Enforcement

Plaquemines Parish Man Arrested for Commercial Fishing Violations and Flight from Officer

Release Date: 04/23/2019

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents arrested a Port Sulphur man for alleged commercial fishing violations and flight from an officer on April 15 in Plaquemines Parish.

Agents arrested James A. Phillips, 66, for taking oysters from a polluted area, taking oysters from unleased state water bottoms, intentional concealment of wildlife, reckless operation of a vessel, and flight from an officer.

An agent was on patrol on April 4 in Grand Bayou when he observed a vessel actively dredging for oysters in a closed polluted area on unleased state water bottoms.  The agent attempted to stop the vessel, but Phillips quickly pulled up his dredges and led the agent on a vessel pursuit through the marsh.

While in pursuit of Phillips, the agent observed other men on board dumping oysters into the water.  The agent chased the vessel into Sicola Canal #2 where Phillips and the other three occupants abandoned the vessel and ran down the levee.

The agent found white oyster tags with Phillips’ harvester ID on the vessel indicating the oysters were going to hit the market intended for raw consumption.  The GPS coordinates of where these oysters were harvested were inside the polluted area that was closed by the Department of Health and Hospitals.

LDWF agents obtained an arrest warrant on April 15 and set up an arrangement for Phillips to turn himself into authorities.  Phillips was subsequently booked into the Plaquemines Parish Jail.

Taking oysters from a polluted area, taking oysters from unleased state water bottoms and intentional concealment of wildlife each carries up to a $950 fine and 120 days in jail for each offense.  Reckless operation of a vessel brings up to a $200 fine and 90 days in jail.  Flight from an officer carries up to a $500 fine and six months in jail.

Phillips also faces having his oyster harvester license revoked and not be present on a vessel harvesting or processing oysters for up to three years if convicted.  He can also be sentenced to perform no less than 90 hours of community service.

The investigation is still ongoing to apprehend the three other occupants that accompanied Phillips on the vessel.

Three Men Arrested for Oyster Violations in St. Bernard Parish

Release Date: 04/15/2019

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Agent along with St. Bernard Deputies arrested three men for alleged commercial fishing violations on April 9 in St. Bernard Parish.

An LDWF agent, with assistance from the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Office, arrested Raymond Nehlig Jr ,35, of Violet, Kenneth Marrero, 42, of St. Bernard, and Brandon Perez, 32, of Meraux, for unlawfully taking oysters off a private lease and failing to have written permission.  Nehlig Jr was also cited for operating a vessel while under license suspension and taking commercial fish without a commercial gear license.  Perez was also cited for resisting an officer and flight from an officer.

An LDWF agent was on patrol south of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet channel when he observed a vessel actively dredging for oysters in Lake Coquille around 1 p.m. on April 9.  The agent made contact with the subjects on the vessel and determined they were dredging on a lease without permission.

As the agent was following the vessel back for arrest and booking purposes, Perez  jumped from the vessel and swam towards the marsh near Hopedale Bayou.  The agent with St. Bernard Parish deputies were able to apprehend Perez.

All three men were booked into the St. Bernard Parish Jail.

Unlawfully taking oysters off a private lease and failing to have written permission both carry up to a $950 fine and 120 days in jail for each offense.  Failing to have a gear license brings up to a $500 and 90 days in jail.  Operating under license suspension carries up to a $950 fine and 120 days in jail.  Resisting an officer and flight from an officer each carries up to a $500 fine and six months in jail for each offense.

The men could also face having their oyster harvester license revoked by LDWF for up to one year. Violators can be sentenced to perform 40 hours of community service and only harvest oysters from a vessel equipped with a vessel monitoring device for up to one year.

Terrebonne Parish Man Cited for Oyster Violations in Sister Lake

Release Date: 04/15/2019

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited a Houma man for alleged oyster fishing violations on April 15 in Terrebonne Parish.

Agents cited Jonah Dehart, 39, for oyster fishing without a commercial fishing license, taking commercial fish without a gear license, taking oysters without an oyster harvester license, violating log book requirements, operating a vessel with improper running lights, taking oysters during a closed season on the Sister Lake Public Oyster Seed Reservation, harvesting oysters during illegal hours and using an illegal dredge.

Agents were patrolling the Sister Lake Seed Reservation when they observed Dehart activing dredging for oysters with no running lights around 4:15 a.m. on April 15.  Agents stopped the vessel and found Dehart in possession of five sacks of freshly taken oysters.

Agents also found that Dehart was fishing for oysters without the proper licenses and with an illegal dredge.

The Sister Lake Public Oyster Seed Reservation is closed for the entire 2018-19 oyster season.

The agents seized the dredge and returned the oysters to the seed ground.  Agents also seized the vessel on a department seizure order.

Taking oysters during a closed season brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Taking oysters during illegal hours and without an oyster harvester license each carries a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail for each offense.  Not possessing a commercial fishing license and a commercial gear license each brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail for each offense.  Using an illegal dredge carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Operating a vessel at night without running lights brings up to a $50 fine and 15 days in jail.

18 Subjects Cited for Turkey Hunting Violations During Opening Weekend

Release Date: 04/09/2019

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement agents cited 18 people for alleged turkey hunting violations during the opening weekend of the 2019 turkey hunting season.  Turkey season opened on April 6 in all three turkey hunting areas.

On April 6 agents cited:

Whitney C. Green, 33, of Benton, for hunting turkey over a baited area, contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile and failing to comply with turkey tagging regulations in Bossier Parish.

Henry Robin Jr., 55, of Homer, for hunting turkey over a baited area in Claiborne Parish.

Jacob White, 24, of Minden, for failing to comply with turkey tagging regulations in Webster Parish.

Karson Randle, 19, of Minden, for taking over the limit of turkey and failing to comply with turkey tagging regulations in Webster Parish.

Billy J. Bass, 72, of Jonesville, for hunting turkey over a baited area in Catahoula Parish.

Harry M. Herman, 65, of Harrisonburg, for hunting turkey over a baited area in Catahoula Parish.

Cecil D. Gorman, 54, of West Monroe, for hunting turkey over a baited area in Ouachita Parish.

Thomas J. Freeman, 44, of West Monroe, for hunting turkey over a baited area in Caldwell Parish.

Trevor J. Freeman, 17, of West Monroe, for hunting turkey over a baited area and hunting turkey without a turkey hunting license in Caldwell Parish.

Jerry J. Poche, 70, of Ama, for hunting turkey over a baited area in St. Helena Parish.

Michael A. Buccola, of Ponchatoula, for hunting turkey over a baited area in St. Helena Parish.

Ryan Lemonte, 34, of Slaughter, for hunting turkey over a baited area and hunting with an unplugged gun in West Feliciana Parish.

John Keyes, 72, of St. Joseph, for hunting turkey over a baited area in West Feliciana Parish.

Charles J. Fairchild Jr., 68, of Gonzales, for hunting turkey over a baited area in West Feliciana Parish.

Dwight D. Busby, 61 of Lake Charles, for hunting turkey over a baited area in Beauregard Parish.

On April 7 agents cited:

Richard Hurst, 54, of Clinton, for hunting turkey over a baited area in East Feliciana Parish.

Richard Hurst Jr., 17, of Clinton, for hunting turkey over a baited area in East Feliciana Parish.

Garland Meredith, 69, of Eros, hunting turkey over a baited area in Caldwell Parish.

According to the 2019 Turkey Regulations, no person shall hunt or take turkeys by the aid of baiting or on or over a baited area.  Hunters are not allowed to place, expose, deposit or scatter corn, wheat or other grain, salt or other feed to lure turkeys to their hunting area.

Also, turkey hunters are required to possess Louisiana basic hunting and big game licenses, Louisiana wild turkey license and turkey tags.

Hunting turkeys over a baited area, hunting with an unplugged gun and taking over the limit of turkeys each brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail for each offense.  Failing to comply with turkey tagging regulations carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Not possessing a basic hunting license, big game license and wild turkey license each brings up to a $50 fine and 15 days in jail.

Boating Education Lagniappe Day Slated for April 27

Release Date: 04/03/2019

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will be hosting the ninth annual "Boating Education Lagniappe Day" on April 27 at eight different locations across the state.

During Boating Education Lagniappe Day, LDWF will provide instructors for the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) boating education course, NASBLA boating education certification, food and drinks, giveaways and door prizes all free of charge to the public.

LDWF urges the public to register quickly as most places have limited spaces available and registration is on a first come first serve basis.  To register please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating/courses and follow the links to register for one of the eight April 27 classes listed below.

Anybody born after Jan. 1, 1984 must complete a NASBLA approved boating education course and carry proof of completion to operate a motorboat in excess of 10 horsepower.

The course includes information on choosing a boat, classification, hulls, motors, legal requirements and equipment requirements.  The course also covers many navigation rules and charts, trailering, sailboats, canoeing, personal watercraft and more.  Completion of the course will result in the student being issued a vessel operators certification.

Below is the list of lagniappe class locations:

Webster Parish
LDWF Region 1 Office
9961 Hwy. 80
Minden, LA 71055
Sponsors include Coca-Cola of Minden, Red River Waterway Commission, Bass Pro Shop of Bossier City, and the Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Ouachita Parish
Academy Sports and Outdoors
111 Constitution Dr.
West Monroe, LA 71292
Sponsors include Academy Sports and Outdoors and Johnny’s Pizza House.

Rapides Parish
Woodworth Education Center
661 Robinson Bridge Rd.
Woodworth, LA 71485
Sponsors include the Louisiana Wildlife Agent’s Association (LWAA)

Lafayette Parish
LDWF Lafayette Office
200 Dulles Rd.
Lafayette, LA 70506
Sponsors include Deano’s Pizza of Lafayette

Beauregard Parish
Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office Training Center
412 Boliver Bishop Dr.
Deridder, LA 70634
Sponsors include Beauregard Chapter of Whitetails Unlimited and Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office

Lafourche Parish
St. John Volunteer Fire Department
2072 St. Mary St.
Thibodaux, LA 70301
Sponsors include Renovations Hardware of Galliano and LWAA

Tangipahoa Parish
Manchac Fire Department
30221 Hwy. 51
Akers, LA 70421
Sponsors include the Manchac Fire Department

St. Tammany Parish
St. Tammany Parish Recreation District #7
67835 Hwy. 41
Pearl River, LA 70452
Sponsors include the St. Tammany Parish Recreations District #7

Body of Opelousas Man Recovered from Lake Dubuisson

Release Date: 03/28/2019

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents are investigating a fatal boating incident that occurred in St. Landry Parish on March 26.

LDWF agents recovered the body of Wilma E. Robertson Jr., 59, of Opelousas, from Lake Duboisson following a fatal boating incident.

Agents received information about a boater that entered the water in Lake Duboisson and never resurfaced around 1 p.m. on March 26.  LDWF agents along with the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene and recovered the body of Robertson Jr. around 2 p.m. within close proximity of his vessel.

According to an eye witness, Robertson was attempting to load his 14 foot aluminum vessel onto his trailer when his vessel began taking on water.  Robertson then entered the water without a personal flotation device on his body and never resurfaced.

LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this fatal boating incident.

Lake Charles Man Arrested For Impersonating an LDWF Enforcement Agent

Release Date: 03/27/2019

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents arrested a Lake Charles man for allegedly impersonating an LDWF enforcement agent on March 23.

Agents arrested Andy J. Anderson, 43, for false personation of a peace officer or firefighter.

LDWF agents learned that Anderson had identified himself as an LDWF enforcement agent at place of business in Lafayette on March 18.  Anderson had introduced himself as an LDWF enforcement agent and was wearing an LDWF agent jacket.

Agents arrested Anderson and booked him into the Lafayette Parish Jail on March 23.

False personation of a peace officer or firefighter brings up to a $1,000 fine and two years in jail.

Port Sulphur Man Cited for Oyster Violations

Release Date: 03/19/2019

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agent cited a Port Sulphur man for alleged oyster violations on Feb. 28.

The agent cited Randy Johnson, 61, for misbranded seafood, selling fish without a wholesale/retail dealer license and failing to complete trip tickets.

A joint investigation between LDWF, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Enforcement and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources resulted in the citations.

LDWF agents found that Johnson was harvesting oysters in Louisiana following green tag protocols, which stipulates oysters must be consumed fully cooked.  He then labeled the oysters with tags from several oyster processors in Port Sulphur even though the oysters never passed through those processors.

Johnson then sold the oysters to a Mississippi man who sold them raw to consumers in Mississippi.  Agents also discovered Johnson did not have the necessary wholesale/retail dealer license and never completed trip tickets for any of the sales.

Misbranding seafood brings up to a $1,000 fine and a year in jail.  Selling fish without a wholesale/retail dealer license and failing to complete trip tickets each carries a $250 to $500 fine and 90 days in jail for each offense.

LDWF Participating in “Spring Aboard” Boating Safety Campaign

Release Date: 03/14/2019

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is encouraging boaters to enroll in a boating education course prior to the kickoff of the boating season.

LDWF will be participating in the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) Spring Aboard-Take a Boating Education Course campaign by providing eight free boating education courses across the state from March 17-23.

Developed by NASBLA, and produced under a grant administered by the U.S. Coast Guard, the annual Spring Aboard campaign informs and motivates boaters to prepare for the boating season by providing information on how to enroll in a boating knowledge or skills based education course.  The campaign emphasizes enrollment in courses verified as meeting the national boating knowledge or skill standard.

“Spring Aboard week is the perfect reminder and opportunity for anyone that needs to get boating certified before the spring and summer boating seasons,” said Major Rachel Zechenelly, Louisiana’s state boating law administrator.  “The classes are free of charge and bring valuable boating safety information for every boating student regardless of experience level.”

Boating education courses are mandatory for anyone in Louisiana born after Jan. 1, 1984 who operates a motorboat over 10 horsepower.  To register for an LDWF boating education course please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating/courses.

LDWF implemented Louisiana’s safe boating education program in 2003 and since that time have certified over 100,000 boaters.

U.S. Coast Guard statistics indicate that of the accidents where the level of operator education was known, 80 percent of boating deaths occurred on boats where the boat operator had never received boating education instruction.

Single Vessel Boating Incident Leads to Fatality in Tangipahoa Parish

Release Date: 03/14/2019

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents are investigating a fatal boating incident in Tangipahoa Parish.

LDWF agents recovered the body of Edward Ridgel Jr., 66, of Tickfaw, from South Pass Manchac this morning, March 14, around 7:45 a.m.

Agents received a call from Ridgel’s family that he was an overdue boater around 6:30 p.m. on March 13.  Ridgel’s family told agents that he launched his boat from North Pass Landing in the morning to go fishing.

Agents along with members of the Manchac Fire Department and Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office (TPSO) deputies immediately began searching for Ridgel.

A commercial crab fishermen spotted an unmanned 16 foot aluminum vessel in South Pass Manchac around 7:15 a.m.  Agents arrived on scene and found Ridgel’s body in the water around 7:45 a.m. about 30 feet from the boat.

LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this fatal boating incident.  It is unknown at this time how Ridgel was ejected from the vessel.  Ridgel’s body was turned over to the Tangipahoa Parish Coroner’s Office to determine an official cause of death.  Ridgel was not wearing a personal flotation device at the time of his recovery.

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