Lieutenant Hahr was patrolling the Escambia River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) at Cotton Lake. After reaching the boat ramp, he observed a car parked near the ramp with clothes and other personal belongings scattered around it on the ground. A woman was sitting in the front seat and, as he got closer, he observed a male subject hiding behind the car. When Lieutenant Hahr approached them, the man quickly put on a pair of shorts and stated that they had been swimming in the river and that something had bitten both of them several times while in the water. Neither of them had any indications of any kind of serious medical condition. Lieutenant Hahr noticed that the car was registered in Georgia and had a broken steering column with ignition wires hanging out. He attempted to identify both subjects but the man provided a false name. When asked about the spelling, the man admitted that he had a warrant out of Alabama. The woman finally located a bill of sale for the car and it was not stolen. The man was arrested on the warrant and transported to the Escambia County Jail.
The FWC Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Logo. Photo: myfwc.com
SANTA ROSA COUNTY
Officer Lewis was patrolling the Blackwater State Forest when he checked a primitive camping area. As he pulled up to the site, a woman in the camp quickly tried to hide a small wooden box. Officer Lewis asked her what was in the box and she stated that it was a game. Officer Lewis requested permission to look in the box and located cannabis and other drug paraphernalia. The woman also admitted to possession of additional cannabis and paraphernalia located in her tent. Officer Lewis issued her a notice to appear for possession of not more than 20 grams of cannabis and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Officer Lewis was checking the primitive campsites in Calloway Swamp when he located several people in possession of alcoholic beverages. While explaining the violations, he observed a bag of cannabis lying in a woman’s purse in the campsite. The woman and another man admitted that it belonged to them. A small amount of additional cannabis and paraphernalia was located. Officer Lewis issued both subjects notices to appear for possession of not more than 20 grams of cannabis and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Officers Rockwell and White stopped a vessel returning to Destin Pass to conduct a boating safety and fishery inspection. The captain of the vessel showed the officers red snapper they had caught and told them there were no other fish on board. The inspection later revealed a filleted gag grouper in a cooler concealed in a plastic black bag. The captain was cited for possession of gag grouper during the closed season and failure to land in whole condition.
Officer Gore was working a resource detail when he noticed a person having an extremely difficult time trying to drive his boat onto the trailer at a Mexico Beach boat ramp. Officer Gore watched as the operator made several attempts before successfully getting his boat on the trailer. When the operator was approached, he appeared to have difficulty standing and was administered some field sobriety tasks. He failed to perform the tasks. The operator was arrested for BUI and transported to the Bay County Jail, where a breath test was requested. The operator refused to give a sample of his breath.
Officer Basford responded to a boating accident on Shell Island in which a female ran a personal watercraft into another vessel. When Officer Basford arrived, he found the operator bleeding from the nose and showing signs of impairment, but refusing medical assistance. Officer Goodwin arrived and assisted as the boating accident was completed. The operator failed the field sobriety tasks and was transported to the Bay County Jail where she refused to submit to a breath test. The operator was booked for BUI and careless operation of a vessel.
Officers Price, Wicker, Brady and Hellett inspected personal watercraft vendors in Panama City Beach. During the inspections, numerous warnings were written as well as three misdemeanor and four uniform boating citations for livery violations with one citation for cannabis that was discovered at one livery.
NORTH CENTRAL REGION/h4>
Lieutenant Ferguson responded to a call for assistance from the Clay County Sheriff’s Department. Three subjects were in a pond canoeing when the canoe capsized. Two subjects made it to shore but the third did not. Clay County requested an airboat because the pond had large amounts of hydrilla and they were unsuccessful in using boats with outboard engines. The Clay County dive team searched throughout the day on Saturday and was unable to locate the subject. On Sunday, Officer Lasher responded to assist with the airboat. Divers continued searching until the early morning hours on Monday when a Clay County officer with FWC discovered the body of the missing subject.
Officers Allen and Wiggins waited for an airboat to return to Suwannee. When it arrived, they found three individuals on board who had been net fishing for mullet. One individual had been cited numerous times in the past for harvesting violations and was found to not have any licenses for the commercial take of mullet. Two misdemeanor charges were direct filed with the Dixie County State Attorney.
Officers Holleman, Sweat and Reserve Officer Cauley were on water patrol in Duval County working the “Floatapalooza” event. As several vessels passed through the Sister’s Creek Slow Speed Zone, Officer Holleman observed an operator who displayed signs of impairment. The vessel was stopped and a boating safety inspection was conducted. Other signs of impairment were observed and Officer Sweat conducted field sobriety tasks in which the suspect performed poorly. The operator was arrested, transported and booked into the Duval County Jail for BUI by Officers Holleman, Sweat, and Cauley. The operator consented to a breathalyzer which resulted in breath samples of 0.149 and 0.147.
Several officers worked an event called “Floatapalooza” in the Fort George River and Talbot Island area. As many as 500 boats converged on a three-square-mile area to raft-up and party during Memorial Day weekend. The enhanced patrol effort resulted in four BUI arrests, 25 uniform boating citations and 50 warnings issued for water-related violations. Officers provided assistance to operators of a sinking jet ski, assisted several distressed swimmers, performed first aid for several minor injuries and responded to one vessel in distress to secure the vessel and remove passengers. One boating accident was investigated and one individual was arrested and booked into jail for fishing while privileges were revoked.
Officer Shearer was conducting fisheries inspections in the Ortega area when he found a subject with an undersized red drum. A records check of the individual revealed active warrants out of three counties. Before the subject could be arrested, he took off running and Officer Shearer chased the subject on foot while using his radio to pass information to dispatch. Jacksonville Sheriff’s officers arrived on the scene and the subject was found hiding in some bushes. He was arrested on multiple charges that included the warrants, fleeing, resisting arrest, undersized red drum, consuming alcohol in a park and no valid fishing license.
On Memorial Day, Officers Hilliard and Wiggins went to a residence in Gainesville, Florida, as a follow up courtesy check of individuals supposedly involved in a search and rescue earlier that morning at approximately 12:00 a.m. As the officers were speaking to one of the individuals at the residence, another individual was observed driving his vehicle up to the house. The driver exited the vehicle with an open can of beer 3/4 empty in his left hand and two unopened cans of beer in a bag in his right hand. Upon exiting the vehicle, the individual shouted to the officers, “What is this, we need closure?” As the driver approached the officers, he showed multiple signs of impairment, including stumbling and slurred speech with a strong odor of alcohol on his breath. The driver stated that he had been drinking all day at the house, but he was just returning from the convenience store where he had purchased the beer. The driver performed field sobriety tasks very poorly and was placed under arrest and transported to the Alachua County Jail. The individual was charged for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Officers Boone and Mobley were on water patrol on the Santa Fe River when they observed a vessel coming in their direction and violating the idle speed zone. After stopping the vessel, the operator showed signs of impairment and refused to perform the sobriety tasks. Based on those observations, Officer Boone arrested the operator for BUI. At the Suwannee County Jail, the operator was tested and revealed a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .155.
Officer Meurlot and Officer Malicoat were on water patrol in the Mosquito Lagoon area. They were enforcing the shellfish harvest regulations and stopped a commercial vessel with two adult males who were harvesting oysters. Due to this location, all harvested oysters must be delivered to the wholesaler by 11:30 a.m. Both harvesters were charged with this criminal violation in addition to not having the oyster bags properly tagged. All oysters were returned to the water.
Over the Memorial Day weekend, Lieutenant Urban, Investigators Wayne, Corfield, Rutherford, and Officers Lightsey, Sidor, Rutherford, Land, Zamonis, and Horst, participated in a BUI and boating safety enforcement detail. Utilizing water and dockside contacts, the officers enforced and educated the boating public on Florida law and boating safety. Over 500 total user contacts were made during the weekend by officers. The officers issued three citations and 17 warnings for resource-related violations, seven citations and 146 warnings for boating-related offenses. The officers logged a total of 155 hours of targeted enforcement over the long weekend.
While on patrol in Brevard County, Officer Lightsey conducted a vessel safety inspection at Christensen’s Landing Boat Ramp in Grant. One of the subjects left the vessel and backed the truck down the ramp to recover the vessel. The subject then pulled the vessel further up into the parking lot. A check revealed that the subject had numerous past boating safety violations and was driving on a suspended driver’s license with knowledge. Due to the subject having four previous suspended driver’s license convictions, he was placed under arrest for driving while license suspended with knowledge, 3rd or subsequent offense, and delivered to the Brevard County Jail. The owner of the vessel was issued a warning for no Type IV throwable device.
Officer Rasey concluded an ongoing investigation into a subject creating a public nuisance in a Palm Bay neighborhood by feeding buzzards, bald eagles, and raccoons. Officer Rasey obtained statements from neighbors as well as video of the feedings. Neighbors advised that their properties have been adversely affected over the years by this activity. Aside from vulture feces and vomit being deposited throughout the neighborhood, one resident advised that he had to get a metal roof because of his neighbor feeding raccoons. Through working with FWC Environmental Investigator Rutherford and the Director of the Brevard County Health Department, Officer Rasey was able to charge the suspect with five misdemeanor charges. Two counts of intentional placement of food to attract raccoons, two counts of feeding a bald eagle, and one count of maintaining a nuisance injurious to public health have been directly filed on the suspect through the local State Attorney’s Office.
Officer Trusley attended and spoke at a public meeting along with FWC biologists to a group of approximately 17 fishing guides and land owners of properties surrounding the lakes in the county. Issues such as hydrilla management, water levels, and illegally placed fish attractants were the primary topics discussed. Officer Trusley was able to help deescalate things when several attendees had a difference of opinion, as well as discuss the importance of following the regulations regarding boating safety, and fish attractors.
Officers Weis and Douglas were on water patrol on Lake Minneola. They stopped a vessel for operating with no navigational lights. Officer Weis observed signs of impairment from the operator of the vessel. The operator was unable to properly perform field sobriety tasks. The operator refused a breath sample and was booked into the Lake County Jail for BUI.
COP (Community Oriented Policing)
Officer Sidor and Lieutenant Urban participated in the City of Palm Bay’s Waterfest held at Castaway Point Park. During the event, they handed out fishing and boating regulations as well as other FWC promotional items. Many questions from the public were answered and many children learned about the role of an FWC officer. Officer Sidor and Lieutenant Urban had approximately 75 contacts with 30 of them being youth contacts.
Officer Ervin was on vessel patrol on Lake Istokpoga Fish Management Area (FMA) when he encountered two subjects in possession of four bass. All of the bass were in the 15- to 24-inch slot limit range, the possession of which is prohibited in Lake Istokpoga FMA. Both men received citations for the misdemeanor.
Officers Bibler and Bibeau received a complaint of a man displaying an alligator to patrons of a bar in the Tampa Bay area. The officers interviewed multiple staff from the bar as well as a neighboring bar. The officers were able to get statements, a name, and a number of the alleged alligator exhibitionist. A records check revealed that the subject exhibiting the gator did not hold any permits to possess or exhibit Class II wildlife; however, his father, who also had the same name, did possess permits for wildlife captivity. The father admitted that his son was in possession of an alligator and had no permits. The officers located the son who was brought back to his residence for an inspection. Although the alligator had been transported to his father’s house before the officers arrived, they noted multiple violations. The following day, with the help of Investigator Manson, the officers returned to the father’s house to inspect the alligator and all of the father’s remaining captive wildlife. Numerous violations were noted and the appropriate citations were issued. The alligator was transferred to a proper facility.
Lieutenant Ruggiero and Captain Carpenter were on water patrol in Pine Island Sound when they observed several dolphins acting strangely around a nearby vessel. The officers observed as the dolphins proceeded to come along side the vessel and stick their heads out of the water with their mouths open. Shortly afterwards, they saw one of the passengers throwing food to the dolphins while the other passengers were trying to touch and photograph the mammals. When the officers approached the vessel, the man who was feeding the dolphins stated, “I’ve never seen anything like this, they were just coming up to the boat.” Captain Carpenter told the man that he saw him feeding the dolphins and explained that feeding dolphins is illegal for many important reasons. The man admitted to feeding the dolphins and said he didn’t know it was illegal. After issuing the man a written warning for feeding dolphins, the man apologized and promised he would never do it again.
Officer Enos responded to a complaint about an individual that had harvested an out-of-season gag grouper at the Skyway Fishing Pier. After making contact with the individual, Officer Enos conducted an inspection and located the grouper. While issuing a citation for the violation the individual became unruly and approached Officer Enos demanding his identification so he could leave. Officer Enos informed him that he was not free to leave at that time. The fisherman than started walking towards where Officer Enos had the grouper laid out for photographing. Officer Enos instructed the fisherman not to touch the fish; however, the fisherman did not listen and threw the fish off the bridge into the water. The individual was cited for interfering with an FWC Officer and possession of gag grouper during closed season.
Officers Bibeau and Bibler were on water patrol near Tarpon Key when they stopped a vessel to conduct a boating safety and fisheries inspection. During the course of the inspection, the officers located two undersized gag grouper. Two individuals on board the vessel admitted to catching the grouper. Officer Bibeau wrote both individuals a citation for possession of gag grouper during closed season and a warning for possession of an undersized gag grouper.
COP (Community Oriented Policing)
Lieutenant Allen and Officer Ervin conducted a presentation at the Sebring Middle School where they spoke about living with alligators and the duties of an FWC officer. There were 720 students in attendance and the presentation featured a live alligator.
SOUTH REGION A/h4>
Officer Brock was on vessel patrol in the evening, in the vicinity of the Pompano Beach Boat Ramp. He conducted a boating safety inspection on a vessel at this location. Pursuant to the boating safety inspection, Officer Brock conducted seated field sobriety tasks on the operator of the vessel. After completion of these tasks the operator of the vessel was placed under arrest for Boating Under the Influence and delivered to the Broward County Jail.
Lieutenant Laubenberger attended the yearly Memorial Service at Lauderdale Memorial Cemetery on SR 84 in Ft. Lauderdale. Attending this event were numerous veterans, observers and the Marine Corps South Area Commander- General Kelly. Lt. Laubenberger commanded the Broward Multi Agency Police Honor Guard during a parade and rifle volley.
Lieutenants Laubenberger, Dipre, and Officer Wright participated in the Honor Guard ceremony for the return of an Honor Flight. Lt Laubenberger commanded the Broward County Multi Agency Police Honor Guard for its role. Honor Guard Members and colors teams met the Honor Flight (All WW II veterans) at the gate as they emerged from the plane’s ramp. Honors were rendered. There were two flights that were involved. The Honor Guard and Pipes and Drum Corps led the veterans down a long corridor filled with around 1,000 patriotic well wishers. Honors were further given to the veterans at the Terminal lobby. Escorting the veterans was a Purple Heart recipient that was a double amputee.
Officers Warne and Vacin were launching a vessel at the Riverland Woods Boat Ramp when a suspicious subject approached Officer Vacin. Upon request, the subject provided the officers with his driver’s license. A records check revealed that the subject’s license was suspended and he had an active warrant. The subject was placed under arrest and transported to the Broward County Jail by Officer Coffin.
Officer Moss was on water patrol when he saw a kayaker near some docks waving him down. As he turned around he could see someone next to the kayaker clinging to one of the dock pilings. As he got closer Moss could see a second Kayak that was flipped upside down under the dock. Moss pulled up to the dock and secured his vessel. He asked what had happened. They explained the current was so strong that she got swept underneath the dock and flipped over. She was unable to climb onto the dock as it was too tall and the waves were crashing over her. She was wearing a lifejacket, but she advised she had been stuck there for 20 minutes and was getting very tired. Officer Moss asked her to stay calm and threw her a life ring attached to a line and pulled her around to the stern of the boat with the current and was able to safely get her aboard. The other kayaker was able to paddle himself out from between the docks safely. Moss retrieved her kayak and took her to Sandsprit Boat Ramp to meet her friends. No one was injured and there was no damage to property.
Officer Moss and Officer Koch were on water patrol near Sansprit Boat Ramp when they received a call through the Martin County Sheriff’s office that a vessel was coming into the boat ramp with an injured person onboard. When the vessel arrived they could see the operator of the vessel was bleeding from his head. The Officers administered first aid pending the arrival of rescue units. The operator had a large cut on his head and was feeling dizzy. Fire rescue arrived shortly after and flew the subject to Longwood Hospital in Fort Peirce. The accident was caused by an anchor that was tied to the stern of the boat. The operator had been anchored at an island near Sandsprit and was leaving. He put the vessel up on plane when he realized something seemed wrong. He had left the anchor tied to the stern and hanging outside of the boat. When he decreased the throttle coming off of plane the anchor swung around and struck him on the head. The operator received a light concussion and was given several staples on his head, but was not seriously injured. No damage was caused to his boat or anyone else’s and no one else was injured. A boating accident report will be completed.
PALM BEACH COUNTY
Officer Brock and Lieutenant Laubenberger were on water patrol in the Lake Boca area in the evening. They conducted a boating safety inspection on a vessel in the lake. Pursuant to a safety inspection, the operator was placed under arrest for BUI. The operator then needed to be taken to the Boca Raton Hospital as per his request. Officer Brock accompanied the ambulance along with the Boca Raton Police. Lieutenant Laubenberger returned the patrol vessel to its dock and met Officer Brock and the arrestee (medically cleared by doctors) at the Boca Raton Hospital. They were loaded into the patrol vehicle and driven to the Palm Beach County Jail where the subject was booked for BUI.
Officers Greene and Alford responded to a trespass complaint on US Sugar Property at the Miami Locks. Three subjects were found to be on the property without permission. All three subjects were cited.
Lieutenant Brown and Officer Alford observed an abandoned cooler behind a guard rail at the Lake Harbor Structure on Lake Okeechobee. Officer Alford conducted surveillance of the cooler. A vehicle with two subjects drove down to the cooler. One of the subjects picked up and opened the cooler, then carried it to his rear car door. Officer Alford stopped the vehicle to conduct a resource inspection of cooler led which led to the discovery of ten black bass covered in ice, nine of which were undersized. Further inspection led to the discovery of another small black bass in the trunk of the car for a total of 11 black bass, ten being undersized. The subjects were both cited for possession of undersized black bass on Lake Okeechobee and the driver was cited for taking over the daily bag limit of black bass.
Officer Harris observed a vehicle driving erratically in Palm Beach County. Officer Harris initiated a traffic stop to check the welfare of the driver and during the interview he suspected impairment. The subject performed poorly on the field sobriety tests and Officer Harris arrested him for DUI. He was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail where he refused to submit to the breath test.
ST. LUCIE COUNTY
Officer Pifer while on patrol near the Stan Blum Boat Ramp, observed a subject on a vessel near the fish cleaning station. When he approached the subject and asked if he had any luck, the subject reluctantly replied in the affirmative. Officer Pifer’s resource inspection revealed a large snook. When it was measured for compliance, the snook measured in at 37 inches. Snook harvest is strictly regulated by a harvest slot of between 28-32 inches. The subject received a citation for the violation.
Officers Payne, Pifer, Willems and multiple officers from Glades, Hendry, Martin and Palm Beach Counties participated in actively enforcing the closure of snook season at midnight May 31st. Officer Payne’s plan was to canvas multiple counties and areas, at the same time. Subjects fishing cat-walks, bridges, locks, spillways and subjects on boats were inspected for compliance. Although only one oversized snook case was made, multiple users were checked and inspected which resulted in multiple citations and warnings being issued for license and boating safety violations.
Back in early December 2013, Officers Willems and Payne were doing resource and boating safety inspections at a Ft. Pierce boat ramp when they encountered a subject who appeared to be intoxicated. The subject had exited the vessel and was in the process of retrieving his truck and trailer in order to get his boat out of the water. The subject attempted numerous times to get the trailer to the ramp but jackknifed several times. Once the boat was loaded up, contact was made. Officers smelled a strong odor of alcohol. The subject performed badly on field sobriety tasks and was arrested for BUI and DUI. That case has finally come to court. The subject was found guilty and will serve 210 days in jail. This was the subject’s third DUI.
SOUTH REGION B/h4>
While participating in the “Operation: Don’t Rock the Boat” detail, Investigator Haney and Officer White stopped a vessel that was violating a manatee zone by speeding. They conducted a boating safety and fisheries inspection and found the operator in possession of 14 mangrove snapper, 11 of which were undersized. They issued misdemeanor citations for being over the bag limit, possession of undersized snapper, speeding through a manatee zone and a boating safety violation.
Officers Futch and Tolbert conducted a state fisheries and boating safety detail within the Picayune Strand State Forest. The officers made contact with several users and were able to ensure that they were in compliance with state forest rules and boating safety requirements. The officers issued four resource citations and three warnings.
During the recent Memorial Day holiday weekend, Collier County officers patrolled Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, Collier-Seminole State Park and Picayune Strand State Forest to provide public safety support while coming into contact with 1,691 patrons. The officers performed 241 vessel inspections and issued 21 resource citations and 151 warnings. It was a safe holiday weekend with no major vessel accidents reported.
Officer Martin followed a vessel returning from offshore at Haulover Inlet. A boating safety inspection at the boat ramp revealed the men did not have a throwable device. Two coolers were seen on the vessel; one claimed by the owner operator, the second by two occupants. A fisheries inspection revealed a plastic bag containing 35 undersized yellowtail snapper at the top of one cooler. In total, the men were cited for 12 misdemeanors for being over the bag limit along with possession of undersized yellowtail snapper, red grouper, gag grouper, mutton and triggerfish. The men were also cited for not having fishing licenses.
Lieutenant Riesz and Officer Bogue were on water patrol for the weekend near the Spaghetti Patch Reef when they saw a person spear fishing in the water. Upon conducting a resource inspection, officers found a bucket inside the boat containing a scrawled filefish, two cowfish, an undersized hogfish and a wrung, legal-sized lobster tail. All of the fish had been speared. The spear fisherman was cited for possession of undersized hogfish, possession of wrung lobster tail on the water, having no measuring device while harvesting and harvesting of lobster during closed season. Warnings were issued for the illegal method of taking the filefish and cowfish.
Lieutenant Riesz and Officer McKay, who are both part of the local Child Abduction Response Team (CART), assisted the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office with an abduction case. The child, who has autism, was taken by her father. The abduction happened after a deputy was serving warrants to the father for federal fraud and state child support. The man fled by foot from his home in North Key Largo with his daughter. The CART K-9 team responded and tracked for almost two hours in the neighborhood, but never found them. Investigators believe the man’s wife may have picked them up and fled the wooded area. Lieutenant McDaniel manned the incident command post during the tracks and coordinated communications and response efforts for the numerous agencies involved.
Officers Munkelt and Cox were on water patrol when they observed three subjects in the water diving around the rocks near Duck Key. Upon contact with the officers, the subjects proceeded to hide their gear and did not cooperate. Officer Cox searched the area and found a bag containing 14 out-of-season lobsters. Many of the lobsters were punctured and undersized. Officer Robb responded by land to assist. Along with a Monroe County Sheriff’s deputy, Officer Robb conducted an investigation on land which led to the discovery of 24 additional lobsters harvested by the subjects. The three subjects were cited for a total of 38 out-of-season lobsters, possession of undersized lobsters and no measuring device while in the water.
Officer Robb was traveling southbound, approaching the Ohio-Missouri Channel bridge in the Middle Keys, when he observed two subjects walking south on the closed fishing bridge. This particular bridge is fenced off with “No Access” signs on each end. Officer Robb then pulled his vehicle off to the southbound side of the road. With the help of binoculars, he saw two male subjects in wet suits carrying diving equipment and spear guns. He then observed one subject holding what appeared to be a Bahama starfish. Once the two subjects started to climb over the fence, he drove his vehicle to the other side of the bridge to make contact with them. As the officer pulled his vehicle off the roadway, the two subjects noticed him and one of them threw the Bahama starfish over the side of the bridge. When Officer Robb got out of his truck and confronted them as to why he threw the starfish over the bridge, the subject stated he was “scared.” As both subjects sat on the guard rail, Officer Robb walked to the base of the bridge to retrieve the starfish. Due to the low tide at the time, the Bahama starfish was upside down in the sand. The starfish was photographed and released back into the water after the subject was issued a citation for possession of a Bahama starfish.
While on land patrol, Officers Robb and Conlin observed a white Ford truck parked at the Spanish Harbor Channel Boat Ramp parking lot. The officers noticed lights at the base of the bridge and several people fishing. As they approached the location, they saw five subjects actively fishing. Two of the subjects spoke English, so most of the communication was conducted through them. The officers asked the subjects if they had caught any fish, and they said they had only caught a few grunts. While conducting a resource check of the fish and checking for fishing licenses, Officer Robb noticed a small bag of cannabis lying against a tackle box. The officers then notified the five subjects of their Miranda Rights in English and Spanish. The five subjects all stated that they understood their rights and agreed to talk about the cannabis. Afterwards, one subject admitted that the cannabis was his. That subject was issued a misdemeanor citation for the possession of cannabis less than 20 grams and a citation for fishing without a saltwater fishing license. The other four subjects were also issued citations for fishing without a saltwater fishing license. The cannabis tested positive, and was weighed at approximately 17 grams. The cannabis was also turned over to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office as evidence.
Officers Wagner and Garrison responded to a capsized vessel three miles east of Sombrero Reef Light off Marathon. When officers arrived on scene, they found the vessel floating upside down and anchored from the bow. The vessel’s two occupants were already on board a Good Samaritan’s vessel that picked them up after they surfaced from scuba diving in the area. The occupants said they were scuba diving for marine life and when they returned to the surface they found their vessel capsized. They told officers the vessel was in good condition and they checked the bilge pumps earlier that day. The sea conditions were very rough and the wave heights were approximately six feet high. Officers transferred the two divers onto their patrol vessel and gave both of the individuals a ride back to shore. The divers said they were going to go back out later that day and attempt to recover the vessel and the rest of their gear.
Officer Bogue and Lieutenant Riesz observed two individuals snorkeling along the shoreline ofWhale Harbor Channel in Islamorada with a net and a five-gallon bucket. When asked what was in the bucket, they proudly replied, “lobsters.” The adult that was supervising the group and allowing them to harvest the lobsters was issued a resource citation for possession of four undersized lobster and harvesting lobster during closed season.