Enforcement

LDWF Agents Arrest Two Convicted Felons

Release Date: 12/06/2016

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents arrested two Mount Herman men on Dec. 3 in Washington Parish.

Agents arrested Teddie Williams, 26, and Catlin Williams, 21, for possessing a stolen firearm, being convicted felons and possessing a firearm, hunting deer during illegal hours with artificial light, hunting deer from a public road and moving vehicle, hunting without basic season and big game hunting licenses and deer tags.

Agents received information about gunfire at night northwest of Franklinton.  Agents setup surveillance off of Jim Edwards Rd. and observed the Williams’ in the vehicle driving slowly while spotlighting the fields and ditches.  Upon contact and further investigation, the Williams’ admitted to the illegal deer hunting.  Agents also found out that the Williams’ were convicted felons and in possession of a stolen .270 rifle.

Agents booked the men into the Washington Parish Jail where more charges may be pending for the theft of the rifle.

Illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon carries a $1,000 to $5,000 fine and 10 to 20 years of jail.  Possession of a stolen firearm brings one to five years of jail.

Hunting deer during illegal hours with artificial light brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Hunting deer from a public road and without deer tags each carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail for each offense.  Hunting from a moving vehicle brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail. Hunting deer without a basic season and big game hunting licenses each carries up to a $50 fine and 15 days in jail.

Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Darryl Galloway, Sgt. Toby Miller and Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies.

LDWF Investigating Fatal Boating Incident in Lafourche Parish

Release Date: 11/29/2016

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents are investigating a fatal boating incident in Lafourche Parish.

The boating incident took place around 3 p.m. near Mud Lake along Bayou Des Allemands after a swamp tour airboat from Airboat Tours by Arthur collided with a mud boat.

The operator of the mud boat, Bart B. Dufrene Jr., 35, of Des Allemands, was pronounced deceased by the St. Charles Parish Coroner at the St. Charles Parish Hospital.  The airboat operator and the five passengers were uninjured.

According to the survivors on the airboat, the mud boat and the airboat were traveling in opposite directions on the same side of the bayou and collided while navigating a bend in the bayou.  Dufrene Jr. was ejected into the water and recovered by the airboat operator.  The airboat operator was then able to transport Dufrene Jr. to the shore where an ambulance was waiting to transport him to the St. Charles Parish Hospital.

The operator of the mud boat was not wearing a personal flotation device; however, it is unknown at this time if it could have prevented this fatality.  The St. Charles Parish Coroner’s Office will perform an autopsy to determine a cause of death.

Agents Cite Two Men for Migratory Game Bird Violations in St. John Parish

Release Date: 11/29/2016

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement agents cited two men for alleged migratory game bird violations in St. John Parish on Nov. 26.

Agents cited Dane Haydel, 20, of Norco, and Jack Strohmeyer, 20, of Destrehan, were each cited for taking migratory game birds during illegal hours and possession of over the legal limit of wood ducks.

Agents received a call about shooting past legal hunting hours on private property near Laplace from a land owner in the area.  When agents arrived they could hear gun shots and were able to locate the subjects hunting in a pond.

Agents then began surveillance and recorded eight separate occasions of gunshots past legal shooting hours.  When agents stopped the two subjects they were in possession of 12 wood ducks, which is six over the daily bag limit of three per person.

Hunting migratory game birds past legal shooting hours and over the daily limit of wood ducks each brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail for each offense.

Agents seized the wood ducks and donated them to a local charity.  The men may also face civil restitution penalties totaling $140.40 for the replacement value of the illegally taken wood ducks.

Agents involved in the case are Lt. Jason Russo and Senior Agent Gary Levron.

Agents Cite Metairie Man for Trawling Without a Turtle Exclusion Device

Release Date: 11/23/2016

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited a Metairie man on Nov. 22 for allegedly shrimping in Lake Pontchartrain without his required Turtle Exclusion Device (TED).

Agents were patrolling in Lake Pontchartrain conducting a TED compliance patrol when they observed Roland Mollere Jr., 62, actively trawling in Lake Pontchartrain.  Agents made contact with Mollere to perform a license compliance check and TED inspection.

During the inspection agents discovered that Mollere’s gear was not equipped with the required TED.  Mollere was issued a citation and his net was seized in relation to the violation.

Trawling without a TED brings up to a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.

Shrimp trawlers in the Atlantic Area or Gulf Area need to have an approved TED installed in each net that is rigged for fishing.  However, certain exemptions to these requirements may apply (e.g. vessels without power or mechanical means of net retrieval, test trawls, skimmer and butterfly nets in compliance with tow time restrictions).

Skimmer and butterfly nets are exempt from TED use; however, federal regulations require skimmer and butterfly net fishermen to limit tow times if they do not use TEDs.  The tow time is measured from the time the cod-end of the net enters the water until it is removed from the water.  Maximum tow times are 55 minutes from April 1 – Oct. 31 and increase to 75 minutes from Nov. 1 – March 31.

Agents participating in the case are Lt. Jason Russo, Sgt. Austin Arteaga and Sgt. Chuck Strain.

LDWF Urging Hunters to Practice Boating Safety

Release Date: 11/17/2016

With the fall and winter outdoor season underway in Louisiana, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division is reminding hunters about boating safety during the colder months of the year.

Hunting season for many people in Louisiana means utilizing boats to get to remote hunting areas often times during low visibility and in cold weather.

“The fall and winter boating season for Louisiana is a lot different than the spring and summer boating season,” said Lt. Col. Sammy Martin, the state’s boating law administrator.  “A lot of times we have duck and deer hunters leaving before dusk and navigating smaller tributaries.  The air and water temperatures are also much lower during this time of year.  Add all that up and it can put boaters in unsafe conditions if they don’t practice safe boating habits.”

LDWF is reminding all hunters about the importance of wearing a personal flotation device, having running lights on when operating at night, keeping speeds down at night and in narrower waterways, having proper lookouts and keeping a sober operator to and from their hunting location.  LDWF also recommend that hunters file a float plan with friends and family members that lets them know where they are going and when they plan to return.  Lastly, keeping a cell phone in a secure and dry place on your person could come in handy if a distress call needs to be made.

LDWF has reported 23 boating fatalities to date in 2016 for Louisiana.  In 2015, Louisiana had a total of 22 boating fatalities that included 16 fatalities at this same time last year.

As always LDWF offers free boating education classes year round.  Those interested can take either an online or classroom safe boating course.  The safe boating course is required for anybody born after Jan. 1, 1984 and operating a vessel over 10 horsepower.  For a list of boating classes please visit www.wlf.la.gov/boating.

LDWF Investigating Fatal Boating Incident in Rapides Parish

Release Date: 11/07/2016

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents are investigating a fatal single boating incident in Rapides Parish that occurred on Nov. 6.

Holly A. Schnepp, 55, of Alexandria was pronounced dead on the scene after a vessel she was riding in capsized on the Red River about a quarter mile from the Curtis-Coleman Bridge.

According to the male operator, the steering handle slipped out of his hand and caused the 12 foot vessel to turn quickly ejecting them into the water shortly after 7 a.m.  Schnepp got caught under the vessel and couldn’t resurface.

After they were in the water for about 30 minutes, a tugboat crew saw them in the water and were able to recover them into a tugboat rescue vessel.  The male operator and Schnepp were then transported to the bank where Acadian Ambulance was waiting.

LDWF agents along with Pineville Fire Department, Pineville Police Department, and the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office arrived on scene of the Acadian Ambulance around 7:45 a.m.

Schnepp was unresponsive and pronounced dead on the bank of the river.  The male operator was conscious and brought to the Rapides Regional Hospital for minor injuries.

LDWF will be the leading investigative agency for this fatal boating incident.  Schnepp and the male operator were wearing personal flotation devices.  Schnepp’s body was turned over to the Rapides Parish Coroner’s Office to determine an official cause of death.

Two Men Arrested for Night Hunting in Orleans Parish

Release Date: 11/04/2016

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents arrested two men for alleged deer hunting violations on Nov. 3 in Orleans Parish.

Agents cited Ruben F. Ramos, 37, and Andres Córdoba, 40, both living in New Orleans, for illegal discharge of a weapon and taking deer during illegal hours with artificial light.

Agents received a complaint of two subjects hunting deer at night near a neighborhood in New Orleans east.  Agents arrived on scene around 10:20 p.m. on Nov. 2 and observed two subjects running into the woods and a doe deer and a button buck deer at the location the subjects were last seen.

After a brief search for the subjects, agents found Ramos exiting the woods.  After an investigation, Ramos told agents that Córdoba was with him and where he lived.

Agents made contact with Córdoba at his apartment a few hours later and he showed the agents the shotgun that was used to take both deer.

Both men admitted to taking the deer and were arrested and booked into the Orleans Parish prison.  Agents seized the two illegally taken deer and a 12-gauge shotgun.

Illegal discharge of a weapon brings up to a $1,000 fine and two years of jail.  Taking deer during illegal hours with artificial light carries a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Ramos and Córdoba could also face civil restitution for the illegally taken deer totaling $3,249.22.

Agents involved in the case are Sgt. Austin Arteaga, Sgt. Chuck Strain and Senior Agent Jeffrey Farmer.

Two Men Cited for Using Oversized Shrimping Nets

Release Date: 11/02/2016

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents cited two men for alleged shrimping violations on Nov. 1 in St. Bernard Parish.

Agents cited Michael Labat, Jr., 32, of St. Bernard, and his deckhand Allen Labat, 26, of Poydras, for using oversized butterfly nets.  Agents also cited Labat, Jr. for failing to display a vessel registration decal and not having boat numbers.

Agents were on patrol in Bayou Terre aux Boeufs in Delacroix, when they observed a vessel actively shrimping without proper boat numbers or registration decal on the side of the vessel.  Agents made contact with the subjects on board the vessel and observed the frames on the vessel’s butterfly rigging to be unusually large.

Agents measured the nets at 22 ½ feet horizontally and 10 feet 10 inches vertically for each net.  Double butterfly nets may not be more than 16 feet horizontally or 12 feet vertically for each net.  In addition they may not be mounted more than 24 inches from the side of the vessel.

Agents found the subjects in possession of 172 pounds of shrimp at the time of the stop, which were seized and sold.

Using oversized butterfly nets brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Failing to have boat numbers and vessel registration decal each carries up to a $50 fine and 15 days in jail.

Agents involved in the case are Sgt. Jason Gernados, Senior Agent Travis Bartlett and Senior Agent Patrick Dempsey.

Port Sulphur Man Arrested For Recreational Fishing Violations

Release Date: 10/31/2016

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents arrested a Port Sulphur man for alleged recreational fishing violations on Oct. 30 in Plaquemines Parish.

Agents arrested Jonathan K. Ragas, 54, for intentional concealment of fish and taking undersized red drum and booked him into the Plaquemines Parish jail.

Agents made contact with Ragas while on patrol in the Port Sulphur area near Azalea Drive.  When agents approached Ragas he picked up a five-gallon bucket containing an unknown amount of red drum and threw them into the water.  The agents quickly grabbed the bucket and found it still contained two red drum under the legal limit of 16 inches.

Agents also found that Ragas is currently on five years of probation after he pled guilty in 2014 to his sixth count of harvesting oysters from a polluted area and public intimidation of an LDWF agent.

Intentional concealment of fish carries a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Taking undersized red drum brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.   Ragas may also be assessed civil restitution totaling $52.94 for the replacement value of the two red drum.

Agents participating in the case are Lt. Adam Young and Sgt. Villere Reggio.

Illegal Oyster Harvesters Plead Guilty in Terrebonne Parish

Release Date: 10/18/2016

Four Terrebonne Parish people pled guilty and were sentenced in 32nd Judicial District Court in Terrebonne Parish on Oct. 13.

Judge Johnny Walker sentenced Zeth M. Lodrigue, 27, of Dulac, Tia C. Linson, 36, of Dulac, Damien L. Rel, 19, of Houma, and Anna C. Parfait, 20, of Bourg, for unlawfully taking oysters from a private lease without written permission.  Each subject was fined $900 plus court costs and placed on probation for two years.

Each defendant can also only harvest oysters on a vessel that employs a vessel monitoring system for one year.  Each defendant must also complete 40 hours of community service within 90 days.  The oyster harvester license for the captain, Lodrigue, was revoked for one year.  The vessel used in connection with the violation was forfeited to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited the four subjects on May 13, 2016.  Agents found them illegally harvesting oysters from a private lease without permission in Trouble Bayou in lower Terrebonne Parish.  Agents seized 11 sacks of oysters and returned them to the water.

Assistant District Attorney Seth Dodd prosecuted the case.  Agents participating in this case were Sgt. Bryan Marie and Senior Agent Adam Tieben.

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