Officers Manning and Allgood were on patrol and spoke to two subjects as they returned from a spear fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico. When asked, the two fisherman said they had shot three fish. The fish were identified as gag grouper, which are currently closed to harvest. The two subjects were cited accordingly.
Officer Allgood was on patrol when he observed a subject illegally spearfishing at the Fort Pickens Fishing Pier. While addressing the violation the individual was found to be in possession of filleted sheepshead which is a violation under the landing in whole condition requirement. The appropriate citation was issued.
Officers Kinney and Yates followed up on closed season quota complaints inside the Holmes County portion of the Choctawhatchee River Wildlife Management Area (WMA). During their patrol the officers located hunters in violation of guest permit provisions, no turkey stamp, no quota hunt permits, and no WMA permit. The violations were addressed appropriately.
Officer Specialist Corbin and Officers Rockwell and Mursch were on water patrol in the Destin Harbor when they observed a recreational fishing vessel that had recently returned from fishing. There were five subjects cleaning the vessel and a cooler next to a cleaning table. While pulling up to the dock the officers observed seven freshly filleted grey triggerfish carcasses in the water next to the dock. Inside the cooler was several vermillion snapper and porgies, which had not yet been cleaned. When asked about the grey triggerfish carcasses in the water, the captain advised they were catching a lot of grey triggerfish on the trip and he did not know how many they had kept. The officers recovered all seven of the grey triggerfish carcasses and two of the carcasses were undersize. The captain of the vessel was issued a notice to appear citation for harvesting over the bag limit and undersize grey triggerfish.
Officer Specialist Corbin and Investigator Pifer were on water patrol when they observed a vessel being operated in violation of the idle speed/no wake zone near the Destin Bridge. A safety inspection was conducted, and the operator was unable to provide a fire extinguisher or flares. The operator was also unable to provide a bill of sale for the vessel and the registration was expired and displayed improperly. The operator showed signs of impairment and field sobriety tasks were utilized. The operator was arrested for boating under the influence and multiple boating safety violations.
Officer Specialist Corbin was on water patrol conducting resource inspections when he observed a vessel returning from the Gulf of Mexico with fishing equipment displayed. The owner and operator of the vessel advised they had caught scamp grouper and grey triggerfish. When asked to see the fish, the subjects were slow to remove all fish from a fish box. Officer Corbin boarded the vessel and inside the fish box were two undersize scamp groupers. The owner of the vessel claimed responsibility for the violation and was issued a notice to appear citation.
Investigator Pifer and Officer Hicks were on water patrol when they stopped a vessel returning from the Gulf of Mexico with four individuals on board. The officers conducted a saltwater fisheries and license inspection which revealed three out of season greater amberjack. Two of the three fish were undersized and only one of the individuals on board was able to produce a valid saltwater fishing license. The appropriate citations and warnings were issued.
Investigator Pifer and Officer Hicks were on water patrol when they stopped a vessel returning from the Gulf of Mexico with five individuals on board. During their inspection, six gray triggerfish were located with five of the fish being undersized. The owner of the vessel was cited accordingly.
Investigator Pifer and Officers McVaney and Brown were on water patrol when they received a call regarding two subjects keeping undersized fish at the Ft. Walton Beach Landing. When the officers arrived, they observed two subjects actively fishing at the end of the dock. A resource inspection was conducted, and an undersized spotted seatrout was discovered in one of the individual’s buckets. The appropriate citation was issued.
Officer Hahr received a complaint from an individual that was hunting in the Blackwater Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The individual was actively calling a turkey towards him when another hunter drove by and shot at the bird. The complainant observed the occupant of the vehicle shoot the bird from the roadway and was able to give a description and photo of the vehicle to Officer Hahr. Officer Hahr received a call from the suspect who claimed that he had shot a snake. Officer H. Rockwell was called to assist, and the officers met with the subjects at the location of the incident. After a brief interview the father and son admitted to seeing a turkey along the road and
trying to shoot it. The appropriate citation was issued.
Officer Hahr was on water patrol in the area of Crab Island when he observed a small vessel running through a no wake zone on full plane. As he headed towards the vessel, Officer Hahr observed the operator making erratic changes in direction despite the relatively calm open water. When he approached the boat, the operator exhibited signs of impairment and field sobriety tasks were utilized. The operator was arrested for boating under the influence and violating a no wake zone.
Officers Brown and Bower were on patrol in Okaloosa County when they observed multiple individuals fishing from a dock. The officers contacted the subjects to conduct a resource inspection and found multiple whole stone crabs and an undersized sheepshead in a bucket. One of the individuals claimed possession of the bucket and took responsibility for the violations. The subject was issued the appropriate citations and a warning for possession of the undersized sheepshead.
Officers Tison and Brown were patrolling a closed boundary on Eglin Wildlife Management Area (WMA) when they observed a subject enter the closed area dressed in camouflage and carrying a shotgun to turkey hunt. The officers contacted the subject when he exited the closed area and cited him accordingly.
Officer Graves was on patrol when he observed a vessel returning from fishing on Walton County Beach. A fishery inspection revealed multiple violations which included possession of red snapper and gag grouper out of season, along with undersized grey triggerfish. The appropriate citations and warnings were issued.
NORTH CENTRAL REGION
While patrolling the West Beaver Street area, Officer Sankey noticed a vehicle parked outside the gates of Pope Duval Fish Management Area. The area is posted “PARK CLOSED” due to precautions of COVID-19. Officer Sankey searched the park and located two subjects fishing. The two subjects were educated on how the ponds are included in the closure of the park and both were issued a warning.
Officers Nichols and McDonald responded to an incident in reference to a turkey being shot on private property. The complainant informed the officers that a juvenile subject who lived nearby was possibly responsible. The officers located the subject, conducted an interview, and were able to obtain a .22 caliber rifle. In addition, K9 Officer Gill along with K9 Friar were dispatched to the scene and located two .22 caliber shell casings along with an injured gobbler turkey. Charges will be direct filed on the juvenile for trespass by projectile.
Officer Christmas was working near a closed area of the Four Creeks WMA when he observed a subject driving slowly down a county road. The officer observed him stop his vehicle and use a turkey call. When approached, the subject stated he was hunting turkeys. The subject was issued the appropriate citation.
Officer Wilcox and Investigator McMillan were on patrol targeting unlawful turkey hunting activities. The officers observed a subject sitting in a blind hunting turkey. The area around the blind had been baited with grain and seed. The subject was cited accordingly.
Investigator McMillan and Officer Wilcox were working hunting activity in the Ecofina Slough Hunt Club when they encountered a subject turkey hunting within 100 yards of turkey bait. The subject was cited accordingly.
Officer Ransom and Boone received a complaint of a subject shooting a turkey on private property from the roadway. Upon locating the subject, they conducted an interview which led to a full confession. The individual confessed to shooting a gobbler turkey from his vehicle and then trespassing onto private land to retrieve the bird. The subject was cited accordingly.
Officer Thornton was contacted by U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) in reference to an impaired operator they stopped in the area of Oak Hill on the Intracoastal Waterway. The operator and five passengers were brought to Seabreeze Park by USCG. Officer Thornton arrived and observed the operator who displayed signs of impairment. Standardized Field Sobriety Tasks (SFSTs) were utilized and the operator was arrested for boating under the influence. The operator refused to provide breath samples and was transported to the Volusia County Jail.
Officer Specialist Phillips received a call from a private landowner about two subjects that had been found trespassing on his property with shotguns and turkey decoys. The subjects were known to the landowner and the landowner wanted trespassing charges to be filed. Officer Phillips met with the subjects, who admitted to climbing over the fence to hunt. Appropriate charges were filed with the State Attorney’s Office.
Putnam County officers worked to enforce the state park closure at Rodman Dam. These enforcement efforts resulted in over 40 verbal warnings for being in the closed area, 20 written warnings for closed area violations, seven infractions for being in the closed area behind barricades, and 10 misdemeanors for removing barricades and possession of alcohol under 21 years of age.
Officer Wester responded to an armed trespass complaint on private property. He identified a potential subject and went to a nearby address to investigate. As Officer Wester was checking serial numbers on the subject’s gun, a struggle ensued over the weapon. Officer Wester was able to gain control of the gun and restrain the suspect. The suspect was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, armed trespass and was booked into the Putnam County Jail.
Lieutenant Dickson responded to two subjects tearing down barricades to enter the Rodman Dam area which is currently closed. Contact was made with the subjects and they were both charged with being on restricted roads/area within a state park. One subject was additionally charged with possession of alcohol under 21 years of age and violation of driver’s license restrictions.
Officer Marroquin was on patrol at Sebastian Inlet State Park when he observed a vehicle hidden in the bushes in manner consistent with people sneaking into the park during the park closure. Officer Marroquin searched the park and located two individuals who were fishing for snook from the pier. The appropriate citations were issued.
Officer Rasey received information that two men were keeping over the bag limit of oversized black drum. He found the men and conducted a resource inspection which revealed they were in possession of four oversized black drum. It is legal to keep only one oversized black drum per person. The men were cited accordingly.
Lieutenant Lightsey observed a commercial fisherman gigging fish along a seawall. While watching the man, Lieutenant Lightsey observed him gig several small sheepshead and then throw the injured fish back into the water. He approached the man to address the violation and conduct a resource inspection. The subject stated he was throwing the injured fish back because they were undersized. The man was also in possession of a red drum that had been gigged. It is illegal to gig or spear red drum in State waters. The man received a criminal citation for illegal method of harvest for red drum and warnings for not returning the fish back to the resource unharmed, and not using navigational lights.
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY
Senior Officer Platt observed an individual throwing a cast net at Stick Marsh. A resource inspection revealed the subject possessed 12 blue gills. The appropriate citation was issued.
Senior Officer Platt was patrolling Ft. Drum Wildlife Management Area (WMA) during the Special Opportunity Spring Turkey Season. Officer Platt observed a hunter exiting the WMA and conducted an inspection. The hunter did not possess a valid Special Opportunity Permit for the Spring Turkey Season and was issued the appropriate citation.
Officer Marroquin was on patrol at the MacWilliam Boat Ramp when he observed a vessel returning with seven occupants on board and improper display of the registration numbers. Officer Marroquin conducted a stop to address the violation and observed signs of impairment from the operator. Standardized Field Sobriety Tasks (SFSTs) were utilized and the operator was arrested and transported to the Indian River County Jail.
Officers Lawshe and Campbell observed two groups of fishermen on a small lake using castnets. Upon inspection, both parties were found to be in possession of gamefish taken by illegal method. The appropriate citation was written, and the fish were returned to the lake.
Senior Officer Wear, Officer Specialist Dias, and Officer Specialist Rice obtained a search warrant to secure evidence that was identified during a five-month investigation involving multiple deer that were illegally harvested during the closed season. Based on the evidence seized, which included two trophy whitetail deer head mounts and various hunting equipment, charges have been filed with the State Attorney’s Office for illegal take of deer during the closed season. Officers Dias and Rice successfully apprehended three subjects involved in the illegal taking of both deer and turkey within the Ocala National Forest. The officers caught the suspects as they were transporting a freshly killed deer to a nearby residence. Investigator Sumpter, Officer Wear, Senior K9 Officer Simpson with K9 Moose and Officer Chriest responded to assist in the investigation. Charges include illegal take of deer during the closed season, illegal take of alligator, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Officer Specialists Dias and Rice, along with Senior K9 Officer Simpson were patrolling opening day of Spring Turkey Season when they received a call from a local landowner reference a hunter shooting a turkey across private property. The officers responded to the location and began processing the evidence left behind by the hunter. After carefully reconstructing the scene, the officers were able to document where the subject shot across private property killing a turkey. The officers located the subject at a nearby residence and seized the turkey and shotgun as evidence. Charges have been filed with the State Attorney’s Office.
Officer Hargabus and Investigator Sumpter were conducting surveillance on a hunting blind that was baited with both cracked corn and bird seed. The officers observed a subject inside the blind using a turkey call to lure nearby turkeys to the bait site. The subject was cited accordingly.
Captive Wildlife Investigator McDaniel received a call from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office who had served a search warrant for a residence in unincorporated Lake Mary. A baby alligator was found in a plastic child’s pool in the living room of the house. Investigator McDaniel responded and removed the alligator. Seminole County Sheriff’s Office arrested four individuals in connection with drugs located at the residence. Investigator McDaniel is working with the State Attorney’s Office on direct filing felony charges for illegal take of an alligator as well as misdemeanor charges for captive wildlife violations related to how the alligator was being kept.
Officer Price began an investigation of a derelict vessel (DV) which sank on the Caloosahatchee River. After speaking with local officers, he identified the owner and learned that the man had possibly intended to leave town because he was not going to pay a company to remove the boat. Officer Price went to the home where the man was supposed to be living and found he had moved. Officer Price determined the subject’s new location, met with him, and issued a DV notification packet and a misdemeanor citation for the violation.
Captive Wildlife Investigator Alford was made aware of an individual licensed to possess wildlife that was recently incarcerated. An inspection of the facility revealed wildlife being neglected and being kept in unsafe and unsanitary conditions. Animals on site included several venomous snakes, a Burmese python, an alligator, a porcupine, a kinkajou, and skunks. Investigator Alford arranged for the animals to be transferred to another licensed individual. Captive Wildlife Investigator Fernandez assisted, and the owner of the animals was issued the appropriate warnings.
Captive Wildlife Investigator Tyer was contacted by the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office in reference to exotic birds being bred and sold without a license. When she arrived at the residence in Brooksville, Investigator Tyer found close to 200 exotic parrots in cages throughout the property. The conditions the parrots were being kept in were less than satisfactory and it appeared that the owner was breading the birds for sale to the public. Investigator Tyer issued the subject several misdemeanor citations for care, caging conditions, and licensing requirements. The subject will have to appear in court for the violations and satisfactorily address the issues if he wishes to keep the birds.
SOUTH REGION A
Officer Allen was patrolling the boundary of a ranch south of State Road 74 and found foot tracks and wild turkey feathers a few feet across the fence on the adjacent property. Two subjects were later detained at a nearby hunting camp with a dismembered wild turkey without the positive evidence of sex identification attached (head and beard). One of the subjects stated he shot the turkey and crossed the fence onto the next property to retrieve the bird. He received a warning for trespassing and a notice to appear in court for not having the sex evidence on the wild turkey.
Officer Bingham was on water patrol when he observed a vessel on plane in the slow speed zone by the Roosevelt Bridge. Officer Bingham conducted a vessel stop on the vessel and the operator showed signs of impairment. Officer Hudson arrived to assist with the boating under the influence (BUI) investigation and utilized Standardized Field Sobriety Tasks to assess the operator’s condition. The operator was arrested for BUI and transported to the Martin County Jail. The operator also received a citation for violating the slow speed zone.
Officer Willems was on patrol in Allapattah Wildlife Management Area (WMA) when he came upon two vehicles parked at one of the gates entering the area. Officer Willems observed numerous rifle cases inside the vehicles and waited for the subjects to return. Three individuals possessing rifles stated they were hog hunting. All three individuals had semi-automatic rifles with 30 round magazines, and only one of the individuals had a valid WMA permit. The criminal violations included: hunting out of season, hunting with a firearm other than a shotgun and hunting game with a centerfire semi-automatic rifle with a magazine capable of holding five rounds or more. The appropriate citations were issued.
Officer Willems received a call from Dupuis Wildlife Environmental Area (WEA) staff stating there were individuals in the WEA violating the COVID19 closure order. Once on scene an individual with his two children was found in the WEA. The subject was educated that the area was closed and was issued a warning for violating the closure order.
Officer Willems received a call from Martin County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) regarding individuals on a boat in one of the local canals possibly turkey hunting in an illegal area. The individuals were located at a boat ramp, and when questioned, admitted to turkey hunting on the bank of the canal. The criminal violations included: hunting in a closed area and hunting from an improved road. The appropriate citations were issued.
PALM BEACH COUNTY
Officer Specialist Nasworth observed a subject trespassing on U.S. Sugar property. The subject stated that he was rabbit hunting. Officer Specialist Nasworth contacted the farm manager who advised he wanted the subject charged with trespassing. Officer Specialist Nasworth issued the subject a citation and court date for trespassing, and a warning for not having a valid hunting license.
Officer Brodbeck was on land-based water patrol in Riviera Beach when he observed several individuals fishing from the Blue Heron Bridge. As Officer Brodbeck approached to conduct a resource inspection, one subject walked away with a bucket containing several fish and handed the bucket to a second individual. Officer Brodbeck gave commands to not dump out the contents of the bucket, and the fishermen complied. The bucket contained damselfish species, which are prohibited from harvesting in the Blue Heron Bridge Special Protected Area. One fisherman took responsibility for the violation and was cited accordingly.
SEARCH AND RESCUE
ST. LUCIE COUNTY
Officer Arnold received a call from the US Coast Guard in reference to a kayaker in distress near Nettles Island in the Indian River Lagoon. A single individual in a green kayak who had been fishing and had lost his paddle. The individual was safe in the vessel however, had no means of which to return to shore. Officer Arnold and Lieutenant Rogerson launched a patrol boat from the City Marina in Fort Pierce and headed towards the area to try to locate the subject. Upon arrival to the vicinity, and due to the late evening hour, blue lights were activated to attract attention. Contact was made with the subject via cell phone to see if he could see the lights; he could, and then he activated his cell phone flashlight to bring the officers towards him. Safely on board the patrol vessel and the kayak secured, he was transported to Jensen Beach boat ramp.
SOUTH REGION B
MIAMI DADE COUNTY
Officer Despian assisted USCG Station Miami Beach with responding to a boater under influence near Monument Island. The USCG boat crew arrived on scene, boarded the vessel, and discovered illegal narcotics. The station crew halted the future voyage of the vessel and detained the captain of the vessel. It was discovered the captain had two warrants issued by Miami-Dade Police Department. Officer Despian arrested the subject.
Officer Presser and Officer Osorio were conducting plain clothes patrol in Doral targeting freshwater fisheries violations. They observed two subjects catching and keeping multiple peacock bass and black bass. When the subjects were done fishing, the officers identified themselves and conducted a resource inspection. The inspection revealed both subjects were in possession of over the daily bag limit of peacock bass and one subject was in possession of more than one black bass over 16 inches in length. One subject was arrested and transported to jail and one subject was issued a Notice to Appear for the violations.
Officer Osorio and Officer Presser were conducting plain clothes patrol in Doral targeting freshwater fisheries violations where they observed four subjects actively fishing. When the subjects were done fishing the officers identified themselves and conducted a resource inspection. The inspection revealed the four subjects were in possession of fifteen peacock bass, well over the daily bag limit of two per person. Two adult subjects were cited criminally for the violation.
Officers Messier and Way responded to the Dry Tortugas regarding a report from the Enforcement Coordinator of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary that a documented vessel was stopped and appeared to be at anchor inside Tortugas South Ecological Reserve near Riley’s Hump. The Tortugas South Ecological Reserve is a transit only area; anchoring is also prohibited. The officers responded and located the vessel actively fishing inside Tortugas North Ecological Reserve (Gulf State Waters of Monroe County) and conducted a marine fisheries inspection. The vessel was identified as a sport fishermen style vessel and the captain was from outside of Monroe County. The vessel was in possession of 18 fish which the captain admitted to being harvested inside the closed areas. The species breakdown was five yellowtail snapper, four mangrove snapper, five mutton snapper for an aggregate of 14 snapper, three red grouper and one Margate. The captain was issued a notice to appear for: fishing inside Tortugas North Ecological Reserve, and three counts of possession of grouper during the closed season. The captain will also be issued a Federal Notice of Violation and Assessment for violating the provisions of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Protection Act: 15CFR922.164(d)(v) Anchoring in the Tortugas Ecological Reserve.
Officers Way and Messier witnessed a vessel actively fishing on Tortugas Bank. While approaching the vessel, the operator maneuvered so that the bow faced the officers to conceal the other occupants discarding fish off the stern. The officers recovered one red grouper from the water which was in the vessel’s prop wash. This fish was dead and still cold to the touch, indicating it had recently been inside of a cooler. The officers conducted a marine fisheries inspection which revealed seven red grouper, including the one recovered from the water. The operator and occupants were each issued a Notice to Appear and were each cited for tampering with evidence (felony) and seven counts of possession of out of season grouper (misdemeanor). The Monroe County State Attorney’s Office will be consulted in reference to the violation of the Monroe County Emergency Directive since Monroe County is closed to visitors.
Officer Thompson Conducted a resource inspection of a fisherman on Card Sound road located in North Key Largo. After inspecting the contents of the cooler, Officer Thompson discovered a dead tarpon. The fisherman admitted that he caught the fish and he was issued a citation for not having a fishing license.
While on water patrol near Johnson Bay, Officer Yurewitch observed a vessel on full plane in a posted slow speed/minimum wake zone. The officer conducted a vessel stop to address the violation and the operator displayed signs of impairment. Field sobriety exercises were utilized, and the operator was arrested for boating under the influence. The subject was booked into the Naples Jail Center.
Officer Conroy was on land patrol at the Bayview boat ramp when she observed a vessel operating after sunset with no navigational lights. A stop was conducted, and the operator displayed signs of impairment. Standardized Field Sobriety Exercises were utilized, and the operator was arrested for boating under the influence. He was also cited for refusing to submit a breath sample, no navigational lights, and missing safety gear. The subject was booked into the Naples Jail Center.
Officers Yurewitch, Conroy and Lieutenant Mahoney were on water patrol in the area of the Bayview boat ramp. They observed a vessel that had no all-around white light, and improper red/green navigational lights. The vessel was stopped to address the violation. During the safety inspection the officers discovered that the vessel was a rental, owned by a livery. The vessel had no serviceable fire extinguishers, no type IV throwable rings, no flares, and had improper navigational lights. Officer Conroy cited the owner of the livery accordingly.
Officers Yurewitch and Kleis were on water patrol in Naples Bay when they observed two PWCs violating the posted manatee speed zone. The officers stopped the vessels to address the violation. The person operating one of the PWCs was wearing an improperly sized life jacket. The other PWC was being operated by a twelve-year-old with a fourteen-year-old passenger. It was determined that PWCs were rented from a livery. After speaking with the renters and the livery owner, it was determined that the PWCs had been rented without proper safety equipment, rented to a person under the age of 18, and without the proper insurance policy. The livery owner was cited accordingly.
While on land patrol in the Picayune Strand State Forest, Officer Conroy observed a vehicle off the road, laying on its side. The driver and passengers were outside the vehicle, uninjured. Through investigation, Officer Conroy determined the vehicle had been traveling at an excessive rate of speed, causing the vehicle to rollover. A crash report was written, and the driver was cited accordingly.
Officer Plussa and Lieutenant Mahoney responded to a boating accident involving an operator who had been struck in the face by a boat propeller. After investigating, it was determined the operator and passenger were ejected when crossing over another vessel’s wake at a high speed. The operator was struck by his boat propeller as the boat circled out of control after the passengers were ejected. Officer Plussa met with the injured operator and passenger at the hospital. He reviewed safe operating speed provisions, prudent mariner practices, and recommended use of a kill switch for low freeboard vessels to shut off the motor if ejected. The operator was issued a warning for not having completed a boating safety education course.
SEARCH AND RESCUE
A call came into FWC dispatch regarding a vessel in distress in the vicinity of North Pine Channel in the Lower Keys. The caller stated that he could hear calls for help and three short bursts of a whistle coming from the water along the shoreline north of the Key Deer Wildlife Refuge. Lieutenant Payne and Officer Mason responded by vehicle to the location and listened for sounds. Officers Piekenbrock and Smith responded by vessel from a nearby marina. Officers Piekenbrock and Smith located a wave runner with two occupants who were broke down. Officers towed the PWC and the two occupants into nearby Wildlife Refuge facilities with permission of the management staff. The male and female occupants were checked out by EMS and needed no further medical attention.
While on patrol, Officer Plussa observed a vehicle stopped in a turn lane with hazard lights on, blocking part of the intersection of CR-951 and Immokalee Road. The door of the vehicle was open, the driver was lying unconscious in the roadway, next to the car. Officer Plussa requested EMS and began rendering first aid. The victim regained consciousness and was turned over to Collier County EMS.
Officer Kleis and Georgevich responded to Naples Bay on a report of a single vessel accident with injuries. After conducting an accident investigation, it was determined that the passenger’s injuries were sustained as a result of being ejected off the back of a personal watercraft. The person was transported via Med Flight with non-life-threatening injuries.
The Collier County Sherriff’s Office requested Officer Curbelo’s assistance in the search for an overdue turkey hunter. The location of the search was the Big Cypress (Bear Island Unit) Wildlife Management Area. Officer Curbelo was familiar with the missing local hunter and was able to guide the deputies to the area where the individual hunts. Along with the help of the Sherriff’s helicopter the missing hunter was located unharmed and escorted out of the area.
DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROL
Lieutenant Peters and Officers Way and Messier were patrolling the waters of the Dry Tortugas and witnessed a vessel at anchor and actively fishing inside the Tortugas North Ecological Reserve of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS). This is a “No Take” area. As the officers were approaching the vessel, they could see yellowtail snapper floating on the surface of the water, directly astern of the vessel. The occupants dumped the fish attempting to discard and destroy evidence. The officers recovered 32 yellowtail dnapper from the surface of the water. A marine resource inspection found several firearms and 134 fish which were harvested inside the “No Take” area. The operator and all the occupants were each issued a Notice to Appear and each received one felony charge and 21 misdemeanors for the violations. The owner/operator was also issued a Federal Notice of Violation and Assessment for violating the following provisions of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Protection Act: discharging or depositing of materials (firearm projectiles) within the boundary of the sanctuary, anchoring in the Tortugas Ecological Reserve, and entering the Tortugas Ecological Reserve without a valid access permit. The Monroe County State Attorney’s Office will also be consulted in reference to the violation of the Monroe County Emergency Directive, since Monroe County is closed to visitors.
MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
Officer Conroy responded to the report of an eight-foot alligator in the middle of the road. Upon arriving on scene, she blocked off the roadway and was able to get the alligator back into local waters.