ArticlePress Releases

FWC Nov.21-Dec.4

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


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The FWC Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Logo. Photo:



Investigator Nelson was on water patrol in the West Bay area and observed a vessel operating on a plane and running through a group of ducks sitting on the water. One individual sitting in the bow of the vessel lifted his shotgun and began discharging rounds as the ducks took flight. Investigator Nelson observed one of the ducks fall to the water and went to retrieve it. The operator of the vessel became aware of Investigator Nelson’s presence and slowed his vessel to an idle. After retrieving the duck, Investigator Nelson idled his vessel alongside their vessel to conduct an inspection. The operator of the vessel was issued a citation for rallying waterfowl. The subject who shot from the bow was issued a notice to appear for taking waterfowl from a moving vessel.

Officer Price was patrolling an area off of Old Allentown Road where numerous incidents of trespass have recently occurred. Officer Price encountered two subjects in a vehicle that had driven by no trespassing signs to enter the property. Citations were issued for the violations.

Investigator Wilkenson’s court case against an individual charged for storing/processing yard trash debris without a facility permit was adjudicated guilty of a first degree misdemeanor. The court assessed $535 in fines. This individual has been charged twice for the same violation. The first violation occurred in 2013.

Investigator Goley was patrolling in Perdido River WMA when he observed a vehicle parked at the Muscogee Cemetery after hours. Investigator Goley approached the vehicle and spoke to the occupants. He immediately noticed the odor of burning marijuana and questioned the driver about the smell. The driver admitted to smoking marijuana and that he threw it out the window. Investigator Goley located the evidence and seized less than 20 grams of marijuana and issued a notice to appear citation for the violation. A citation for possession of alcohol was also given to the passenger in the vehicle.

Officer Webb checked a fisherman as he was coming off the Bob Sikes Bridge. Officer Webb spoke to the individual and asked if he had caught anything. The individual admitted he caught a red drum but was unsure of its size. Officer Webb measured the fish, which measured 35 inches. The legal size for red drum is 18 to 27 inches. After further questioning, the subject admitted having a second red drum in the trunk of his car. That fish measured 36 inches. Officer Webb seized the fish and issued a notice to appear citation to the individual for the violation.

While on patrol, Lieutenant Lambert observed an individual drive into a cultivated corn field in an attempt to shine deer with the vehicle’s headlights. Lieutenant Lambert stopped the vehicle as it exited the field. The driver had a 20 gauge shotgun lying next to him on the front seat. The subject admitted he was looking for deer and would have shot a big buck. The subject’s gun was seized and was issued a notice to appear citation for the violation.

Officer Martin was dispatched to the Old Carrabelle Beach area for a vehicle that was driving on the dunes. Officer Martin arrived in the area to find an individual attempting to get his Ford SUV unstuck from the sand on top of the dunes. Officer Martin assisted the individual with getting the vehicle out of the sand and had him drive back to the parking area to complete the appropriate citations. Once at the parking lot, Officer Martin noticed the smell of an alcoholic beverage on the individual. At this time, he conducted a Breath Alcohol Test on the individual, who was unable to perform any of the tasks. Officer Martin placed the individual under arrest and transported him to the Franklin County Jail where he provided a breath sample of .204 and .222. The individual was booked into the Franklin County Jail for DUI (third offense) and driving on the dunes.

Officer Yates and Lieutenant Walsingham worked an area north of Bonifay after receiving information of duck hunting after legal shooting hours. They located the duck hunters and issued citations to two individuals for taking ducks with lead shot and issued warnings for taking ducks after legal shooting hours, no federal duck stamps, hunting with shotguns capable of holding more than three shells, and no hunting licenses.

Officer Forehand was on patrol when just before midnight a vehicle passed by his concealed location and turned into a cultivated field and began to illuminate the area with its headlights. In just a short time, the vehicle stopped with its headlights illuminating several deer in the field. Officer Forehand then heard one gunshot come from the area of the vehicle. Upon conducting a stop of the vehicle, Officer Forehand located three subjects with a 12 gauge shotgun which the driver had used to shoot at the deer. Officer Forehand searched the field but was unable to locate any sign of a wounded deer. Appropriate citations were issued for attempting to take deer at night.

Officer J. Rockwell checked six subjects duck hunting on the Yellow River WMA and observed them shooting after legal shooting hours. Officer Rockwell also observed the subjects had driven and parked in a prohibited area. An inspection revealed license violations and an unplugged shotgun. All of the subjects were warned for driving in a prohibited area and shooting after legal shooting hours. One of the subjects was cited for hunting waterfowl with an unplugged shotgun and one for not having a waterfowl stamp.

Officer J. Rockwell observed numerous subjects in a clay pit on Blackwater WMA where vehicular traffic is prohibited. Eleven subjects were cited for operating a vehicle in a prohibited area.

Lieutenant Hollinhead and Officer Arnette received several complaints about two subjects that were in possession of a large buck that had possibly been shot at night. The officers located the residence of one of the subjects and later found them at the residence with the deer. When they were questioned, the subjects stated the deer was shot during legal hours near the residence. The subject who shot the deer was asked to show the officers where the deer had fallen and was loaded onto their truck. His story changed when no sign at all was observed where he claimed it was shot and loaded onto their truck. Both subjects provided written statements of their involvement which revealed the deer was shot at approximately 11:00 P.M. the night before and they spent the following day hunting and showing it off on Eglin WMA. When the subjects were questioned, the deer had not been field dressed and had spoiled. The subject who shot the deer was charged with taking a deer at night with a gun and light, taking wildlife from a state/county maintained road, and wanton and willful waste of wildlife.

Officers working Blackwater Wildlife Management during the opening of gun season responded to a gunshot near the closed area of Krul Lake. The officers located a vehicle near this area and waited on the hunter to return. Officers Barnard, Hutchinson and Hoomes stopped the subject and asked if he shot earlier. The subject admitted to shooting two deer and advised he left his gun in the woods after seeing the officers in the area. The subject did not have a hunting license. When the officers went to the area, they observed corn on the ground around the area the subject was hunting. The officers also located a 7‑point buck that the subject shot. The subject’s rifle was located in the woods near this area. It was determined that the subject shot at the same deer twice and thought there was a second deer. The subject was issued citations for taking deer on a WMA where food or grain has been distributed and for not having a hunting license. The subject was issued four warnings for other license violations.

Officer Miller was patrolling Eglin WMA working a hunting detail during the first phase of rifle season. He received a complaint that a hunter, who had shot a deer in the daily closed area, was currently tracking it. Upon arrival at the boundary of the closed area where the subject was allegedly last seen, a truck pulled up. Upon inspection of this truck, Officer Miller found a dead doe deer in the bed. The subject was cited for possession of a doe deer during a closed season. The deer was seized and donated.

During the four day general gun season, Investigator Schafer and Officers Jones and Miller conducted an enforcement detail on the western portion of the Eglin Reservation and WMA. The officers worked a total of 103 hours, contacted 162 users, issued 2 citations (including 1 for the killing of a doe deer out of season), and issued 1 warning. The officers responded to13 calls for service.

Officer Lewis and K-9 Officer Pineda worked a detail in the Blackwater WMA targeting illegal hunting. The officers located a vehicle parked in an area where they had information about a baited site. The officers deployed K-9 Kane who tracked into the woods and located a hunter who had exited her stand. A brief search of the area revealed that the hunter was in fact hunting over bait. The hunter was issued a citation for hunting over bait within a WMA.

K9 Officer Pineda was patrolling Eglin WMA following a lead of someone being on the area after legal hours. He observed vehicle headlights at the end of a trail. The vehicle then suddenly swerved into the woods and shut its headlights off. Officer Pineda located the vehicle in the woods and made contact with five people in the vehicle. The driver stated his vehicle was giving him problems and caused him to drive into the woods and shut his lights off. All the occupants were aware of the Eglin rules and that they were in violation. They later admitted they were in the wrong and had tried to hide from the officer. Officer Jones arrived to assist. The subjects were cited for being on Eglin after hours established by the commander and for driving off of named and numbered roads. They were then released and told to exit the management area. Fifteen minutes later, the same driver was observed going around a closed section gate and into the closed area. The driver was stopped and cited for a closed area violation. Later that night, the officers made contact with another individual who had called Range Patrol stating he had been biking through Eglin and got lost. After further investigation, it was determined that he had been dishonest and had actually been in the vehicle that was stopped earlier. He stated that he bailed out of the vehicle before the officer made contact because he was underage and was in possession of alcohol (two whiskey jugs) and got scared. The officers went back to the scene of the original vehicle stop and deployed the K-9. The K-9 located two jugs of whiskey hidden in the woods. The subject stated that was his whiskey. He was charged with littering, underage possession of alcohol and being on Eglin after hours established by the commander.

Officer Marlow received information from Officer Raker about a possible baited site in the Apalachicola WMA. Officer Marlow went to the area and located two baited sites. While sitting on the sites, Officer Marlow heard the sound of a vehicle driving into the area. He moved to that area and observed an individual driving a vehicle on an unnumbered forest road. Officer Marlow then followed the hunter into the woods, watched him place two deer cameras on the baited site, climb into his tree stand and begin to hunt. Officer Marlow approached the individual and later located several different items of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Officer Raker arrived to assist and the individual was cited for hunting over bait, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, and operating a vehicle on an unnumbered road. Four written warnings were issued for other violations.

While working night hunting on Highway 98 near the Flint Rock WMA, Officer Marlow was passed by a vehicle at a very high rate of speed. The vehicle came very close to Officer Marlow’s patrol vehicle. When Officer Marlow caught up to the vehicle, it was being operating at speeds exceeding 90 mph. The vehicle was stopped for reckless operation and the operator explained that they were late to getting something to eat. Officer Marlow noticed small particles of what appeared to be marijuana on the passenger’s lap and noticed the slight odor of marijuana. A consent search of the vehicle revealed a bag of marijuana and a drug pipe. Both individuals were cited for the drugs and the operator was cited for reckless operation of the vehicle.

Officer Jackson was working night hunting in an area where she had received a previous complaint and encountered three subjects shining a spotlight in a field as they drove down the roadway. A stop and inspection revealed two firearms and after a short interview it was determined that they were in violation. Citations for attempting to take deer at night with a gun and light were issued and the firearms were seized.

Officer Kinney responded to the Sunny Hills area for a call for assistance from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. Upon arrival, the deputy explained that he had stopped a vehicle for shining a light into the woods. Officer Kinney located a firearm in the vehicle and determined that the operator was in violation. He cited an individual for attempting to take deer at night with a gun and light and the firearm was seized.

Officer Hoomes taught the law portion of the Hunter Education class to the Pace High School Hunting and Fishing Club. He answered questions and gave out information to approximately 50 students.


Officer Troiano located a peanut field that had been baited with cracked corn. Officer Troiano sat in a concealed location adjacent to the field the following Saturday knowing that there was likely to be a dove-shoot in that location. After several hours a truck pulled into the field and offloaded several hunters. Officer Troiano observed the individuals take migratory birds (dove) over the baited field. Officer Troiano made contact with the individuals and issued misdemeanor citations for taking migratory birds over bait.

Officer Justus was on foot patrol working duck hunters on Sampson and Rowel Lakes when he observed one hunter suspected of previous duck-hunting violations heading out to Rowel Lake. Officer Justus walked to the south end of Rowel Lake and watched the individual through binoculars as the subject used his vessel to stir up ducks in an effort to get them to fly and then shoot at them while his vessel was still moving under power. When the subject returned to the boat ramp, Officer Justus issued the individual one citation for attempting to take waterfowl from a moving vessel and one warning for using a motor vessel for the purpose of rallying waterfowl.

Citrus County officers received information concerning the return of a local commercial fisherman to the area. The officer was advised that the fisherman was returning to the area to commercially harvest oysters. The officer was suspicious because the area lacks a viable amount of oysters in the open area. The officer sent out a BOLO of the area and observed the fisherman coming in with oysters. An inspection of his harvest revealed that he was in possession of more than 45% undersized oysters. The fisherman was issued a citation to pay or appear in the Citrus
County Court.

Officer VanNess was checking fishermen at the Barge Canal and found three different people with over the bag limit of red fish. Two of the subjects had 10 red fish over the bag limit and all 10 were undersized. Citations were issued to the subjects.

Officer Reid got a call from a landowner in reference to shots being fired after legal shooting hours. Officer Reid went to the complainant’s house and located a suspect. After advising the subject of his (Miranda) rights, the indiviudal admitted to shooting a deer with a rifle and a spotlight that was mounted on top of his golf cart. Charges will be filed through the State Attorney’s office.

Lieutenant Arkin, Officers Schirbock and Shearer were on water patrol when they spotted a commercial shrimp trawler that had been identified by Resource Protection Squad members as possibly using nets that are too large for state waters. Upon coming alongside the vessel, they noted that the trawler was 230 feet from the shore in an area that is closed to shrimping. Officers Schirbock and Shearer boarded the vessel and a measurement of the nets showed them to be 882 and 912 square feet; well in excess of the 500 square feet maximum. The captain was cited for the oversized net and warned for trawling too close to the shore. The illegal nets were seized.

Officer Schirbock was on land patrol when he noticed some men fishing near a “No Trespassing” sign on a railroad bridge. A resource inspection revealed undersized red drum and license violations. Appropriate citations were issued for undersized red drum, expired saltwater fishing licenses and trespassing on railroad property.

Lieutenant Arkin, Officers Schirbock and Shearer were on water patrol when they spotted a commercial shrimp trawler that had been identified by Resource Protection Squad members as possibly using nets that are too large for state waters. Upon coming alongside the vessel, they noted that the trawler was 230 feet from the shore in an area that is closed to shrimping. Officers Schirbock and Shearer boarded the vessel and a measurement of the nets showed them to be 882 and 912 square feet; well in excess of the 500 square feet maximum. The captain was cited for the oversized net and warned for trawling too close to the shore. The illegal nets were seized.

Officer Schirbock was on land patrol when he noticed some men fishing near a “No Trespassing” sign on a railroad bridge. A resource inspection revealed undersized red drum and license violations. Appropriate citations were issued for undersized red drum, expired saltwater fishing licenses and trespassing on railroad property

Lieutenant Creech received information from a local hunting lease with reference to someone shooting from a right-of-way and trespassing during doe week. Lieutenant Creech was able to verify a last known direction of travel and located a vehicle matching the description at a nearby residence. After interviewing two subjects, it was determined that the passenger in the vehicle shot from the roadway onto private property killing a hen turkey. Appropriate charges were filed with the Madison State Attorney’s Office.

During a hunting inspection at the Four Creeks WMA, a subject and his father were leaving the WMA when Officer Sweat asked the father if they had any luck and he stated “no.” Their truck had a bed cover so Officer Sweat asked if he could inspect the bed of the truck and the father said, “Go ahead!” The son opened the cover and tailgate and Officer Sweat noticed that there were blood and deer hair inside the tailgate. At that point Officer Sweat asked, “Where is the deer?” The son stated that it was located behind the seat in the cab of the truck. Officer Sweat discovered that it was a doe deer which was covered with cloth and other items. The son stated that he shot it by accident. Officer Sweat issued the son a citation for failure to possess a valid deer permit and a notice to appear for illegal taking of deer during an organized WMA hunt. He also issued a warning for interference/resisting to both hunters. Due to more investigation and further information gathered, Officer Sweat found out that the father had taken a five-point buck earlier on this Four Creeks managed hunt. The father was later interviewed at his residence by Officer Sweat while Officer Holleman was at another location interviewing the son. During the interviews, both subjects admitted to the taking of the buck along with the doe. The father was the host hunter while the son was the guest hunter which, therefore, put the father in violation of over the bag limit on a Four Creeks WMA hunt. In addition to the citations given to the son, Officer Sweat will also file direct on the father for over the bag limit per Florida Administrative Codes.

Officer Sweat received information from a concerned citizen about a fisheries violation in Fernandina Beach. When Officer Sweat arrived at Egan’s Creek Park, the fisherman was packing up his gear. As Officer Sweat approached, the fisherman placed a white towel over his catch that was in a plastic bucket. When the towel was removed moments later, eighteen spotted sea trout were discovered. Ten of the fish were undersized. The fisherman was booked into the Nassau County Jail on the charges of over the daily bag limit and for possession of undersized spotted sea trout. Major marine fisheries violation charges will be filed with the State Attorney’s Office.

Investigator Bing concluded an investigation involving a juvenile that allegedly shot a doe deer at Little River WMA in Suwannee County. The boy along with another friend were cruising the WMA and spotted the doe along the power lines, shot and killed it. Investigator Bing is direct filing charges for taking doe deer during closed season and prohibited use of a center fire rifle in that particular WMA.

On Saturday, Officer Leonard Bailey received some information about possible baiting going on in the Spring Creek WMA. After scouting the suspected area on Friday afternoon Officer Bailey located several different bait sites. All the sites were baited with corn. Officer Bailey worked the area on Saturday morning and wrote a citation to an individual for placing bait and hunting over bait in a WMA. The man admitted to putting the corn out and was sitting approximately 20 yards from it.

A replica deer detail in the Worthington Springs area of Union County successfully ended with the apprehension of two Union County residents. The replica deer was in place for less than 15 minutes when the first violator shot it from the road. The officers were talking with the violator in a secluded area, when the second violator shot the replica. Both subjects were transported to the Union County Jail in Lake Butler. Both subjects were charged with felony projectile trespass and the misdemeanor charge of shooting from a public road. The detail was conducted after a land owner complained of people shooting on his fenced and posted private property. One of the subjects said he knew it was a fake deer and that his rifle accidently discharged; he had no answer when he was asked about the second shot.

Lieutenant Kiss participated in the annual Fall Festival at Pinemount Elementary in Lake City where he brought the FWC Wildlife trailer for the school children to view and ask questions. Approximately 200 people were in attendance.


Officer Dias was targeting illegal night hunting the night prior to opening day in Ocala WMA. Officer Dias observed a vehicle shining a light from the driver’s side window in a manner capable of disclosing the presence of a deer. After stopping the vehicle, Officer Dias observed a .243 rifle between the driver’s leg and the console. The driver was cited for possession of gun while shining a light in a manner capable of disclosing the presence of a deer.

Officers Boyer, Horst, Land, Loeffler and K-9 Officer Miller conducted a special detail targeting WMA’s in Brevard and Indian River counties for the opening of waterfowl and antlerless deer seasons. The officers conducted almost 200 user checks. Officers issued multiple boating citations and warnings for navigational rule violations, operating a vessel at night without navigation lights, not having required safety equipment, and not having registration displayed properly. Many WMA-specific rules were enforced and multiple hunting violations were addressed. Officer Land noticed an airboat with two hunters on board approaching the Stick Marsh Boat Ramp. He conducted a vessel safety and hunting inspection at the ramp. During the inspection, Officer Land found the two hunters to be in possession of three antlerless deer. The legal bag limit during antlerless deer season is one antlerless deer per person. Officers Horst and Boyer were nearby and arrived on scene to assist Officer Land. One of the hunters claimed possession of two of the deer. The hunter was issued a misdemeanor citation. The gun used to take the deer was seized, and the illegally taken deer was seized as evidence.

Officer Lightsey was on patrol in the early morning hours when he observed a vessel with no navigational lights crossing the Intracoastal Waterway. Due to recent gill net activity in the area the officer observed the man fishing for a period of time. After watching the man soak his nets several times, the officer approached the vessel to conduct an inspection, as well as address the navigational/safety violations. The man was found to be in possession of two 700 plus feet of seine nets tied together. The net was also in violation of the stretched mesh requirements for seine nets. The nets were seized as evidence and for proper measurement. Charges for use of nets over 500 square feet as well as several boating citations are being filed through the State’s Attorney Office.

Earlier this year, Officer Lightsey arrested an individual for possession of stone crab in whole condition/egg bearing and possession of egg-bearing blue crab. The man was also in possession of cannabis and another controlled substance. The court placed the individual on probation and ordered him to pay $1,400 in fines.

K-9 Officer Payne was on patrol in a WMA when he pulled his truck up to a canal where people were fishing. He exited his vehicle and observed a person walk away from him and throw a fish in the water. Officer Payne made contact with the person and asked if he had thrown a fish in the water. He replied “Yes, a bass.” Officer Payne then asked if he had removed it from the cooler. He again said, “Yes.” Officer Payne asked why he threw the fish and the person pointed to a sign behind him that said, “Catch and Release only for Largemouth Bass” and said he was going to keep the bass because it was the biggest bass his girlfriend had ever caught, but then saw the officer pull up. Officer Payne issued the person a notice to appear for failure to allow inspection. The subject also received warnings for a fire in an unauthorized area and no daily use permit.

Officers Scrambling and Mendez received a call about a short-horned buck that had been killed in Three Lakes WMA. Upon arriving in the area, they found the person who had shot the buck. During the interview, the person admitted to harvesting the undersized buck. The deer was measured and his antlers measured 4.5 inches. After further investigation, the subject’s violation was documented appropriately.

Officers Simpson, Miller, Payne, Loeffler, Scrambling, Mendez and Lieutenant Fugate worked an ongoing operation that targeted illegally harvested wildlife. This detail covered all five WMA’s and private lands that are participating in the Private Lands Deer Management Program. During this operation many violations were discovered from illegally harvested game, to off road driving. Numerous stakeholders had the opportunity to interact on a positive note with FWC Law Enforcement. The high visibility deterred many more game violations.

A Three Lakes WMA check station operator received a call just after sunset from two young hunters from Polk County that were stranded on the “Island”, Prairie Lakes Unit. Officers involved in the ongoing operation responded. They were able to locate the two hunters and discovered that the hunters did not have a flashlight and were scared to wade back across the shallow water. Lieutenant Fugate rowed across a canal to retrieve the hunters.

Investigator Trusley was on patrol when he received a call from a check station operator from Three Lakes WMA near U.S. 441, about a car that entered the WMA at a high rate of speed in a reckless manner. The car nearly wrecked upon entering the dirt road from the paved road, and then proceeded past the check station without stopping at the stop sign, still traveling at excessive speeds. When Investigator Trusley located the vehicle, the driver was still traveling at high rates of speed and driving the car on closed roads in the WMA. Officer Mendez and Lieutenant Fugate responded to the call as well. The investigation concluded that both the driver and the passenger were intoxicated and had an open bottle of liquor in the car. The driver was a habitual traffic offender, and was driving on a suspended/revoked license. The driver was booked into the Osceola County Jail on multiple charges, and the passenger was issued multiple infractions for violations.


Officer Ramsey worked Guana Lake at Guana WMA for the opening of duck season. He issued several warnings and citations for hunters not having the proper licenses and duck stamps. He also checked one hunter who had taken four red head ducks, two over the bag limit. The hunter was cited for taking over the bag limit of ducks.

Officers Miller and Hickman were on water patrol conducting fisheries inspections on the south side of the St. Augustine Inlet near the Anastasia State Park jetty. While conducting fisheries inspections of boaters near the jetty, the officers observed two individuals fishing from land on the jetty. When the two jetty fishermen spotted the officers conducting inspections, they began packing up to leave. Officers Miller and Hickman also noticed the jetty fishermen moving fish from one cooler to another. Officer Hickman then maneuvered his vessel over to the jetty where he could disembark onto the rocks. Officer Miller contacted the fishermen and discovered multiple fisheries violations, which included possession of an oversized (37”) redfish, possession of seven undersized black drum, and possession of five undersized bluefish. One of the fishermen admitted to harvesting all of the unlawful fish and Miller issued him a notice to appear in county court and a written warning for possessing over the daily bag limit of black drum. The officers seized the unlawfully harvested fish as evidence.


Officer Straub was checking an illegal bait site in a local WMA when he located a subject hunting with a modern rifle during muzzleloader season, as well as hunting over the baited area. The subject was cited accordingly for the two violations.

Officers Sweet and Weber patrolled on the water in a local WMA for duck hunting violations. They heard numerous shots from a suspect vessel. The officers were able to get close enough to indentify the shooter. Upon inspection, it was revealed that the subject’s shotgun was not plugged. Subject was also littering and had other boating safety violations. The appropriate citations were issued.


Officers Babauta, Laskowski and Hinds conducted a replica deer detail to target illegal road hunting. After a short wait, the officers observed a silver SUV slow down and turn around after spotting the deer. A passenger from the back seat of the vehicle shot the deer with a .22 caliber rifle. The officers stopped the vehicle and conducted a resource inspection. They discovered a 15-year-old juvenile had shot at the deer. His father was driving the vehicle and the juvenile stated his father told him to shoot the deer. This was confirmed when the father admitted to encouraging his son to use his rifle to shoot the deer. The juvenile was issued written warnings for taking wildlife from the right-of-way of a road, and discharge of a firearm from a paved public road. The driver, who was also the juvenile’s father, was issued citations for taking wildlife from the right-of-way of a road, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Officers Beeler, Thompson, Smith, Martinez, Freemon, Ferguson and Investigator Iten have been working on gathering intelligence on federally permitted commercial fishing vessels. The intelligence gathered through months of IFQ inspections, offshore inspections, resulted in multiple resource citations and warnings issued to various commercial fishing boats out of Tampa Bay for IFQ violations. Officer Beeler made contact with one of the fishing vessels and identified multiple federal violations. NOAA Special Agent Kalamas was notified and multiple federal charges to include insufficient IFQ for red grouper and offloading IFQ species before 6:00 AM were observed and turned over to NOAA for prosecution along with 900 pounds of grouper/snapper that were seized.


While on patrol at the Anglin’s Fishing Pier in Lauderdale by the Sea, Officer Strader observed two subjects spearfishing directly under the pier. The subjects eventually came out of the water with two speared fish. One of the subjects was issued a warning for not having his fishing license in his possession and for spearing within 100 yards of a public fishing pier. The second subject was issued a citation for not having a saltwater fishing license. After Officer Strader ended his fisheries inspection and returned to his vehicle he noticed that the signature on the citation did not match the name the subject gave him. Officer Strader and Investigator Teems went to the address the subject provided and spoke to his mother who confirmed his identity and that the name given was a false name. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation for providing a false name to a law enforcement officer in addition to receiving a fishing license citation in his correct identity.

Officers Mirabel and Brock in one patrol vessel and Lieutenant Laubenberger and Officer Vacin in a second patrol vessel responded to the area offshore of John Lloyd State Park in reference to a vessel sinking with people in the water. The initial description and location were vague. The two patrol vessels started search patterns just offshore of the state park. Individuals on the beach were pointing in a general direction. Officer Mirabel was the first to see what appeared to be a hull. Both vessels arrived on scene. The vessel was a sit-on-top kayak that was half submerged. One individual was treading water next to it, wearing a lifejacket but extremely fatigued. Officers Mirabel and Brock were able to put the kayak in tow and get the individual out of the water. Somehow, a hatch cap opened in the kayak allowing water to get into one of the compartments, half submerging the kayak. The individual was extremely fatigued treading water for some time in about 3-foot seas. The officers were able to get close to the beach where the individual was able to get back onto the beach with the assistance of Hollywood lifeguards.

Officer Vacin was dispatched to the Port Everglades Administration building in reference to a call for assistance from US Customs. A hawk was in apparent distress in one of the building’s entryways. Officer Vacin was able to approach the bird and capture it without incident. He delivered it to the Wildlife Care Center in Ft. Lauderdale; early prognosis was it had a broken wing. The center will treat the bird with the intent of nursing it back to health and releasing it. The bird was an American Kestrel (a small hawk).

Officer Teal was on land patrol at the Moore Haven Locks when he observed an individual fishing. He observed from a concealed location and watched the individual catch a fish and hide it in the rocks nearby. Officer Teal went to the area the individual had hid the fish and located a short black bass. He then made contact with the individual and conducted a resource inspection. When asked if he had caught anything he stated no. Officer Teal advised him he had been watching him for a while and knew about the stashed fish. The individual was issued a notice to appear in court for possessing undersized black bass.

Officer Teal was on ATV patrol in Fisheating Creek WMA when he noticed an individual with an airboat submerged at the shore line. Officer Teal made contact with three people that had been on the boat after thanksgiving dinner and stopped to go for a walk. When they returned, their boat had sunk. Officer Teal helped the boaters get a truck back to the area and get their boat out of the water and on the trailer. The individuals were appreciative and praised Officer Teal for helping them recover the boat.

Officers Teal, K-9 Officer Lilley, K-9 Roscoe and Lieutenant Steelman worked STA 5 in Southern Hendry County for the opening weekend of duck season. They checked over 100 users participating in the hunt, issuing citations as well as the appropriate verbal/ written warnings, and educating the public.

Shortly after midnight, K-9 Officer Lilley was contacted by the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office where he was requested to do a track for a fleeing battery suspect who had struck a child and an adult with a stick in the Port Labelle area. Officer Lilley arrived where he received multiple conflicting stories about where the suspect had run. Once Officer Lilley narrowed down the direction and area of where the suspect had fled, he deployed K-9 Roscoe. The team tracked through the neighborhood to a house where they located the suspect’s white T-shirt lying under a window which had the screen knocked out of it. K-9 Roscoe then tracked the front door of the vacant house where they located a fresh foot print in the planter at the front door where the track ended. The house was cleared but it was later found out that the suspect had a cell phone with him and witnesses advised that an unfamiliar car drove through that area before the Sheriff’s Office arrived possibly picking the suspect up from the front of the vacant house. The suspect was later arrested for the Battery charges.

K-9 Officer Lilley was with the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office units when they received a call regarding a victim who was at the EMS station on Cowboy Way with a gunshot wound to the head. The units arrived and quickly gathered the names of suspects who were known gang members. They reportedly had stolen the victim’s beer and then chased them down the highway while shooting at their vehicle. Officer Lilley with K-9 Roscoe, along with Sheriff’s Office Units, responded to the area where the shooting had taken place. Officer Lilley and K-9 Roscoe searched the east and west sides of SR 29 for approximately ½ mile of where K-9 Roscoe gave a final response at the bottom of a “DO NOT PASS” sign. The exact area where the shooting took place. Office Lilley checked the area and found a small amount of reflective material on the ground under the sign. Officer Lilley looked up at the sign and located a fresh bullet hole in the bottom western corner of the sign. The bullet hole seemed to match the size of the hole in the victim’s vehicle and will be matched by crime scene techs to corroborate the victim and witness accounts of the shooting. The four suspects, who fled the county, will be arrested on warrants and are facing charges of assault with a deadly weapon, attempted murder, criminal mischief and theft by sudden snatching.

Officer Haynes and Officer Stone teamed up for a buggy patrol of the J. W. Corbett WMA. They found an illegal campsite with 19 individuals present. Nine notice to appear citations were issued for possession of alcohol by persons under 21 years of age. Several buggies were checked and found to be in possession of alcohol off trail in violation of area rules. Several other individuals were cited for daily use permit violations. Total activity for the patrol was 17 citations issued and 1 written warning.

Officers Harris and Nasworth were dispatched to a witness’ report of a bass boat in the rim canal near Pahokee that was going around in circles without anyone aboard. Officer Nasworth was first to arrive on scene and found the vessel stopped in a patch of cattails which had fouled the prop, in the middle of the canal near marker 88. Officer Nasworth was able to contact the wife of the boater and learned that he had been alone bass fishing in the lake, and had launched from the Torry Island Campground ramp. She also said he usually comes in before dark. Officer Nasworth examined the boat’s GPS and found the track the vessel travelled in the lake, including the point at which the boat began circling. Officer Harris and Lieutenant Brown soon arrived on scene to assist Officer Nasworth, and the officers began a thorough search of the area. A Palm Beach Fire Rescue crew with an airboat and the Palm Beach Sheriff’s helicopter were also on scene to search. The search continued into Monday and Tuesday and included assistance from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit and Dive Team using a vessel equipped with side scanning sonar. Officers Harris and Toby later discovered the body of the boater that had surfaced in the canal not far from where his boat had come to rest. The accident is under investigation.

Officer Willems was on patrol at one of the local boat ramps when he stopped a vessel for a boating safety and resource inspection. Upon inspecting the cooler in the boat, five undersized sheepshead and an undersized mutton snapper were found. The operator of the vessel admitted to catching all of the fish. The operator was issued a notice to appear for the violations.

K-9 Officer Payne was conducting resource inspections at a local fishing spot. As the Officer approached a person fishing, the subject reached into his bucket and pulled out a mutton snapper and said, “I hope it’s big enough.” The officer informed him it was not. During the inspection, the officer noticed the subject was not moving around too much and remained close and concerned with a jacket on the ground. Officer Payne asked the subject to lift his jacket and another undersized mutton snapper was discovered hidden in the rocks. Also discovered was a mangrove snapper that measured exactly 10 inches. The subject was issued a notice to appear for possession of undersized mutton snapper.

K-9 Officer Payne was conducting resource inspections on a bridge in Ft Pierce, when he came into contact with a person fishing. The subject advised he had pinfish and several snapper. As Officer Payne checked the person’s bucket, he found him to be in possession of 16 mangrove snapper, 15 of which were undersized. The subject was issued a notice to appear for the violations of possession of undersized mangrove snapper and possession of over the daily bag limit of snapper.

In December 2013, Officers Willems and Payne observed a vessel at the boat ramp and decided to initiate a vessel stop to conduct a resource and boating safety inspection. The operator was in the process of retrieving his vehicle and trailer. The operator of the vessel had a hard time getting the trailer to the ramp and jackknifed a few times attempting to back the trailer into the water. The operator got out and loaded the boat up. At this point, the officers made contact and told the subject to pull the vehicle up to complete a vessel safety inspection. When the operator got out of the vehicle, the officers smelled a strong odor of alcohol. The subject performed poorly on alcohol breath tests and was arrested for Boating Under the Influence and Driving Under the Influence. While at the jail, the subject refused to provide a breath sample. He was charged for refusal to submit to a breath test as well. The subject’s history indicated this to be his third DUI. Recent Court proceedings adjudicated the subject guilty, he received 210 days in the County Jail, 1 year probation, 6 months suspended license, 90 days immobilized vehicle, 2 years with a vehicle interlock device, and a $2,591 fine.


Officer Martin and Lieutenant Pomares responded to Blue Lagoon Boat Ramp to assist The City of Miami Police patrol units. The City of Miami Police units had responded to numerous complaints of PWC’s and vessels operating carelessly in the lake and spraying people on the shore. When The City of Miami land units responded, the PWC’s and vessel operators would not approach the shore. Upon FWC arrival with a patrol vessel there were 5-6 PWC’s at a floating dock adjacent to the boat ramp. An individual was observed operating a PWC with his PFD unbuckled. The officers conducted safety inspections and addressed manatee zone violations. A total of 18 boating citations were issued in an hour and a half. These included manatee zone violations, safety equipment violations, registration number violations, and boater ID card violations. The City of Miami Police were extremely appreciative of FWC’s response and were requesting training to be able to address the boating violations themselves.

Duck season opened this weekend in Miami-Dade County. Lieutenant Carcasses, Investigator Gilbert, Stiffler and Officers Dominguez, Caldwell and Little all participated in the detail which resulted in 57 vessels and 137 hunters checked. There were 5 boating citations and 10 warnings issued for boating safety violations and 1 warning issued for a hunter not having a Federal Duck Stamp. There were approximately 60 ring necks and 5 green wing teals harvested.

Officers Dominguez, Caldwell and Little watched over a Bass Fishing Tournament weigh-in at the L29 boat ramp. The tournament was held by the Homestead Hawg Hunters. The club was in compliance with the waivers that were needed to hold the tournament. All the vessels present had required safety gear. There were a total of 14 fishermen involved. The results were 31 Largemouth bass caught and released. The total weight of all the bass caught was 100.95 pounds with the biggest bass weighing in at 6.70 pounds.

Investigator Almagro and Officer Pino responded to a boating accident involving a mega yacht that collided with the Broad Causeway Bridge in north Miami-Dade County. Officer Pino responded by water and began to assess the scene for people in the water while Investigator Almagro responded by land to gather information for the investigation. As a result of the collision, the bridge was closed to vehicular traffic for many hours and the Intra Coastal Water Way was closed to vessel traffic. There were no injuries reported and all on board were accounted for. The yacht sustained extensive damage to the upper deck.

FWC officers were dispatched to a call in Key Largo where 3 young males were observed entering a canal with a spear gun. Officers Larosa and Bogue responded by water and Officer McKay responded by land. Several similar calls have been logged in this area in past months. Officers Larosa and Bogue arrived and located the 3 teens that had dropped the spear gun. When Larosa said he was donning a wet suit and snorkel gear to go look for the spear gun one of the juvenile teens admitted he dropped the rig and voluntarily recovered the Hawaiian pole spear. Officer McKay cited one of the teens for spearfishing in the Upper Keys and released them to their parents. The other 2 teens were cited for not having a diver down flag.

Officers McHenry, Bulger and Lieutenant Payne responded to a complaint from the Key West Wild Bird sanctuary in reference to a Coopers Hawk that had allegedly been shot by a pellet rifle. Upon investigation, the officers met with a witness to the shooting. Several attempts were made to conduct a follow up investigation with the alleged shooter who lives next door. Officers are working closely with US Fish and Wildlife investigations on Big Pine Key. More investigations will continue and charges are expected to be filed against the shooter.

Officer McHenry and Bulger received information about a boating accident with injuries that occurred in early November. The accident was not reported until several days later when the injured party flagged down Lieutenant Payne. After many hours and days of surveillance, the officers successfully tracked down the driver of the vessel and an additional witness who was on the boat at the time of the accident. Charges against the operator for failure to report an accident and careless operation are pending further interviews and direction from the State Attorney’s office.

Officers Dube and Pino attended the two-day FWC Commission Meeting held at the Hilton Hotel Key Largo. Officers met with local media reporters and outlets while introducing them to Community Relations staff from surrounding areas of the state and Tallahassee.

During a recent 4-day patrol of the Dry Tortugas, the crew of the Peter Gladding stopped a commercial lobster fishing vessel and conducted a fisheries inspection. During the inspection, the boarding officer discovered 43 undersized spiny lobsters aboard the vessel. The captain was issued a notice to appear in court and the lobsters were returned to the water.

Officer Barringer, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office and park staff from Delnor-Wiggin’s Pass State Park responded to a call for the search of a missing elderly woman who suffers from short-term memory loss and has multiple health problems. After contacting the woman’s husband and searching the entire state park, the woman was found by Officer Barringer. The woman was evaluated for her health by emergency management services and returned home.

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