The Meatheads of the Week








The FWC Dispatch received a call from the St. Andrews State Park manager reporting that a subject in a gold Altima with Arizona license plates was driving erratically in the park. The suspect vehicle had also entered the park without paying the entrance fee. Officers were responding to the park when Communications advised the suspect vehicle exited the park driving westbound on Thomas Drive. Officer T. Basford located the vehicle driving erratically on Thomas Drive at a high rate of speed. He followed the vehicle and conducted a traffic stop. The driver appeared to be impaired and, after completing the standardized field sobriety tasks, was taken to the FWC office to provide a breath alcohol sample. Results of the breath tests were .108 and .102. A small dog was also in the vehicle and was turned over to Bay County Animal Control; the vehicle was towed. The driver was arrested and charged with DUI, open container and evasion of fees for entering the park without paying.


Officer N. Basford was patrolling St. Andrews Bay when FWC Dispatch notified her of a possible impaired boat operator that was underway from the St. Andrews Marina. They gave her a description of the vessel which she located within minutes. She stopped the vessel and the operator became agitated that she had stopped him and was showing signs of impairment. The operator initially agreed to do the field sobriety tasks and came on board the officer’s vessel. He completed the first task and then refused to do anymore. Officer N. Basford advised the operator that he was being arrested for BUI. At this point, the operator jumped back into his vessel, put his vessel in gear, and tried to pull away while both vessels were still tied together. The officer pointed her Taser at the operator and gave him verbal commands to stop his vessel and return to her vessel. He complied and was placed under arrest without further incident. The operator was then transported to the FWC office where he provided breath alcohol samples. The results were .222 and .213. The operator was arrested and charged with BUI with a breath alcohol level of .08 or greater and resisting arrest without violence.



Investigator Livesay and Officer Pettey were on patrol and focusing on illegal alligator hunting. They were investigating an illegal bait site in the Little Williams area of the Escambia River Wildlife Management Area (WMA). They checked three individuals with alligator hunting equipment out on the deck of their vessel. A resource inspection revealed the hunters were hunting out of their harvest area. The hunters were hunting in Escambia County with a Santa Rosa County permit. The permit holder was issued a misdemeanor citation for hunting out of his harvest area.


Officer Corbin was on vessel patrol conducting state fisheries inspections in the East Pass. He saw a vessel returning from the Gulf of Mexico, with three individuals on board and displaying spearfishing equipment. The officer stopped the vessel and conducted a fisheries inspection. The inspection revealed 1 undersized red snapper and 2 undersized scamp. The passenger/harvester was issued a notice to appear citation for the undersized scamp and the owner was issued a written warning for undersized red snapper.

Officer Corbin was on land patrol conducting state fisheries inspections and license compliance in Shalimar. The officer saw several individuals actively fishing off the Shalimar Bridge. Two individuals appeared to be catching and placing undersized gray mangrove snapper in a small white bucket. Those two individuals packed and were exiting the bridge when Officer Corbin approached them. The fisheries inspection revealed 8 gray mangrove snapper, 7 of which were undersized. Both individuals were issued notice to appear citations for possession of undersized gray mangrove snapper.

Officers Corbin and Wilkenson were on vessel patrol conducting state fisheries inspections in the East Pass. The officers saw a vessel returning from the Gulf of Mexico displaying rods and reels. The officers stopped the vessel and conducted a fisheries inspection. The inspection revealed 22 red snapper, several grossly undersized, and 2 gray triggerfish. There were four occupants on the boat. Notice to appear citations were issued to all four individuals for possession of over the bag limit of undersized red snapper. A notice to appear citation was issued to the operator for possession of gray triggerfish out of season.

Officer Jarvis responded to a complaint of individuals harvesting undersized gray mangrove snapper at the East Jetty. The officer arrived at a public parking lot/access and saw three individuals returning carrying rods and reels and two buckets. The officer approached and asked the individuals if they caught any fish. One individual stated that they caught very little and the fish weren’t biting. The fisheries inspection of the two buckets revealed a total of 30 gray mangrove snapper, 24 of which were undersized. One individual took responsibility for harvesting all 30 of the gray mangrove snapper. The individual was issued a notice to appear citation for over the bag limit and undersized snapper. The 24 gray mangrove snapper were seized as evidence.

Officers Bartlett and Pifer were on vessel patrol near the Marler Bridge conducting boating safety inspections. The officers saw a PWC in violation of the idle speed/no wake zone eastside of Crab Island. The PWC made a turn causing the Jet Ski to flip over and eject all 3 occupants. The operator of the PWC was identified. Officer Bartlett noted that his speech was slightly slurred, his eyes were glassy/watery, and he had to repeat questions before he would respond. The operator admitted that he drank a few drinks. The operator agreed to and performed field sobriety tasks and, based on the operation of the PWC and indicators of impairment, the operator was arrested for BUI. The operator provided a breath sample of 0.166. The operator also had a 7 year-old and a 14 year-old on the PWC. The operator was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail where the intake process was completed.

Officer Nichols and Lieutenant Clark responded to Henderson Beach State Park regarding a traffic crash involving two vehicles. Upon arrival, two individuals were transported to the hospital. The vehicles involved were a day user/beach goer and a commercial vehicle providing water maintenance at the park. The officer determined the commercial truck improperly backed up, failing to yield right-of-way, striking the vehicle near the front passenger tire/door. The vehicle was severely damage requiring it to be towed. Both individuals transported to the hospital sustained no serious injuries. The driver of the commercial truck was issued a citation for improper backing.

Officer Maltais was informed of a boating accident that occurred the day before involving two PWC’s. Officer Maltais and Investigator Schafer gathered the necessary information to conduct a boating accident investigation. One operator suffered a broken right tibia (lower leg) at the ankle joint that will require surgery to repair and stabilize the shattered bone. One of the operators was issued a citation for violation of navigational rules for crossing situation and unsafe speed.

Officer Corbin was on land patrol conducting state fisheries inspections and license compliance at Meigs Beach in Shalimar. The officer saw a vehicle drive up to his location and an individual stepped out with fishing gear. The officer saw the individual engaged in fishing with a rod and reel. After some time passed, the individual returned to his vehicle. Officer Corbin encountered the individual who failed to produce a fishing license. While determining if the individual had a valid license, FWC Dispatch confirmed the individual had an active warrant for violation of probation. Further, the individual had a suspended driver’s license, and was found to be in possession of cannabis and paraphernalia. The individual was arrested and transported to the Okaloosa County Jail where the intake process was completed.

Officers Corbin and Wilkenson were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections at Crab Island. The officers stopped a pontoon-style vessel to conduct a safety and resource inspection. The officers determined the pontoon was rented from an unknown livery vendor. The pontoon was delivered and received at Red Neck Beach. Officer Corbin contacted the livery business owner and arranged to meet him to conduct livery compliance. The livery owner failed to provide the required signage related to the safe operation of the pontoon. Further, the livery owner failed to transfer the vessel’s title to his name/business within 30 days of the bill of sale date.

Officer Corbin has been investigating an at-risk vessel in the Destin Harbor. The vessel appeared to be abandoned, and currently unregistered with no anchor light display at night. The officer received information from the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Destin in reference to the owner/operator. Officer Corbin determined the vessel’s hull identification number (HIN) had been removed. The officer completed/submitted an arrest affidavit against the owner of the vessel for the removed HIN. The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Marine Deputy saw the vessel owner on the boat and executed the warrant arrest.

Officers Maltais and Nichols were on vessel patrol responding to a reported boating accident involving two vessels from the Emerald Coast Poker Run. Officer Maltais determined one vessel was exiting while the other vessel was entering (slow rate of speed) at a designated check point. The collision caused only minor damage with no injuries.









Officer Burnsed was investigating a hunting complaint on private property when he discovered numerous marijuana plants growing throughout the property. After photographing the illegal plants, a property search warrant was issued for searching the property to remove the illegal plants and for further search of illegal items. Captain Redmond, Lieutenant Huff, Officers Burnsed, Gill, Barber, McDonald, Shearer and Griffis went to serve the search warrant with the coordinated assistance of the Baker County Sheriff’s Office. Once the subject in question was detained by the Sheriff’s office, the officers removed 81 marijuana plants from the property, along with cultivation items and supplies. The Sheriff’s office obtained a residence search warrant for the subject’s residence. Inside the residence, 103 marijuana plants were discovered. In addition, the subject had ½ gram of methamphetamine in his possession. The subject, who was a convicted felon, also had a loaded 30.06 rifle in his vehicle with a spotlight and an illegal silencer attached to it. All evidence was turned over to the Baker County Sheriff’s Office, who will be the charging agency for the numerous felony violations.




Officer Johnston received information regarding a subject with an active warrant for his arrest. The warrant was for failure to appear on one of Officer Johnston’s original charges of removing saw palmetto berries from water management land. Officer Johnston drove to the subject’s residence and parked by his house. The subject eventually came outside to “see what was going on.” Officer Johnston positively identified the subject at that time. Shortly after, he was detained and arrested without incident. Officer Johnston transported the subject to the Columbia County Jail where he was booked with no further law enforcement action required.




Officer Johnston was on foot patrol on the Suwannee River Water Management District property when he saw two subjects sitting along the edge of the river. Officer Johnston positioned himself in a concealed location and began monitoring the subjects through a pair of binoculars. After a few moments, Officer Johnston saw one of the subjects smoking from a glass methamphetamine pipe. Officer Johnston contacted the subject and found him to be in possession of Alpha-PVP(Flakka), methamphetamine and marijuana. The subject was transported by Officer Johnston to the Hamilton County Jail where he was booked.




Investigator Bembry and Officer Albritton were working inside Hickory Mound WMA when they located a parked vehicle at the west gate to the Hickory Mound Impoundment. Upon inspection, the officers saw what appeared to be deer hair on the bed of the truck. Investigator Bembry and Officer Albritton contacted the owner of the vehicle and inquired about the deer hair. After a lengthy interview, the driver admitted to killing a doe deer in April and transporting it in that vehicle. Lieutenant Guy, Investigator Bembry and Officer Albritton, with the assistance of the shooter, located the remains of the doe deer carcass and the location where the deer was cleaned. Officer Albritton seized the firearm used to kill the deer and will be direct filing the appropriate charges with the State Attorney’s Office in Perry.




Officers Barber, Griffis, Gilmore, Hayes and Lieutenant Bridwell, along with an air unit from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO), responded to a distressed kayaker in the

St. Mary’s River. The kayaker had launched earlier in the afternoon from Steel Bridge Road for a three-day kayak trip. Due to a large amount of rain received in the area, the

St. Mary’s River was above flood stage and was flowing very quickly. During the trip, the subject lost his paddle but retrieved his handheld VHF and contacted the USCG about his situation before being thrown out of his kayak. Officer Griffis, Gilmore and Lieutenant Bridwell launched a shallow-water boat from State Road 2 Boat Ramp in Georgia and began working south towards Steel Bridge. Officers Barber and Hayes were positioned at Steel Bridge and Stokes Road Bridge for observation and the JSO pilots flew north from Steel Bridge towards State Road 2. The kayaker was located just north of the Stokes Road Bridge, at approximately 4:00 a.m., clinging to a tree in the fast-moving river. He was retrieved from the water and transported via boat to the Stokes Road Bridge where he was then transported by Nassau County EMT to a local hospital.






Officers Johnston, Cline and Investigator Bembry assisted with a domestic marijuana eradication flight. The officers were providing ground support for members of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) drug task force, as well as to pilots with the National Guard. The flight was conducted in remote areas of the county where approximately 27 plants were discovered in two different areas. One of the areas was a hunting lease where Officer Johnston previously received a tip from turkey hunters regarding marijuana cultivation on their property.









Officer Seiler was on foot patrol in the middle of the night at the Salt Springs Marina Boat Ramp when he saw a vessel with three occupants, two of whom were actively bow-fishing the waters of Salt Springs Run. After watching the vessel for approximately an hour, it finally approached the boat ramp. Officer Seiler approached the vessel and all three subjects and saw several fish on the deck. He identified several tilapia, catfish, and two large black bass, all of which had apparent gig holes. The only fishing gear on board the vessel was a gig and two compound bows equipped with arrows and reels. After being separated and interviewed, both fishermen admitted to shooting the bass with their compound bows. Both were issued notices to appear for the violations.




Environmental Investigator Conlin concluded a lengthy investigation involving felony commercial dumping. The county had contacted Investigator Conlin about a subject who had been contracted to clean up an illegal landfill. The suspect was being paid to remove and dispose of the debris legally, but was illegally dumping the debris on a county right of way. Charges were filed with the Orange County State Attorney’s Office for felony commercial littering.




Environmental Investigator Conlin completed a lengthy investigation involving the illegal disposal of approximately 300 gallons of used oil mixed with hazardous waste. Investigator Conlin, Officer Tavano and Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) personnel responded to a retention pond where the oil and hazardous waste had been spilled. Investigator Conlin and Officer Tavano conducted a preliminary investigation and identified suspects. Video surveillance was obtained from a nearby business and one of the suspects was located and interviewed. He admitted to the dumping and implicated the other suspect who had been identified. Charges were filed with the State Attorney’s Office. The DEP contracted an authorized company to clean up and properly dispose of the recovered oil and waste.




Officer Edson was conducting marine fisheries inspections in Ormond Beach when he encountered a man in possession of 16 undersized mangrove snapper and a goliath grouper. The fisherman was issued citations for undersized mangrove snapper, over the bag limit of mangrove snapper and possession of a goliath grouper.


Officer Sapp was on patrol at De Leon Springs State Park when he saw a fisherman throwing a cast net in the spring run. A resource inspection revealed that the man was in possession of game fish. He was cited for taking game fish by unlawful method and for no freshwater fishing license.


Officers Bellville, North and Ward apprehended six individuals for harvesting saw palmetto berries on Lake George WMA in one 24-hour period. All six individuals were issued citations.


Officer Haskins was driving home at the end of his shift when he noticed a vehicle following him so closely that, at times, he lost sight of its headlights. The vehicle was also swerving in and out of the traffic lane. Officer Haskins slowed to turn and the vehicle almost struck him. He conducted a traffic stop and noticed obvious signs of impairment from the driver. After observing the driver perform field sobriety tasks, Officer Haskins determined that the driver was impaired. The driver was arrested for DUI, driving on a suspended license with knowledge and attaching a tag not assigned to the vehicle. He was also issued citations for failure to maintain a single lane and driving with an open container of alcohol. The driver, who refused to provide a breath sample, was booked into the Volusia County Jail.


Officer North was on patrol in Tiger Bay State Forest when he encountered a man and woman on a hiking trail. The man was carrying a machete and a stalk of freshly cut palmetto berries. A computer check revealed the man had an active warrant out of Volusia County. He was arrested and transported to the Volusia County Jail for the active warrant and given a written warning for harvesting plant life from a state forest without a permit.









Officers Birchfield and Zampella were on water patrol in Charlotte Harbor when they stopped and conducted a resource inspection on a vessel returning from a day of fishing. During the inspection, he found three undersized seatrout. The owner was issued a criminal citation for the undersized seatrout.


Officer Norris responded to a call from the Sheriff’s office about some people spearfishing on the public beach. When he arrived, he found the deputies with two men who had lights, gigs and one fresh pompano. When asked how they caught the fish, the men said they caught it with a cast net. Upon inspection, Officer Norris noticed three holes in the fish that were consistent with being gigged. The cast net was dry and neatly packed into a backpack as well. The person who said he caught it was issued a criminal citation for illegal method of take and a citation for fishing with an expired license.




Officer Kobbs was on patrol in DeSoto County when he received a call from DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office regarding a deer that had been shot. A witness called the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office stating he had just witnessed a truck drive slowly down a road. The witness further stated that an occupant in the vehicle shot a deer and the truck then left the area. Officer Kobbs worked with Hardee and DeSoto County Sheriff’s deputies to locate the vehicle matching the description. The vehicle was found with two men inside who admitted to shooting a deer from the roadway. Officer Kobbs went back to the scene with the witness and located a doe that had been shot. The two men were cited accordingly.




Officer Boogaerts was conducting fisheries inspections at Williams Park. During his inspection, he discovered one undersized and out-of-season snook, and one undersized mangrove snapper in a cooler. The responsible person was cited for the violations.


Officer Davidson and Lieutenant Hinds were on land patrol in Ruskin when they saw a truck parked on the side of U.S. 41 near some land owned by the Southwest Florida Water Management District. After searching the area for the owner of the truck, the officers found two men in the woods picking palmetto berries from District lands. The two men were charged criminally with removing or destroying plants from District lands and must appear in court for their violations. The berries were returned to the woods.




Officer Price received a call about some men keeping undersized mangrove snapper near Punta Rassa and drove to the area to see if he could locate them. Officer Price was able to blend into the crowd through the use of plain clothes. He watched the men fish for a while and then hide their catch each time they caught something. While waiting for a uniformed officer to arrive, the men packed up their equipment and left. Officer Price then tracked the vehicle until it pulled into a nearby apartment complex. As the men started unpacking the car, Officer Price approached the men, identified himself as a police officer, and asked to see their catch. One of the men said that he knew some of the fish were undersized but had an excuse because they were going to use the fish as bait. An inspection of the catch revealed 15 undersized mangrove snapper which had been scaled as if they were ready to be cooked. The men were issued misdemeanor charges for possessing undersized mangrove snapper and an infraction for not possessing a valid saltwater shoreline fishing license.


Lieutenant Spoede and Officers Winton, Hazelwood and Bradshaw conducted offshore patrols over the weekend, utilizing FWC’s new 29-foot SAFE patrol vessel. During the patrols, violations were discovered relating to red grouper, hogfish, yellowtail snapper, mangrove snapper, and vermillion snapper. Several resource citations and warnings were issued for the violations. Vessel occupants were also educated about saltwater fishing regulations and sustainable fishing practices.


Officer Price was conducting plain-clothes patrol near Blind Pass when he saw three males wading and throwing cast nets. When the men packed up to leave, he stopped them to conduct a resource inspection. The inspection revealed 11 snook ranging from 12-19 inches, one undersized snapper and one undersized sheepshead. The men were each issued a notice to appear for the various fishing violations.




Captive Wildlife Investigator O’Horo was completing paperwork at the State Route 64 Boat Ramp when he was approached by a man offering to sell Investigator O’Horo a backpack full of nice fishing equipment for $5. Numerous indicators suggested the bag was stolen. Investigator O’Horo eventually identified himself and called for uniformed back-up. Officer Klobuchar arrived and a field interview was conducted. It was discovered that the man had a felony warrant for a probation violation. He was arrested and then transported to the Manatee County Jail by the Bradenton Police Department.




Officer Pulaski responded to a complaint of an individual with a pet raccoon. When he arrived, he could see a juvenile carrying the raccoon. He learned the raccoon was a free-range pet and had been so for quite some time. After conferring with Investigator Paul, the individual relinquished the raccoon, and it was turned over to a licensed facility. Officer Pulaski issued a warning for the violation.




While on patrol at a local marina, Officer Pettifer saw an individual unloading fishing gear from his vessel. He approached the individual and initiated a fisheries inspection revealing that the individual possessed 108 mullet. The individual was cited for possession of 58 mullet over the recreational bag limit.


While on patrol, Officers Lehman and Pettifer saw an individual fishing under the Pinellas Bay Way Bridge. A fisheries inspection revealed the individual to be in possession of 25 mangrove snapper. They all were under the legal size limit of 10 inches. The individual was cited for possession of over the bag limit and undersized mangrove snapper.




The Southwest Region Dive Team was asked to assist Hendry County Sheriff’s Office with an investigation where a weapon was discarded in a canal. The dive team deployed using handheld sonar and metal detectors to clear the canal. The canal was cleared and no weapon was found during the search.


Officer Young was conducting land patrol in Saddle Creek Fish Management Area (FMA) when he saw a subject using a cast net. Upon conducting a fisheries inspection, Officer Young found the suspect to be in possession of bass taken with the cast net. Officer Young released the fish and issued the appropriate citations for possession of a cast net in Saddle Creek FMA and taking game fish by illegal method.




Officers Davidson and Ridgway were on water patrol in the area of New Pass. While on patrol, they stopped a vessel to perform a boating safety inspection. It became apparent to the officers that the captain of the vessel was under the influence of alcohol. After performing field sobriety tasks, the captain of the vessel was placed under arrest for BUI and transported to the Sarasota County Jail.






Lieutenant Fugate received a call from the Highlands County Sheriff’s Agricultural Deputy asking for assistance with searching in a wooded neighborhood for an elderly woman suffering from Alzheimer’s. After arriving on the scene with his ATV, Lieutenant Fugate was briefed by the deputies of the situation and the last sighting. Soon after, Lieutenant Fugate found the woman lying under a tree in a wooded area a few roads over from the woman’s residence. With the help of the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office K-9 officer, the woman was carried out of the woods to the closest cross street to wait for EMS. The woman had apparently been lying there for approximately three hours, but was okay, sustaining only a few minor cuts and scratches.









While conducting land patrol in the John C. and Mariana Jones/Hungryland WEA, Officer Morrow approached a suspicious vehicle that was backed into the tree-line and the occupant appeared to be camping. Officer Morrow encountered the vehicle occupant at the rear of the vehicle and noted a glass smoking pipe, a marijuana grinder, and a bag of marijuana in plain sight. Officer Morrow then conducted a search of the vehicle and located a license plate in the vehicle rear. A query of the license plate revealed it belonged to a stolen vehicle (which was not present). The vehicle occupant advised she had purchased the vehicle the day before and the tag had previously been on the vehicle. This story was consistent with documentation located in the vehicle. The vehicle occupant was then issued a notice to appear citation for possession of cannabis under 20 grams and drug paraphernalia. The illegal drugs/paraphernalia were seized and placed into evidence. The stolen tag was seized and will be turned over to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.




Officers Godward and Hankinson were on water patrol offshore of the Jupiter Inlet when they performed a fisheries check on a vessel. The check revealed five undersized dolphin, and four of the individuals claimed the undersized dolphin. A license check revealed that none of the individuals had fishing licenses in their possession. Each of the four individuals were cited for fishing without a fishing license and warnings were written for undersized dolphin.


Officer Brock responded to the area of Las Olas and the Intracoastal Waterway in response to a call for assistance from the Fort Lauderdale Police Department Marine Unit. Officer Brock arrived on the scene of a suspected intoxicated boater, conducted field sobriety tasks and arrested one individual for BUI.


Officer Grant was on patrol in the Mizell-Johnson State Park. She responded to the report of numerous burglaries to vehicles in several parking lots. No suspects have been apprehended at this time.


Officer Grant was on patrol at the Mizell-Johnson State Park Marina. She conducted a marine fisheries inspection on a vessel that tied up at the marina’s dock. After the inspection, Officer Grant issued three individuals criminal citations for possession of undersized dolphin. Seven undersized dolphin were seized as evidence.


Officer Toby saw an individual fishing on Lake Okeechobee with a cast net at the Canal Point Structure. Officer Toby conducted a fisheries inspection after watching the individual from a distance. The individual was in possession of 32 black crappie, 18 of which were undersized. The black crappie showed signs of having been taken by a cast net, which is illegal (since they are all freshwater game fish). The individual was also in possession of drug paraphernalia and ammunition, which was illegal as the individual had prior felony convictions. During a search of the individual’s vehicle, multiple suspicious items, including laptops and packaged jewelry and coins were turned over to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office for further investigation. The individual was transported to the Palm Beach County Jail. The suspect was issued four misdemeanor citations for possession of undersize black crappie, over the daily bag limit of black crappie, taking game fish by illegal method, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Additionally, the individual was issued one felony citation for possession of ammunition with a prior felony conviction.









Two officers were on water patrol recently at Haulover Inlet when they saw two subjects collaboratively place an unidentified fish in between some jetty rocks and then further conceal it by placing a palm frond on top. One officer was dropped off on land and approached the subjects. Both subjects denied having any other fish besides two barracudas that were in their possession. The officer then retrieved the fish that had been hidden and identified it as an undersized mutton snapper. Both subjects were cited by the officer for the undersized fish violation as well as interference with the duties of an FWC officer.




Officer Garrison was on patrol in an unmarked vessel near Bogie Channel when he stopped a vessel for a resource inspection. Officer Garrison inspected the cooler and found a speared snook along with numerous other snapper. The operator was then arrested and taken to the jail in Marathon. He was charged with out-of-season snook, harvesting a snook by spearing, over the bag limit of mangrove snapper, possession of a vessel on the waters not registered as commercial or recreational, no saltwater fishing license in possession and no snook stamp. The operator was also cited for numerous boating violations.


The FWC Dispatch received a call from Ryder Trauma Center that a child was flown to their center in reference to a PWC accident that occurred in Monroe County. Further investigation revealed that EMS responded to Indian Key Fill where the child climbed on an unattended, possibly running PWC, grabbed the throttle, and ran up on to the shoreline rocks and nobody notified FWC. The child suffered injuries when his body was thrown into the handle bars and he was transported to a hospital in Dade County. A local FWC officer responded to the hospital to take the report and the case is still under investigation.


Two occupants on a PWC bayside of Tavernier were doing circles when the craft hit a wake from a distant passing vessel. Both the operator and occupant were ejected from the PWC into the water. The operator suffered back injuries and was transported to Mariner’s Hospital for treatment. The passenger injured his left ankle but refused treatment. The operator was flown to Ryder Trauma Center due to significant injuries to his left side and hip. The case is still under investigation.


Officer Hettel responded to the report of a vessel that was outside the channel and cutting through the north anchorage at a high speed in a no wake zone. He spotted the vessel approximately one-half mile east of the 20th Street Bridge in Boot Key Harbor, near Marathon. Officer Hettel followed the vessel and initiated a vessel stop. The operator showed signs of intoxication and was becoming agitated, so Officer Hettel escorted the vessel to shore. Once dock side, the operator began slamming things on his vessel and threw the case for his flares down, bouncing off his boat and in the direction of Officer Hettel’s vessel. The operator then picked up another item and threw it at Officer Hettel, striking him. Officer Hettel then placed the operator in hand cuffs. Officer Carroll arrived by vessel to assist. Officer Hettel transported the operator to the Marathon Jail for sobriety tasks and a breath test. Once there, the operator refused to complete or submit to any tasks or examinations and was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, BUI and refusal to submit to a breath test.


The FWC Dispatch received a call that a vessel was heading to a local Marina in Cudjoe Key with a 13 year old female occupant on board who had been struck by the propeller of the vessel. The FWC, EMS and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office responded to Venture Out Marina to meet the vessel. Once the victim arrived at the marina, she was immediately placed in an ambulance for medical treatment for her injuries. The victim was later transported to the Lower Keys Medical Center where she was pronounced dead. Investigator Hein is the lead on the investigation. There was no alcohol/drug impairment related to this accident.


While patrolling the Middle Keys on opening day of spiny lobster season, Officers Richards and Foell, on board the FWC’s Offshore Patrol Vessel Interceptor, saw a subject snorkeling in a channel a long distance from his divers-down flag. Without being noticed, the officers saw the subject catch and place multiple spiny lobster into his catch bag. Upon inspection, the catch bag contained 18 spiny lobster, well above the six per-person limit, one even being undersized. The subject was charged accordingly for the resource violations.






Officer Dube attended the Python Patrol training at the National Park Service’s Big Cypress office. FWC staff provided a classroom portion of the training along with a hands-on portion where the students received additional training on how to safely catch a python. Afterwards, all students had their chance to capture and secure a wild python by themselves. After the training, the students received a goody bag and will be sent a certificate showing their attendance at the training.




Investigator Mattson taught several officers from the Upper Keys the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) Seated Field Sobriety course. The officers were all park rangers and trainees and the class was taught at the Everglades National Park Ranger Station in Key Largo. All the course attendees were happy with the class, stating they would use the training on future patrols.