Enforcement

Leads Needed for Missing Buoys off Independence Island Reef

Release Date: 07/25/2013

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division is requesting any leads regarding missing mooring buoys on Independence Island Reef.

Six mooring buoys, which were part of a 2011 restoration project, went missing in late June from the popular fishing spot located about 3 miles northeast of Grand Isle.  The buoys are provided to allow fisherman with an identifiable marker of the famed fishing spot.

Anyone with tips or leads can call LDWF’s Operation Game Thief’s (OGT) toll free hotline 1-800-442-2511 or text the LDWF OGT by texting LADWF and their tip to 847411.  Tipsters can also download the LADWF Tips iPhone and Android apps from iTunes and Google Play stores free of charge.

Removing buoys brings up a $250 to $500 fine and 90 days in jail.

Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) and LDWF completed construction in 2011 on Independence Island Reef, which is believed to be the largest limestone inshore artificial reef project ever in Louisiana.

Nearly 8,000 tons of limestone were dropped from barges onto four acres where Independence Island was once located.  At the time of the project completion, the total site acreage was more than 50 acres.

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

Golden Meadow Man Dies from Injuries in Boating Incident

Release Date: 07/24/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents are investigating a fatal boating crash incident that occurred in Lafourche Parish this morning, July 24.

Richard Griffin Jr., 29, of Golden Meadow, was travelling north in Bayou Lafourche alone in his 16 foot vessel around 5:15 a.m. when he struck a piling.  Griffin Jr. sustained severe head trauma from his collision with the piling.

Griffin Jr. was taken to Lady of the Sea Hospital in Galliano and then transported to University Hospital in New Orleans where he was pronounced dead.

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

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

Deville Man Found Alive after Spending Night Lost in the Woods

Release Date: 07/22/2013

John L. Paul's Mother Hugs LDWF Agents After they Found Her Son Alive

July 22, 2013 -- After searching for over 15 hours, search and rescue teams found a missing Deville man alive on the Dewey Wills Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in LaSalle Parish.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents along with the Louisiana State Police, LaSalle Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office started searching for John L. Paul Jr., 29, after he was reported missing at 7:30 p.m. on July 20 on the Dewey Wills WMA.

LDWF agents found Paul on the banks of North Fork Bayou while conducting a search by boat of the area at 10:40 a.m. on July 21.  Paul was released to his family and did not need any medical treatment.  Paul told agents that he was out there with his dog and got turned around and lost.

The last known contact with Paul occurred around noon on July 20 when he called his girlfriend to bring him some water.  When the girlfriend arrived on the scene all she found was Paul’s truck.

The search and rescue teams used dogs, boats, a helicopter and infrared thermal imaging devices in the search.

LDWF agents participating in the search and rescue mission included Lt. Travis Burnett, Lt. Russ Kiser, Sgt. James Parish, Sgt. Marcus Constance, Sgt. Kevin Hill, Senior Agent Jay Callegari, Senior Agent John Volentine, Senior Agent Byron Cammack, Senior Agent Joey Tarver and Senior Agent David Nelson.

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

Kentwood Couple Cited for Possessing Undersized Seatrout

Release Date: 07/12/2013

July 12, 2013 -- Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited a Kentwood couple for alleged fishing violations on July 12 in Jefferson Parish.

While on a Joint Enforcement Agreement patrol, agents stopped a vessel in the Gulf of Mexico fishing along the beach in Jefferson Parish.

During the vessel inspection, agents found Chad Terrebonne, 30, and Nicole Terrebonne, 29, in possession of 49 spotted seatrout of which 40 were undersized. The legal minimum size limit for spotted seatrout is 12 inches.

Possession of undersized seatrout brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  The Terrebonne’s may also face a civil restitution penalty of $28.97 per undersized fish.

Agents participating in the case are Lt. Joseph Arnaud and Senior Agent Michael Marques.

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

Vessel Operator Arrested for DWI after Boating Crash Incident on Natalbany River that Severely Injured Six-Year-Old Girl

Release Date: 07/11/2013

July 11, 2013 -- Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents today, July 11, arrested a Vicksburg, Miss. man for his alleged role as an operator of a vessel during a boating crash incident that severely injured a six-year-old girl on the Natalbany River.

Agents arrested Anthony Domiono, 40, for operating or driving a vessel while intoxicated (DWI) with two children under 12 years of age, two counts of negligent injury, and reckless operation of a vessel and booked him into the Tangipahoa Parish Jail.

The boating crash incident occurred around 4:45 p.m. on June 9 when Domiono was operating a 22-foot-ski boat that had five passengers while towing a tube with two juveniles crashed into a tree along the bank of the Natalbany River in Tangipahoa Parish.  The incident happened about three miles upstream from where the river merges with the Tickfaw River.

After receiving a call from dispatch, LDWF agents arrived on scene and immediately called for a helicopter to transport a six-year-old girl.  The six-year-old-girl was in the boat at the time of the collision with the tree and suffered major head trauma and needed immediate attention.

The helicopter took the girl to Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge where she was listed in critical condition.  The girl has since been discharged from the hospital and it is hopeful she can make a full recovery.

Domiono suffered a broken foot and the other five passengers were treated for minor injuries.

As standard procedure agents took blood from the operator to determine if the operator was impaired.  After receiving the blood test results, it was determined that Domiono had a blood alcohol content (BAC) higher than the legal limit of .08 BAC.

DWI brings a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.  Negligent injury carries up to a $1,000 fine and six months of jail per each count.  Reckless operation brings a $200 fine and up to 90 days in jail.

Sgt. Randy Lanoux is the lead investigative agent for this boating crash incident.

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

Reward Increases to $15,000 for Shooting Death of Whooping Crane

Release Date: 06/27/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) officials are still looking for leads regarding a whooping crane that was found shot to death in Red River Parish in April.

The Humane Society of the United States and the The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering $5,000, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation is offering $3,800, LDWF’s Operation Game Thief Program is offering $1,000, the USFWS is offering $1,000, the Whooping Crane Conservation Association is offering $1,000, John Perilloux is offering $1,000, anonymous donors are offering $1,250, the International Crane Foundation, through the restitution money from the South Dakota whooping crane shooting case, is offering $500, the Audubon Nature Institute is offering $250, and the Louisiana Ornithological Society is offering $200.

This brings the total in rewards to $15,000 for anybody that has any information that leads to an arrest and conviction.

LDWF Whooping Crane Biologist Sara Zimorski said, “We have a lot of people and organizations that are very serious about making sure the person that shot this crane is punished for his or her actions.  By increasing the reward amount, we are very hopeful that it will also increase the incentive for anybody with information regarding the shooting of this whooping crane to come forward.”

If any group or person wants to donate funds to increase the reward amount, please contact LDWF Biologist Sara Zimorski at szimorski@wlf.la.gov or 337-536-9400 ext. 4.

To report any information regarding this whooping crane shooting, please call 1-800-442-2511.

The whooping crane was found and recovered from the bank of the Red River about two miles northwest of Loggy Bayou on April 16.  After a necropsy of the crane, it was determined that the bird was shot with a 6.5mm/.264 caliber projectile.

Investigators believe the bird was shot between April 10 and 14.  The whooping crane was a part of LDWF's whooping crane reintroduction program and was fitted with a GPS tracking device.  The last tracking point of the crane moving was on April 10 near where she was eventually found dead on April 16.  The last tracking point received was on April 14 at the location she was found.

This whooping crane was released in Louisiana on March 14, 2011.

LDWF has released 40 whooping cranes since 2011 and currently have 25 whooping cranes they are tracking.  This is the third whooping crane that has been found shot with the previous two having been shot in Jefferson Davis Parish in October of 2011.

The reintroduced whooping cranes came from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, MD, and they were placed in the coastal marsh of Vermilion Parish within LDWF’s White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA).  This reintroduced population marked the first presence of whooping cranes in the wild in Louisiana since 1950.

LDWF is working cooperatively with the USFWS, USGS, and the Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit to bring the species back to the state.  This non-migratory flock of whooping cranes is designated as a non-essential, experimental population but is still protected under state law, the Endangered Species Act, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

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

Three Texas Men Cited for Red Snapper Violations

Release Date: 06/27/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) cited three Texas men for allegedly violating federal reef fish regulations on June 19 in the Gulf of Mexico.

Agents cited Oscar Naranjo, 49, of Galveston, Texas, Eustacio Rangel, 51, of Port Isabelle, Texas, and Vincent Longoria, 47, of Palacios, Texas, for being in possession of 42 red snapper.

Agents were on a joint enforcement agreement patrol 50 miles south of Grand Isle in the Gulf of Mexico when they observed an 80 foot vessel trawling for shrimp.  Agents boarded the vessel and performed an inspection of the vessel.

During the inspection, agents located 42 frozen red snapper below the deck inside a large insulated holding box.  The men did not possess a commercial permit that is needed to harvest and sell reef fish under federal quotas and in excess of the bag limits.

Any vessel with shrimp trawls may not exceed the recreational reef fish bag limit, which is two per person with a minimum 16 inches in total length for red snapper.

Agents who are participating in the case are Lt. Joseph Arnaud and Senior Agent Michael Marques Jr.

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

LDWF Agents Participating in Operation Dry Water this Weekend June 28-30

Release Date: 06/26/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement Division (LDWF/LED) agents will take part in Operation Dry Water from June 28-30 with increased patrols for boaters operating or driving a boat while intoxicated (DWI) enforcement and boating safety.

During the Operation Dry Water weekend, LDWF agents will be out in force patrolling state waterways for boat operators whose blood alcohol content exceeds the state limit of .08 percent.

"Alcohol is always one of the largest contributing factors for boating fatalities in Louisiana and nationwide," said Capt. Rachel Zechenelly, LDWF’s state Boating Law Administrator.  "We want people to have fun on the water, but we also want them to have a sober operator of the vessel for the safety of those in the vessel and everybody else on the water.”

Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.  It can increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion.  Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion intensify the side effects of alcohol, drugs and some prescription medications.

Louisiana had 25 boating fatalities in 2012 with alcohol playing a role in six fatalities or 24 percent.  Nationwide, statistics from 2012 reveal that 17 percent of all boat incident fatalities listed alcohol as a contributing factor.

LDWF agents issued five DWI citations to boat operators during the 2012 Operation Dry Water weekend and 10 DWI citations over the same weekend in 2011.

Impaired boaters caught this weekend can expect penalties to be severe.  In Louisiana, a DWI on the water carries the same penalties and fines as on the road and includes jail time, fines and loss of driving and boating operator privileges.

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.  Also, each offense of operating a vehicle or vessel while intoxicated counts toward the total number of DWI crimes whether they happened on the water or road.

In Louisiana a DWI can be issued to anyone operating a moving vessel or vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.  First offense DWI carries a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.  Second offense DWI brings a $750 to $1,000 fine and between 30 days and six months in jail.  Third offense DWI carries a $5,000 fine and between one and five years in jail.

Operation Dry Water was started in 2009 and is a joint program involving the LDWF/LED, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and the U.S. Coast Guard.  More information is available at www.operationdrywater.org.

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

Agents Cite Four Subjects for Recreational Fishing Violations

Release Date: 06/25/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited four subjects for numerous recreational fishing violations in Plaquemines Parish on June 23.

Agents cited Nghia Huu Hoang, 33, Loan Huynh, 32, both from Harvey, Thang Van Tran, 38, of Avondale, and Truong Nguyen, 33, of Kenner, for intentional concealment of illegal fish, and red snapper, shark and triggerfish violations.

While on a joint enforcement agreement patrol in conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service, agents stopped the four subjects aboard their vessel in Empire.  During the stop, agents were shown a limit of red snapper.

After further investigation, agents discovered two hidden compartments in the bow of the vessel, which contained more red snapper and several sharks.  The subjects were in possession of a total of 40 red snapper, 18 of which were under the minimum size limit of 16 inches, three sharks that were also under the minimum size limit of 54 inches and during the currently closed recreational season, and three triggerfish also during the currently closed recreational season.

Intentional concealment of illegal fish carries up to a $950 fine.  Over limit of red snapper, possessing undersized red snapper, possession of shark and triggerfish during a closed season, and possessing undersized shark each brings up to a $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail for each offense.  In addition to the penalties in court they will also be assessed $983.84 in civil restitution for the illegally taken fish.

Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Adam Young and Senior Agent Jason Gernados.

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

Agents Arrest Six Oyster Fishermen in Terrebonne Parish

Release Date: 06/18/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested six Terrebonne Parish men for alleged oyster violations in Terrebonne Parish on June 14 and 15.

Agents arrested Hunter Daisy, 19, of Theriot, Darren Billiot, 48, of Theriot, and Rocky Rel, 34, of Houma, for unlawfully taking oysters during a closed season from the Sister Lake seed ground and booked them into the Terrebonne Parish Correctional Facility on June 14.  On June 15, agents arrested Santiago Martinez, 50, of Houma, Luis Carbajal, 22, of Chauvin, and Jose Catarino, 28, of Theriot, for taking oysters from an unapproved area in Bayou Sauveur and booked them into the Terrebonne Correctional Facility.

Agents were working a complaint of subjects taking oysters from the Sister Lake seed ground and observed a vessel actively dredging in the closed area.  Agents made contact with the three men in the vessel and were able to seize and return eight sacks of oysters to the water.

While working complaints of subjects taking oysters from a polluted area in Bayou Sauveur, agents observed a vessel actively taking oysters from an unapproved area.  Agents made contact with the three men in the vessel and were able to seize and return four sacks of oysters to the water.

Taking oysters from an unapproved area carries a fine between $400 and $950 and up to 120 days in jail.  Taking oysters during a closed season carries a fine between $100 and $350 and up to 60 days in jail.

Any person convicted of these violations may for one year after the date of such conviction only harvest oysters from a vessel that employs a vessel monitoring system.  Access to the monitoring system shall be granted to LDWF.

Agents involved in the cases were Senior Agents Stephen Rhodes and Dean Aucoin, and Sgt. Bryan Marie.

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

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