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FWC Weekly Report

This FWC Weekly 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.

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

NORTHWEST REGION

ESCAMBIA COUNTY
Officer Manning and Officer Livesay conducted an offshore patrol in state waters focusing on the red snapper closed season. They seized several red Snapper, undersized king mackerel and greater amberjack. They wrote two resource citations, one boating safety citation and three resource warnings. .

Officer Pineda and Lieutenant Lambert were patrolling Little Sabine. Officer Pineda observed a vessel leave a sandbar and begin driving erratically. Concerned for the safety of the people on board and others around, the officers made a vessel stop. After further investigation, it was determined that the operator was boating under the influence of alcohol. The operator was cited for BUI and transported to the Escambia County Jail.

WASHINGTON COUNTY
Officer Forehand was working in a covert capacity in the Caryville area when he observed several subjects preparing three separate vessels to go fishing on the Choctawhatchee River. He noted that the subjects were loading the vessels with coolers and nets and no fishing poles. He also overheard the subjects talking about chains and cables. Officer Forehand waited for them to return and contacted K-9 Officer Guy to respond to the area for assistance. Shortly after sunset, the three vessels returned to the boat ramp a few minutes apart. Officer Forehand made contact with the subjects in an attempt to view any obvious violations. The subjects acted very nervous and seemed eager to recover their vessels and depart the area. Officer Forehand identified himself and began to conduct a resource inspection of the subjects and their vessels. Officer Guy arrived on scene to assist. The subjects had numerous catfish in each vessel and no legal fishing gear upon inspection. During the inspections, one of the subjects admitted to using a shocking device to catch the fish and disclosed its location in one of the vessels. He also disclosed the location of the cables and chains used to shock the fish. Seven subjects were issued citations for taking freshwater fish by illegal method.

BAY COUNTY
Officers Gore and Hellett were conducting surveillance at the St. Andrews Park jetties when they observed two snorkelers with pole spears and no dive flag working the jetty rocks. After about twenty minutes, the snorkelers were checked and found to possess a speared spade fish. A citation was issued for spear fishing in a state park and written warnings issued for the dive flag violation.

FRANKLIN
Officers Allen, Marlow, Stephens, Jones, Martin, Harrison, Anderson and Nelson worked a Boating Safety detail working the Apalachicola Bay Area. There were 52 vessels and 111 users checked resulting in 8 citations and 35 warnings issued. This included multiple cases for commercial possession of undersized oysters, a BUI arrest, and Medical Emergency assistance.

Officers Marlow and Jones were working Apalachicola River and observed a vessel operating up river. The vessel eventually drove up into the marsh. Officers Marlow and Jones went to investigate and Officers Allen, Stephens and Martin were in a separate vessel and went to investigate as well. Upon coming on scene, the vessel was observed still in forward gear with the operator slumped over the steering wheel and unresponsive. The operator was eventually awakened after several minutes and was transported to EMS for evaluation and refused treatment. The operator showed signs of impairment and field sobriety tasks were completed. The operator was arrested for boating under the influence.

WAKULLA
While working the Cherokee Sink Tract of Wakulla Springs State Park, Officer Marlow observed two vehicles parked on the west-side boundary and tracked several sets of foot tracks to an eight-foot fence that is posted “No Trespassing.” The tracks continued onto the other side and down to the sink. Officer Marlow located 14 individuals at the sink. Officers Raker, Maynard and Anderson arrived to assist and 17 warnings and 6 citations were issued to the group ranging from Fee Evasion, Unlawful Entry, and Alcoholic Beverage Consumption.

NORTH CENTRAL REGION

CITRUS COUNTY
Investigator Thomason was contacted by a landowner concerning persons trespassing on the landowner’s property. This has been an ongoing problem for a few months and the trespassers were cutting the fence so they could drive in. This was a major problem for the landowner because his property contained cattle. Investigator Thomason was on water patrol with Officer McAlhany and called Lieutenant Loyed for assistance. Lieutenant Loyed headed to the location to meet with the landowner. Investigator Thomason and Officer McAlhany pulled off the water and headed to the property. Lieutenant Loyed reported that the fence had been taken down and there was sign of a vehicle inside the property. Investigator Thomason and Officer McAlhany tracked the sign to three individuals in a Dodge pickup truck. Investigator Thomason asked if they had permission to be on the property and they said, “No.” They were also asked how they entered the property and one of the subjects said, “We took down the fence and drove through.” Two of the subjects were issued notices to appear for trespass and one subject was taken to jail for breaking a fence containing animals.

CLAY COUNTY
Officer Larosa was dispatched to a call in reference to two female subjects posting a video on Facebook that showed them lighting a Gopher Tortoise on fire and repeatedly throwing the tortoise down very hard on the road. The tortoise eventually was stomped on by one of the subjects killing it. Officer Larosa made contact with the two female girls and was able to obtain a confession from both subjects. Charges are being reviewed by the state attorney’s office and charges are pending.

FWC dispatch received a call of an overdue boater who launched out of Black Creek with two adults and two small children. The occupants reportedly left from their point of origin on Black Creek at approximately 3:00 p.m. and had not returned as of 10:00 p.m. Officer Heath and Lieutenant Glover responded to assist in the search of the vessel. At approximately midnight, the officers located the vessel. On board were two adults and two children operating the vessel without the proper navigational lights. Upon contact with the operator, the officers observed signs of impairment and upon completion of field sobriety tasks, the operator was arrested for BUI and transported to the Clay County Jail.

COLUMBIA COUNTY
Officer McDonald was conducting a boating safety and resource check on two men at the Alligator Lake Fish Management Area when it was learned that both men had criminal pasts to include one doing prison time for burglary. A computer check revealed one of the men had an outstanding warrant out of Suwannee County for failure to appear. The man was arrested for his warrant and Lake City Police transported him to the Columbia County Jail for booking. Numerous boating citations and warnings were issued to the operator of the small vessel.

DUVAL COUNTY
Resource Protection Squad officers worked from the land one afternoon during a break in the rain to make several cases concerning undersized red drum, over the bag limit red drum, undersized trout, undersized black drum and license violations. One subject had eight prior fisheries violations and was charged with the enhanced penalty concerning red drum and more than three misdemeanor resource violations in a five-year period.

NORTHEAST REGION

ST.JOHNS COUNTY
Officers Hickman and Miller continued their pursuit of all marine fisheries violations off the St. Johns County coast by discovering a Mayport shrimper trawling about ½ mile off the beach in the north part of the county. The shrimper, who was in misdemeanor court just the day before agreeing to pay a $500 fine to Wildlife Alert as part of her sentencing from a case last month for the same violation, was dragging too many nets in nearshore waters (the maximum is two and she was dragging three) with nets that measured 1,950 and 2,037 square feet of mesh – well over the 500 square-foot-mesh maximum. Officers Lawshe and Guirate assisted Officers Hickman and Miller with processing the case and evidence.

Officers Hickman and Miller boarded a Jacksonville commercial shrimp boat and found that its two nets were oversized. The officers measured the nets at 875.54 square feet (port) and 995.40 square feet (starboard), well in excess of the 500 square-foot maximum allowed for vessels dragging within one nautical mile of shore. Additionally, the vessel captain admitted to the officers that he had been cited for the same violation in Duval County earlier this year. Again, for the second consecutive afternoon, Officers Lawshe and Guirate assisted Officers Hickman and Miller with processing the nets for storage at the St. Johns Sheriff Office evidence compound.

VOLUSIA COUNTY
Investigator Crews was on water patrol in the Intracoastal Waterway near Ponce Inlet when he stopped a vessel for violating a manatee slow speed zone. Investigator Crews noticed a strong odor of alcoholic beverage and signs of impairment from the operator. Investigator Crews administered seated field sobriety tasks and then, based on his observations, placed the operator under arrest for BUI. The operator had four prior DUI convictions and was on Florida Inmate Release status for felony DUI. He refused to provide a breath sample and was booked into the Volusia County Jail on felony BUI.

Officer Ransom was on water patrol in the Intracoastal Waterway near Ponce Inlet when he stopped a vessel for a boating safety inspection. Officer Ransom observed numerous empty beer cans in the vessel. During the safety inspection, the operator showed signs of impairment. Officer Ransom conducted field alcohol tests and based on his observations, arrested the operator for BUI. The operator refused to provide a breath sample.

Lieutenant Baer and Investigator Crews were on water patrol at Ponce Inlet operating their vessel westbound at slow speed. They observed an eastbound vessel step up on plane and head straight for their patrol boat. When it was apparent that the operator of the other vessel did not see them, Lieutenant Baer floored the throttle and cut sharp to the right. The other vessel missed the patrol boat by less than ten yards and kept heading east on plane. The vessel was stopped and the operator told the officers that he did not see them. The operator’s breath had a moderate odor of alcoholic beverage and he showed visible signs of impairment during a boating safety inspection. Investigator Crews conducted field alcohol tests on the driver, who was subsequently arrested for BUI.

Investigator Crews was on patrol at Pine Island when he encountered an airboat coming off of Lake George into the fish camp. While conducting a boating safety inspection, Investigator Crews noticed signs of impairment from the operator. He also observed numerous empty beer cans in the vessel. After conducting field alcohol tests, Investigator Crews arrested the operator for BUI.

Officer Ward was conducting boating safety and marine resource inspections at some of the remote ramps and landings in and around Bulow Creek State Park. During one of his inspections, Officer Ward found a single angler in a small boat to be in possession of twenty-two legal-sized black drum. The daily possession limit is five. The angler was cited for the violation and released with his legal daily bag limit. The other 17 fish were seized as evidence.

Officer North was dispatched to a complaint of someone feeding raccoons in a neighborhood. Officer North went to the suspect’s location and observed large quantities of cat food and seed on the ground. He met with the homeowner and discussed the violation with her. She told him she fed squirrels, feral cats and birds, but there were no raccoons being fed. Officer North advised her to cease the feeding. Several return visits by Officer North revealed more food being placed out and he observed five raccoons eating the food. A check of the suspect’s history revealed she had already been issued two written warnings in the past two years for feeding raccoons on her property. This time she was issued a criminal citation for the violation.

LAKE COUNTY
Reserve Officer Baugh and Officer Straub were headed home from the Richloam Wildlife Management Area (WMA) detail when they encountered a vehicle that was traveling north in the southbound lane on US 19. The driver was stopped and booked into the Lake County Jail for DUI and driving while license suspended (2nd offense). The operator of the vehicle refused all field sobriety tasks.

SUMTER COUNTY
Local officers, along with Reserve Officers Baugh and Parrish, saturated Richloam WMA targeting destruction of state lands and under-aged drinking. Over 100 user contacts were made and arrests and warnings were issued for targeted violations.

SOUTHWEST REGION

LEE COUNTY
Lieutenant Wells and Officers Thompson, Smith and Freemon were on offshore patrol aboard the patrol vessel Guardian. They were working some information that Officer Smith obtained when the crew intercepted the target vessel. Officers Thompson and Smith boarded the vessel and performed a vessel safety and fisheries inspection. This particular vessel was a commercial reef fish boat. During the inspection, the officers identified that the captain and crew were using red grouper as bait. Appropriate citations were issued for the fisheries violation. After this particular inspection, the crew located another vessel several miles away. Once the officers approached this vessel, the crew member started dumping five-gallon buckets of fish overboard. Officers Thompson and Freemon boarded the vessel to conduct a boating safety and fisheries inspection while Lieutenant Wells and Officer Smith retrieved some of the contents in the bucket before they sunk. Officer Smith was able to retrieve numerous undersized vermillion snapper. Officers Freemon and Thompson identified that the captain of the vessel was using red grouper for bait. Citations were issued for interfering with the duties of an FWC officer, possession of undersized vermillion snapper and reef fish not in whole condition.

MANATEE COUNTY
Officer Hinds was patrolling the Perico Bay area for fishing activity. Officer Hinds saw two individuals wade fishing, and working their way to shore. When Officer Hinds approached the individuals, one of them untied his stringer of fish and walked away from it. The individual was told to retrieve his stringer with two redfish. The individual said he had caught the big one which measured 30 ¼ inches in length. The individual was issued a citation for possession of an oversized redfish.

PINELLAS COUNTY
Lieutenant Wells and Officers Thompson, Smith and Burks were on offshore patrol on the Guardian. They were inspecting commercial fishing vessels several miles from shore. As they approached a commercial vessel, the crew member started throwing red grouper over the side of the vessel. Officers Thompson and Smith boarded the vessel to conduct a fisheries and boating safety inspection. After digging through hundreds of pounds of ice, the officers located several undersized scamp grouper and out-of-season trigger fish. The captain and crew member were charged accordingly. In addition, boating safety citations and warnings were issued.

Lieutenant Hinds stopped and performed a fisheries inspection on a vessel pulling out of a local St. Petersburg’s marina. Upon the completion of his inspection, Lieutenant Hinds found the operator of the vessel to be in possession of 45 grey mangrove snapper. A criminal citation was issued for over the bag limit of grey snapper.

SOUTH REGION A

BROWARD COUNTY
While on land patrol, Officer Warne observed a subject trespassing behind a fence on Florida Power and Light (FPL) property. The subject was fishing in an FPL water-cooling discharge lake. Officer Warne approached the subject and identified him by his driver’s license. A records check indicated that the subject was recently issued a citation for trespassing in the same location earlier in the month. The subject advised Officer Warne that he needs to be arrested because he is just going to continue to trespass to fish. Officer Warne placed the subject under arrest for the violation and Officer Sullivan transported him to the Broward Sheriff’s main jail. In the subject’s property were eight debit/credit cards in several different peoples’ names. An investigation will be conducted to determine if these cards were obtained or are being used without the owner’s consent.

Officer Ryan responded to a boat fire outside of Hillsboro Inlet. He arrived on scene at the same time as the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and helped establish a perimeter to keep on-looking vessels away. The vessel was already fully engulfed and victims had been transported inside the inlet by Broward Sheriff’s deputies. There were only minor injuries to the occupants, and the vessel sunk about five miles offshore after about an hour.

Investigator Teems observed a vehicle move from a parking space to a shaded area of John U. Lloyd State Park. She conducted a welfare check on the occupant and identified the driver to be 87 years old. As she approached the vehicle, she noticed the driver had trouble deciphering which controls activated her passenger window. With the window finally rolled down, she smelled a strong odor resembling urine, as well as food items in coolers that were not refrigerated and noticed several living and dead cockroaches in her vehicle. Dispatch ran the driver and found that her driver’s license had been revoked. Investigator Teems requested EMS for the driver who was complaining of her heart. EMS attempted to transport her, but she refused any sort of medical treatment. Upon further conversation, the woman informed Officer Teems she has not had a permanent residence in the previous three months and has been residing in her vehicle for the past three days. She stated further that she has no family members or friends locally that can assist her. Investigator Teems and Officer Strader sought multiple avenues to assist the woman. After several hours, she finally conceded that there was one individual who could assist her to transport her and operate her vehicle. Dispatch contacted the Department of Children and Family Services (DCF) earlier regarding her welfare and living condition. She refused DCF assistance and stated that she was fine living in her vehicle. DCF determined her to be competent enough to be released on her own. She was issued one citation for a revoked driver’s license.

GLADES COUNTY
Officers Greene and McLendon responded to an abandoned vessel in Glades County. The vessel turned out to be stolen out of Brevard County. Officers Greene and McLendon interviewed a witness who stated the boat was not in the canal prior to that afternoon. The motors and battery were taken out of the vessel and the drain plug was out. Officers Greene and Mclendon loaded the vessel on a trailer and logged it in as evidence. Officer Greene is working with the reporting agency to return the vessel to the owner. Officer Greene is investigating the stolen vessel, and searching for the subjects who stole it.

K-9 Officer Lilley was headed to K-9 training when an FHP Trooper stopped and asked him if he was on his way to assist Glades County Sheriff’s Office with two subjects fleeing from a stolen car that was wrecked in the ditch at the railroad tracks. Officer Lilley responded and upon arriving on scene, Glades County Sheriff’s deputies advised that they would be leaving the scene and turning the crash over to FHP. The deputies at the scene advised that witnesses said two suspects ran down the railroad tracks and lost a pair of their pants on the edge of the wood line. Officer Lilley advised the FHP Troopers that he and K-9 Officer Callozo were going to track the suspects. Both K-9 Officers had to cross a large canal before Officer Lilley started K-9 Roscoe at the lost pair of pants. He tracked for approximately 300-400 yards down the railroad track where he located some vomit. The team located foot sign going down near a canal in a very thick swamp where K-9 Officer Lilley gave an announcement for the suspects to come out. As soon as the team came up the bank, Officer Lilley observed both suspects coming out of the swamp approximately 80 yards in front of them and running down the railroad tracks. Officer Lilley began giving commands to the suspects to get on the ground, but they just ran faster. The team was able to gain on the suspects after chasing them for approximately 200 yards before they began complying with the Officer’s commands and were taken into custody. Officer Lilley contacted the Lee Memorial Hospital to verify the suspect’s story of his brother being in the hospital. Lee County Sheriff’s deputies had arrested the subject after he fled from them as they are all a part of a large group who had been committing car and home burglaries. Upon searching the suspect’s car, the officers located a small bag containing marijuana and multiple types of car and home burglary tools. The information was relayed to Lee County Sheriffs Office and the suspects were charged with resisting arrest without violence, leaving the scene of a traffic crash, driving on a suspend license, and possession of marijuana under 20 grams with possibly more charges pending from Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

HENDRY COUNTY
Officer McLendon assisted Hendry County Sheriff’s Office with a trespass complaint in eastern Hendry County. Two commercial vehicles reported as stolen from central Florida were recovered. The commercial vehicles were in the process of being stripped of all electrical equipment and tires. Several arrests were made and charges are pending upon further investigation.

PALM BEACH COUNTY
Officers from the South A Region’s Jupiter Field Office conducted a saturation patrol in conjunction with Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies at the Corbett WMA. The saturation patrol was the first of a series of operations set up with one of our agency partners targeting criminal activity in a WMA. The operation generated three misdemeanor Cannabis/ Drug Paraphernalia arrests, nine-day use permit violations with notices to appear issued, two misdemeanor off trail notices to appear issued and one warning issued for a day-use permit violation. Additional operations will be forthcoming.

Investigator Booth and Officer Merizio were conducting land patrol in the J.W. Corbett WMA when they observed a red, Toyota Tundra traveling eastbound towards their fully-marked patrol vehicle. They initiated a traffic stop on the Toyota Tundra and made contact with the driver of the truck. Investigator Booth asked the operator if he had a day-use permit in order to be in the J.W. Corbett WMA, and he stated “no.” Investigator Booth then asked the operator if he had a driver’s license and he also stated “No, it’s bad.” A license check revealed that his license had been suspended five previous times for driving while license suspended and/or revoked. It was determined that the subject’s license was revoked, as a habitual traffic offender, until 2016. The subject was then placed under arrest for felony traffic violations. The subject was issued a uniform traffic citation accompanied by a mandatory court date for driving while license suspended/revoked, 2nd or subsequent offense. The subject was also issued a citation for no day-use permit in a WMA. The vehicle was towed from the scene and the subject was transported to the Palm Beach County Jail without incident.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY
Officer Pifer was on routine patrol in the early morning hours when he observed a commercial fishing vessel being towed down the road on a trailer with a tail light out. Officer Pifer conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle towing the trailer. During the stop, the vessel was wet and appeared to have been recently pulled from the water. Officer Pifer asked the driver if he had any luck fishing and if any fish were on board the vessel. The individual stated that there were no fish on board. A large cooler was observed on the vessel and Officer Pifer, again, asked if there were any fish on board and if he could look inside the cooler. At this point, the individual stated that he had lied and that there were sheepshead and mullet in the cooler. A fisheries inspection was conducted and the individual was in possession of a commercial quantity of sheepshead, 32 of which were undersized. Officer Pifer asked to inspect the individual’s Saltwater Products License (SPL) and the individual stated he had left it at home. A computer check determined that the individual had an expired SPL. The individual was placed under arrest and transported to the St. Lucie County Jail by Port St. Lucie Police Department and charged with possession of undersized sheepshead and commercially harvesting sheepshead without a Saltwater Products License. The sheepshead were seized as evidence.

Officer Pifer was conducting boating safety and fisheries inspections at a local boat ramp in Ft. Pierce when he stopped a vessel returning to the dock with three individuals on board. A fisheries inspection revealed three undersized mutton snapper on board the vessel. One individual claimed possession of the fish and was cited for the violation.

Investigator Turner responded to the beachside of North Pepper Park in Fort Pierce in regard to a stranded pilot whale that had come ashore. Members of the public were assisting in keeping the whale wet and as comfortable as possible while help was mobilized. When the Maine Mammal Standing Network personnel arrived to assist, they discovered a very sick animal. They then observed that it appeared to have also been struck by a vessel. Unfortunately, it had to be euthanized. The small whale was removed from the beach and transported to Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, where a necropsy would be performed.

Investigator Paterson was called out to respond to an oil/fuel spill. The initial complaint received stated that there was an oil discharge from a large pipe protruding from the seawall into the marina waterway at the St Lucie Marina. Investigator Patterson responded and discovered the pipe led to a network of storm drains that ran in a loop on the street that drained into the waterway at the marina. Investigator Patterson contacted Fort Pierce Public Works to assist. It was discovered that a large amount of debris was lodged inside the networked storm drain pipes, not only clogging the drain, but also causing unknown pollutant(s) to be discharged into the waterway. As a result, Public Works will clean the underground line to prevent future contamination. A boom was placed in the waterway in front of the storm drain pipe to alleviate any future spills from dispersing throughout the marina until the storm drain pipes are cleaned. The heavy rains encountered during the investigation allowed FWC, the USCG and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) personnel to locate the point source of the discharge, which came from a neighboring boat yard. General poor housekeeping of pollutants, poor housekeeping with the secondary containment area and a leak coming from a school bus, destined for the islands via ship, was discovered to be the culprit. The responsible party immediately boomed off the oily runoff caused by the rain and attempted to perform the necessary cleanup. The yard is used for the transportation of goods to foreign ports. USCG wrote a Notice of Violation to the responsible party and the yard will be inspected by DEP Regulatory for notification of compliance measures that need to be taken.

SOUTH REGION B

COLLIER
Lieutenant Walsh and Investigator Haney were on water patrol in Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve when they stopped a vessel to perform a boating safety inspection. After contacting the operator, they observed signs of impairment. After a BUI investigation was completed, the operator was arrested. He submitted to an on-board alcohol breath test and produced a sample of 0.139 g/210L of breath. The subject was transported to jail.

Lieutenant Walsh and Investigator Haney were on water patrol when they received a call of an overturned vessel, with people in the water, approximately ten miles offshore of Marco Island. They responded in rough seas along with the Marco Island Fire Boat. The five individuals were located, retrieved from the water and transported back to shore. Before their vessel capsized, they were able to call Sea Tow and relay their position, which allowed for the quick and successful rescue effort.

Lieutenant Walsh and Investigator Haney were on water patrol when they received a call of a boating accident involving a juvenile cut by a prop. The injured person was part of a Boy Scout troop enjoying the outdoors. Fellow Boy Scouts and their Scout Master provided medical treatment while transporting the injured boy to a nearby boat ramp. The officers met the vessel at the Bayview Boat Ramp and assisted in treating the injured juvenile before turning him over to Emergency Medical Services. A boating accident investigation is ongoing.

Officers Futch and Johnson were on land patrol at Port of Islands in response to calls involving trespassers and illegal fishing. The officers conducted surveillance of the area across from the fishing weir and observed three subjects fishing with rod and reel from the shoreline. After the subjects went back to their vehicle, the officers conducted a resource inspection and discovered five bass and one snook. One subject was issued citations for not having a valid saltwater fishing license and for possession of the out-of-season undersized snook.

Officers Futch and Johnson were on land patrol conducting freshwater fisheries inspections at the freshwater lakes near the Jet Port. While approaching one of the lakes, they observed two subjects walking quickly and suspiciously from a pepper bush near the edge of the lake. One of the subjects was completely wet. The officers heard a noise coming from the pepper bush and, upon inspection, they observed multiple fish on a string (three peacock bass, one black bass and three Mayan cichlids), a spear gun and two diving masks. All of the fish had wounds consistent with being harvested by the use of a spear gun. The subject who was wet admitted to spearing the fish while swimming underwater and knew it was illegal. The subject was issued a notice to appear for the illegal method of taking freshwater fish, over-the-bag limit of peacock bass and possession of an illegal device in conjunction with the freshwater fish. The subject was also issued a citation for not having a valid freshwater fishing license.

During a fisheries inspection, Officer Van Trees made contact with a subject who did not have his fishing license in his possession. The subject said he left it at home, but upon checking FWC records, Officer Van Trees found that the subject’s license privileges had been revoked over a year ago for failing to pay child support. The subject was issued a notice to appear for the misdemeanor violation.

MIAMI-DADE
While on patrol, Lieutenant Maza observed a small vessel with two people on board enter the Watson Island Boat Ramp. During a marine fisheries inspection on the boat, the lieutenant found 50 grey snappers (40 of them alive in the livewell). Both subjects were cited for over the limit grey snapper, and 40 fish were released back into the water unharmed.

MONROE
When Officer Cox saw a man on a personal watercraft (PWC) and someone in the water harvesting lobster, he took a closer look through his binoculars and kept an eye on them for about 30 minutes. He watched as the PWC circled a diver that was in the water. When the two men maneuvered their PWC behind a bridge column, Officer Cox headed over to them just in time to see one of the suspects drop a white mesh bag into the water near the bridge. Officer Cox called the men over to his patrol boat to question them, and recognized them both from previous encounters. Officers Richards and Mason arrived to assist, and Officer Richards was able to retrieve the mesh bag that they had dumped overboard. It contained 25 lobster tails, 21 of which were undersized and 7 of which were also speared. Since lobster season doesn’t open until next week, all of them were harvested illegally. In addition to the lobster violations, neither of the men were wearing life jackets, the operator was not wearing the required safety lanyard, there was no fire extinguisher, the registration was expired and no decal was displayed. The suspects also did not have saltwater fishing licenses. The PWC was towed away for possible forfeiture and the suspects were arrested and booked into the Marathon Jail.

Officer Dri was working a plain-clothes detail at Adams Cut in Key Largo where he observed two different groups of people fishing from the bank. After inspecting the first group, he noticed undersized/over the limit grey snappers and one undersized trigger fish in their catch. He then inspected the second group and again noticed undersized/over the limit grey snappers. In total, Officer Dri issued three citations and three resource warnings.

Officers Mattson and Bogue were on water patrol in the Islamorada area. They were called to the scene of a single vessel accident near the entrance to Little Basin. The 22-foot boat went out of control and crashed into the mangroves. The driver of the vessel had a laceration on his chin. Officer Bogue went on the boat and maneuvered it into the dock at Worldwide Sportsman. Lieutenant Riesz and EMS personnel met the officers at the dock. The operator was taken to Mariner’s Hospital for treatment. Officer Mattson met him at the hospital. Officer Mattson charged the operator with a violation of a navigation rule.

Contact Info
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