopez was able to purchase the twenty-five lobster tails for $250.00 from the female subject in Marathon. The subject was arrested and taken to jail for the unlicensed sale of saltwater products and possession/sale of Florida Spiny Lobster during the closed season. She was also charged with not possessing a saltwater products license, not possessing a retail dealer license, and not possessing bills of laden and invoices pertaining to the transport of saltwater products.
Investigator Brown and Lieutenant Cabanas were on water patrol south of Key West. Officers observed two males with spear poles snorkeling towards shore approximately 1/4 mile south of the Casa Marina Resort. We stopped to check their catch. The divers said they had each shot and ultimately speared a single grouper. When asked what species of grouper they had speared, neither diver knew the species. Upon closer inspection, the grouper was identified as a Goliath grouper. The divers were taken to Monroe County Jail and each charged with possession of Goliath Grouper.
Officers Swensson and Bartlett responded to a boating accident on the bay side of Snake Creek in Islamorada. Officers arrived and found a vessel lodged up into the mangroves with four passengers on board. Officer Bartlett approached the vessel and assisted Tow Boat US with removing the vessel from the mangroves and towing it out to deeper water. Once the vessel was free, it was taken to the USCG station in Islamorada and two injured occupants were taken to the hospital and treated. The operator of the vessel was issued a citation for careless operation and the owner was issued a citation for improper use of a dealer license.
Officer Futch and Investigator Fugate were working information they received on divers that were making more than one trip to catch over the bag limit of lobsters at Outdoor Resort on Lower Matecumbe Key. Officers watched a vessel with four men come into the marina and unload forty lobsters before leaving again from the marina to harvest another limit of lobster. While they were preparing to leave the marina, they heard them stating how they do this every year. When they returned from their second trip, officers checked their catch and they had harvested eighty lobsters total, fifty-six more lobsters than their daily limit. All four men were cited for possession of over the limit lobster and their catch was seized as evidence.
"Operation Cookie Jar," set up by Lieutenant Riesz and worked by several officers, was a targeted enforcement detail conducted for surveillance, detection and apprehension of crawfish violations during closed season. Officers conducted covert patrols in plain clothes in unmarked vessels during the days preceding the lobster mini-season, resulting in one physical arrest for possession of lobsters out of season and possession of undersized lobsters. There were a total of ten misdemeanors issued, eleven boating citations and numerous warnings given.
Officer Mattson and Lieutenant Colonel Jeff Hubert worked the middle Keys in tandem with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office and the United States Coast Guard during the lobster mini-season. Officer Mattson issued fifteen citations for various lobster violations along with nine boating infractions and forty-one total warnings.
Officer McKay and Reserve Officer Pius responded to a report of persons illegally harvesting lobster inside of John Pennekamp State Park during the two-day season. Once in the area, three males were observed snorkeling for lobsters. Officer McKay checked one manís catch and he had six lobsters in his possession and was cited for harvesting lobsters inside of the state park during the two-day season. The three men had previously been advised elsewhere by Lieutenant McDaniel on the boundaries of the park and regulations pertaining to same. The lobsters were returned to the resource alive.
Officer McKay and Reserve Officer Pius assisted the Monroe County Sheriffís Office and USCG with a dive fatality that occurred off of Tavernier Key at Davis Reef. Officers McKay and Pius assisted at the scene, stopping vessel traffic at the marina where the victim was being brought in, then they responded out to the reef to secure the scene until the Monroe County Sheriff's Office dive team could respond to recover the victim's dive gear.
Officer Van Trees and K-9 Officer Collazo were working information on a multi-tripping case in Marathon on the first day of mini-lobster season. Officer Van Trees watched the subjects for several hours documenting their habitats from a hidden location. Officers confronted the subjects after they secured their vessel at the end of the day and advised them that they had been under surveillance. Officer Van Trees read the vessel owner Miranda Rights and told him that if he was honest and forthright that he would not go to jail if he showed Officers the entire catch of lobsters that were inside the house. The owner confessed that "he had made multiple trips for lobster and that he was in the wrong and just wanted to get past this.Ē Officers gathered all the lobsters out of the house and the entire catch totaled twenty-one lobsters over the bag limit. The subject was issued a notice to appear and the lobsters were seized as evidence.
Officer Dube appeared on several radio shows throughout the Keys discussing lobster rules and regulations, boating and diver safety for the lobster mini-season. Officer Dube also assisted the USCG and Auxiliary in teaching the Boat Smart Boating Course in Islamorada to dozens of new boaters.