Enforcement

Body of Second Boater Recovered from Lake Charles

Release Date: 07/22/2012

Search and rescue crews have recovered the body of a Westlake man at 6:30 a.m. today, July 22 near the vicinity where authorities found the body of his fishing partner and capsized vessel on the west bank of Lake Charles in Calcasieu Parish.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) agents along with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Coast Guard responded to a report of two missing boaters on Lake Charles on July 20 after 10 p.m.  According to family members, William R. Druilhet Jr., 22, of Lake Charles, and Christopher Rollins, 25, of Westlake, were out fishing and last made contact shortly before 10 p.m.

Search and rescue crews searched throughout the night and found their 16 foot vessel capsized on the west bank of Lake Charles at 4:30 a.m. on July 21.  Authorities then found the body of Druilhet at 4:50 a.m. on July 21 near the boat and Rollins at 6:30 a.m. on July 22 also near the boat.

Authorities found Druilhet wearing a personal flotation device and Rollins without a personal flotation device.  Both bodies of Druilhet and Rollins were turned over to the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office to determine a cause of death.

LDWF has recovered the vessel and will be the lead investigative agency for this boating crash incident.

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

Boating Incident in Lake Charles Leaves One Dead and One Missing

Release Date: 07/21/2012

Search and rescue crews are currently searching for a missing boater who was onboard a vessel on Lake Charles in Calcasieu Parish that was found capsized and left another man dead.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) agents along with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Coast Guard responded to a report of two missing boaters on Lake Charles on July 20 after 10 p.m.  According to family members, William R. Druilhet Jr., 22, of Lake Charles, and Christopher Rollins, 25, of Westlake, were out fishing and last made contact shortly before 10 p.m.

Search and rescue crews searched throughout the night and found their 16 foot vessel capsized on the west bank of Lake Charles at 4:30 this morning, July 21.  Authorities then found the body of Druilhet at 4:50 a.m. near the boat. 

Druilhet was wearing a personal flotation device and his body was turned over to the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office to determine a cause of death.

LDWF has recovered the vessel and will be the lead investigative agency for this boating crash incident.

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

Authorities Recover Boater’s Body from Lake Fordoche

Release Date: 07/20/2012

Search and Rescue officials recovered the body of a Central man from Lake Fordoche in St. Landry Parish on July 20.

Search crews from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office and the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office were notified about a capsized vessel and a missing boater in Lake Fordoche, which is a tributary north of Henderson Bay, around 9:50 a.m.

The body of Allen Fontenot, 66, was found by search crews around 1:30 p.m. in the near vicinity of the capsized vessel.

According to the survivor, the two men were in a 21 foot boat when they hit a stump that caused the vessel to capsize.  The survivor was able to swim to the shore.

Fontenot was not wearing a personal flotation device and his body was turned over to the St. Landry Parish Coroner’s Office.  LDWF has recovered the vessel and 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.

Two Franklin Parish Men Cited for Shocking Fish

Release Date: 07/19/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited two men for alleged fishing violations on July 2 on the Boeuf River.

Agents cited Tyler Gilmore, 22, of Fort Necessity, and Derek Guillot, 30, of Winnsboro, for taking game fish using illegal methods after they were found with a shocking device.

LDWF Sgt. Albert Tarver discovered Guillot and Gilmore in Boeuf River with a shocking device and 13 catfish.  The catfish were allegedly taken with the shocking device.

When Sgt. Tarver approached Gilmore and Guillot, he ordered them to not to throw the shocking device.  Guillot then threw the shocking device into the river and was also charged with obstruction of justice.

Taking game fish with illegal methods brings a fine between $400 and $950 and up to 120 days in jail.  Obstruction of justice carries up to a $10,000 fine and up to five years in jail.

Agents participating in the case included Sgt. Albert Tarver, Sgt. Larry May and Senior Agent Leya Grover.

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

Winnsboro Woman Convicted of Migratory Game Bird Violations

Release Date: 07/19/2012

A joint investigation by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) led to a Winnsboro woman being found guilty of migratory game bird violations on July 16 in Federal Court in Monroe.

U.S. Magistrate Karen Hayes sentenced Donna J. Remides, 51, to a fine of $2,035, suspended her hunting rights for two years and placed her on supervised probation for two years.

Remides was cited on Sept. 4, 2010 on the opening day of dove season for placing bait to take migratory game birds (doves) and aiding and abetting others in taking migratory game birds illegally.

LDWF and USFWS agents observed Remides bait a field and then allow the field to be hunted for doves.

LDWF agents involved in the case were Lt. Scott Watson, Sgt. Joe Chandler, Sgt. Lee Tarver and Senior Agent John Hendrix.  USFWS Officers involved in the case were Refuge Officers John Tarver, Chris Hoag and Special Agent Kash Schreifer.

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

Missing Boater’s Body Found in Lake Maurepas

Release Date: 06/26/2012

 

The deceased body of a missing boater was found on Lake Maurepas on Monday, June 25 around 8 p.m.

A passing boater found the body of Daniel Mitchell, 51, of Springfield, about 2 miles south on Lake Maurepas in Tangipahoa Parish from where his unmanned vessel was found.  The boater notified officials who then recovered Mitchell’s body.

Search crews from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division, Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office, Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Coast Guard and the Killian Dive Team have been searching for Mitchell since Saturday, June 23 around 5:30 p.m.

Officials responded to a report of an unmanned 18-foot lake skiff circling near the mouth of the Tickfaw River on Lake Maurepas.  After boarding the circling vessel, LDWF agents were able to match the boater’s registration to Mitchell.  A search of the area was immediately started.

Mitchell’s body was transferred to the Tangipahoa Parish Coroner’s Office.  Mitchell was not wearing a personal flotation device.  It is unknown at this time how Mitchell was ejected from the vessel.

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

LDWF Agents Make Five DWIs Over Operation Dry Water Weekend

Release Date: 06/25/2012

In support of Operation Dry Water, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) arrested five boaters statewide for driving or operating a vessel while intoxicated (DWI) from Friday, June 22 to Sunday, June 24.

LDWF agents issued DWIs to Joshua Fortenberry, 23, of Watson, Ark., on Moon Lake in Ouachita Parish, on June 23; Thurman Hitchcock, 65, of West Monroe, on the Ouachita River in Quachita Parish on June 24; Kayward Hebert, 61, of Kaplan, on Henderson Bay in St. Martin Parish on June 23; Nelson Navarre, 54, of Vinton, on the Sabine River in Calcasiue River on June 23; and James Walker Jr., 37, of Baton Rouge, on the Diversion Canal in Livingston Parish on June 24.

"We take DWI enforcement on the water very serious since the leading cause of boating fatalities is alcohol," said Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, the state's boating law administrator.  "We want everybody on the water to have a good time, but to keep in mind that they need a designated driver just like on land."

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.

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.

Agents making the DWI arrests this weekend were Senior Scott Bullitt, Sgt. Duane Taylor, Senior Agent Bear Fletcher, Senior Agent Jones, Senior Agent Bourdreaux, Senior Agent Beau Robertson, Sgt. Aaron Herpin and Sgt. Randy Lanoux.

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

Alligator Guide Receives a Six Month Sentence

Release Date: 06/22/2012

The U.S. District Court Judge in Baton Rouge sentenced a Plaquemine man to six months in a Federal Jail on June 21 for alligator violations.

Judge Brian Jackson also ordered Gregory Dupont, 38, to pay a $3,000 fine, serve four months in a halfway house and two years of probation.  Dupont’s sentencing was the first ever felony conviction and prison sentence resulting from the illegal hunting of American alligators.

On Feb. 10, 2012 Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents wrapped up a five and a half year investigation into the illegal taking of alligators when Dupont pled guilty to one felony Lacey Act violation.  Dupont was the sole owner and operator of an alligator guide and outfitting business known as Louisiana Hunters Inc.  The Lacey Act is the federal wildlife statute that makes it illegal to transport, sell, receive, acquire or purchase illegally taken wildlife.

The investigation uncovered that between 2006 and 2011 Dupont and six other individuals took at least 26 alligators illegally while guiding non-resident alligator sport hunters.  The majority of the illegal alligators taken were between 10 to 12.5 feet in length with an estimated value of $143,000 to the guide.

In September of 2006, Dupont guided his clients to an area that was unapproved, which is an area for that he did not have the required alligator tags.  During this illegal hunt, one of his clients killed an American alligator.  Dupont tagged the alligator illegally with a tag for another property.

Past convictions and penalties associated with this case are as follows:

Travis Dardenne and Jeffrey Brown, both of Plaquemine, were sentenced on Feb. 4, 2010 and ordered to pay a $2,000 fine and serve one year of probation for violations of the Lacey Act.  Dardenne and Brown had connections to Dupont’s guiding services.  As part of their punishment, they are prohibited from hunting or guiding anywhere in the world during their probation.

On Sept. 8, 2006, Dardenne, a licensed alligator hunter, and Brown, a licensed alligator helper, guided an out-of-state alligator sport hunter to an area for which Dardenne and Brown did not have appropriate state authorization to hunt. The sport hunter killed a trophy-sized alligator in the unapproved area.

On Sept. 13, 2011 Clint Martinez and Michael Martinez, both of Plaquemine, were sentenced to serve a three year term of probation during which they will be prohibited from hunting as follows: for one year of the probation the defendants will be prohibited from engaging worldwide in all hunting activities, including guiding, with any kind of weapon; for the remaining two years of probation the defendants will be prohibited from engaging worldwide in all commercial alligator hunting activities, including guiding.  In addition, each defendant will pay a $5,000 fine and serve 200 hours of community service.

The Martinez brothers guided out-of-state alligator sport hunters who were clients of Dupont’s, to areas for which they did not have appropriate state authorization to hunt.  In October 2005, the clients killed a 10 foot, two-inch trophy-sized alligator.  In September 2006, clients killed a 10 foot and a 12 foot, six-inch trophy-sized alligators.

On Aug. 10, 2011 Larry Dees Sr., and Larry Dees Jr., both of Maringuoin, were sentenced to three years of probation during which they will be prohibited from hunting as follows: for one year of the probation the defendants will be prohibited from engaging worldwide in all hunting activities, including guiding, with any kind of weapon; for the remaining two years of probation the defendants will be prohibited from engaging worldwide in all commercial alligator hunting activities, including guiding.  Dees Sr. was also fined $3,000.

The father and son guided out-of-state alligator hunters who were Dupont’s clients to unapproved areas on Sept. 10 and 24-25 of 2009.  On Sept. 10, 2009, the clients killed a 9 foot 4 inch trophy-sized alligator.

The Dupont case was prosecuted by Shennie Patel and Susan L. Park of the Environmental Crimes Section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice.

Participating in the case were LDWF case agents Sgt. Dusty Rhodes, Lt. Darryl Moore, Sgt. Ronald Hebert and Senior Agent Jerry Stassi.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Philip Siragusa and LDWF’s Noel Kinler and Lance Campbell in the LDWF Alligator program also assisted in the case.

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

Elm Grove Man Sentenced to Two Years in Jail for Illegal Silencer Possession

Release Date: 06/21/2012

June 21, 2012 - After a two and a half year investigation, an Elm Grove man was sentenced on June 20 in Federal Court in Shreveport to two years in a federal penitentiary for illegal possession of a silencer.

Senior Judge Tom Stagg of the U.S. Western District Court accepted Brett Roberts’, 52, guilty plea to the federal charge of possessing a homemade silencer and sentenced him to two years in a federal jail and three years of supervised probation.

LDWF Enforcement Division agents initiated the investigation in November of 2009 after receiving multiple tips that Roberts was illegally night hunting in the Bossier and Webster parish areas.  LDWF undercover agents were able to make contact with Roberts and tag along during some of his illegal hunts and witnessed other illegal activities.

LDWF undercover agents discovered that Roberts was using a homemade silencer on a .22 caliber rifle to kill deer at night and out of season.  Undercover agents witnessed Roberts hunt from a public road from his vehicle and sell deer meat.  Undercover agents also purchased methamphetamines, a stolen boat motor and a rifle silencer from Roberts.

On Jan. 31, 2011, LDWF and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents executed a search warrant of Roberts’ residence and charged Roberts with 228 counts of illegal activities.  Roberts was subsequently booked into the Bossier Max Detention Center in Bossier Parish and the Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center in Webster Parish.

On July 12, 2011, Roberts pled guilty to the following state charges in Bossier Parish; illegal possession of stolen things, possession of drug paraphernalia, hunting with an illegal firearm, hunting deer with illegal methods, hunting and taking deer during illegal hours and hunting from a public road.  Judge Ford Stinson of the 26th District Court sentenced Roberts to serve six months in jail in the Bossier Parish Jail with three months suspended, a $3,000 fine, restitution of $5,300, two years of supervised probation and a five year hunting ban.

On Aug. 5, 2011 Roberts pled guilty to the following state charges in Webster Parish; possession of drug paraphernalia, taking deer during illegal hours, possession of untagged deer, failing to maintain sex identification of deer, failing to tag deer and possession of illegally taken deer.  Judge Bruce Bolin of the 26th District Court in Benton, La. Sentenced Roberts to 18 months in the Webster Parish Jail of which six months were suspended, a $3,000 fine, restitution of $5,300 and two years of supervised probation.  Roberts must also forfeit his hunting privileges.

The jail, probation and restitution charges for each parish run concurrently bringing the total state punishment for Roberts to 12 months of jail, a $6,000 fine, a $5,300 restitution charge and two years of probation.

LDWF agents assisting undercover agents in the case were Senior Agents Jared McIver, Cullom Schexnyder, Wesley Duck, Bryant Coburn, Michael Dunn and Joey Melton; Sgts. Mike Kelley and Ryan Brashier; and Lt. Kenny Balkom.

Prosecuting the state charges were Assistant District Attorneys Sherb Sentell for Webster Parish and Santi Parks for Bossier Parish.  U.S. Assistant District Attorney Robert France prosecuted the federal charge.

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

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.

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