Enforcement

LDWF Agents Charge New Orleans Man with Illegal Fish Sales

Release Date: 06/16/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited a New Orleans man for alleged commercial fishing violations on June 13 in Orleans Parish.

Agents cited Paul D. Haptonstall, 34, of New Orleans, for the illegal sale of fish.  Haptonstall sold red drum and spotted sea trout at his residence to undercover LDWF agents.

Agents received complaints about Haptonstall actively selling red drum and advertising this on social media sites.  The LDWF Special Investigations Unit purchased a total of 138 red drum, 11 black drum, two spotted sea trout, two blue catfish and three sheepshead after six transactions at Haptonstall’s residence.

Agents cited Haptonstall for selling commercial fish without a commercial license, taking commercial fish without a commercial gear license, taking spotted sea trout without a permit, selling spotted sea trout during a closed season and six counts of selling game fish illegally.

Selling commercial fish without a commercial license or gear license each carry a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Each count of selling game fish illegally carries a $350 to $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail.  Taking spotted sea trout without a permit and selling spotted sea trout during a closed season each carry a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.

He is also facing a total of $3,710.80 in civil restitution for the illegally taken and possessed fish.

Agents participating in the case are LDWF’s Special Investigations Unit, and Sgt. Kris Bourgeois and Cadet Jeff Farmer.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF Enforcement Division Welcomes 13 New Agents at Graduation

Release Date: 06/10/2014

LDWF Enforcement Division Welcomes 13 New Agents at Graduation

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Law Enforcement Academy today, June 10, graduated its 27th class of cadets into the ranks of LDWF Enforcement Division agents at a ceremony in Baton Rouge.

After six months of intensive physical and academic training at the academy, 13 newly commissioned agents are ready to begin enforcing hunting, fishing and boating regulations that govern the use of the state's natural resources.

LDWF Secretary Robert Barham, the keynote speaker at the ceremony, said, “You have a tremendous responsibility to protect Louisiana’s rich natural resources and those who enjoy those resources, whether in the field or on the water.  Congratulations on your achievement which we celebrate today.”  Barham further noted that, “These 13 cadets are very much needed to help bolster the ranks of agents in the state as this is our first graduation in over three years.”

Col. Joey Broussard, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division, presented certificates and recited the Oath of Office making the cadets’ transition to commissioned agents official.  “We welcome these cadets into the Enforcement Division ranks.  They are well trained and will be required to hit the ground running when they get to their local regions.”

The 13 new agents are:

Todd Abshire, 25, of Lake Charles, assigned to Cameron Parish
William Bartlett, 28, of Slidell, assigned to Plaquemines Parish
Richard Bean, 27, of Marrero, assigned to Lafourche Parish
Jeffrey Farmer, 26, of New Orleans, assigned to Jefferson Parish
Lance Fox, 26, of Pineville, assigned to Southern Strike Force
Joshua Harris, 24, of Farmerville, assigned to Northern Strike Force
John Hattaway, 23, of Bastrop, assigned to Northern Strike Force
Lucas Hidalgo, 26, of Franklin, assigned to Southern Strike Force
Jake Hoover, 24, of Albany, assigned to Beauregard Parish
Kyle Wagner, 24, of Destrehan, assigned to St. Charles Parish
Derek Ware, 24, of Sieper, assigned to Sabine Parish
Tyler Wheeler, 22, of Monroe, assigned to Northern Strike Force
Max Wilkinson, 24, of Marksville, assigned to West Feliciana Parish

During the graduation ceremony, Farmer received the firearms award given for the best marksman in the class and the physical training award for being the most fit.  Fox received the academic award for having the highest grades.  Farmer also won the overall award, which is a cumulative score from the firearms, academic and physical training categories.

At the academy, cadets train to enforce the state's recreational boating laws, the state and federal wildlife and fisheries laws and general law enforcement work on the state's many wildlife management areas.  The academy also covers general law enforcement training equal to that of other state law enforcement officers.

The graduating agents fill vacancies in LDWF’s Enforcement Division and will be assigned to a field-training officer for their first six months of duty.  Now part of the agency’s commissioned officer staff, the agents will join the ranks of those patrolling land and water to primarily detect game, fish and boating law violations.  These duties require travel into Louisiana's forests, swamps, fields, streams, bayous, lakes, marshlands, the Gulf of Mexico and on the state roadway system.

​For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Photo: First Row from Left to Right: Lance Fox, Jeffrey Farmer, Todd Abshire, John Hattaway, William Bartlett, Richard Bean, and Derek Ware.  Back Row from Left to Right: Col. Joey Broussard, Joshua Harris, Tyler Wheeler, Jake Hoover, Kyle Wagner, Max Wilkinson, Lucas Hidalgo, and Major Spencer Cole.

LDWF To Hold Law Enforcement Academy Graduation Tuesday, June 10

Release Date: 06/09/2014

EVENT:  27th Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Law Enforcement Academy Graduation.

WHEN:  Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - 10 a.m.

WHERE:  Louisiana Room, LDWF Headquarters Building, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70808.

BACKGROUND:  The graduation will add 13 new agents to the LDWF Enforcement Division following six months of training.  The event will include the presentation of colors by the LDWF Enforcement Color Guard, presentation of awards and the Oath of Office ceremony.

LDWF agents enforce hunting, fishing and boating regulations that govern the use of the state's natural resources.  Their duties include checking hunters, fishers, dealers, restaurants, breeders, farmers and transporters for compliance with regulations governing limits, quotas, licenses, sizes, registrations, legal documents and accepted behavior.  Agents are also trained for search and rescue and maritime security missions.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Abbeville Men Arrested for Falsely Claiming Reimbursement Money

Release Date: 06/06/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents arrested two Louisiana fishermen on June 5 for allegedly trying to falsely claim reimbursement money from LDWF.

Agents arrested Christopher T. Cao, 46, and Tam V. Nguyen, 52, both of Abbeville, for injuring public records and filing false public documents.

According to the arrest warrants, both men filed a Shrimp Refrigeration Cost-Share Program Application with LDWF in an attempt to receive 50 percent monetary reimbursement for equipment upgrades on their shrimping vessels.  Participants in this program may purchase and install advanced refrigeration equipment onboard their vessels in order to produce high-quality seafood products.

According to the arrest warrant, Cao recreated and altered a purchase receipt for a $12,340 generator.  Further investigation revealed that the generator was not installed on the vessel and was originally purchased for a different vessel.  He attempted to collect $6,170 from LDWF.

Nguyen also altered a purchase receipt for a $12,340 generator which was purchased for a different vessel.  He altered an additional $7,991 worth of purchase receipts for various equipment and supplies, which were purchased for other vessels as well.  Further investigation revealed that the vessel had existing generators, but they did not correlate with any of the paperwork.  He attempted to collect $10,165.50 from LDWF.

Both subjects were booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Jail.

Injuring public records and filing false public documents each carry up to a $5,000 fine and five years in jail for each offense.

Senior Agent Michael Marques, of the Southern Strikeforce, is assigned to the case.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Two Men Arrested for Illegal Charter Violations in Plaquemines Parish

Release Date: 06/04/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested two Kenner men for allegedly running illegal offshore guide services in Venice.

Agents arrested Mitchell Rodgers, 22, on May 30 and Michael C. Mayronne Jr., 29, on June 2.  The men surrendered themselves to authorities for failing to comply with charter boat regulations, failing to carry liability insurance, and for violating reef fish, pelagic species and highly migratory species regulations.

The arrests were made while conducting investigations into illegal charter services under a Joint Enforcement Agreement with the National Marine Fisheries Service.

During the investigation, agents learned that both men were linked to the same online offshore charter service and both men were unlicensed and uninsured.  Neither of the men possessed the required United States Coast Guard Licenses, liability insurance for charter operations, or National Marine Fisheries Service permits for reef fish, pelagic and highly migratory species.

Failing to comply with charter boat regulations and failing to carry liability insurance for businesses each carries a maximum fine of $950 or up to 120 days in jail and forfeiture of anything seized for each offense.  Violation of commission rules and regulations for reef, pelagic and highly migratory species carries up to a $350 fine or up to 60 days in jail plus court costs for each offense.

Agents participating the in the case are Sgts. Adam Young and Villere Reggio, and Senior Agent Brett Nabors.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF Enforcing Scenic River Regulations on the Comite River

Release Date: 05/30/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents have written 18 citations since May 21 on the Comite River in East Baton Rouge Parish for alleged violations of Scenic River Regulations.

The new rules governing the Louisiana’s Natural and Scenic Rivers System were approved last fall and became effective on March 20, 2014.

The new rules prohibit the use of a motor vehicle or other wheeled or tracked vehicle on a designated system stream, except for permitted uses and direct crossings by immediately adjacent landowners, lessees, and persons who have written permission from the landowner for non-commercial activities that do not significantly degrade the ecological integrity of the stream.

On May 21 LDWF agents cited a 17-year-old Zachary man for violating the scenic river rules when he was found operating a Jeep in the Comite River south of Zachary near Dyer Rd.  Agents also issued possession of marijuana citations to two people and possession of alcohol citations to the 17-year-old Zachary man and one other minor during the stop.

On May 24 agents issued 17 citations to 17 subjects from Zachary, Slaughter, Baton Rouge, Baker, Clinton and Greenwell Springs for violating the scenic river rules when they were found riding All-Terrain Vehicles in the Comite River south of Zachary off of Tucker Rd.

Violators of the scenic river rules face up to $950 in fines and up to 120 days of jail time.

The Louisiana Scenic Rivers Act of 1970 provides LDWF the authority to regulate those activities that may directly and significantly degrade the ecological integrity of a natural and scenic river. The Louisiana Legislature created the Louisiana Natural and Scenic Rivers System for the purpose of preserving, protecting, developing, reclaiming, and enhancing the wilderness qualities, scenic beauties, and ecological regimes of certain free-flowing Louisiana streams. Today, there are approximately 3,000 miles of designated Natural and Scenic Rivers in the state.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Multiple Fishermen Cited For Commercial Fishing in BP Closure Zone in Plaquemines Parish

Release Date: 05/28/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited numerous fishermen on May 26 for allegedly fishing in the BP oil spill emergency commercial fishing closure zone.

Agents cited Kenneth Dupre, 47, Don Allen, 55, Bobbie Slocum, 53, all of Gretna, Lawrence Folse Jr., 62, of Bridge City, Carl Hingle, 50, of Chalmette, Patrick Terrebonne, 39, of Lafitte, Michael A. Duhom, 27, of Marrero, and Manton A. Terrebonne, 57, of Lafitte for engaging in commercial shrimping activity in the area of Bay Jimmy located in Plaquemines parish.

The area in question was closed to all commercial fishing in 2010 as a result of the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill.

Agents seized and returned the shrimp taken to the water since they were considered a public health risk to the consuming public.

Violating the emergency fishing closure carries a up to a $750 fine and 60 days in jail.

Agents participating in the case are Sgts. Adam Young, Kris Bourgeois, Villere Reggio, and Austin Arteaga.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Boating Incident in Avoyelles Parish Leads to Fatality and DWI

Release Date: 05/27/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents are investigating a single vessel incident that claimed the life of a Mansura man on May 25 in Avoyelles Parish.

About 6:30 p.m., LDWF agents were notified of a boating incident and a missing boater on the Little River near Marksville.  Agents were able to locate the body of David Crocket, 48, around 8 p.m. and turned him over to the Avoyelles Parish Coroner’s Office.

According to witnesses and the operator of the boat, Marcus Logan Sr., 43, of Mansura, they were traveling west on Little River and swerved to avoid an object in the water when Crocket fell overboard.  Crocket went under the water and never surfaced.

Crocket was not wearing a personal flotation device when he entered the water.

After further investigation, agents determined that Logan Sr. was under the influence of alcohol while operating the vessel and arrested him for driving a vessel while intoxicated (DWI).  Agents also cited Logan Sr. for careless operation of a vessel.  Future charges may be pending.

DWI brings a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail and up to a year suspension of driver’s license and boating operation privileges.  Careless operation of a vessel carries up to a $300 fine and 30 days in jail.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2465.

Body of Baton Rouge Man Found in Amite River Diversion Canal

Release Date: 05/26/2014

Search and rescue teams found the body of a Baton Rouge man in the Amite River Diversion Canal about 2:45 a.m. on May 26 in Ascension Parish.

Matthew Green, 28, was found about 2:45 a.m. by search and rescue teams from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office, Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office, the Gonzales Fire Department and the St. Amant Fire Department.

According to the survivor, Green was on a jet ski and the survivor was in a boat on the Amite River Diversion Canal when they decided to switch positions with each other about 7 p.m. on May 25.  When Green tried to board the vessel he apparently bumped the throttle and when the unmanned boat went into motion he lost his balance and was sent overboard into the water where the vessel then struck Green.

Search and rescue crews were notified immediately and searched until they found Green.

Green's body was turned over to the Ascension Parish Coroner's Office to determine a cause of death.  LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this fatal boating incident.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Louisiana Safe Boating Week Set For May 17-23

Release Date: 05/14/2014

Louisiana is once again participating in the national "Safe Boating Week" that is scheduled for May 17-23 and signifies the beginning of the spring and summer boating season.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will again be reminding all boaters to be safe, responsible and knowledgeable while on the water during this safe boating week.  Safe Boating Week is a time for all boaters to inspect their vessels to ensure that all required safety equipment is on board and that vessels are in good working condition.

LDWF Enforcement Division agents will be out in full force as always during the week to perform boating safety checks and driving or operating a vessel while intoxicated (DWI) patrols.

Each vessel should have enough personal flotation devices (PFD) on board for all occupants and a sober operator.  LDWF regulations also state that anyone 16 years of age and younger must wear a PFD while underway in vessels less than 26 foot long.  For more boating and PFD regulations, please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating.

Alcohol use is another leading cause of boating crash incidents and fatalities on the water.  Alcohol consumption impairs a boater's judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.  The penalties for DWI on the water are the same as on the road.  Anyone cited for a DWI on the water or on the road will lose his or her driver's license and boating privileges for the specified time ordered by the judge in the case.

LDWF also wants to remind anybody born after Jan. 1, 1984 that they are required to successfully complete a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) boating education course to operate a motorboat over 10 horsepower.  LDWF offers these classes free of charge statewide.  For a list of courses, please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating/courses.

Studies have shown that states with a mandatory boating education program have fewer boating incidents that result in fatalities than states that have no boating education program.  States with a boating education program for more than 20 years had 3.67 fatalities per 100,000 registered boats, and states with no boating education program had 6.61 fatalities per 100,000 boats.

LDWF initiated the state's boating education program in 2003 and has certified over 50,000 boaters during that time.  Louisiana has lowered the number of fatalities per 100,000 registered boats from 12 in 2008 to 4.9 in 2013.

Last year Louisiana posted a record low for boating fatalities with 15.  In the four years prior to last year, Louisiana averaged 28 boating fatalities per year.  This year to date, Louisiana has had three boating fatalities.

Media: To schedule a safe boating patrol ride along for a story, please contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

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