NORTHWEST REGION

CASES

CALHOUN COUNTY

Officers Forehand and Little were working night hunting when they saw a truck pulled off the side of the road. The officers stopped to make sure the driver didn’t need assistance. The driver was standing at the rear of the vehicle with the camper shell open. When he saw the officers, he quickly closed the camper and moved toward the front of the truck. Officer Little noticed fresh blood on the person’s hands. In the back of the truck, the officers found a fresh doe deer carcass. The suspect admitted to killing the deer that evening and he had stopped to dump the carcass. He was cited for possession of doe deer during the closed season.

Officers Forehand and Little saw a car swerving in and out of its lane. The officers conducted a traffic stop. As they spoke to the driver, they saw indicators the driver had been consuming alcohol. Field sobriety tasks were administered and based on those tasks the driver was placed under arrest for DUI and transported to jail. The driver submitted to a breath test and the results were .133 blood alcohol content and .132 blood alcohol content.

WAKULLA COUNTY

Officer Korade was given information regarding an individual killing an antlerless deer during closed season. He and Officer Hughes started an investigation into the possible violation. They found the potential subject at work and after questioning, he was cited for taking antlerless deer out of season. The officers took possession of the deer meat which was in a cooler at the job site. The officers then followed the subject to his residence and retrieved the weapon used to take the antlerless deer.

Officer Raker was patrolling the Dickerson Bay area when he saw an individual that appeared to be harvesting oysters. He was assisted with his investigation by Officers Hughes and Korade. After some surveillance and questioning of the subject, the investigation led to Officer Raker citing the subject for taking or harvesting oysters in a non-approved area, interference with an FWC officer and giving false information to law enforcement.

Officers Schulz, Hofheinz and Hughes were patrolling the Apalachicola Wildlife Management Area on Forest Road 369 when they saw a vehicle with subjects standing on a dog box and could hear dogs getting closer to their location. One of the subjects jumped off the dog box, ran down the road and shot several times. Several vehicles came to the location of the shots and the officers announced their presence. After conducting the investigation, Officer Schulz cited a subject for taking antlerless deer during closed season and driving on public roads without a tag. Two other subjects were cited by Officer Hughes for taking antlerless deer during closed season.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION

CASES

DUVAL COUNTY

Officer Lemaster was conducting fisheries inspections when he came across an individual off Heckscher Drive and Dunn’s Creek in Jacksonville without a saltwater shoreline fishing license. The subject also had a writ of bodily attachment for failure to pay child support. The subject was taken into custody in compliance with the writ and transported to the Duval County Pre-Trial Detention Center.

Officer Sapp and Lieutenant Conboy responded to a call for assistance from Jacksonville Beach Police Department (JBPD). They had gotten several complaints of a man walking around the downtown area, carrying a large rattlesnake. When JBPD officers arrived, they questioned the man with the snake who they recognized as local homeless person. For everyone’s safety, the JBPD officer instructed the man to place the rattlesnake in the backseat cage of his patrol car. When Officer Sapp and Lieutenant Conboy arrived, the man was no longer on scene and the rattlesnake was on the backseat floor in the patrol car. Lieutenant Conboy was able to capture the approximately 6-foot diamondback with his catch pole and place in a container. The rattlesnake was released in a wooded area. There were no injuries and no charges were pursued.

LEVY COUNTY

Officers Bell and Johnston were conducting water patrol in Suwannee Sound when they saw a commercial oyster boat returning from Cedar Key. Officer Bell conducted a vessel stop and a resource inspection and found the subjects in possession of 60 percent undersize oysters. The legal tolerance is five percent. Officer Bell issued the captain of the vessel a notice to appear for possession of undersize oysters. All oysters were returned to the water alive.

Officers Bell and Hilliard responded to a call about illegal oyster activity in Cedar Key. Upon arrival, the officers contacted a subject who was found to be in possession of one bushel of commercially harvested oysters from a prohibited area. While conducting a resource inspection, Officer Bell noticed that the commercial tag was not properly filled out. Officer Bell educated the subject of the legal harvesting boundaries and issued a notice to appear for improper tagging method. The oysters were returned to the water alive.

LAFAYETTE COUNTY

Officer Davenport was on patrol in south Lafayette County when he saw an individual carrying two guns on an ATV exiting a nearby hunt club. Upon stopping the individual, it was revealed the subject was trespassing. Further investigation also determined the subject was a convicted felon. The guns were seized, a warning issued for trespass and the subject was taken to the Lafayette County Jail on the charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

TAYLOR COUNTY

Lieutenant Loyed was contacted by Investigator McMillan about a subject possessing undersized redfish at Hickory Mound. Lieutenant Loyed located the subject and conducted a resource inspection. Lieutenant Loyed discovered the subject was in possession of eight redfish, seven of which were undersized and ranged in size from 12 to 14 inches. The subject received a notice to appear and the fish were returned to the water.

Officers Dasher and Robson were on water patrol in Steinhatchee when they conducted a resource inspection on a vessel returning from fishing. Their inspection resulted in the occupants receiving several citations for boating safety violations and fisheries violations. The occupants were found with six undersized sea trout, two undersized red fish and one undersized sheepshead.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING –

EXPANDING PARTICIPATION IN CONSERVATION

TAYLOR COUNTY

Officers Robson, Dasher, Butler and Mobley participated in the 11th Annual Steinhatchee Fiddler Crab Festival over the weekend. There were hundreds of spectators and many questions answered by our officers.

DUVAL COUNTY

Officer Green, Investigator Holleman and K-9 Officer Hoover did a presentation at San Pablo Elementary School. They talked about the caiman alligator, north and south pine snakes. They did demonstrations during the assembly where K-9 Stryker detected the snakes and alligator in various boxes. There were about 200 students who attended. Investigator Holleman demonstrated how to view inside a box with a scope/camera to identify what’s in the box without getting bitten. The children were excited to touch the reptiles and enjoyed the presentation.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE

LAFAYETTE COUNTY

Officer Davenport responded to a request for assistance from the Mayo Correctional Institution about a bobcat on the exterior grounds of the facility. Upon arrival, the juvenile bobcat was found wedged behind a small corridor of wire along the prison fence. Officer Davenport carefully removed the bobcat alive and unharmed. The bobcat was then transported to the nearby woods and released.

NORTHEAST REGION

CASES

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Officer Pelzel was working night shift in the Tomoka River area and saw a vessel operated by an adult male violating a regulated speed zone. After stopping and issuing a citation for the violation, a fisheries inspection resulted in locating a red drum within a cooler and under the legal slot size limit allowed. A criminal notice to appear citation was issued. A boating under the influence (BUI) investigation on the operator was conducted, and he was arrested and cited for refusing to provide a breath sample. He was transported and booked into the Volusia County Jail.

Officer West was working night shift in the Ponce DeLeon Inlet area and stopped a vessel near Disappearing Island. After conducting a boating under the influence (BUI) investigation, the adult male operator was arrested and cited for refusing to provide a breath sample. He was transported and booked into the Volusia County Jail.

Officers Thornton and Sapp were on water patrol around Lake Dexter when they saw two personal watercraft (PWC) violating the posted slow speed zone. They conducted a vessel stop to address the violations. While speaking with the male operator of one PWC, Officer Thornton developed reasonable suspicion the subject may be impaired by alcohol or drugs. He requested the male subject to submit to sobriety tasks and he complied. After completing the sobriety tasks Officer Thornton placed the subject under arrest for operating a vessel under the influence (BUI). The subject refused breath testing. The subject was also issued a boating citation for improper display of registration numbers and violating the slow speed zone.

BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Stelzer was on land patrol of the St. Johns River when he saw a spotlight shining on private property that runs along the river. Officer Stelzer entered St. Johns Conservation land and began to follow all-terrain vehicle (ATV) tire tracks towards the private land where he saw the light. Officer Stelzer contacted the subjects who were hog hunting with dogs. Officer Stelzer’s investigation revealed the subjects had multiple dogs hog hunting on the St. Johns Conservation land, as well as violations for operating an ATV on St. John’s property and accessing the property after hours. The subjects were issued the appropriate citations and warnings.

ORANGE COUNTY

Officer Stelzer was on land patrol in Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area (WMA) during the wild hog season (hog dog season). Subjects must check all game and be out of the management area by 8:00 pm. Officer Stelzer saw a truck operating in the WMA just before 10:00 pm. Officer Stelzer followed the vehicle and conducted a resource inspection prior to the WMA check station. The subject was in possession of two harvested hogs that he caught in the WMA. The subject was issued a notice to appear for the violations.

Officers Mendelson and Hocker were on water and land patrol in Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The officers were on their way back from investigating a stolen boat on the St. Johns River when they noticed headlights coming down Powerline Road in the WMA. Upon investigation, both subjects were in the WMA well after legal hours. Both individuals were cited for being in the wildlife management area after hours.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING –

EXPANDING PARTICIPATION IN CONSERVATION

BREVARD COUNTY

Investigator Wayne and Port K9 Officer Sidor gave a presentation and K9 demonstration about FWC’s Port Investigations program for the Florida Master Naturalist Program in Cocoa. There were approximately 20 people in attendance.

SEARCH AND RESCUE

BREVARD COUNTY

Officer Marroquin was contacted by a Brevard County deputy about two elderly hikers lost in St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park. The hikers wanted to hike three miles, but mistakenly took a nine-mile trail. After hiking approximately five miles one of the hikers experienced shortness of breath due to prior medical issues. Brevard County Sherriff’s Office dispatched their STAR helicopter who located the lost hikers near Interstate 95 (I95). Officer Marroquin responded along I95 and gained access to the two hikers. Brevard County Deputy Gross also arrived on scene and assisted transporting the hikers and their two dogs back to their vehicle.

SOUTHWEST REGION

CASES

LEE COUNTY

Officer Winton was on patrol at Lover’s Key State Park when he saw a subject leaving a common fishing area. A resource inspection was conducted and the subject was in possession of ten undersized sheepshead, two over the daily bag limit. A license check revealed that the subject did not have a current fishing license. The subject was issued a notice to appear for possession of undersized sheepshead and over-the-bag limit of sheepshead, as well as an infraction citation for fishing without a valid license.

MANATEE COUNTY

Officer Davidson was on water patrol near the Palmetto Boat Ramp. He stopped and performed a boating safety/fisheries inspection on a vessel returning to the ramp. Officer Davidson found that the subjects onboard had caught and kept six undersized spotted seatrout. One of the subjects on the vessel claimed responsibility for catching all the undersized fish and received one criminal citation for possession of undersized seatrout. He will have to appear in court for his violation.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

While on land patrol, Lieutenant Van Trees was driving along the interstate when he saw two subjects fishing from a small boat in a pond bordering the interstate. Lieutenant Van Trees knew the location from which the subjects had to launch their vessel and saw a truck with fishing gear inside of it. Lieutenant Van Trees entered the woods and waited for the men to return to land from a concealed location. As the subjects were exiting their vessel, Lieutenant Van Trees approached the two men and conducted a resource inspection. Lieutenant Van Trees discovered that one subject was in possession of eight largemouth bass, four of which were over the 16” maximum size limit. The second subject, who had previous violations with FWC, was in possession of 14 largemouth bass, eight of which were over the 16” maximum size limit. The subjects were cited for numerous criminal violations and warned for their boating safety violations.

Officer Specialist Martinez and Officer Wilkins were on land patrol in Riverview checking subjects at a boat ramp when they saw a vessel with no anchor light approach the dock. The officers contacted the captain of the vessel to address the navigation light violation and noticed signs of impairment from the captain which included a strong odor of alcohol. Officer Specialist Martinez conducted field sobriety exercises with the captain. After performing poorly, the captain was arrested for boating under the influence and taken to the Hillsborough County Jail where he provided a breath sample of .121.

Officer Specialist Martinez and Officer Wilkins were on water patrol in Upper Tampa Bay when they stopped a vessel to conduct a boating safety inspection. The officers noticed the captain of the vessel was slurring his speech, was unsteady on his feet, and had a hard time complying with the instructions given for the boating safety inspection. Officer Wilkins conducted field sobriety exercises with the subject and arrested him for boating under the influence (BUI). The captain was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail for BUI and cited for refusal to submit to a breath test.

PINELLAS

Officer Specialist Martinez was on land patrol at the Maximo Boat Ramp. He stopped a vessel to conduct a resource inspection after he noticed they were taking pictures of fish they had on the deck of the boat. Upon further inspection, Officer Specialist Martinez found the captain of the vessel to be in possession of two undersize tripletail, one undersize hogfish, and one undersize mangrove snapper. Officer Specialist Martinez cited the captain for possession of undersize tripletail and warned him for the rest of fish resource violations.

POLK

Officer Specialist Martinez and Officer Wilkins were participating in a boating under the influence (BUI) detail in Polk County when they stopped an airboat to conduct a boating safety inspection. The officers noticed the operator was slurring his speech and showed other signs of impairment. Officer Wilkins conducted field sobriety exercises with the captain and at the end of the exercises determined the captain was boating under the influence. After the subject was arrested he admitted to drinking copious amounts of liquor prior to being stopped. Upon returning to land the captain provided a breath sample of .151. The captain was then booked into the Polk County Jail for BUI.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING –

EXPANDING PARTICIPATION IN CONSERVATION

LEE COUNTY

Officers Birchfield, Zampella, Norris and Lieutenant Ruggiero participated in the Florida Sportsmen’s Fishing Expo. The officers and area biologists had multiple booths set up as hundreds of people came by to ask questions, get informational brochures and learn about the resources available to the public in this area. The “Trophy Catch” bass boat was also displayed and three kids’ fishing derbies were held each day at a pond outside. Officers helped to rig fishing poles, bait hooks, remove fish and answer questions as they helped teach kids to fish. Many fish were caught by the participants and awards were given out to the top three largest catches during each derby.

SOUTH REGION A

CASES

BROWARD COUNTY

Officers Vacin and Leathers were on vessel patrol near the Port Everglades Inlet. They conducted a marine fisheries inspection on a commercial lobster vessel inbound from the ocean. With the inspection completed and information gathered, the owner of the vessel was criminally cited for improper commercial vessel markings and possession of 8 undersize spiny lobster. The 8 spiny lobster were released alive back into the water.

MARTIN COUNTY

Officers Hudson and Pecko conducted a vessel stop on a commercial vessel inside of the St. Lucie inlet. The officers found the commercial vessel to be in possession of two bonefish. Bonefish are illegal for anyone to possess in the State of Florida. The subject was given a notice to appear citation for a commercial vessel in possession of a bonefish.

Officers Morrow and Ames, while patrolling Hungryland WEA, saw a vehicle and a tent on a non-designated campsite. They contacted the subject who had previous warnings of the same type. The subject was asked to remove his camp to a designated area, obtain a permit and was cited accordingly.

Officer Hudson was conducting fisheries inspections on the Stuart Causeway when he saw three subjects who stopped fishing and ran to the back of their vehicle. They began to frantically search through their cooler while one of them kept watching the officer. The subjects shut the cooler and began to walk away. Upon inspection of the cooler, the officer found a 24-inch snook that had been covered up by sand perch. The subject who caught it admitted to catching the undersized snook and received a notice to appear citation for possession of an undersized snook and a warning for no snook permit.

Officer Hudson was conducting surveillance on two individuals who were fishing underneath the Bridge Road Bridge. One of the subjects caught a snook and wrapped it in a plastic bag and placed it in his backpack. The subjects fished for ten more minutes and started to leave the area. Officer Hudson contacted the subjects and found an 18-inch snook in the backpack. The subject received a notice to appear citation for possession of an undersized snook. The subject also received two warnings for not having a fishing license nor a snook permit.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Officer Brodbeck was on patrol in Boynton Beach when a suspicious vehicle with two occupants was at a boat ramp which is closed at night, unless users are boating or fishing. Upon contacting the occupants, neither had a valid driver license and drug paraphernalia was in plain view. Both subjects had extensive criminal histories and one was on felony probation. A probable cause search of the vehicle revealed small baggies containing a white powdery substance, which field tested positive for cocaine. One subject took responsibility for the drugs and paraphernalia and was placed under arrest.

SEARCH AND RESCUE

GLADES COUNTY

Officers Madsen and Fijalkowski were dispatched to a search and rescue regarding four subjects who were lost in the Fisheating Creek Wildlife Management Area. Once on scene, Officers Madsen and Fijalkowski launched their vessel and quickly located the four missing subjects who were in their canoes. The officers escorted the group back to the Fisheating Creak boat ramp where they were reunited with their family.

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE

BROWARD COUNTY

Investigator Corteguera was working a case involving a captive alligator. The International Game Fish Association in Dania Beach had a large 800 pound alligator that had been kept at their facility. It needed to be captured, removed and transported because the permit holder for the alligator had retired. Officers Fuller and Sullivan and Lieutenants Carcasses and Laubenberger responded to help. Two licensed alligator permit holders were able to capture the alligator. It took all of them to move the alligator for transport. The mission was successful, and the alligator was housed in a properly permitted facility.

Officer Vacin was dispatched to Tamarac about an alligator in a person’s backyard. Officer Vacin took possession of the small alligator and released it back into the Everglades.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING

BROWARD COUNTY

Lieutenant Laubenberger, Investigator Teems and Officers Trawinski and Matthews participated in the full honors funeral for Officer Steven Greco, a Miccosukee Police Officer who was killed by a wrong-way driver. The officers attended the memorial service at Bonaventure Church in Davie and the interment at Hollywood Gardens Cemetery.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Lieutenant Laubenberger, Investigator Teems and Officer Matthews attended the honors funeral for Army Green Beret Chief Warrant Officer John Farmer who was killed in Syria during a roadside bombing.

SOUTH REGION B

CASES

COLLIER COUNTY

Officers Conroy, Arbogast, and Kleis were on water patrol around Marco Island. The officers stopped a vessel returning to the boat ramp to conduct a resource inspection. During the inspection, the operator stated he had catfish on board. The inspection revealed a total of four undersized, out of season snook. He was issued a notice to appear for possession of four out of season undersized snook. The fish were seized as evidence.

While Officer Conroy was issuing appropriate citations for the snook violations, a vessel approaching the ramp had no navigation lights or registration displayed. Officer Kleis instructed the vessel operator to pull up to the patrol vessel to address the violations. While speaking with the operator of the second vessel, Officer Kleis saw multiple signs of impairment from the operator. The vessels were taken to the boat ramp, so they could address violations on both boats. While the officers were securing the three vessels, the operator suspected of being impaired exited his boat, entered his truck and drove down the boat ramp. The officers ordered the driver out of the truck and began field sobriety exercises. Officer Conroy administered the field sobriety exercises and concluded that the subject was impaired. The impaired operator was arrested for BUI, DUI, possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis, and possession of paraphernalia. The subject was transported to the Collier County Jail.

MIAMI DADE COUNTY

Officer Despian was on water patrol on the Intra-Coastal Waterway (ICW) North of Venetian Causeway. He saw a blacked-out vessel heading northbound on plane, speeding through a posted slow speed manatee zone. The officer inspected the vessel and noticed the operator might be impaired. SFSTs were administered and the operator was taken into custody reference BUI.

Officer Despian was on state water patrol on the East side of the Bear Cut bridge. He saw a black PWC speeding through a posted slow speed manatee zone. The operator on board was not the registered owner and was identified by the photo on his driver license. He stated that he rented it from someone for $350 for a six-hour rental. The livery was checked for all the necessary requirements. The operator of livery failed to have any documentation or proper safety equipment and was cited accordingly.

Officer Stanton was on water patrol in a marked FWC vessel when he saw a vessel anchored in the no entry zone Virginia Key area. Upon making contact, the subject claimed that the fishing was slow. Upon further inspection Officer Stanton discovered 22 mangrove snapper hidden in the bilge compartment, 17 of them being undersized. The three defendants were cited for obstruction, undersize mangrove snapper, over the bag limit and being anchored in the no entry zone.

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Chesney, Officer Piekenbrock and Lieutenant Payne were on water patrol in Pine channel in the Lower Keys. The officers saw two divers on the west side of the channel and conducted a resource inspection. The divers held up a catch bag that contained lobsters, but the subject placed the bag back into the water with both hands. He stated he was trying de-attach the bag from himself. Officer Chesney got the bag from the subject and it only contained one lobster. Lieutenant Payne and the officer searched the water next to the vessel and saw some lobsters under the surface. Officer Chesney entered the water and retrieved both lobster that man had dropped. Officers Piekenbrock and Chesney measured and found three lobster were undersized. Officers issued boating citations for the subject’s registration numbers and dive flag violations along with a resource citation for having possession of undersized lobster.

Lieutenant Munkelt and Officer Thompson were on vessel patrol in the Boot Key Area in the Middle Keys. They noticed a vessel creating a large wake in the slow speed zone. After contacting the operator, Officer Thompson noticed signs of impairment. He conducted SFSTs on the operator and placed the operator under arrest for BUI. The subject refused to provide a breath sample.

Officer Rubenstein conducted resource inspections at a local boat ramp used for the mackerel run in the Lower Keys. While conducting a vessel inspection Officer Rubenstein was told the vessel contained 45 mackerel and 15 blue fish. An inspection of the coolers revealed 2 undersize cobia located in the bottom of one of the coolers covered in ice. The subject was cited for undersize and over the limit cobia.

Officer Rubenstein conducted a resource inspection of a PWC that was outfitted with a cooler and lobster/fishing gear in the Lower Keys. Upon inspection Officer Rubenstein found the subject in possession of 4 undersize lobster and an undersized mangrove snapper. Subject was cited accordingly.

Officers Larios, Garcia, Dube, and Hein assisted the United States Coast Guard on a vessel stop in Whale Harbor Channel during a makeshift Poker run from Key Largo to the Islamorada sand bar. USCG personnel advised that the operator almost struck a couple of anchored vessels at the sandbar and showed several signs of impairment during a safety Inspection. Officer Larios conducted SFSTs and determined that the operator was under the influence. The subject was placed under arrest for BUI and was booked into the Monroe County Jail.

SEARCH AND RESCUE

MONROE COUNTY

FWC dispatch received a call from a girlfriend of a commercial fishing vessel operator. The reporting party told dispatch that her boyfriend had called her saying that his fishing vessel was sinking, and they needed help. She was unable to give dispatch any vessel description and only was able to advise that he was heading towards the Marquesas Keys. Officers Chesney, Martino and Way responded by vessel to search the area while Lieutenant Peters contacted the reporting party direct and gathered more information. Through these coordinated efforts, Officer Way found the two men in the water hanging on to a life raft as their vessel was almost completely submerged. The two men were brought on board the patrol vessel and returned to Stock Island Lobster Company without any injury.

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROL

MONROE COUNTY

Officer Way created a targeted enforcement action plan to address numerous violations occurring in the live aboard community in Boca Chica Basin near Stock Island. Over the course of the detail, Officers Sapp, Way, Messier, Hettel, and Lieutenants Cox and Munkelt issued over 75 uniform boating citations, 5 resource citations, created 7 new derelict vessel investigations and made two arrests (one on a warrant for derelict vessel and another for failure to comply with UBC provisions). Violations pertaining to illegal moorings, marine sanitation devices, vessels at risk of becoming derelict and derelict vessels were addressed.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING –

EXPANDING PARTICIPATION IN CONSERVATION

MIAMI DADE COUNTY

Officer Washington and several other FWC South Region B personnel staffed the Miami Boat Show. FWC personnel established hundreds of public outreach contacts and distributed agency materials to enhance knowledge about our agency mission, values and goals. They answered questions and assisted many stakeholders and people interested in learning how to become involved with FWC. The total guest attendance was upwards of 100,000 people.

COLLIER COUNTY

Officer Yaxley conducted an outreach event at Florida Gulf Coast University. While there she educated the students on the role the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission plays in federal fisheries, boater safety, and protection of natural resources. She also provided them with information on how to report any violation they may see.

ntaylor

ntaylor

Former baseball umpire, now fishing guide. Graduate of the University of Arizona.
ntaylor

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