October 9, 2015 thru October 15, 2015
This report represents some events the FWC handled over the past week;
however, it does not include all actions taken by the Division of Law Enforcement.
While working the Apalachicola National Forest, Officer Robb was tracking roads and tracked vehicle traffic into a swamp area. While in the area, he located a line tied to a tree and rigged with a large baited hook hanging slightly above the water line. Officer Robb recognized this as consistent with attempting to take alligators. He contacted Officer Marlow and while both officers were observing the site, a vehicle with two individuals came to the location and inspected the baited hook. Over the course of the next night and day, the same individuals came to the site six other times and inspected, re-baited and added a hook, and removed the baited hook from the area. During this timeframe, the individuals were heard mentioning alligators and one of the individuals exited the vehicle with a firearm when the baited hook was tripped. The individuals were stopped and interviewed and admitted to attempting to take alligators and were issued citations for the violations.
Officers West and Meurlot obtained information that an individual was possibly keeping venomous snakes, other reptiles and an alligator at his residence without the appropriate permits. After arriving and meeting the adult male at the residence, they searched the house and the property and located a variety of regulated species that the owner did not have any permits to possess. Investigator Grigg responded to assist with species and permit violations. An American alligator, an eastern diamondback rattlesnake, a pygmy rattlesnake and other venomous reptiles were seized by Grigg from the owner. He was issued criminal notices to appear for the violations of keeping these species without proper permits and failure to have them properly caged and contained.
Officer Malicoat checked fishermen on the bridges in the New Smyrna Beach area. An adult male was issued a criminal notice to appear for possessing several under the legal size limit of mangrove snapper.
Officers West and Meurlot discovered several resource violations while checking fishermen at the Ponce Inlet jetties. Three adults were issued notices to appear for: possession of over the bag limit of red drum, possession of under the legal size limit of red drum and possession of under the legal size limit of sheepshead.
OFFSHORE PATROL VESSEL SEAHAWK
FWC offshore patrol vessel Sea Hawk conducted a boarding approximately 15 miles east of Malabar. The boarding team (Officers Luce and Bohne) located a red snapper in the vessel’s fish box. The fisherman claimed the red snapper was caught in State waters. However, since the vessel was actively engaged in fishing in Federal waters, the fish was illegal to possess. The fisherman claimed that was the only red snapper in his possession. A subsequent search by the boarding team uncovered a 13" red snapper hidden in a small cooler. The boarding team also noted the fisherman was not using circle hooks as mandated by federal law north of 28 degrees.
Officers Shaw and Weis received information on subjects hunting in a local Sumter County Wildlife Management Area (WMA) with shotguns during the archery hunt. Subjects were observed by the officers and admitted to hunting in a closed area with shotguns during the archery-only hunt. The appropriate citations were issued.
Officer Sweet received information of a subject that harvested an illegal deer in a local Sumter County WMA. The subject was located and it was revealed that he harvested a small buck with 2" antlers. Subject was cited accordingly for harvesting an illegal deer.
Officer Sweet was patrolling a local Sumter County WMA at approximately 2100 hours. He observed a vehicle approaching his location. Officer Sweet observed there was a flashlight being shined from the vehicle in a manner capable of disclosing the presence of deer. Officer Sweet eventually made contact with the operator and occupants of the vehicle. It was soon revealed the subject was in possession of a .17 caliber rifle and a compound bow with arrows. Subject was cited accordingly for the violation.
Officer Weber received information that a subject killed an illegal deer in a local Lake County WMA. The subject was located and it was revealed that the buck was illegal. The subject was cited accordingly for harvesting an illegal deer. The deer was donated to a local charity.
Officer Weber received information on individual’s alligator hunting on a small lake in LakeCounty. Officer Weber observed the subjects tending to and baiting alligators with unattended lines. The subjects attempted to harpoon an alligator with the officer watching from a place of concealment. The subjects were stopped and admitted to the violations observed. The individuals were cited accordingly for attempting to take alligator by illegal methods.
Lieutenant Tye and Officer Douglas were patrolling Rock Springs Run WMA, when they located a stand with bait spread out on the ground in front of it. Officer Douglas returned the next morning and when the hunter showed up, Officer Douglas issued him a citation for hunting over a bait in the WMA. It turned out to be the same subject that Officer Baine had cited the evening before for illegal entry into the WMA.
Officer Tavano responded to a call at WekiwaSpringsState Park in reference to individuals swimming in a non-designated area and not obeying the directions given by the Park Rangers. When Officer Tavano arrived, one of the subjects refused to comply with his lawful orders and resisted arrest. The other subject was in a canoe and refused to come to shore for a vessel safety inspections and instead just rowed away. After an initial confrontation, the first subject was placed under arrest for resisting without violence. The second subject eventually returned to WekiwaSpringsState Park and was arrested for failure to submit to a vessel safety inspection and resisting without violence.
Officer Dias was on patrol in the Ocala WMA when he observed some distinct vehicle sign that was unusual. Upon further investigation, he found drag signs which led to deer hair and a pool of blood further in the woods. He followed the vehicle sign for several miles which led to a neighborhood that borders the Ocala WMA. Officer Simpson and K9 Moose, with Officers Wear and Rice came to assist in the search for a suspect. After several hours of driving the dirt roads, looking at tire sign and hitting several dead ends, they located a truck that matched the tire sign Dias had found. The truck was owned by an individual that officers have received information on for years, but had not been able to catch. As they knocked on the door the suspect opened the door and was cooking freshly killed deer meat. Initially he said he had killed the deer on Lake George WMA and failed to check it in. During a post Miranda interview the suspect confessed to killing a nubbin buck on Ocala WMA. He took the officers out to the kill site where there was fresh blood as well as a broken arrow and fletching. A notice to appear was issued.
NORTH CENTRAL REGION
Officer Canfield and Suttles were working a Manatee target enforcement detail on the Homosassa River, Citrus County when the officers observed an operator of a vessel violating the posted slow speed/minimum wake zone. During the vessel stop the operator was displaying characteristics consistent with someone who was impaired. The subsequent Field Sobriety Tasks (FSTs) performed by the operator substantiated the impairment suspicions. The operator was arrested and it was determined that his breath alcohol was .089 percent.
Officers Seiler and Reid were following up on anonymous information regarding an active bait site on Crystal River State Park property, which included a large amount of corn on the ground, one single seat tree stand, one ground blind and a game camera positioned to cover the bait site. While conducting surveillance on this site, they found a man actively hunting the site. The defendant was seated inside the ground blind and was in possession of one compound bow with arrow. In a post-Miranda interview, the defendant admitted to placing bait on the ground and hunting over it several times. He also admitted to killing and removing one wild hog approximately one week prior. The defendant was issued a misdemeanor citation for hunting inside a state park and a written warning for feeding wild animals in a state park.
Officer Crane located a subject attempting to take game in the Church House State Park in Crystal River. The subject was located in a climbing stand and was hunting with a bow. The area around the stand had been baited with corn. The subject advised Officer Crane that he was allowed to take hogs from the park under a contract where he was listed to do so. The incident was documented by Officer Crane pending confirmation of the hunting rights. Officer Crane realized that the subjects so called permission to hunt the area was false, but followed proper investigative techniques to disprove it. During Officer Crane’s investigation, it was determined that the subject did not have permission to take game in the park nor did he have permission to enter the park via a private residence nearby. At the conclusion of the investigation, the subject was issued a notice to appear in Citrus County Court.
Officers Waltman and Larosa made two different deer cases within JenningsStateForest during the archery quota season. Officer Waltman checked a hunter who had taken a small buck and did not meet the requirements for the assigned deer management unit antler requirements. A few days later Officer Larosa was on land patrol within the Jennings State Forest when she checked a hunter who had taken a spotted fawn. Both subjects were issued citations for taking illegal deer which were seized as evidence.
Lieutenant Glover was on land patrol within Jennings State Forest checking hunters during the archery quota season. After checking a few hunters, Lieutenant Glover stopped to talk with a subject and immediately noticed the distinct smell of burnt cannabis coming from the driver. Lieutenant Glover was granted permission to search the subject’s vehicle and found approximately 17 grams of cannabis inside. The subject was issued a citation for possession of less than twenty grams of cannabis and the cannabis was seized as evidence.
Officer Allgood was on patrol in his marked vehicle heading south on Lem Turner Road, when he observed a vehicle that was having difficulties maintaining its lane. Officer Allgood conducted a traffic stop to check on the well-being of the driver. As he made contact with the operator, he noticed that the operator had her pants unbuttoned, no shoes on, with a liquid stain on her shirt and her eyes were glassy and watery. Also, her speech was slurred. Officer Allgood asked her to exit her vehicle and noticed that she was using the vehicle to balance herself and was staggering to get to the back of the vehicle. Office Allgood read the operator her Miranda Rights and began conducting Field Sobriety Tasks (FSTs) on the operator. At the conclusion of the FSTs, Officer Allgood concluded that the operator had accumulated enough clues for him to determine that she was impaired by drugs or alcohol. He placed her in handcuffs and transported her to the
Nassau County Jail. At the jail, he requested that she provide a sample of her breath and she agreed to provide two samples which revealed breath samples of 0.129 and 0.130. Officer Allgood charged the subject with driving under the influence and failure to obey a traffic device.
Officer Morrison was on patrol at the Shell Creek Dam. At approximately 0100 hours, Officer Morrison made contact with Jared Parker. Mr. Parker had arrived at the dam by boat and had beached his vessel on the freshwater side of the dam. Upon inspection of the vessel, Officer Morrison found a bucket containing three small snook: 18.5, 22 and 25 inches in length. When questioned, Mr. Parker claimed all the fish had been "gut hooked" and didn’t want them to be wasted. Later, Mr. Parker also claimed he did not catch the fish nor was he even fishing. When questioned why Mr. Parker had a boat full of fishing gear at a known snook fishing spot at 1 am, Mr. Parker was unable to respond. Mr. Parker was cited for over the bag limit and undersized snook.
While on night patrol, Officers Norris and Morrison were working in an area where people often hunt alligators. After locating a truck and trailer at a ramp, Officer Morrison located the vessel on the water and confirmed they were likely alligator hunting. Officer Norris waited for the vessel to return to the ramp and when it did he observed 3 people and a 7 foot alligator. Upon inspection he found that the alligator did not have the CITES tag secured to the tail even though the tags were on the boat. The permit holder was issued a citation for not properly tagging the alligator
Officer Peterson responded to a complaint involving a possible impaired vessel operator in HernandoBeach. Upon locating the vessel, he initiated a boating safety inspection. Officer Peterson observed signs of impairment during the inspection. He administered one field sobriety task to the subject, who performed poorly. During the second field sobriety task the subject refused any further tasks and was subsequently arrested for boating under the influence. He was taken to the Hernando County Jail where he refused to provide a sample of his breath. The subject was booked into the Hernando County Jail on a charge of Boating Under the Influence.
Officer Smith was conducting boating safety inspections when he observed a subject enter a vehicle with an open container. Officer Smith conducted a traffic stop for the violation. Officer Smith noticed signs of impairment. After conducting Field Sobriety Test it was determined that the subject was impaired. Officer Smith arrested the suspect for Driving under the Influence, Driving on a revoked license and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The subject refused to provide a breath sample at the jail.
COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
Officers Raczek and Morrow gave a hunting safety education course to a group of approximately twenty-five hunters at the "CampNiles" Boy Scout Camp in CharlotteCounty. The group was educated on laws and regulations pertaining to hunting and hunting ethics. At the end of the course both officers answered questions and handed out hunting regulation booklets.
Lieutenants Andriano and Russell, along with Major Post and Fleet Services, Manager Travis Russell participated in the Camp LeJeune Service Member Transition Summit – "Hiring Our Heroes" recruiting event this past week at the United States Marine Corps Base, Camp LeJeune, NC. The event was held at the Marston Pavilion on base and was a two day job summit that featured workshops, panel discussions and a hiring fair, all focused on improving competitive employment opportunities for Service Members, Veterans and their spouses, in addition to networking opportunities for all involved. All of the lessons learned brought together job seekers and employers in a culminating hiring fair and career forum.
K9 Officer Collazo and Officer Fogle gave a presentation on boating safety and fish regulations at the monthly meeting of the Florida Power Squadron in Cape Coral. Approximately (25) members were in attendance and the officers fielded many questions concerning the subject matter.
Officer Ahlers along with Lieutenant Hinds IV, were on land patrol in the area of TierraVerdeBridge. While on patrol, they stopped and performed a fisheries inspection on a gentlemen that had been crabbing around the bridge. Upon completion of their inspection they found the subject to be in possession of 13 whole stone crabs and 36 undersized stone crab claws. The subject was given two criminal citations and must appear in court next month.
Officer’s Bibler and Bibeau were on water patrol around the NorthSkywayBridge. While on patrol, they performed a boating safety and fisheries inspection on an individual fishing around bridge. Upon completion of their inspection, they found that the fisherman had caught and kept an undersized gag grouper. The subject was given a criminal citation for possession of undersized grouper and will appear in court next month.
Officer Young was patrolling Saddle Creek Fish WMA, when he observed a subject using a cast net. Upon conducting a fisheries inspection, he determined the subject had taken game fish by the cast net. The subject was charged with possession of a cast net in Saddle Creek Fish Management Area.
COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
Officer Tyer gave the law portion of the Hunter Safety education program in PolkCounty. Officer Tyer explained the importance of being a responsible hunter.
SOUTH REGION A
Officer Teal received a call from off duty Officer Greene that a hunting lease member watched a truck shoot 4 times across a fence into his lease while he was sitting in his tree stand. Officer Teal responded to the area and started to search the area for the vehicle.
A short time later he located a vehicle matching the description. He performed a traffic stop on the vehicle and saw 2 scoped rifles in the front seat of the truck next to the two male occupants. After being read Miranda and conducting interviews, the driver of the vehicle admitted to shooting from the road and that they had been hunting but missed what they had shot at. Officer Teal obtained a sworn written statement and charges of discharging a firearm from a roadway and hunting from a county maintained road will be direct filed with the Glades County State Attorney’s Office.
Officers Mullins, Deweese and Greene responded to a large vessel on the Caloosahatchee River that was on fire. When the officers arrived on scene they found a 43’ Trawler Yacht sitting adrift in the river with 2 occupants aboard. The officers were able to safely remove the two occupants from the vessel. The occupants told the officers that the vessel had run aground, then caught fire and had lost all means of control which that left it inoperable. The officers with the assistance of a marine mechanic were able to shut off the motors on the boat, which were still running, due to the accident. The officers anchored the vessel in a safe location for the night and safely got the two occupants to shore. There the occupants were able to stay the night and make reservations to have the vessel looked at.
Officer DeWeese received complaints from hunters, who were pursuing dove in the Dinner Island WMA Dove Field. When he arrived on scene, he made numerous contacts with hunters in the field. Officer DeWeese was able to address multiple violations and educate the hunters on the ethics, sportsmanship and rules about pursuing dove on public lands.
Officer Cobo conducted a boating safety stop on a vessel near Jonathan Dickinson State Park Boat Ramp. Officer Cobo asked him if he had been drinking because of a moderate smell of alcoholic beverage coming from his breath. He said he had one rum and coke and two bud lights, (shorts). Officer Cobo asked him if he would participate in Field Sobriety Task’s and he said "yes." The subject failed the field sobriety tasks and was arrested for BUI. The subject was transported to Martin County Jail by Officer Koch and was a breathalyzer test. He blew a 0.241, 0.219 and 0.206.
PALM BEACH COUNTY
Officer Cobo responded to a traffic accident "hit and run" in the parking lot of MacarthurBeachState Park. Officer Cobo is working with Assistant Park Manager Duncan in retrieving images of the possible hit and run vehicle involved. Once the images are recovered and reviewed, possible further legal action may be taken against the suspected operator. A traffic crash report was completed.
While conducting boating safety inspections and fisheries inspections at PhilFosterPark in Palm BeachCounty, OfficerChurch stopped a vessel that appeared to be returning to the dock from a fishing trip. OfficerChurch asked the owner of the vessel if he could board the boat and inspect the cooler that was on the deck. The owner agreed and
Officer Church observed multiple violations in the cooler; multiple snapper, 37 lobster tails that had been "wrung" or separated from the lobster body, and several dolphin fillets. Of the 37 lobster tails, 8 of them were under the minimum size limit for possession in the state of Florida. The owner of the vessel advised Officer Church that he had headed out earlier that morning and made a trip to the Bahamas. Officer Church explained to the man the laws pertaining to possession limits for vessels returning from the Bahamas. The lobster tails and fish were seized as evidence and the man was cited accordingly.
Officers Trawinski and Church were on water patrol when they inspected a vessel returning from a fishing trip. The Officers noticed several fishing rods, what appeared to be fish scales and blood on the deck of the boat. Officer Trawinski asked the owner of the vessel if he had had any luck fishing, and the man told him he had only caught 1 kingfish. Officer Trawinski asked the man if he could measure the kingfish and the man told him to board the boat and check it out. Upon a fisheries inspection the officer also found in addition to the 1 legal kingfish, 2 undersized queen snapper, 6 undersized vermillion snapper and 21 undersized grey triggerfish. The illegal fish were seized and the man was cited accordingly.
Officer Spanier was patrolling the storm water treatment area in unincorporated Palm BeachCounty, commonly known as STA1 East. During his patrol, Officer Spanier encountered 2 individuals walking down a levee with fishing poles in a closed area. After speaking with the 2 individuals, it was determined that they had illegally entered the area to fish and that they knew they were trespassing. Each individual was cited for illegally entering the STA.
SOUTH REGION B
Officer Mattson was on water patrol and observed 3 men fishing in a closed Sanctuary Preservation area in the Upper Keys. They had undersized mutton snapper. They were cited for fishing in SPA and undersized mutton snapper as well as 5 infractions for lack of safety equipment.
Officers Foell and McHenry were on water patrol in the Lower Keys when they stopped a vessel to conduct a boating safety inspection. Once alongside the vessel, the officers noticed a large amount of fishing gear and coolers with one subject onboard. A marine fisheries inspection revealed a total of eight vermillion snapper, four silk snapper and two snowy grouper onboard the vessel. The subject was over the bag limit of vermillion snapper and snowy grouper. The subject was issued a notice to appear to court.
Pilot Colon responded by air and Officer Mattson responded by water to a suspected vessel that was fishing in the closed area of Molasses Reef SPA. Officer Mattson performed an inspection of the boat and although they were not actively fishing at the time the boat did have (3) undersized mutton snapper on board. One Miami man and one North Carolina man were cited for the mutton snapper violations.
Officer Trueblood was performing a recreational fishing license and resource inspections at the south end of the Channel 5 Bridge. Officer Trueblood observed 3 men walking off the bridge carrying fishing rods and pulling a cooler. Officer Trueblood asked if the men had caught any fish. The men opened the cooler which contained multiple snapper and a jack. Among the snapper were 4 undersized mutton snapper. Two of the three men admitted to catching the undersized mutton snapper. Officer Trueblood issued both men a citation for the violation.
Two officers were on night patrol at Homestead Bayfront Marina when they observed a disabled vessel being towed back to the boat ramp by a commercial tow vessel. It was evident that the subjects aboard the out-of-commission vessel had been fishing so the officers conducted a fisheries inspection. The three subjects that were on board were cited for being in possession of twelve undersized mutton snappers and one undersized yellowtail snapper.
Officer Johnson was on land patrol in the Big Cypress National Preserve when she was dispatched to a missing hiker in the preserve. Officer Johnson started searching for the hiker’s truck and the entrance he used to enter the preserve. Officers Kleis and Lugg arrived on the scene and brought an ATV. The Officers were able to find the hiker’s truck located off of I-75. Officers Johnson and Lugg continued to search for the missing hiker
in the preserve, while Officer Kleis searched the hiker’s truck to help find information about his whereabouts. As the Officers started on the trail into the preserve they called out the hiker’s name asking him to call out back. About a mile down the trail the hiker called out and was located about 30 yards off the trail in knee deep water. Officer Johnson walked in and assisted him to the trail. The missing hiker was relieved and happy to see rescue help.