FWC Division of Law Enforcement. Weekly Report

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1 FWC Division of Law Enforcement Weekly Report September 6-12, 2013 This report represents some events the FWC handled over the past week; however, it does not include all actions taken by the Division of Law Enforcement. Patrol, Protect, Preserve 1

2 NORTHWEST REGION WALTON COUNTY Officer Letcher received information regarding the taking and landing of an undersized sailfish by a subject at Grayton Beach. Officer Letcher obtained a photograph taken of the subject holding the illegal fish in the parking lot of a local store. Several days later, he made contact with the subject who confessed to catching and keeping the sailfish and gave a written statement. Charges will be filed with the state attorney s office for possession of undersized sailfish. WAKULLA COUNTY Officer Anderson was on the St. Marks River conducting vessel patrol when he and Officer Louque stopped a vessel for violating a no wake zone and a boating safety inspection. During the course of the stop, the operator showed signs of impairment. Field sobriety tasks were conducted in which the operator performed poorly. The operator was arrested for boating under the influence (BUI) and booked into the Wakulla County Jail. FRANKLIN COUNTY Officers Allen and Gore were conducting resource patrols in Apalachicola Bay targeting the harvest of undersized oysters. While on patrol, they observed a vessel with three people on board harvesting oysters. The officers conducted an inspection and found two, large bags of oysters in the hold. They measured one of the bags for size tolerance and found the bag contained 37 percent undersized oysters. Officer Allen issued the vessel owner a citation for the violation and 104 undersized oysters were returned to the water alive. Officers Allen and Gore were conducting resource patrols on Apalachicola Bay when they observed a vessel underway with two people on board and not displaying a current registration decal. They conducted a safety inspection. During their initial contact with the operator, they noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. During the boating safety inspection, the operator was very unstable and did not understand what was asked of him. Officer Allen conducted the field sobriety tasks and the individual performed poorly. The operator was placed under arrest for BUI. During the arrest, the subject became combative and refused to follow the officers directions and orders. Officer Allen issued the individual citations for BUI, resisting arrest without violence, refusing to sign citations, expired registration (since 8/2012) and insufficient visual distress signals. He was also issued warnings for no Type IV throwable device, no saltwater products license and no registration certificate. The operator was booked into the Franklin County Jail for felony BUI. The individual had six previous arrests and convictions for driving under the influence (DUI) and was out of prison on inmate release for felony DUI. Officer Gore was en route to vessel patrol when he came up behind a vehicle stopped at a stop sign in Apalachicola. The vehicle never moved and stayed there for an extended period of time. Officer Gore determined the vehicle was not moving because the driver appeared to be passed out, slumped over the steering wheel. The driver attempted to drive off and attempted to make a u-turn in the road. Officer Gore stopped the vehicle and detected a 2

3 strong odor of alcoholic beverage. During the stop, the driver became combative and belligerent and Officer Gore requested assistance. Lieutenant Calianno and Captain Kelly responded and assisted Officer Gore with control of the scene. The driver performed poorly on field sobriety tasks and was arrested for DUI and booked into the Franklin County Jail. The driver also did not have a driver license due to a prior DUI arrest. Officer Gore was working in East Point and set up surveillance on four subjects who were catching large amounts of fish. He observed two of the subjects catching black drum and spotted sea trout. Officer Gore approached the subjects and engaged in general conversation with them. He determined during the conversation that the subjects were in possession of illegal trout and black drum. The subjects were also selling the black drum at the location where they caught the fish. Officer Gore identified himself as an FWC officer and conducted a resource inspection. During the inspection, he found oversized black drum and undersized spotted sea trout. The subjects were cited for possession of undersize spotted sea trout and issued warnings for possession of oversized black drum and the sale of saltwater products without a license. The trout were seized as evidence. Officers Gore and Allen were on vessel patrol on the Apalachicola River when they stopped a vessel for a wake zone violation and boating safety inspection. During the course of the inspection and issuing the operator a warning, Officer Gore detected an odor of alcoholic beverage on the operator's person. The operator showed signs of impairment. Officer Gore conducted the field sobriety tasks in which the operator performed poorly. The operator was arrested for BUI and booked into the Franklin County Jail. At the detention facility, it was determined that the operator had several prior arrests for DUI. Information was forwarded to the State Attorney's Office to direct file felony BUI charges. LEON COUNTY Officer Louque and Investigator Bryant were conducting boating safety and resource inspections on Lake Talquin. During a vessel stop at Williams Landing, they noticed the operator was acting very nervous during the boating safety inspection. They also smelled a strong odor of cannabis coming from the vessel. The officers confronted the vessel operator about the smell of cannabis. The operator then produced two small bags of cannabis and drug paraphernalia. The subject was cited for possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis and drug paraphernalia. COPS Lt. Colonel Hubert and numerous officers from the Northwest Region attended the annual Tri- State Meeting of fish and wildlife agencies of Florida, Georgia and Alabama. The meeting was conducted at Seminole State Park which is located on the Georgia side of Lake Seminole. During the meeting, staff from all three states provided updates on issues affecting their respective agencies. Additionally, Georgia provided an in-depth review of an undercover operation lasting over four years on the illegal killing of bears by organized groups. The operation involved multiple state and federal agencies and spanned the states of northern Georgia and southern North Carolina. 3

4 Officer Livesay taught the laws portion of a hunter education class at Washington High School in Pensacola. Forty students were in attendance. Captain Sumner and Lieutenant Hollinhead, along with FWC Biologist Justin Davis, met with Walton County Sheriff Mike Adkinson regarding increased nuisance bear complaints. An overview of bear biology and behavior was discussed as well as how FWC could help 911 dispatch triage bear calls and provide information to the citizens living in the affected areas. An outreach event has been scheduled for Saturday at Tractor Supply in DeFuniak Springs. The FWC biologists and officers will participate and provide information on upcoming hunting seasons and living successfully with bears. Finally, bear aversion training has been scheduled for the Walton County deputies. NORTHEAST REGION ST. JOHNS COUNTY Officer Klein closed a resource surveillance detail on two local individuals. Investigator Bonds and Officer Klein observed one Duval County man harvesting multiple trip loads of red snapper over the three-day, mini-snapper season. They tracked the fish over a four-day period through Duval and St. Johns counties and observed the suspect make two separate illegal sales of red snapper, cobia and vermillion snapper. The individual was charged with three counts of sale of red snapper to an unlicensed firm along with numerous other charges. A local St. Johns County seafood house manager was also issued a notice to appear for three counts of the purchase of cobia, red snapper and vermillion snapper from an individual without an SPL. The fish were seized and donated to the St. Francis House Shelter in St. Augustine and $ cash was seized for the sale of the red snapper. PUTNAM COUNTY Lieutenant Dickson contacted an individual fishing several crab traps. Lieutenant Dickson took a closer look at the crabber s equipment and observed several violations with the traps. Lieutenant Dickson documented the violations, educated the crabber and issued him a notice to appear for the appropriate violations. Investigator Bonds and Officer Campbell were working the alligator harvest on the St. Johns River. They conducted a vessel stop on a large sailboat that had an insufficient anchor light. The officers made contact with the sailboat operator who was standing on the back deck. Investigator Bonds noticed a large marijuana plant sitting next to the operator and that the operator appeared very nervous. During the interview, the operator lunged for the plant while both officers were giving commands to stop. The operator threw the plant into the river as Investigator Bonds gained physical control over the operator. A further search of the vessel revealed 30 grams of cannabis (felony). He was also charged with destruction of evidence (felony), resisting arrest, cultivation and possession of drug paraphernalia. The operator was booked into the Putnam County Jail. Officer Klein observed an individual cast netting fish from the memorial bridge in Palatka. Officer Klein identified herself and inspected the catch in his five-gallon bucket. The inspection 4

5 revealed numerous mullet and bream. Officer Klein issued the individual a notice to appear for illegal harvest method of freshwater game fish. LAKE COUNTY Officer Klein was on plain-clothes patrol in Silver Glen in Lake County. She observed a particular vessel that was anchored up inside of the Glen and observed what appeared to be numerous individuals acting rowdy and drinking from red solo cups. As the vessel attempted to leave Silver Glen, Officer Klein identified herself and performed a boating safety inspection. The operator admitted to having consumed six or seven beers. The inspection ended with Officer Klein asking the man to perform Standard Field Sobriety Tasks. He was arrested for operating a vessel while impaired and for possession of alcohol in Silver Glen. The subject refused to provide a breath sample and was booked into the Lake County Jail. While on plain-clothes patrol, Officer Dana Klein saw a vessel leaving Silver Glen that had several people on board displaying the signs of impairment and drinking from red solo cups. It was determined that the operator of the vessel was not impaired, but was in possession of both champagne and beer inside of Silver Glen. The operator of the vessel was issued a notice to appear for possession of alcohol in Silver Glen. Officer Weber coordinated a boating safety operational detail with Lake County Sheriff s Office marine units and Eustis Police Department on Lake Eustis. Weather hampered the detail for one day, but numerous warnings and citations were written for various boating safety violations on another day. Officer Weber and Reserve Officer Baugh checked a subject operating his vessel for boating safety inspection. Upon inspection, it was apparent that the operator was under the influence. The subject failed numerous field sobriety tasks and was arrested for BUI. The subject submitted to a test of his breath and the results were a.092 and.095. Officer Kist spoke to approximately 100 people at The Villages Fishing Club. Various questions were asked and answered in reference to boating safety, recreational fishing and all aspects of the FWC. MARION COUNTY Officer Klein was on plain-clothes patrol in Salt Run when she observed a cabin boat pass her and noticed that the operator seemed to be unsteady on his feet and was swaying. Officer Klein identified herself and performed a boating safety inspection. The captain of the vessel admitted to having consumed several Jack Daniels and Cokes. Officer Klein asked the individual to perform Standard Field Sobriety Tasks and the he was arrested and booked into the Marion County Jail for operating a vessel while impaired. The subject refused to provide a breath sample. Officer Hargabus and Lieutenant Frerking were on water patrol on the Withlacoochee River east of Lake Rousseau when they observed a vessel working a light and shining the edges of the river. During a resource inspection, the subject stated he had just been out fishing that night and that he had not caught anything. Further inspection revealed a juvenile alligator inside of a cooler. He was issued a notice to appear for taking an alligator without a permit. 5

6 BREVARD COUNTY Officer Munkelt was on land patrol in the area of SR 520 and Satellite Boulevard. He observed a pickup truck swerve over the solid white line on the right side of the road then come to a complete stop in the middle of SR 520. Officer Munkelt conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle. He made contact with the driver who stumbled to the rear of his vehicle. The driver advised he just came from the bar where he drank ten beers and had one of his prescription pain pills. The driver was asked to perform field sobriety exercises. After the exercises were completed, it was determined that the driver was impaired. The driver was arrested for DUI and was transported to the Brevard County Jail. While on foot patrol of Sebastian Inlet State Park s north jetty, Officer Lightsey made contact with a subject wishing to participate in the Wildlife Alert program. The subject stated that he observed a male catch an oversized redfish and keep it. The subject stated that he told the male that the fish was oversized but he kept it anyway. Officer Lightsey made contact with the male suspect and found him to be in possession of over-the-slot-size redfish. Officer Lightsey issued him a citation for the offense. The complainant wished to stay anonymous but his report was submitted for a Wildlife Alert reward. While on patrol, Officer Lightsey observed a vehicle driving in a careless manner. The vehicle was following very closely to other vehicles and quickly changing lanes without using a turn signal. Officer Lightsey conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle. When asked for his driver s license, the visibly shaken driver handed Officer Lightsey a Florida ID card. When asked where his driver s license was, the driver responded, This is all they would give me. A check through FWC dispatch revealed the driver had a suspended driver s license out of Michigan for DUI. Officer Lightsey asked the driver about his Michigan driver s license. The driver stated that it was suspended for DUI. Officer Lightsey further observed an open bottle of tequila and an open bottle of whiskey within reach of the driver. The driver did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol, but was placed under arrest for driving while license suspended with knowledge and issued a citation for open container of alcohol by driver. A warning was also issued for careless driving. While on water patrol, Officers Corley and Saunders noticed four fishermen fishing from shore. They were fishing under the Sebastian River Bridge from a very rocky and shallow area, so the officers decided to check them by land. The officers approached the group and inspected their catch. Two of the fishermen were in possession of one oversized snook, three undersized black drum and one undersized mangrove snapper. The two men received citations for the snook and black drum violations. INDIAN RIVER COUNTY While on patrol of the Sebastian Inlet State Park Boat Ramp, Officer Rasey conducted a boat safety and resource inspection on a returning vessel. After writing warnings to the operator for no certification on board and expired visual distress signals, the operator displayed several snapper in his live well. Inside the live well were eight gray snapper and a mutton snapper. A check revealed two of the gray snapper and the mutton snapper were undersized. The subject received a misdemeanor citation for possession of undersized mutton snapper and warnings for over the bag limit and undersized gray snapper. 6

7 VOLUSIA COUNTY Officer Edson received information from off-duty FWC Officer Beal in reference to someone harvesting saw palmetto berries in Lake George Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Officer Edson responded and located the suspect, who was cited for harvesting/possession of saw palmetto berries in a WMA without a permit. The suspect had four prior citations for the same offense. Lieutenant Baer was on water patrol in the ICW when he received a call from Tomoka State Park in reference to a 14-year-old boy who went paddle boarding and failed to return when he was supposed to. His parents reported that he was two hours overdue. Lieutenant Baer responded to the area and, after a brief search, located the youth, who was reunited with his family. SUMTER COUNTY Officers Sweet and Peterson were patrolling Richloam WMA in the early morning hours. They came across a subject that drove his truck into a ditch and was attempting to drive it out. It was soon apparent that the operator of the vehicle was under the influence. Officer Sweet had the subject perform field sobriety tasks. The subject was unable to perform the tasks and was subsequently arrested. He was booked into the county jail for DUI. SEMINOLE COUNTY Environmental Investigator Kissack has filed a first degree misdemeanor charge through the State Attorney s Office on a Seminole County man for the willful violation of the Department of Environmental Protection solid waste rules. Over the past several years, the man had circumvented the open burning and solid waste rules on numerous occasions, much to the consternation of the Seminole County Fire Department, Florida Division of Forestry and the Seminole County Sheriff s Office, who became involved after the man threatened to shoot the next fireman who came onto his property. Initially, the man had persuaded FWC that he was the victim in this case and that he was not burning land-clearing debris brought in from off site to fill a dry pond on his property. An alert neighbor was able to snap some photographs that proved otherwise, clearly catching a commercial vehicle dumping a load of land-clearing debris on the man s property. COPS Officers Ash, C. Rutherford and Lightsey participated in a detail in southern Brevard and northern Indian River counties. This detail ran in conjunction with a free license fishing day during Labor Day weekend. During this time, violation of snook regulations was the focus. 254 users were checked and 18 warnings were issued. One fishing license citation was issued as well as four uniform boating citations. Twenty-four vessels were inspected as well as three assists. There were no snook violations discovered during this detail. Few snook were caught and surveillance was performed. Officers saw snook caught before season opened and promptly returned. Snook that were kept were of legal size. Many questions were answered by officers during interaction with the public/anglers on this busy holiday weekend. 7

8 Officer Platt taught the legal portion of a hunter safety course in Indian River County. There were 35 students in attendance Officer Platt attended the Indian River Airboat Show and talked to 65 people about various topics including boating safety, alligator hunting rules and hunting zones. Officer Arendas taught a hunter safety course class at Marsh Hammock Hunt Club. 29 students attended. Officer Mendez taught a hunter safety course with eight youths. Officer Kazmierczak taught a hunter s safety class at the Volusia County Fairgrounds. The students included approximately 15 youths and five adults. SOUTHWEST REGION LEE COUNTY On the opening night of the Gulf of Mexico snook season, Officers Rice and Raczek were on patrol in Lee County. They received a call from FWC dispatch that a wildlife alert came in. The complainant reported that four males were keeping undersized snook at a nearby creek. Shortly afterwards, the complainant advised that the men had quickly left in a truck. The officers gathered information on their description and within a few minutes were able to locate and stop the vehicle. As Officer Raczek approached the truck, he saw two snook in the bed of the truck. One of the snook was still attached to a lure on a fishing pole and flopping around in the back of the truck. When asked about the snook, one of the men admitted to catching and keeping the fish. When Officer Rice asked him if he knew the rules regarding snook, the man said that he bought his snook stamp and thought anything over 12 inches was ok. An inspection of the man s fishing license and snook stamp showed that he bought it three days prior. The man was cited for possession of undersized snook and over the daily bag limit of snook. Officers Mitchell and Sumpter responded to a call of an 80-year-old woman who had fallen out of a kayak and was in the water. The officers, along with Charlotte County Fire Rescue, launched a Jon boat in the small but swollen Prairie Creek. The woman was located and they were able to return the woman and her kayak safely to shore. Officers Mitchell and Sumpter received a call reporting a vehicle engulfed in flames at the Webb WMA. Getting to the vehicle was very difficult due to the fact that water levels were very high and the exact location of the incident was not clear. The officers were able to locate a father and two sons who were now stranded due to their vehicle being totally destroyed by the fire. The officers assisted getting the people back to safety and arranged to have the vehicle removed from the management area. 8

9 HERNANDO COUNTY Operation False Start in the Richloam WMA was conducted by Lieutenant Grover, Officers Prowant, Sweet, Spradlin, Peterson, Van Ost, Little, Henry, Williams and Reserve Officer Thompson. The detail was targeting illegal night-hunting activities as well as other common violations that have been plaguing the state property. At the conclusion of the detail, the officers issued the following citations and arrests: 3 traffic citations for open container of alcoholic beverage while driver/passenger of a moving vehicle; 2 arrests for possession of cannabis; 1 arrest for DUI, additional charge for refusing to submit to breath sample; 1 arrest by outstanding warrant; 2 noncriminal infractions for entry into state lands after permitted hours and 1 written warning for open container of alcoholic beverage while passenger of a moving vehicle. SOUTH REGION A BROWARD COUNTY Officer Brock was on water patrol near the Hillsboro Inlet. He observed several divers with spear guns swimming right next to the north jetty. Investigator Bingham was also in the area. Both the officer and investigator observed one of the individuals put a speared snook into the rocks. Officer Brock made contact with the three individuals and ordered them onto the beach and to meet him at an area a short distance away. Investigator Bingham was on foot and followed the three individuals. One individual took off running down the beach and into a local condo area. The Hillsboro Beach Police Department responded to the area to search for the individual that had run off. The individual was found by Hillsboro Beach Police Department and was transported back to Officer Brock. All three individuals were juveniles. One individual was cited for no diver s down flag and for spear fishing within 100 feet of the exposed portion of a jetty. The individual that ran was taken into custody and transported by Officer Brock to the Juvenile Assessment Center. He was charged with four misdemeanor violations and one infraction to include no diver s down flag, taking snook by illegal method, taking oversized snook and resisting arrest without violence. While patrolling John U. Lloyd State Park, Officer Serphos checked an individual at the boat ramp who was starting to filet several dolphin. Upon inspection, six of the dolphins were found to be undersized. The undersized fish were seized as evidence and the subject was issued a citation for the undersized dolphin as well as a citation and warnings for numerous boating safety violations. While on patrol, Officer Serphos observed a driver on I-95 at Oakland Park Boulevard who was driving erratically and causing other vehicles to swerve to avoid being hit. Officer Serphos initiated a traffic stop and made contact with the driver. The subject was unable to walk without stumbling and slumped over the back of his vehicle to balance while Officer Serphos was speaking to him. The subject was ultimately arrested for DUI and was cited for several other traffic violations, and booked into the Broward County Jail. The FWC South Region s Environmental Crimes Investigators participated in a multijurisdictional task force to include the United State Coast Guard (USCG) and Customs Border 9

10 Patrol. The task force boarded a foreign freighter, docked along the Miami River, in search of environmental and other associated crimes. This operation was developed from the newly formed FWC-sponsored environmental workshop for Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Operation A Walk in The Park was implemented by FWC Investigators in all of the state parks located within the FWC South Region over the Labor Day holiday weekend. This operation was initiated in response to numerous vehicle burglaries and shortage of FWC Officers assigned to state parks. During the course of this operation, several targets were identified. Five burglaries did occur in John U. Lloyd State Park and the FWC Uniform Patrol did make a traffic-related physical arrest that resulted in possession of burglary tools. The other parks had no reported burglaries. Although making a criminal arrest is the desired outcome of the operation, deterrence of crime in the other state parks is a secondary positive outcome. The unmarked units assigned to this operation handled fights, thefts, overdue vessels, recovered missing persons, provided medical aid and issued resource, alcohol and traffic citations. Officers Read and Warne were on water patrol offshore of Pompano Beach just south of the Hillsboro Inlet when they noticed a diver actively spear fishing within 100 yards of the south jetty. The officers performed a marine fisheries inspection and found the subject to be in possession of one speared/undersized snook. The subject was issued two citations for the snook violations and one warning for spear fishing within 100 feet of the exposed portion of a jetty. The snook was seized as evidence. Environmental Crimes Investigative Lieutenant Sacco attended the semi-annual USCG Sector Miami Area Contingency Planning Meeting. This meeting was held in Fort Lauderdale and was hosted by USCG Chief Frank Cesario, whom previously assigned Lieutenant Sacco s role as an Incident Commander. This committee is composed of private industry, local, state and federal government agencies that have developed this area s contingency plan. This committee seeks to enhance the response community s ability to temper substantial threats or actual incidents through a coordinated process. This is accomplished by defining roles, responsibilities, resources, and procedures necessary to respond to a myriad of spill response contingencies. GLADES COUNTY Officer Taylor was checking fishermen on a local bridge in Glades County when he encountered a subject who had an active warrant out of Lee County, Florida. The subject was taken into custody and booked into the Glades County Jail without incident. HENDRY COUNTY Officers Lilley and Taylor were on patrol headed to do a follow up on an ongoing investigation on a couple of subjects that had been killing deer during the closed season. While traveling to the location, the officers observed a Chevrolet truck with three subjects who were near the truck next to a freshwater canal. One of the subjects was observed to be throwing a very large cast net from the shoreline. The officers decided to turn around and ease back over to the area where the subjects were located. Before the officers could see all three of the subjects, they observed one of the subjects look up at them and then quickly disappear behind the truck 10

11 bed near the cab. The officers made contact with the subjects and asked them if they had caught any fish and they advised they had not had any luck. There was a small cooler in the bed that was inspected and found to be empty, but when Officer Lilley attempted to remove the spare tire from the bed, he could hear the distinct sound of fish flopping under the tire. Officer Lilley removed the tire where he located a bag filled with undersized black bass that had been harvested by the use of a cast net. One of the subjects admitted to catching them and was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of undersized bass and harvest by illegal method. Officer Lilley was on his way to end his shift when he observed a white Crown Victoria travelling with its headlights deactivated. The Crown Victoria was travelling at a high rate of speed when Officer Lilley decided to stop the vehicle for operating without its headlights activated along with several other traffic infractions. Officer Lilley activated his emergency takedown lights but the vehicle maintained its course while the driver maintained eye contact with Officer Lilley. The vehicle travelled approximately a half of a mile before coming to a complete stop on the shoulder. A short investigation revealed that the driver had several unpaid traffic citations and his driver s license had been suspended for quite some time. Officer Lilley arrested the subject and booked him into the Hendry County Jail and the vehicle was subsequently towed. Officer Taylor was on patrol in Hendry County when he heard two gun shots in quick succession on a piece of private property where the local officers had received a complaint of poaching in that particular area. Officer Lilley arrived on scene to assist and the two officers quickly developed a suspect and waited for him to return from his hunt. When it got dark, the officers observed a spotlight being displayed on the property and after a short time, the subject returned to his residence on a Polaris Ranger. From a concealed location close by, the officers observed two men pull up to the house and unload a freshly killed deer and put it into the back of a truck. The officers made contact with the two subjects and confirmed that the deer had been taken with a center fire rifle during the muzzleloader season, as well as being taken at night by gun and light. Through further investigation, the officers conducted a consensual search of the house, where a skull of a Florida Panther was also located. The officers charged the two men each with taking deer at night by gun and light, taking deer by illegal method, and possession of parts of a Florida Panther. The officers seized two rifles, two spot lights, an eight-point buck and the Polaris Ranger as evidence. The case is still under investigation and additional charges are pending. Officer Lilley was on water patrol on the Caloosahatchee River when he stopped a small aluminum vessel with two subjects fishing at a spillway. A boating safety inspection revealed that the subjects had none of the required safety equipment, and the vessel was also not currently registered. A freshwater fisheries inspection revealed that the subjects were in possession of three black bass, two of which were undersized. One subject was charged with possession of undersized black bass, and the captain was issued citations for the boating safety violations. MARTIN COUNTY Officer Doricchi was on patrol by the 96 State Road Bridge when he observed headlights on the southeast side of the bridge. He went over to see what the vehicle was doing. Upon 11

12 arrival, he observed the lights to be headlights of a golf cart being operated by several juveniles. When asked what they were doing, the juveniles advised that there was a suspicious car on the side of the bridge. The VIN plate that is supposed to be located in the left corner of the dash appeared to be popped off. The entire interior was stripped out and the engine was gone. Officer Doricchi ran the tag number on the registration that was left in the vehicle. The vehicle was reported stolen from Okeechobee, Florida. The Okeechobee Sheriff s Office was notified and the vehicle was recovered and towed for investigation by the Okeechobee Sheriff s Office. Officers Koch and Doricchi were on patrol on the west side of the Jensen Beach Causeway. While on patrol, they observed two individuals fishing from the seawall. Officer Koch asked both subjects if they had fishing licenses and they advised no. Officer Koch ran both subjects through dispatch. One subject had an open warrant out of Martin County. The subject was arrested and booked into the Martin County Jail without incident. Officers Moss and Doricchi were on patrol in the ICW by the Loblolly Bay Marina when they observed a grey rubber vessel being operated with no registration numbers. They stopped the vessel for a registration and boating safety check. During the stop, they observed the operator of the vessel having a difficult time standing. An alcoholic beverage odor was coming from the operator s mouth and person. After further investigation, it was determined that the individual was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. The subject was arrested for operating a vessel while impaired. At the jail, the subject blew a.160 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and was then booked into the Martin County Jail for operating a vessel with a BAC of.08% or higher. OKEECHOBEE COUNTY The FWC Environmental Crimes Investigators with the assistance of uniform patrol and Department of Environmental Protection s Office of Emergency Response executed a search warrant on a facility located in Okeechobee County. Criminal charges to include three felonies and five misdemeanors are pending the lab results verifying samples of suspected hazardous waste. PALM BEACH COUNTY The FWC Environmental Crimes Investigators and their supervisors toured the Pratt Whitney facility located in Palm Beach County. This tour gave a general overview of the production processes at the facility which included how waste streams are generated, stored and properly disposed of in addition to reviewing mitigation plans and notifications should an adverse event occur. The purpose of this visit was to expose our investigators and other staff members to some of the aspects of the duties of an environmental crimes investigator. It will serve to show, in general, what an investigator should be looking at and the questions that may need to be asked if they are investigating an event with hazardous waste/solid waste/waste water implications. The tour was a great eye opener for new personnel and a refresher for the old hands. Officer Kellerman received a call of a lost hunter off the Tomato Field Grade in the Corbett WMA. He got off the water in Jupiter and headed to Corbett WMA. After searching for a little 12

13 over an hour, Kellerman located the hunter about a quarter mile west of his van on the Tomato Field Grade. He drove the hunter back to his vehicle, where he had water and snacks. The hunter left the area without further incident. ST. LUCIE COUNTY Officer Payne was on water patrol in the Fort Pierce area when he observed several people fishing from a vessel near the Harbor Town Marina channel. A vessel stop was conducted and a boating safety inspection / resource inspection followed. While checking harvested fish in a cooler, Officer Payne observed several snapper that appeared undersized. After measuring the fish, it was determined that six mutton snapper were undersized. A citation was issued for the violation. Officer Pifer and Investigator Turner were on water patrol in the ICW near the Fort Pierce area when they conducted several vessel stops for boating and resource inspections. Investigator Turner made contact with an individual who was actively engaged in fishing. A fisheries inspection revealed an undersized mutton snapper and an undersized sheepshead on board. The subject was issued a citation for the violations. Officer Pifer made contact with a vessel that had multiple individuals on board actively fishing. A fisheries inspection revealed three undersized mutton snapper. One individual claimed possession of the fish and was issued a citation for the violation. Officer Payne was conducting boating safety and resource inspections at Black Pearl Boat Ramp when he observed a vessel come to the dock. The individuals began to trailer the vessel while the harvested fish were moved to the fish-cleaning table. Officer Payne made contact with the subjects and determined that several of the fish were undersized. A measurement was conducted and found three dolphins to be under the required size limit. A citation was issued for the violation. Officer Pifer was on water patrol near the Fort Pierce Inlet conducting boating safety and resource inspections when he made contact with a vessel and two subjects returning from offshore with fishing and diving equipment on board. The resource inspection revealed undersized black sea bass. When Officer Pifer began to issue one of the subjects a citation for the violation, the other harvester attempted to sway Officer Pifer s decision by offering him information on other subjects poaching marine resources. Officer Pifer knew of the subject from other law enforcement personnel having had contact with him, and knew that the information provided would be unreliable. The catch was seized as evidence and the citation was completed and issued. SOUTH REGION B COLLIER Officers Bibeau and Thurkettle were on vessel patrol in the Bayview Park area when they followed a vessel to the boat ramp to complete a boating safety inspection. Noticing fishing gear on board, Officer Thurkettle asked the subject if he had any luck fishing and he stated that he got caught in some bad weather and did not catch any fish. As the subject was talking, 13

14 Officer Thurkettle noticed that he was sitting on a cooler and that there was a tail of a fish hanging outside of the cooler. The officer brought this to the subject s attention and the subject opened the cooler, which contained a 36-inch live snook. The subject was issued a citation for possession of an oversized snook and the snook was returned to the water. During a snook detail, Officers Bibeau and Van Trees were conducting surveillance at Clam Pass Park. The officers observed two men carrying five-gallon buckets with fishing gear inside. Upon inspection, the officers found seven redfish (four of which were undersized), one undersized snook, one undersized mangrove snapper and one undersized black drum. K-9 Officer Collazo arrived to assist and the men were charged with 11 misdemeanor violations and issued one warning. During a snook detail, Officers Bibeau and Van Trees were on water patrol and attempted to stop a vessel for a boating safety inspection. The vessel failed to stop and did not stop until the officers started shouting at the operator. The operator showed signs of impairment and Lieutenant Barrett and Investigator Haney were called to administer an alcohol breath test. The operator blew a blood alcohol concentration of and was booked into the Naples Jail Center for BUI. MIAMI-DADE Several officers responded to the edge of the Everglades in Southern Miami-Dade County to assist the Miami-Dade County Police Department in the search for an 18-year-old man that was reported missing by his family. The officers mounted an extensive ground search that included searching thick brush as well as abandoned buildings under very difficult conditions. The FWC s helicopter circled the area for four hours to no avail. After several hours of searching, members of the Miami-Dade Dive Team discovered the lifeless body of the victim in a canal near the main road. Miami-Dade Homicide Investigators are currently investigating this case. South B officers responded to an accident involving a personal water craft (PWC) in a canal in western Miami-Dade County where a young man lost control of his PWC and collided with the canal s edge catapulting the PWC into the air. The PWC ultimately ended up crashing against a fence. The victim was found face down in the water but was quickly rescued and transported to the hospital in critical condition. A delicate operation ensued to remove and recover the PWC from the bank. After several attempts, the PWC was recovered and secured for further investigation. MONROE COUNTY Officer Mattson was on water patrol in Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park with Officer Dube and Lieutenant Riesz. They observed a small boat typically used for bully netting moving at a high rate of speed without displaying its navigational lights. The officers turned on their spot light and emergency blue lights and illuminated the subject. The subject reached down into the boat and proceeded to throw something in the water. The subject was stopped and a thorough boating safety inspection was conducted only to reveal numerous violations. As the officers were issuing citations, the subject spontaneously admitted that he threw undersized lobsters overboard in an attempt to conceal his illegal catch. He was arrested for interference 14

15 with FWC officers, issued several boating safety citations and transported to the Plantation Key Jail. Officer McKay and several water units responded to a local resort in Key Largo to assist the Monroe County Sheriff s Office with the search of a burglary offender. Officer McKay assisted in searching the resort where two purses were located in a nearby trash bin. The suspect s vehicle was also discovered near the scene of the crime. As a result of the multi-agency response that included the FWC and FHP, the Monroe County Sheriff s detectives believe that a crime spree that spanned the upper keys is now solved. Officer Dube was working a detail in Islamorada when he observed a vessel occupied by three men heading towards the shore line. Officer Dube approached the men and noticed that the men clearly were returning from a day of fishing. After a thorough fisheries inspection was conducted it was determined that the three men were in possession of 17 mangrove snapper over the daily bag limit. All three men were cited for the violation. COPS Officer Dube, along with several community leaders, helped organize the first annual 911 Tribute for local first responders at the Elk's Lodge in Tavernier. Organizers brought all local fire departments and emergency medical services along with several law enforcement agencies, including the FWC. Monroe County Commissioner Sylvia Murphy was the master of ceremonies and was flanked by several other politicians and service-minded professionals. The event had several demonstrations including a K-9 demonstration. A static display with all the specialized equipment belonging to the respective agencies was on display for all to see and enjoy. The evening ended with an all-american picnic, including hamburgers, hot dogs and homemade dishes and desserts provided by local residents. 15

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