Officer Alsobrooks received a phone call regarding two subjects picking saw palmetto berries on private property adjacent to US Highway 98 in Panama City Beach. He arrived on scene and contacted the two subjects. They did not have written permission from the landowner to be on the property and did not have the required permit to harvest saw palmetto berries. They were in possession of three bags of berries with an estimated weight of 200 pounds. Both subjects were issued warnings for not possessing written permission from the landowner and one of the subjects was issued a citation for the permit violation.
Officer Brady and Reserve Officer Chesser were on water patrol in East Bay when they conducted a safety inspection on a rental pontoon vessel. During the inspection, the officers located multiple bags of palmetto berries in the vessel. The four occupants were charged appropriately for not having permits to possess the berries. The berries were returned to the habitat.
Lieutenant Allen was on patrol in Econfina Creek Wildlife Management Area when he noticed several individuals consuming alcohol at Wiliford Spring. Consumption of alcohol is prohibited on the management area. While issuing citations for the alcohol violations, Lieutenant Allen obtained consent to search a backpack belonging to one of the individuals. During the search, Lieutenant Allen found a small metal box which contained several straws and three small bags of a white powdery substance. The substance field tested positive for cocaine. The owner of the backpack took responsibility for the drugs and was arrested and booked into the Washington County Jail.
Officer Basford was working plain clothes when he saw an individual wade fishing in East Bay. As he was watching the individual, he saw him keep what appeared to be two redfish. One of the fish appeared to be oversized. Once the individual returned to shore, Officer Basford identified himself and conducted a resource inspection. During the inspection, Officer Basford found the individual in possession of two redfish, one of which was oversized. The individual was issued a citation for possession of oversized redfish as well as a warning for over the bag limit of redfish and for no saltwater fishing license. The oversized fish was returned to the water.
Officers Manning and Allgood patrolled offshore concentrating on fisheries enforcement utilizing the newly arrived Safe Boat in Pensacola. They found occupants from five different vessels in violation of federal fisheries regulations. Five federal citations were issued for charges including possession of triggerfish during closed season and for possession of red snapper in a closed season. The officers also charged one vessel operator with interference with an FWC officer for attempting to throw illegally harvested triggerfish and red snapper overboard.
Officer Allgood assisted FWC captive wildlife investigators with a subject who was attempting to keep a whitetail deer as a pet. Officer Allgood issued a citation to the subject who was keeping the deer in an enclosure. The individual had previously applied for a permit but was denied.
Officer Little pulled up to a boat ramp along Merritt’s Mill Pond as a boat was approaching the ramp shining a spotlight. When the vessel operator saw Officer Little, he turned the vessel around and began heading back out to the lake. Officer Little initiated his patrol vehicle’s emergency lights and gave several commands for the vessel operator to come to shore. The vessel operator stated he did not want to be checked and left the area. A truck arrived at the ramp with an empty boat trailer. The truck operator stated he was there to pick up his friend and load a boat that was left at his residence. Officer Little followed the truck to the residence in question where he found the vessel moored to a dock. Inside the vessel was a wallet, keys and cell phone. Approximately 30 minutes later, the vessel operator emerged from a nearby wooded area. After reviewing the case with the Assistant State Attorney, charges of fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer by vessel and obstruction of an FWC officer were direct filed.
Officer Little located three suspects trespassing on a landowner’s property. At the landowner’s request, all three suspects were cited for trespass.
Officers Hayes and Gerber were on night vessel patrol on the Apalachicola River when they saw a vessel at the shore with four subjects standing next to the vessel. One of the subjects was holding a cast net. When the officers arrived, the subject dropped the cast net. The officers found 25 bream and two crappie inside a live well. None of the fish had hook marks and they had missing scales indicating they had been caught in the cast net. The officers found the wet cast net in a bucket with one hybrid bass in the net. One of the subjects admitted to catching all the fish with the cast net. One count of taking game fish by an illegal method was direct filed through the State Attorney’s Office.
Officer Bartlett and Investigator Molnar were on vessel patrol at Crab Island. The officers conducted a vessel stop on two personal watercraft (PWC) for violating the idle speed/no wake zone near the Destin Marler Bridge. One of the PWCs was being operated by a 14-year-old who failed to carry the temporary boater safety card. After the vessel inspection, Investigator Molnar conducted a livery inspection of the rental company who rented the PWC. Investigator Molnar determined the livery was in violation of the FWC temporary certificate program for contractors.
Officer Pifer was on land patrol when he conducted a saltwater license inspection of an individual who had just concluded fishing and was walking back to his vehicle. The individual told the officer his license was in his vehicle and Officer Pifer followed the individual to his van. The individual produced a valid license and when asked stated there were coolers in his van which contained fish. An inspection of the coolers revealed multiple species of regulated fish inside. Officer Pifer’s inspection revealed a total of eight redfish, two of which were oversized, and an undersized Spanish mackerel. The individual stated he was in town for ten days and only caught one redfish a day. Redfish has an off the water transportation limit of six. The individual’s information was checked through FWC dispatch who advised the individual had an active arrest warrant for larceny out of Okaloosa County. Officer Pifer placed the individual under arrest and booked him into the Okaloosa County Jail for the active warrant. The individual was additionally cited for possession of oversized redfish, over the transportation limit of redfish, and undersized Spanish mackerel.
Officer Pifer was dispatched to the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier regarding individuals harvesting undersized pompano. Once on the pier, Officer Pifer located the group described by the complainant. A resource inspection of their cooler revealed one pompano inside which was under the 11-inch size limit. The owner of the cooler was identified. The individual was cited for possession of undersized pompano. While investigating this complaint, Officer Pifer conducted a resource inspection of another cooler on the pier which contained three bluefish under the 12-inch size limit. The owner was identified and cited for possession of undersized bluefish.
Officer Corbin was on land patrol at the Cinco Bayou Boat Ramp conducting boating safety and resource inspections. The officer saw four kayaks returning to the boat ramp with rods and reels and coolers displayed. Officer Corbin asked if they had caught any fish, to which one of the boaters responded yes. Upon inspection of the cooler, Officer Corbin saw an undersized red drum. The operator was issued a notice to appear citation.
Officer Corbin was dispatched to a complaint regarding an individual keeping undersized pompano on the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier. Based on the description received from the complainant, Officer Corbin located the individual leaving the pier pulling a blue cooler and holding fishing rods. With consent, the officer inspected the contents of the cooler and saw several unregulated species of fish and one pompano. The pompano measured nine inches in total length. The legal size is 11 inches or greater. The individual was issued a notice to appear citation.
Officer Corbin was on foot patrol at the Okaloosa Island Pier in Fort Walton Beach. The officer saw an individual sitting in a chair, with fishing poles in front of him and lines in the water, right next to a cooler. In conversation with the individual, the subject stated he had caught some fish. The officer’s inspection of the cooler revealed two undersized pompano with a fork length of 7 ¾ inches. The individual was issued a notice to appear citation.
Officer Corbin saw an individual sitting on the seawall behind Mariner Plaza with two fishing poles in front of him with the lines in the water. During a fisheries/license inspection, the Tallahassee Regional Communication Center confirmed there was an active warrant out of Okaloosa County. Further, there was another warrant (non-extraditable) out of Palatka. The individual was arrested and transported to the Okaloosa County Jail.
Officer Brooks stopped a vessel returning from fishing on Black Creek for operating after sunset with no operational navigational lights. A fishery inspection revealed the subjects were over the daily bag limit of redfish. One of the occupants admitted to catching the fish and was cited for possession of over the daily bag limit of redfish.
Officer Tison identified three subjects who exited Grayton Beach State Park after harvesting saw palmetto berries. The subjects were in violation of harvesting berries in the state park and they did not have a permit as required from the Department of Agriculture. The subjects were cited for the state park and permit violations.
Officer Sauls was on patrol in the Eastpoint area targeting illegal harvest of undersized oysters. She stopped a vessel returning from harvesting oysters to conduct a resource inspection. Officer Sauls inspected a bag of oysters and after counting and measuring each oyster, she determined it contained 46% undersized oysters. The subject was cited, and the undersized oysters were returned to the bay alive.
Officer Specialist Anderson saw a vehicle parked in Aucilla Wildlife Management Area in the Western Sloughs. He deployed K-9 Scout around the vehicle and located a crossbow arrow that appeared to have fallen from the subject’s crossbow that morning. He deployed K-9 Scout, who tracked the subject approximately 250 yards through a swamp to the subject’s tripod stand. Once Officer Anderson located the subject, he identified himself as an FWC officer and instructed the subject to come down from his stand. When the subject came down, Officer Anderson saw a firearm on his side. A check through dispatch revealed the subject had seven prior felony convictions. Officer Anderson canvased the area for possible bait and located an area where a mineral block and milo was scattered, approximately 25 yards away from the subject’s stand. Also, around the stand were several items of trash that the subject admitted discarding in past hunting seasons. A rotation wrecker was requested. Officer Wilcox and Lieutenant Kilpatrick arrived to assist. Officer Wilcox photographed evidence (crossbow, bait, and a firearm) and Lieutenant Kilpatrick took inventory of the subject’s vehicle. The subject was booked into the Jefferson County Jail and was cited for possession of firearm by convicted felon, hunting with a crossbow during archery season, placing bait in a management area, and littering.
SANTA ROSA COUNTY
Officers Hoomes, Roberson, Ramos, Hutchison and Pilot Tolbert have been working a ring of illegal palmetto berry pickers on Eglin Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The officers found evidence of the illegal activity and caught up with four subjects who had picked over 600 pounds of palmetto berries from Eglin WMA. All four subjects were cited for 13 misdemeanors which included harvesting live plants from a management area, entering a closed area, and no Department of Defense permit. One subject, who fled but was later located, was cited for resisting arrest without violence.
Officers Hellett and Gore saw a vehicle traveling in the Econfina Creek Wildlife Management Area. After following the vehicle for a short distance, the officers conducted a traffic stop to check the driver for impairment as the vehicle was being operated carelessly and weaving. Upon stopping the vehicle, the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage was detected, and the subject did poorly on field sobriety tasks. He admitted to drinking a few beers and was arrested for DUI and transported to the Washington County Jail.
While aboard the Offshore Patrol Vessel “Vigilance,” Officers Rockwell, Matechik, and Pifer saw a kayak fishing in waters south of Grayton Beach. Upon contacting the subject and performing a resource inspection, he was found to be in possession of undersized triple tail. The appropriate action was taken to address the violation.
While aboard the Offshore Patrol Vessel “Vigilance,” Officers Rockwell and Matechik were conducting federal fisheries patrols south of Santa Rosa County. They saw a charter fishing vessel relocating to another location. Upon boarding the vessel to conduct a resource inspection, they found a cooler that contained a gray triggerfish. Gray triggerfish is closed to harvest in federal waters. The appropriate action was taken to address the violation.
While aboard the Offshore Patrol Vessel “Vigilance,” Officers Rockwell and Matechik were conducting federal fisheries patrols south of Destin Pass. They saw a fishing vessel with four subjects on board actively bottom fishing. Upon boarding the vessel to conduct a resource inspection, it was found that there were four gray triggerfish on board. Harvest of gray triggerfish is closed in federal waters. Furthermore, all four of the fish were below the 15-inch minimum size limit. The appropriate action was taken to address the violations.
While aboard the Offshore Patrol Vessel “Vigilance,” Officers Rockwell and Matechik were conducting federal fisheries patrols south of Destin. They saw a center console fishing boat with four subjects on board. After boarding the vessel to conduct a resource inspection, the officer was told that they were not having much luck fishing. Inside the cooler were two out of season gray triggerfish. The appropriate action was taken to address the violations.
While aboard the Offshore Patrol Vessel “Vigilance,” Officers Rockwell, Matechik, and Pifer were conducting federal fisheries patrols south of Panama City. They saw a vessel with two subjects on board fishing. As they approached, the vessel got on plane and maneuvered in a northerly direction. Upon stopping the vessel, they saw fishing equipment and blood visible on the boat. The officers boarded the vessel to conduct a resource inspection and found one gray triggerfish and 23 vermillion snapper. Gray triggerfish is closed to harvest in federal waters and the bag limit for vermillion snapper is ten per person. Additionally, there were undersized vermillion snapper. The appropriate actions were taken to address the violations.
While aboard the Offshore Patrol Vessel “Vigilance,” Officers Rockwell, Matechik, and Pifer were conducting federal fisheries patrols south of Panama City. They saw a small cabin fishing vessel with two subjects on board. Upon boarding the vessel to conduct a resource inspection, the officers located gray triggerfish in the cooler. Gray triggerfish is closed to harvest in federal waters. The appropriate action was taken to address the violation.
Leon County Sheriff’s Office conducted a search for a missing FSU student in the eastern portion of the county. On Sunday, Officers Anderson, Wilcox and Brookes joined the search along with Lieutenants Wass de Czege and Field. Officer Brookes searched along the western shoreline of Lake Miccosukee in an airboat. Officers Anderson and Wilcox and Lieutenant Wass de Czege focused their efforts in a different location further from the lake. Officer Anderson was on his ATV searching in a low-lying area several hundred yards away from other search teams when he located the subject. Officer Anderson was able to get the student onto his ATV and get him back to an assembly area where he was taken to the hospital for medical evaluation. The student had been missing for three nights.
Officers White and Maltais searched for and located a stranded boater in Choctawhatchee Bay after his family reported he was hours overdue. The subject was stranded in the bay due to mechanical failure and was accompanied safely back to shore.
COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
Officer Yates, with assistance from Officers Homan, Parrish, Greene, and Lieutenant Walsingham participated in the Holmes County Outdoor Expo. A booth with informational materials and a vehicle/vessel static display generated a lot of public interest, which included questions and comments, meeting new landowners, and recruitment. Approximately 700 people attended the two-day event.
NORTH CENTRAL REGION
Officer Allen saw hunting equipment, including a corn feeder, tree stand and game camera in a local WMA last year. The equipment was removed prior to the season and he was unable to make a case. He returned this year and discovered the equipment was back in the WMA. He obtained a search warrant for the game camera and identified the owner. Officer Allen will be direct filing six misdemeanor charges through the Gilchrist County State Attorney’s Office.
Officer Cooper received information that a subject captured an alligator and was keeping it at his residence. Officer Cooper arrived on the scene and saw an alligator in a water trough in the backyard. Officer Cooper contacted the subject and conducted an interview. The subject was issued a notice to appear for the violation and the alligator was released back into the wild.
Officer Reid and Lieutenant Jones were on patrol offshore of Crystal River. They saw a vessel at anchor with several occupants on board. The officers watched with binoculars and noticed the vessel occupants were not fishing or conducting any other activities consistent with being anchored. There was no dive flag displayed and the lack of activity on the boat raised suspicion that there may be divers in the water. As the officers approached the vessel, they saw a bubble trail from one diver. The officers tied off to the vessel and asked the occupants where their dive flag was located. The occupants stated they did not have a dive flag. The diver heard the patrol boats’ engines and surfaced nearby. Lieutenant Jones motioned for the diver to return to the boat. Once the diver was on board, Officer Reid conducted a fisheries inspection and located four gray trigger fish and one undersized hog snapper. The operator was issued a citation for possession of four gray trigger fish out of season and one citation for no display of a divers down flag.
Officer Stanley and Officer Troiano were patrolling private property with known trespassing complaints. The officers saw two males in a green canoe fishing in the private pond. Officer Stanley asked the two individuals if they had permission to be on the property and they replied no. The officers issued citations for trespass and no fishing license. Warnings were issued for boating safety violations.
Officer Stanley received information about a buck deer that was killed on property that had an active deer depredating permit. Officer Stanley contacted the permit holder and was able to identify the suspected person. After a short interview, Officer Stanley determined that the deer’s head was in a freezer belonging to another member of the suspect’s family. The deer was being kept so that they could have it mounted. Officer Stanley traveled to the family member’s home and retrieved the deer head. Officer Stanley issued two citations for violating of deer depredating permit rules.
Officers Gill, Tyler, and Fanelli were working a private deer dog hunting club, listening for free running deer dogs when the officers saw a subject cast his dogs on deer tracks. They watched the dogs actively chase a deer. The officers addressed the violation with the subject and cited him accordingly.
Officer Fox was conducting land patrol near Cedar Key when he saw a truck traveling north on County Road 347. He knew the driver of the truck had a suspended Florida driver’s license from previous resource inspections. Officer Fox stopped the vehicle and explained the laws and penalties to the operator and issued him a notice to appear in the Levy County Court for knowingly driving with a suspended license.
Officer Fox was conducting land patrol in Goethe State Forest when he saw a white pickup truck traveling north on Ten Mile Road after the legal entry hours for the public. While explaining the violation, he saw a beer bottle stuffed in the passenger side door panel. The occupants were cited for entry after legal hours and possession of an open container of alcohol while operating a motor vehicle.
Officer Fox was conducting water patrol by land at the Shell Mound Boat Ramp in Cedar Key when he saw a black airboat with two individuals approaching the boat ramp. Officer Fox saw a large quantity of mullet on board the vessel. Officer Fox’s resource inspection revealed two legal-sized red drums and 76 striped mullets. Officer Fox cited the individuals for over the vessel limit of striped mullet.
Officer Johnston was dispatched to a gopher tortoise complaint at the Levy County Courthouse in Bronson. When he arrived and looked inside the bed of the truck, he saw a large gopher tortoise in a bucket. Officer Johnston cited him for possession of a protected species.
Officers Stuhr and Waldo received a call from dispatch about a gunshot heard by a complainant sitting in a hunting stand during archery season. The officers proceeded to private land off Murhee road where they met three subjects. After asking about the shot, the father said his son shot at a dove. Officer Stuhr seized one dove breast. Dove season was not open and a citation was issued for harvesting dove out of season. The father also told Officer Stuhr that his other son shot a spike deer the night before. After meeting with the son about the deer, it was confirmed the son shot the deer. The deer was harvested out of season. The officers seized the deer and issued a citation for harvesting deer out of season.
Officers Stuhr and Griffis responded to a call concerning two men picking saw palmetto berries at the Big Talbot Island State Park, just south of Black Rock Trail on A1A. Officer Griffis contacted the first man. After a few questions, the man took the officers to his friend. Officer Stuhr entered the wood line where the second man exited and found a bucket half filled with berries along with the first man’s backpack. Officer Stuhr saw a burlap sack in some bushes next to where the backpacks had been found. This bag also contained saw palmetto berries. The backpacks were filled with food, water, and extra burlap sacks. The two men did not have a native plant harvesting permit nor did they receive permission from state park staff to harvest berries. Both men were placed under arrest for violation of state park rules and the harvest/possession of saw palmetto berries without a permit.
SEARCH AND RESCUE
Officers Ransom, Cline and Vazquez responded to a drowning in Cherry Lake near Pinetta. Working closely with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office by providing vessel support along with sonar imaging, the missing subject was located, and the family was notified.
Officers Colasanti, Robson, and Lieutenant Loyed responded to a vessel taking on water 13 miles off-shore of the Steinhatchee River. There were three people in the water, including a child, when the officers arrived on scene. The occupants were pulled out of the water and transported back to shore by Officer Robson. Sea Tow was also on scene and towed the vessel back to shore. Officer Colasanti conducted the boating accident investigation.
COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
Officer Boone participated in the law portion of a hunter education class in Live Oak. There were several students with parents in attendance for the class. Numerous related questions were answered on the topics of conservational enforcement, public safety and various hunting related questions.
ST. JOHNS COUNTY
Officers Campbell and Graves were working an alligator hunting detail on the St. Johns River when they inspected a group of subjects and found them to be hunting in the fourth phase using a second phase permit. Citations were issued for the violations.
Officer Laroche was on patrol in Blue Springs State Park at French Landing when he saw a subject harvest an alligator within the state park by snagging it and dragging it alongside the vessel. The alligator was not immediately killed upon capture as required. He contacted the subject, who provided a permit for the recreational harvest which showed he was out of his area. One criminal citation was issued for taking an alligator within a state park. The subject was issued warnings for other violations.
Officer Bertolami saw two adult males in the very early morning hours fishing from the north jetty of Ponce Inlet. An inspection of their catch resulted in both men being issued notices to appear for the criminal violations for possession of out of slot size limit red drum, black drum and over the daily bag limit of red drum.
Officer West checked two adult male’s shoreline fishing in the New Smyrna Beach area. After checking the area where they had been fishing, Officer West found multiple bags concealed containing illegal fish. Both men were issued notices to appear for the criminal violations of possession of under the legal size of mangrove snapper and out of slot size limit of red drum.
Officer Pelzel was checking subjects in the area of the Tomoka River and after inspecting the catch of an adult male, issued a notice to appear for the criminal violations of possession of over the daily bag limit of mangrove snapper and under the legal size limit for mangrove snapper.
Officers Pelzel and Ward were on water patrol in Ormond Beach when they received a complaint of aggravated assault with a firearm which was reported to have just occurred nearby. The officers located the suspect vessel and collected statements from all parties involved. After completing their investigation, the officers forwarded a charge of three counts of aggravated assault with a firearm to the State Attorney’s Office for prosecution.
Officers West and Malicoat were observing fishing activity at the Ponce Inlet jetty. Three adult males were actively using a cast net and when checked, showed the officers the legal fish in their cooler. A more thorough check of the surrounding area disclosed another container with fish that they had attempted to hide. Two of the adult males were issued the criminal notices to appear for possession of out of slot size snook, illegal method of harvesting snook, out of slot size limit black drum and out of slot size limit of sheepshead.
Officers Scrambling and Fahnestock were on patrol in Jumper Creek when they came across a parked vehicle. An open bag of deer food was in the cab of the vehicle. Two subjects came out of the wooded area and Officers Scrambling and Fahnestock contacted them. One of the subjects had a backpack. With consent, Officer Fahnestock inspected the bag and located a mostly empty bottle, which contained the same material as the deer food bag. The subjects admitted to placing deer food on the Wildlife Management Area and took the officers to the site. Both were cited appropriately.
Officer Bernard was conducting fisheries inspections at the Palatka City Docks when he checked the catch of a male subject that was cast netting. Upon inspecting his catch, it was found that the subject was in possession of a black crappie that was caught by the cast net. The subject was cited for possession of a game fish caught by an unlawful method.
Officers Eller, Summers, Hadwin, and K9 Blue received information of an illegal deer harvested out of the upper St. Johns River Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The three officers contacted two individuals inside the WMA that met the description of the potential suspects. After investigation, one subject admitted to shooting an illegal deer. Officer Hadwin and K9 Blue tracked the deer from where it had been shot, to the spot where the subject had hidden the deer in the woods. The subject admitted to shooting the deer and hiding it. He was cited for harvesting an antlered deer not meeting the minimum antler restrictions.
Officers Delano and Balgo were on patrol when they saw subjects fishing at a nearby causeway. The officers approached the group and conducted a resource inspection. The inspection revealed ten undersized mangrove snapper. Citations were issued for the violation.
While on foot patrol at the Eau Gallie Causeway, Officer Balgo saw an individual fishing near the rocks. A resource inspection located nine mangrove snapper in a cooler, three of which were undersized. The individual was issued a citation for possession of undersized mangrove snapper and issued a warning for over the bag limit.
While on foot patrol along the relief bridge near the Eau Gallie Causeway, Officer Balgo saw an individual placing fish in a bucket. A resource inspection was conducted and Officer Balgo located several undersized mangrove snapper. The individual was cited accordingly.
While on foot patrol at the Pineda Causeway, Officer Balgo located a truck parked along the water. After locating the owner, the officer inspected a cooler in bed of the truck. The resource inspection revealed one undersized red drum. The individual was cited accordingly.
While on foot patrol, Officer Humphrey saw a man fishing from a pier under a causeway. Officer Humphrey watched the man put several mangrove snapper in a plastic bag and place the bag in the bottom of a cooler. During the inspection the subject stated to Officer Humphrey that he hadn’t caught anything all day. A check of the cooler revealed eight mangrove snapper with seven of them being undersized. The subject was cited accordingly.
While on land patrol of Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Officer Rasey stopped to speak with two subjects to see how their fishing was going. A resource inspection revealed six undersized black drum. A resource citation and several warnings were issued for the violations.
While on land patrol in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Officer Rasey contacted a group of subjects fishing. After conducting license checks, a resource inspection revealed one subject in possession of a 12 3/8-inch red drum. A citation for undersized red drum was issued.
Officers Summers, Hadwin, and K9 Blue were on surveillance of Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and Prairie Lakes WMA. While watching the fence line bordering the two management areas, Officer Summers witnessed a subject cross into Prairie Lakes WMA and then cross back over into Three Lakes WMA. Officer Hadwin and K9 Blue followed the subject from his last entrance into Three Lakes to his tree stand, about a quarter mile in. The subject was cited for illegally entering/exiting a wildlife management area.
Officer McLendon responded to a complaint on Kicco Wildlife Management Area involving the take of hogs during closed season. He located a large white cooler at the suspect’s camp. Inside the cooler were three freshly killed hogs, two wild turkeys, three rabbits, and an armadillo. A 20-gauge shotgun and wildlife were seized as evidence and the subject was cited for hunting on South Florida Water Management District property during closed season, taking wild hogs out of season, and taking wild turkey out of season.
SEARCH AND RESCUE
FWC Officers Dias and Wester, and Lieutenant Yetter responded with Marion County Sheriff’s Office to the Ocklawaha River for two men stranded and lost on the river somewhere between CR316 and the Rodman Reservoir. One of the men had a history of cardiac problems and was without his medicine. The Marion County helicopter quickly located the two men drifting on the river near the reservoir and relayed their location to ground units. Within minutes FWC officers deployed a vessel and found the men who were exhausted and on the verge of dehydration. The two were given water and brought to Hog Valley Boat Ramp with their vessel. Lieutenant Yetter transported them back to their vehicle and trailer at Eureka Boat Ramp.
Officer Canamero and Officer Fagan responded to a gopher tortoise complaint. They located an active burrow that had been crushed by several rocks. After further investigation, they located the offending subject who admitted to putting the rocks inside the burrow and causing the damage. The subject was cited accordingly.
While on patrol in East Hillsborough County, Officer Rivard saw a truck parked on the side of the road. He saw an individual walking along a tree line. Upon conducting a resource inspection, he found the individual to be actively harvesting and in possession of saw palmetto berries on private land. It was discovered the individual did not have permission to harvest the palmetto berries from the landowner. The individual was cited for the violation.
While on water patrol, Lieutenant Holcomb and Officer Rivard saw an individual fishing from a vessel. Upon conducting a resource inspection, it was discovered the individual was in possession of five undersized spotted seatrout. The individual was cited for possession of undersized and over the bag limit of spotted seatrout.
While on land patrol in Hillsborough County, Officer Godfrey and Officer Specialist Phillippi watched a popular fishing location from two different vantage points. As the officers sat and watched, they saw a subject fishing with a cast net from a vessel. Officer Specialist Phillippi tried contacting the subject but he kept trolling along the canal, ignoring the officer. Officer Godfrey was able to get the subject stopped further down the canal and found him to be in possession of an undersized snook and a grass carp. The subject was cited for possession of undersized snook, illegal method of taking snook, and possession of grass carp without a permit. The subject was issued citations for no saltwater fishing license, no personal flotation device and no sound producing device. The subject was issued five warnings for other boating safety and registration violations as well.
Officer Hardgrove was patrolling popular local fishing locations when he encountered a man harvesting mullet with a fishing rod. Officer Hardgrove checked the man’s fishing license and discovered it had been suspended. Fishing while recreational license privileges are suspended is a criminal violation. The subject was charged appropriately.
Officer Hardgrove was checking vessels returning to a local marina when he saw a group of men filleting red grouper. As he watched them, he noticed one of the grouper appeared to be less than the twenty-inch total length minimum size. Officer Hargrove measured the fish using his issued measuring device and found it to be 18 ¼ inches. The boat’s captain stated the fish was much closer to twenty inches in length on his measuring tape. Officer Hardgrove let the captain measure the fish with his own tape, and it showed the fish over nineteen inches in length. The officer noticed that the first inch of the boat captains tape had been cut off to make fish appear bigger when measured on his device. The man was cited for a possession of an undersized red grouper.
Officer Hardgrove was observing two men fishing at a popular bridge when one of the men caught a large snook. After the two men took pictures of the snook, they released it. When Officer Hardgrove approached the men to conduct a fisheries inspection, one of them admitted that he had caught a larger snook that evening and that the other man had kept it. The other man admitted to having the thirty-inch snook in a cooler in his truck. Both men stated that they knew that snook were catch and release only due to an emergency closure. Appropriate citations were issued.
Officer Winton was on patrol at Koreshan State Park when he saw a vehicle violating the posted speed limit in the campground. A query of the vehicle’s license plate revealed that the owner had a suspended driver’s license. A traffic stop was conducted, and a subsequent vehicle search revealed that the driver was in possession of prescription medication that did not belong to him. The driver was issued a notice to appear, a traffic citation and multiple warnings for the related violations.
Officer Winton was on vessel patrol in Matanzas Pass when he saw a vessel that did not display a current registration decal. A vessel stop was conducted, at which time it was determined that the subject had owned the vessel for over a year and had never transferred the title/registration. Additional violations pertaining to registration and safety gear were also discovered. The subject was issued a notice to appear for failure to transfer title within thirty days of purchase, a boating citation for failure to register the vessel within thirty days of purchase and multiple warnings for the other violations.
Officer Winton, Officer Garcia and Lieutenant Spoede were on offshore patrol in FWC’s SAFE Boat when they saw a fishing vessel returning from offshore waters. The officers stopped the vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection. The officers discovered that the operator was in possession of an undersized tripletail and did not have a current registration. The operator, a commercial fisherman, had an expired SPL and no recreational fishing license. The operator was issued a notice to appear for possession of undersized tripletail and warnings for the additional violations.
Officer Winton, Officer Garcia and Lieutenant Spoede were on offshore patrol in FWC’s SAFE Boat when they saw a commercial head boat charter vessel returning from offshore waters. The officers boarded the vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection and found it to be in compliance. A subsequent marine sanitation device (MSD) inspection revealed that the vessel’s toilet was plumbed overboard, meaning that waste was traveling directly from the toilet into state waters. The operator of the vessel was cited accordingly for the violation.
Officer Winton was on offshore patrol off the coast of Bonita Springs when he saw a fishing vessel returning from offshore waters. A vessel stop was conducted, at which time it was discovered that the subjects onboard were in possession of multiple wrung lobster tails as well as multiple species of reef fish not in whole condition. The captain of the vessel was issued a notice to appear as well as several warnings for the related violations.
Officer Winton, Officer Hazelwood and Lieutenant Spoede arrested a subject wanted by FWC for title fraud. The subject was booked into the Lee County Jail on charges for title fraud, operating a vessel without a hull identification number, purchasing a vessel without a title, and unlawful use of a transporter tag.
Officer Winton assisted the U.S. Coast Guard with a vessel stop at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River. The vessel was initially stopped for being operated at night without navigation lights and the officers later determined that it was a livery vessel. Officer Winton contacted the livery owner, who stated that he did not check the navigation lights prior to renting the vessel. The owner was issued a notice to appear for renting a vessel without the required safety gear.
Officer Winton was on patrol in Cape Coral when he noticed a vehicle driving erratically and failing to maintain its lane. A traffic stop was conducted, at which time Officer Winton noticed that the driver showed signs of impairment. Field sobriety tasks were conducted, and the driver was placed under arrest for driving under the influence. At the jail, the driver provided breath samples of .090 and .085.
While heading off-shore on the 29’ SAFE boat to conduct patrol in federal waters, Officer Bell, Officer Stapleton and Officer Gray saw a commercial fishing vessel returning from off-shore. Officer Bell stopped the vessel approximately three miles from Fort Myers beach and a resource inspection was conducted by Officer Stapleton and Officer Grey. Once onboard the officers inspected some of the catch and discovered six undersized red grouper. With additional ice boxes left to check, Officer Bell made the decision to escort the vessel back to the dock. Once at the dock, the officers inspected the entire catch and discovered a total of twenty-three undersized red grouper. The captain of the vessel and deck mate admitted to catching and measuring the fish. The captain and mate were issued appropriate citations and the fish where donated to a local wildlife rehabilitation center.
In cooperation with the Attorney General’s Office and State Attorney’s Office, Lieutenant Laskowski obtained an arrest warrant for the charge of filing a false application for vessel title. The warrant came after a lengthy criminal investigation from civil forfeiture proceedings regarding a commercial fishing vessel. The warrant was successfully served by Lieutenant Laskowski, Officer Babauta and Officer Hinds.
Resource Protection Squad Officer Hinds was working the South Skyway Bridge area in Manatee County. Officer Hinds saw a group of subjects changing out of wet clothes and loading spear guns into the back of two vehicles. All the subjects quickly loaded into one vehicle except the driver of the second vehicle. Hinds stopped the first vehicle before it could leave the scene and asked if they had caught any fish. They all stated no. Officer Hinds told them to wait as he checked the second vehicle. Officer Hinds approached the second vehicle and saw dive gear and a cooler in the vehicle. He inspected the cooler and found twenty-three stone crab claws, twenty of which were undersized. Three subjects from the two vehicles were cited for possession of stone crabs during closed season. They also received written warnings for possession of undersized stone crab claws.
Officer Nicholas Hudson was on land patrol around Coquina Boat Ramp. He performed a fisheries inspection on a vessel that had just returned from a fishing trip off shore. During the inspection, Officer Hudson found that the captain of the vessel had caught and kept three red snapper out of season. The subject was cited for the violation and will have to appear in court.
Investigator DallaRosa and Officer Specialist Pulaski conducted a buy/bust on a local subject selling black-tip shark fillets. The officers received information that the person was operating without proper licensing. The subject attempted to sell three pounds of shark fillets for twenty dollars. Officer Specialist Pulaski issued a citation for no saltwater products license and the commercial harvesting of shark without a federal permit.
While on offshore water patrol, Officer Bibeau stopped a vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection. Officer Bibeau located a thirteen-inch red grouper. One of the subjects onboard the vessel admitted to catching the red grouper and was issued a misdemeanor citation for harvesting an undersized red grouper.
While on water patrol in South Pinellas County, Officer Bibeau saw an individual actively fishing. Officer Bibeau contacted the individual to conduct a fisheries inspection. By the end of the inspection, he had located multiple whole stone crab along with undersized stone crab claws. Officer Bibeau wrote the individual a misdemeanor citation for possession of stone crab during closed season and two warnings for possession of undersized stone crab claws and possession of whole stone crabs.
Officer Caldwell and Officer Pettifer conducted a resource inspection near the Tierra Verde Bridge. The officers found one individual to be in possession of an undersized gag grouper and undersized mangrove snapper. The individual was cited for possession of an undersized gag grouper and issued a warning for possession of an undersized mangrove snapper.
While on water patrol in South Pinellas County, Officer Specialist Bibeau and Lieutenant VanTrees saw two individuals actively fishing from a small paddleboat under a bridge. The officers waited for the individuals to begin rowing back to shore before conducting a fisheries inspection. The inspection located a fifteen-inch redfish. One of the individuals admitted to catching the undersized redfish and Officer Specialist Bibeau issued the subject a misdemeanor citation for the fisheries violation.
While on water patrol in South Pinellas County, Officer Specialist Bibeau and Lieutenant VanTrees saw a vessel returning from offshore with spear guns visible. The officers stopped the vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection and located nine undersized hogfish. Officer Specialist Bibeau issued a misdemeanor citation to the operator of the vessel for the fisheries violations.
Officer Winton was on offshore patrol off the coast of Bonita Springs when he saw a fishing vessel returning from offshore waters. A vessel stop was conducted, at which time it was discovered that the subjects onboard were in possession of multiple wrung lobster tails as well as multiple species of reef fish not in whole condition. Officer Winton issued the captain of the vessel a notice to appear as well as several warnings for the related violations.
SEARCH AND RESCUE
Officer Livingston saw a man lying on the sidewalk near the road. He turned his vehicle around and quickly approached the subject to render aid. When Officer Livingston realized the person was beginning to have a seizure, he instructed bystanders to give the person room and made sure the subject would not hurt himself. He called for EMS and monitored the subject as he continued to have the seizures. EMS quickly arrived and was able to provide advanced care for the man.
DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
Officer Winton received information that an unlicensed seafood retail company was selling fish at a local parking lot. He monitored the area and saw two subjects actively selling saltwater products. An inspection was conducted, at which time it was determined that the subjects were selling seafood without a valid retail license. They also did not have invoices showing the origins of most of the seafood. The subjects were issued notices to appear and several warnings for the violations.
Officer Geeraerts and Officer Infante were participating in a night hunting directed conservation patrol detail. They noticed a truck moving slowly on the road and saw a light shine out of the side window. While the officers were following the vehicle, it suddenly made a U-turn and was facing them. Officer Geeraerts activated her emergency lights and stopped the truck. When the officers searched the vehicle, they found a loaded shotgun and two spot lights. The three subjects that were in the truck were given a notice to appear for hunting with a gun and light. The shotgun and spotlights were seized for evidence.
Captive Wildlife Investigator Zimmerman received a complaint about two subjects who were in possession of a raccoon inside of their hotel room in Sebring. Investigator Zimmerman responded and contacted the defendant who appeared to be under the influence of controlled substances. The subject was arrested, transported to the Highlands County Jail and cited for unlawful possession of Class III wildlife without a valid ESC License and failure to maintain source of supplier documentation. The raccoon was seized and placed at a local permitted wildlife rehabilitation center for evaluation.
COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
Officer Salem led the legal portion of the hunter safety course in Charlotte County. The course is designed to give future hunters the chance to meet a local officer and learn the laws that apply to hunting on private and public lands. It also gives participants a chance to ask questions and learn more about the many opportunities available to them through public land hunting. Approximately thirty people attended the course.
Officer Furbay led the legal portion of the hunter safety course in Fort Myers. The course is designed to give future hunters the chance to meet a local officer and learn the laws that apply to hunting on private and public lands. It also gives participants a chance to ask questions and learn more about the many opportunities available to them through public land hunting. Approximately ten people attended the course.
SOUTH REGION A
Officer Norbrothen was on patrol in Jonathan Dickinson State Park when park staff told him subjects were spotted in the park illegally harvesting saw palmetto berries from the property. Officer Norbrothen saw a male exiting the park through a non-designated exit. After questioning, the subject said that he and another individual were in the park picking saw palmetto berries. The officer addressed the issues of entering/exiting a state park through a non-designated entrance, evasion of state park fees, removing plant life from a state park, and possessing saw palmetto berries without a permit. The subjects were cited accordingly.
Officers McLeod and Pecko were conducting land-based fisheries inspections. They contacted a subject in possession of an oversize snook that was tied off to a stringer, being kept in the water. The subject did not have a snook permit. The officers issued a notice to appear in court citation for the illegal snook and an infraction for possessing a snook without a snook permit.
Officers Brevik and Carroll were patrolling in the Dupuis Wildlife Environmental Area. Officer Brevik saw a vehicle illegally parked off trail in the area known as the Governor’s House. The officers saw the vehicle pull out of the area and proceed to exit the WEA. Neither occupant of the vehicle was wearing their seat belts while the vehicle was in motion. The officers conducted a traffic stop to address the violations. As Officers Brevik and Carroll approached the vehicle, they detected a strong odor of saw palmetto berries. When questioned, both subjects admitted to illegally taking the berries from the WEA. The operator was found to have multiple prior charges and warnings for illegally harvesting saw palmetto berries and was found to be wanted out of Hendry County on unrelated charges. Both subjects were arrested and booked into the Martin County Jail for the violations.
Officer Matthews saw a person at the Pioneer Park public boat ramp filleting fish at the fish cleaning station. Upon further inspection, a total of 46 undersized mangrove snapper were found inside the subject’s cooler. The fish were seized, photographed as evidence and brought to the FWC evidence facility. The subject was cited accordingly for multiple violations including bag and size limit violations pertaining to snapper.
Captive Wildlife Investigator Corteguera responded to a complaint about a red fox that was tethered outdoors and causing a threat to public safety. Investigator Corteguera met with the owner of the fox who was cited for keeping wildlife tethered outdoors while unsupervised, not having proper caging for his fox, keeping wildlife in an unsafe & neglectful condition, keeping wildlife in a manner that causes a threat to public safety, and not having the required critical incident plan filled out. A follow up inspection will occur to ensure necessary corrections are made.
PALM BEACH COUNTY
Officer Brodbeck was on patrol in the JW Corbett WMA when he saw a vehicle with an expired tag. The vehicle was like one suspected of picking saw palmetto berries the day before. A traffic stop was initiated to address the tag violation. Upon contacting the occupants of the vehicle, it was determined that neither had a valid driver’s license. In plain view in the vehicle were shears, buckets, and white bags consistent with the harvest of saw palmetto berries. Officers Stone, Webb, Morrow, and Pecko arrived on scene as backup. After receiving consent to search the vehicle, saw palmetto berries were in the trunk, as well as numerous syringes and prescription medications. The passenger was cited for harvesting saw palmetto berries in a WMA, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The driver was cited for harvesting saw palmetto berries in a WMA and driving while license suspended with knowledge. The vehicle tag was seized, and the vehicle was towed. Both subjects were transported to the Palm Beach County Jail.
Officer Brodbeck was on foot patrol at Phil Foster Park in Riviera Beach conducting resource inspections. A vehicle was in the parking lot near the playground area with two subjects involved in sexual activity. The officer contacted both subjects to address the situation. The female passenger initially gave Officer Brodbeck a false name and date of birth. Officer Brodbeck placed the female subject in handcuffs and asked her if she had warrants, and she replied that she did. After running her correct name and date of birth through law enforcement databases, the subject had an active warrant for two counts of failure to appear. Officer Brodbeck placed her under arrest and transported her to the Palm Beach County Jail.
Officer Brodbeck was on vessel patrol in the Jupiter Inlet. A vessel was coming through the inlet with fishing equipment in plain view, and a vessel stop was initiated to conduct a boating safety and resource inspection. Upon contacting the operator, multiple signs of impairment were evident. After completing field sobriety tasks, the operator was placed under arrest for BUI. Officer Pecko arrived on scene to transport the subject to the Palm Beach County Jail, where he refused to provide a breath sample.
Officer Brodbeck responded to a call regarding a hit and run boating accident in Jupiter. After arriving on scene and speaking with the occupants of the struck vessel, a suspect vessel and operator description were obtained. After speaking with several other witnesses, the operator of the vessel was located at a residence in Jupiter. At the end of the boating accident investigation, Officer Brodbeck placed the subject under arrest for leaving the scene of a boating accident with greater than $2,000 in damage and failing to report a boating accident to law enforcement. The subject was transported to the Palm Beach County Jail.
Officer Brodbeck was on patrol when a black SUV was operating in a reckless manner on I-95. He advised FWC dispatch of the vehicle description and direction of travel and followed the vehicle. Once the vehicle exited the highway, it ran a red light and a vehicle stop was initiated to address the violations. Palm Beach Gardens Police arrived on scene as backup with a K-9 unit. After detaining the driver and passenger, the K-9 alerted to contraband inside the vehicle. A probable cause search of the vehicle revealed approximately 500 grams of marijuana, 9 grams of cocaine, 9 grams of methamphetamine, a loaded .40 caliber handgun, THC oil, and $1000 in cash. Both subjects were convicted felons and prohibited from having firearms. Officer Brodbeck issued the driver of the vehicle uniform traffic citations for careless driving, running a red light, and driving while license suspended with knowledge. The passenger received a citation for an open container of alcohol. The criminal investigation was turned over to Palm Beach Gardens Police.
Officers Schroer and Merizio were conducting night-time vessel patrol in Lantana. The officers conducted a vessel stop on a 15-foot Jon-boat they saw on plane in a slow speed zone. During the vessel stop, the vessel owner was found to have improper navigation lights, improper display of Florida registration numbers, no proof of registration paperwork onboard, expired vessel registration, no personal floatation devices, no sound producing device and no fire extinguisher, all as required by Florida law. The owner of the vessel was cited for the above violations and escorted back to the boat ramp.
While on patrol in the town of Palm Beach, Officers Merizio and Trawinski noticed individuals free-diving from the beach. The officers waited for the individuals to exit the water to perform a fisheries inspection. After a few minutes, the officers approached the two divers as they exited the water. Upon inspection, officers discovered 8 spiny lobster, three of which were undersize. Also, one of the divers did not have a saltwater fishing license or lobster endorsement. Both were cited accordingly.
Officer Trawinski responded to a call for assistance from the United States Coast Guard involving a vessel stop at the Phil Foster boat ramp. During the stop, USCG personnel noticed the vessel operator showing signs of impairment. Officer Trawinski responded and determined through the seated field sobriety tasks that the operator was impaired. The operator was placed under arrest and taken to the Palm Beach County Jail.
ST. LUCIE COUNTY
While on land patrol, Officer Arnold saw four individuals wading in the water of the Indian River Lagoon while one of them was fishing with a cast net. Once ashore, he conducted a license and resource inspection. It was found that all individuals did not have a fishing license. An inspection of a cooler revealed 3 snook and an under-size sheepshead. The subject who was using the cast net was also found to have an active warrant out of Martin County. Citations were issued for snook out of season, under size, over the bag limit and taken by illegal method. The three snook harvested also constituted a major violation which have enhanced penalties.
Officer Shermetaro had been investigating a derelict vessel which was left across from a local boat ramp in St. Lucie County. After hearing from the original owner of the vessel, Officer Shermetaro began working it as a littering case. After multiple leads and interviews, he was able to track down and receive a confession from the person who dumped the boat in the river. Officer Shermetaro got a signed arrest warrant from a judge and arrested the subject for felony littering. The vessel was removed from the Indian River by FWC personnel and the St. Lucie County Environmental Resource Division. The vessel was taken to the landfill and destroyed.
Officers Shermetaro and Miano were on water patrol. They stopped a vessel to conduct a resource and boating safety inspection. Upon further examination, the operator of the vessel showed signs of impairment. Officer Shermetaro conducted field sobriety tasks at the dock and after the subject performed poorly, he arrested the subject for operating a vessel while under the influence. The operator of the vessel refused to give a breath sample at the jail and was also cited for failure to submit to a lawful breath test.
While on land patrol near the Savannas State Park, Officer Miano saw a suspicious vehicle exit an off-road trail. Contacting the driver, she saw him to be in possession of an open container of alcohol. His information was checked with dispatch to confirm his identity and returned multiple out of state warrants. All were for in state pickup only. Further contact with the subject determined he might be impaired. Roadside field sobriety tasks were initiated which the subject performed poorly. The subject was taken into custody and booked in jail for operating a vehicle while impaired. The subject refused to provide a breath sample. His vehicle was towed from the scene.
Captive Wildlife Investigator Toby contacted an individual whose license to possess conditional species expired over two years ago. Upon making contact, he learned the individual was still in possession of a Burmese python and two reticulated pythons. One misdemeanor citation and two warnings were issued for the illegal possession and related violations.
SOUTH REGION B
MIAMI DADE COUNTY
Lieutenant Yanez and Investigator Taboas stopped a vessel for fisheries inspections. Fish were spread out across the deck and the occupants advised that was all they had caught. An inspection of a 5-gallon bucket revealed several other undersized fish to include 2 undersized red grouper. Appropriate action was taken for the violations.
Lieutenant Yanez and Investigator Taboas stopped a vessel returning to the boat ramp at night with no navigation lights. After watching the operator struggle with docking the vessel, a safety inspection was conducted. The operator/captain showed signs of impairment and was asked to conduct standard field sobriety tasks, SFSTs. Based on the observations of the captain during the inspection and the clues presented during the SFSTs, the operator was arrested for boating under the influence.
While on patrol in a marked vessel Officers Mckinley and Saavedra saw a 37-foot vessel heading into Cape Florida Channel from offshore. Fishing equipment was in plain view and the vessel was stopped for a safety/resource inspection. The inspection revealed 2 undersized mahi and 4 mahi filets. The operator was cited accordingly.
Officer Mckinley saw a PWC traveling through a well posted no entry zone in the Virginia Key area. The PWC was approximately five hundred yards inside of the no entry zone. He conducted a vessel stop on the PWC which had no FL registration displayed. He issued a notice to appear to the operator for the no-entry zone violation and the absence of Florida registration numbers.
Officer Delgado coordinated targeted enforcement action to address resource violations in the Cape Florida/Biscayne Channel area. Over the course of 5 days, 11 misdemeanor citations were issued for possession of Nassau grouper, possession of 6 over the bag limit hogfish, possession of 3 undersized hogfish, harvesting 142 lobster within sanctuary, possession 5 undersized spiny lobster, possession of wrung tails returning from Bahamas, possession of filets with skin not intact from Bahamas, and several UBC’s/warnings.
Officer Sarmiento and Officer Moschiano were on vessel patrol when they stopped a vessel returning to Homestead Bayfront Marina from Bahamian waters. The officers conducted a fisheries inspection and discovered 6 wrung tails of spiny lobster. There were also two bags of snapper fillets that had skins removed. Although the subject on-board had his proper cruising permits and Bahamian licenses, he had not stowed away his fishing gear and continued to fish in state waters where he caught mahi. The subject was cited for possessing wrung tails and for failing to keep the skins intact on the fillets.
Officer Raul Perez was on land-based water patrol when he conducted a fisheries inspection on a boat coming in to Crandon Park Boat Ramp. The operator of the vessel was in possession of two undersize mutton snapper and one undersize mangrove snapper. The subject was cited accordingly.
While on water patrol Officer Sample and Officer Delgado conducted surveillance on a commercial vessel possibly harvesting lobster in the lobster sanctuary. The officers conducted a vessel stop and determined the vessel was well inside the lobster sanctuary. A marine resource inspection was conducted, and it was determined the commercial subject had several undersized lobsters on board. The subject was cited for the undersized lobster, lobstering inside the sanctuary, improper display of commercial markings and improper commercial safety gear.
Officers Richards, Foell and NMFS Officers Robb and Weidner conducted a three-day Dry Tortugas patrol onboard FWC offshore patrol vessel Trident. While patrolling to the Tortugas, the officers conducted an inspection on a vessel fishing in the South Atlantic. Upon inspection, four undersized red grouper were found along with cut yellowtail snapper used as bait. Federal citations were issued for the violations. The Trident crew then located two recreational vessels actively fishing in the Tortugas south ecological reserve. Both vessels possessed large amounts of reef fish. Federal citations were issued for the violations.
Pilot Simons patrolled the North and South ecological reserves, Pulley Ridge HAPC and surrounding federal waters in coordination with OPV Trident. Pilot Simons located a vessel actively fishing inside of the Tortugas North Ecological Reserve and notified the Trident crew. Once alongside, the officers saw subjects actively fishing. Three undersized yellowtail snapper were found onboard. Federal citations were issued for the violations.
While patrolling federal waters west of the Marquesas, the officers conducted a commercial fisheries inspection on a lobster vessel. Upon inspection, twelve wrung spiny lobster tails were found in a freezer in the cabin. State citations were issued for the violations.
Officer Yurewitch was patrolling the coastal waters of the Ten Thousand Islands and saw a vessel with three individuals actively engaged in fishing. The officer conducted a resource inspection and asked if they had caught anything. One person stated that he had caught and kept one snook. The officer located the snook in a cooler and measured it. The snook measured 34-3/4 inches. The person was cited accordingly.
Officer Oldsen was dispatched to the Port of the Isles regarding people illegally fishing with a cast net. Upon arrival the officer saw a bucket with 5 small tarpon. The officer questioned the people on the vessel who had caught the fish. One person told the officer he had caught them with his cast net. The violator was cited accordingly.
Officers Wagner and Knutson were patrolling in federal waters when they stopped a sport fishing vessel. An inspection of the vessel revealed 2 over the limit barracuda greater than 36 inches and 2 undersized greater amberjack. The subjects were cited accordingly.
Officers Araujo and McVaney were patrolling the reduced speed zone on US41, in an area commonly used as a crossing for Florida panthers. They saw a vehicle traveling significantly higher than the posted 45 miles per hour. When the officers stopped the vehicle, they discovered the driver had a warrant for violation of probation from Monroe County. The subject was placed under arrest and transported to the Collier County Jail.
COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
Officers Kleis and Yurewitch participated in an outreach event as guest judges for the “Hook ‘em in the Glades” annual fishing tournament benefitting the Everglades City School. The officers interacted with fishing teams and answered questions about saltwater and freshwater fishing regulations. The tournament was a huge success and a positive experience for all that participated.
MIAMI DADE COUNTY
Officer Washington and Tyler Dunn represented FWC and participated in an International Coastal Clean-up event coordinated by FYCCN (Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network in conjunction with Oleta River State Park staff and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). They assisted with removing over 140 pounds of litter from the coast of the state park.