Enforcement

LDWF Enforcement Division Cooperating In Operation Dry Water June 22-24

Release Date: 06/20/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement Division (LDWF/LED) agents will take part in Operation Dry Water from June 22-24 with increased patrols for 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.

"We want people to be safe and have fun while boating recreationally," commented Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, LDWF’s state Boating Law Administrator.  "But alcohol use has become one of the leading contributing factors in fatal recreational boating crash incidents.  We recommend a sober operator of the vessel just like you would have a sober driver on the road."

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 36 fatalities from boating crash incidents in 2011 with five of those listing alcohol as a primary cause.  Nationwide, statistics from 2011 reveal that 16 percent of all boat incident fatalities were a direct result of alcohol or drug use.

LDWF agents issued 108 DWI citations to boat operators in 2011 with 10 of those occurring over the Operation Dry Water weekend.

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.

“There will be arrests this weekend and some boaters will face the consequences of operating a boat while impaired," added Lt. Col. Mayne.  "But we'd much rather arrest someone than to have to tell their friends and family they're never coming back."

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.

To schedule a media ride along or for more information, please contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Officials Find Second Body in Lake St. John

Release Date: 06/17/2012

Search and rescue teams from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division and Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office recovered the body of a second boater from Lake St. John around 11:30 a.m. this morning, June 17.

Authorities located the body of Larry Allen, 52, of Pearl, Miss., under a collapsed pier on Lake St. John in Concordia Parish.  Allen was a passenger in a boat that crashed into a pier shortly after midnight on June 16 that also killed the operator.

LDWF agents responded to a boating incident on Lake St. John around 12:15 a.m. on June 16.  Bruce Pickle, 50, of Ferriday, was found in the water by some onlookers after they witnessed him crash into a pier on Lake St. John with his bass boat.  Pickle was ejected from the boat and was recovered by the witnesses who attempted CPR on him before authorities arrived.

Later on the morning of June 16, LDWF agents received a call about the possibility of Allen being a passenger with Pickle at the time of the wreck.  LDWF agents along with the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office immediately began searching for Allen.  Searchers had to remove the collapsed pier in order to get to Allen who was trapped underneath the wreckage.

Both Pickle and Allen were transferred to the Concordia Parish Coroner’s Office.  LDWF agents did pull a blood sample from each man as standard procedure for a toxicology report, but do not suspect alcohol or drugs played a role in this incident at this time.

Neither man was wearing a personal flotation device.  The causes of death are unknown at this time.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-354-9517 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Boating Incident in Lake St. John Results in Fatality

Release Date: 06/16/2012

June 16, 2012 --- Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents responded to a boating incident on Lake St. John that left one man dead and possibly another at 12:15 a.m. this morning, June 16.

Bruce Pickle, 50, was found in the water by some onlookers after they witnessed him crash into a pier on Lake St. John with his bass boat around midnight.  Pickle was ejected from the boat and was recovered by the witnesses who attempted CPR on him before authorities arrived.

Pickle’s body was transferred to the Concordia Parish Coroner’s Office.  LDWF agents did pull a blood sample for a toxicology report, but do not suspect alcohol or drugs played a role in this incident at this time.

This morning, LDWF agents received a call about the possibility of another person still under the water at the wreck scene at the pier.  The call has led authorities to believe there may have been a passenger with Pickle at the time of the wreck.

LDWF agents along with the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office have begun searching for this possible missing boater.

Pickle was not wearing a personal flotation device.  His cause of death is unknown at this time.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-354-9517 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Louisiana Operation Game Thief Issues $8,500 In Rewards To Tipsters

Release Date: 06/15/2012

Louisiana Operation Game Thief, Inc. (LOGT), a Louisiana wildlife crime-stoppers program, awarded $8,500 to diligent citizens statewide at their quarterly meeting on May 19 in Woodworth.

The group approved and dispensed cash reward amounts for tipsters who reported wildlife violations that led to 25 subjects being apprehended in wildlife cases.  There were a total of 17 cases presented and 65 offenses associated with those cases.

Louisiana Department Wildlife Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement LOGT Coordinator Lt. Will Roberts provided LOGT members with information on each case and a recommendation for reward amounts.

“We depend on Operation Game Thief and these public tips to help break a lot of cases that might have otherwise gone unsolved,” Roberts said.  “These tips led to a few turkey baiting cases, closed season and over limit waterfowl cases and a night hunting case.”

Anyone wishing to report wildlife or fisheries violations should anonymously call LDWF’s 24-hour toll free Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-442-2511 or utilize LDWF's new tip411 program.  To use the tip411 program, citizens can anonymously text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the "LADWF Tips" iPhone app from the Apple iTunes store free of charge.  CitizenObserver, the tip411 provider, uses technology that removes all identifying information before LDWF receives the text so that LDWF cannot identify the sender.

LOGT was instituted in 1984 and provides cash rewards for information leading to the arrest of violators of fish and wildlife regulations.  Funds are raised through private donations, court directed contributions and through contributions from cooperative endeavor agreements with organizations such as the National Wild Turkey Federation and Quality Deer Management Association.

To make a donation to the LOGT that can be used for cash rewards, please contact Lt. Will Roberts at wroberts@wlf.la.gov.

LOGT meets quarterly throughout the year to review cases and dispense rewards.

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

Three Cameron Men Cited for Illegal Shrimping on Cameron Prairie NWR

Release Date: 06/06/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited three Cameron men for alleged fishing violations on May 29 on Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge.

Agents cited Anthony G. Theriot, 36, Philip LeJeune Sr., 50, and Jerimie M. Pugh, 37, for taking and possessing game fish with illegal methods, leaving fishing nets unattended, blocking the passage of fish, taking shrimp with illegal gear and trawling at night.

Around 7:30 p.m. on May 29, LDWF agents observed a vessel traveling across the southern end of Calcasieu Lake before stopping in Grand Bayou where the subjects placed a shrimp trawl across the opening at the Grand Bayou water control structure.  Grand Bayou is located on the Cameron Prairie NWR in Cameron Parish.

With the aid of handheld thermal imaging systems, agents watched the subjects placing and running the trawl and emptying the shrimp into the vessel.  After the three men emptied their net they would leave the trawl and travel in to Calcasieu Lake to cull shrimp.

Around 10:15 p.m. agents made contact with the three men.  Agents seized 661 pounds of shrimp, two speckled trout, a 36 foot shrimp trawl and their vessel.

The three men may also facing federal charges through the U.S. Attorney’s Office for violating rules on a National Wildlife Refuge since this NWR does not allow commercial fishing activity nor night time fishing.

Taking and possessing game fish with illegal methods brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in prison.  Leaving nets unattended carries a $500 to $750 fine and 15 to 30 days in jail.  Blocking the passage of fish and taking shrimp with illegal gear each brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Trawling at night brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.

Agents participating in the case were Senior Agent Carl Pickett, Sgt. Aaron Herpin, Sgt. David Sanford and Senior Agent Stuart Guillory.

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

Body of Missing Boater Recovered From Lake Pontchartrain

Release Date: 06/05/2012

Search crews found the body of a Slidell man shortly after 2 p.m. today, June 5, on Lake Pontchartrain.

The body of Isiah M. Tate, 21, was recovered by search crews from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Coast Guard and Sea Tow.

According to the three other passengers on the 21 foot boat, Tate fell overboard due to rough waters around 3:30 a.m. near the twin spans on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain south of Slidell.  The passengers said they were able to locate the missing boater in the water twice before he would disappear into the water again before they could make contact.

According to the passengers, Tate was not wearing a personal flotation device.  His body has been turned over to the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office.

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

Search Crews Looking for Missing Boater in Lake Pontchartrain

Release Date: 06/05/2012

Search crews were alerted at 3:30 a.m. this morning, June 5, of a missing boater in Lake Pontchartrain.

Searchers from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Coast Guard and Sea Tow are currently looking for Isiah M. Tate, 21, of Slidell, near the twin spans on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain south of Slidell.

According to the three other passengers on the 21 foot boat, Tate fell overboard due to rough waters around 3:30 a.m.  The passengers said they were able to locate the missing boater in the water twice before he would disappear into the water again before they could make contact.

According to the passengers, Tate was not wearing a personal flotation device.

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

Agents Curtail Underage Drinking and Illegal Drugs on Scenic River

Release Date: 06/01/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited numerous people with drug and alcohol charges on May 26 on the Ouiska Chitto River in Allen Parish.

LDWF agents coordinated a multi-agency operation on the Ouiska Chitto River North of Hwy. 26 with the Allen Parish Sheriff’s Office, Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office, Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Phelps Correctional Center Officers.

“The Ouiska Chitto River is a Louisiana scenic river that attracts numerous people for its canoeing, tubing, fishing and camping activities.  Unfortunately, this scenic river also attracts those who choose to engage in underage drinking, illegal drug activity and littering,” said LDWF Capt. Jubal Marceaux who is in charge of the Lake Charles Region.  “Hopefully the success of this operation sends a strong message that local law enforcement and the community are serious in maintaining a safe, clean, fun and family atmosphere for all law abiding citizens here in Louisiana and our tourists.”

The multi-agency operation conducted safe boating stops from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on a sand bar along the river.  During the operation, officers checked 150 to 200 canoes resulting in several citations issued.

Richard R. Beaubeuef, 35, of Deville; Jeremy D. Deville, 29, of Deville; Dane D. Bruce Jr., 33, of Eros; Alicia F. Porcell, 27 of Deville; Mare A. Marlin, 24, of Sulphur; Kerry W. Downs, 30, of Deville; Eric S. Fasske, 39, of Lake Charles; Justin L. Smith, 22, of Sweetlake; Rusty D. Tweedel, 32, of Oberlin; Scotty O. Gill, 32, of Pitkin; Gerrad N. Nicholous, 24, of Vidor, Texas; and Martin J. Guillory II, 30, were all cited with illegal possession of marijuana.  Illegal possession of marijuana brings a $500 fine and up to six months in jail.

O. Gill and Nicholous were also charged with intentional littering and each could face up to a $250 fine and eight hours of community service in a litter abatement work program.

Guillory II was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and methamphetamine.  Drug paraphernalia brings up to a $500 fine and up to six months in jail.  Possession of methamphetamine carries up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in jail.

Mitchell J. Bares, 18, of Maurice, Lance P. Sonnier, 19, of Dry Creek, and three juveniles were all cited for underage possession of alcohol, which brings up to a $100 fine or up to six months in jail.

Steven R. Deese, 38, of Lake Charles; Blade R. Henry, 21, of Lake Charles;  Christopher J. Templait, 22, of Sulpher; Jake E. Ghagan, 21, of Dry Creek; Mary A. Philyaw, 45, of Natchitoches; John C. Gagareaux Jr., 19, of Alexandria; Guillory II and Sonnier were all cited for possession of a glass container on scenic river.  Each could face a fine up to $250.

Agents involved with the operation were Lt. Jesse Savoie, Sgt’s. Scott D. Fontenot and Keith Aucoin, and Senior Agents Steve Vidrine, Danon Maricle, Wendell Vaughn and Stuart Guillory.

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

LDWF Agents Arrest Iberia Parish Man for Crab and Motor Theft

Release Date: 05/29/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents arrested a New Iberia Man for allegedly stealing crabs and a boat motor.

Agents arrested Patrick D. Bourgeois, 42, for removing crabs from traps in Vermilion Bay, failing to have a commercial license, taking commercial fish without a commercial gear license or vessel license, and possessing over 20 percent of undersized crabs on May 10.  Commercial crab fishermen are allowed to keep 10 percent of their undersized crab catch of crabs less than 5 inches.

Agents were working the Vermilion Bay area after receiving complaints of someone stealing crabs and traps from commercial fishermen.  Agents allegedly observed Bourgeois removing and possessing 198 pounds of crabs from traps belonging to other commercial fishermen.

Crab theft and possession of 10 percent of undersized crabs each carry a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Taking fish without a commercial license, gear license and vessel license each bring a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.

Bourgeois was also found to be in possession of an outboard with serial numbers that were removed.  Agents were able to allegedly determine that the outboard belonged to one of Bourgeois’ neighbors that lived several houses down in New Iberia. 

On May 16, agents executed an arrest warrant and booked Bourgeois in to the Iberia Parish jail for the felony possession of stolen things.  The penalty for this charge is up to a $2,000 fine and up to five years in jail.

Agents involved in the case were Sgt. Mitch Darby, Sgt. Dusty Rhodes, Sgt. Brian Theriot and Senior Agent David Boudreaux.

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

Allen Parish Resident Arrested for Second Offense Alligator Violation

Release Date: 05/25/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents arrested a Basile man for an alleged alligator violation on May 21 in Allen Parish.

Agents cited Michael R. Gaspard, 18, for second offense taking or possessing an alligator during a closed season, operating an unregistered motor vehicle without insurance and booked him into the Allen Parish Jail.

Senior Agent Wendel Vaughn allegedly observed Gaspard load a 5-foot alligator, which he caught on the Calcasieu River, into the extended cab portion of a small white truck.  When Senior Agent Vaughn approached the vehicle he found the alligator behind the front seat with a hook and line still in its mouth.  Gaspard and a 15-year-old juvenile admitted to catching the alligator.

Senior Agent Vaughn ran Gaspard’s record and discovered that he was issued citations by LDWF Agents on Jan. 26, 2012 for the possession of alligators during a closed season.  The juvenile was issued a citation for taking or possessing an alligator during a closed season and released to a family member. 

Gaspard and the juvenile each face fines ranging from $400 to $950 and up to 120 days in jail for possessing an alligator during a closed season.  Operating a motor vehicle without a registration brings a fine up to $100 and up to 30 days in jail.  Operating a vehicle without insurance carries a $50 fine. Gaspard was also charged civil restitution value of the alligator totaling $375.80.

Alligator season in Allen Parish runs from the first Wednesday in September and stays open for 30 days.

Gaspard’s trial date for his first offense of possessing an alligator during a closed season has been set for July.

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

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