Enforcement

LDWF Agents Arrest Marrero Man for Illegal Fish Sales

Release Date: 01/27/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents concluded an extensive investigation into the illegal sale of spotted sea trout and red drum on Jan. 24, 2014.

Agents arrested Joseph Morris III, 30, of Marrero, for alleged commercial fishing violations after undercover LDWF Agents purchased spotted sea trout and red drum from Morris’ residence in Jefferson Parish.

Agents also secured an arrest warrant from Plaquemines Parish after Morris again sold spotted sea trout and red drum to undercover agents and he also took agents on chartered fishing trips without the required charter boat license.

Commercial fisherman selling without a fresh products license, failing to maintain records, and taking commercial fish without a vessel license each carries a max penalty of $500 and up to 90 days in jail plus court costs for each count.  Selling game fish illegally and possessing red drum commercially carries a max penalty of up to $500 and jail up to 30 days, license revocation, and forfeiture of anything seized for each count. Failing to comply with charter boat regulation and selling spotted sea trout without a permit, selling spotted sea trout without a rod and reel license, and taking or selling undersized spotted sea trout carries a max penalty of up to $950 or up to 120 days in jail or both plus court cost and forfeiture of anything seized for each offense.

He is also facing a total of $8,329.68 in civil restitution for the illegally taken and possessed fish.

Agents also placed a seizure order on two vessels and one vehicle that were used for these alleged offenses and are property of the State of Louisiana until this case is adjudicated in Plaquemines and Jefferson parishes.

Morris also had six outstanding warrants for his arrest in Jefferson and Plaquemines parishes.

Lead agents participating in the case are LDWF’s Special Investigations Unit, and Sgt. Adam Young.  Assisting agents were Sgts. Villere Reggio, Kris Bourgeois, and Jeff Boyd with the assistance of Deputy Chad LaFrance with the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office.

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

LDWF Enforcement Division Represented on National Recreational Safe Boating Commission

Release Date: 01/10/2014

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agent has been appointed to serve on a newly formed national safe boating commission.

The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) Executive Board appointed LDWF Capt. Rachel Zechenelly, of Baton Rouge, to the new Boating Professional Certification Commission.

“I’m honored and excited to be working on this new commission as we lay the groundwork for this new certification for recreational boating program management,” said Capt. Zechenelly.

The commission consists of 13 members that represent state, federal, nonprofit, industry and public stakeholder interests and will look at the National Recreational Boating Program in its entirety to develop the Recreational Boating Professional Certification.  The certification will be a voluntary program designed to elevate professional standards, enhance individual performance and designate recreational boating professionals who demonstrate the knowledge essential to recreational boating program management.

Capt. Zechenelly is originally from Pearl River and joined the LDWF Enforcement Division in 1999.  In August of 2013, Capt. Zechenelly was named the Boating Law Administrator for the state of Louisiana.  She currently oversees the Enforcement Division’s marine theft investigations, boating crash incident investigations, and the statewide boating safety education program.

“Capt. Zechenelly is a great asset to our state’s safe boating program.  It is an honor to have our boating program once again receive national recognition and have a positive influence on the national boating program,” said Col. Jeff Mayne, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division.

NASBLA is a national nonprofit organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety. NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories.

NASBLA’s mission is to strengthen the ability of the state and territorial boating authorities to reduce death, injury and property damage associated with recreational boating and ensure a safe, secure and enjoyable boating environment.

The Commission will be comprised of representatives from major aspects of the recreational boating program, including training, law enforcement, vessel numbering/titling, education, access, waterway management and accident reporting.

The members and the categories they represent include:

• Rachel Zechenelly, Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries — States
• John Adey, American Boat & Yacht Council, Boating Industry
• Laurel Anders, Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission — States
• Robert Brandenstein, U.S. Power Squadrons — Nonprofit
• Mark Brown, Oklahoma Highway Patrol — States
• Ed Carter, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency — State Agency Management
• Virgil Chambers, Retired Recreational Boating Safety Professional — Public
• Michael Cortese, U.S. Coast Guard (Active Duty) — Federal
• Dan Hesket, Kansas Wildlife, Parks & Tourism — States
• Stan Linnell, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Parks & Trails — States
• Eric Lundin, Connecticut Environmental Conservation Police — States
• Edwin Lyngar, Nevada Department of Wildlife — States
• Gary Owen, National Water Safety Congress — Nonprofit

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

Raceland Man Cited for Hunting Violations on Christmas Day

Release Date: 01/07/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited a Raceland man for alleged deer hunting violations on Dec. 25, 2013 on Eagle Island.

Agents cited Eric Savoie, 37, for two counts of hunting or taking deer during illegal hours, failing to tag deer, over limit of deer, taking deer illegally during an open season, hunting deer without a big game license, and hunting with an unplugged shotgun.

On Dec. 24, LDWF agents received a complaint that Savoie had killed two does at night on Dec. 20.

When agents approached Savoie’s residence on Eagle Island on Dec. 25, agents observed Savoie seated at the rear of his residence with a loaded 7 mm rifle in hand and a loaded 12 gauge shotgun with buckshot, a loaded .22 rifle and using a utility street light to shine deer to shoot them at night.

Upon further investigation, agents learned that near the light Savoie placed several pounds of soybeans on the ground to attract deer at night.

After Savoie was disarmed by agents, Savoie was questioned.  Savoie admitted to harvesting two antlerless deer during illegal hours on Dec. 20 and attempting to harvest more deer during illegal hours on the night of Dec. 25.

Hunting deer during illegal hours brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail per count.  Taking deer illegally during an open season carries a $500 to $750 fine and 15 to 30 days in jail.  Taking over limit of deer and hunting with an unplugged shotgun each brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Failing to comply with deer tagging requirements carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Hunting without a big game license carries a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail.

Agents seized one Remington 7 mm rifle, one Ruger .22 rifle, and one 12 gauge shotgun.

Agents involved in case are Lt. Joseph Arnaud and Senior Agents Jamie Folse and Ryan Breaux.

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

LPB To Premier “Delta Guardians” on Jan. 8

Release Date: 01/06/2014

LPB To Premier “Delta Guardians” on Jan. 8

When you think of law enforcement, you may not automatically consider the brave men and women of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, but these highly trained and dedicated professionals put their lives on the line to protect both the people who live, work and play in America’s delta, and the unique array of fish and wildlife that calls this region home.

Delta Guardians, the third program in Louisiana Public Broadcasting’s Alive! In America’s Delta series, premieres Wednesday, January 8 at 7 p.m. followed by Black Bear Comeback at 7:30 p.m.  Delta Guardians will have an encore showing on LPB HD on Sunday, Jan. 12 at 5:30 p.m.  WLAE-TV32 in New Orleans will air the program on Friday, Jan. 10 at 8:30 p.m.  Delta Guardians will also be simulcast on www.lpb.org starting at 7 p.m. and will be available for two weeks on the LPB site.

During times of disaster, these “delta guardians” are most often the first to the scene. They were the unsung heroes in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, rescuing thousands trapped after the storms, but the larger job they are called to do is even more daunting.

Wildlife and Fisheries agents use modern tools and techniques to police and prosecute poachers, educate people about water and firearm safety, and protect seafood and wildlife populations and their habitats.

“You run into somebody in the grocery store and they think all you do is check hunting licenses and fishing licenses,” Mayne said.  “The actuality is that we do that but also do everything from white collar investigations in the seafood industry, tax evasion, money laundering, public safety on our state’s waterways to DWI enforcement.”

According to Mayne, there is definitely an element of danger involved when you are dealing with people who are armed or put into situations where the elements are against you.

“When you have agents who are getting 40 miles offshore in ten-foot seas trying to jump from one boat to another boat, sometimes it gets a little hairy,” Mayne said.

This program follows these defenders of America’s delta deep into the swamps, forests, marshes, and coastal waters of Louisiana’s wetlands.  Witness these tireless – and heroic -- efforts as agents protect Louisiana’s wildlife and fisheries resources and the people who use them for recreation or commercial gain.

The first programs in the series will also premiere in New Orleans on WLAE-TV32 in January.  The Whooping Crane’s Majestic Return will air on Friday, Jan. 17 at 8:30 p.m.

Underwriting for this program was provided by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Foundation for Excellence in Louisiana Public Broadcasting.

For more information, contact Bob Neese at LPB at bneese@lpb.org or call (800) 272-8161, ext. 4274 or Adam Einck at LDWF at aeinck@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2465.  You can also visit the website at lpb.org/alive.

LDWF Agents Cite Destrehan Man for Duck Hunting Violations

Release Date: 01/06/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited a Louisiana man for alleged duck hunting violations on Jan. 1, 2014, in Jefferson Parish.

Agents cited Frank Abbate Jr., 56, of Destrehan, for hunting ducks during illegal hours.

Agents received several complaints from a confidential source that a man was hunting ducks after legal hours in Westwego near a grain elevator on the Mississippi River.  Agents witnessed the subject cross the levee on foot, cross a road and enter an opening in a gate at a business located on River Road.

Agents witnessed the subject continue to hunt ducks until 5:42 p.m., which official legal shooting time ended at 5:11 p.m.  The agents seized five black bellied tree ducks.  Abbate Jr. was cited for the same offense in 2005.

Hunting ducks during illegal hours for the second offense brings a $750 to $999 fine and 90 to 180 days in jail.  The subject may also be responsible for restitution for the illegally taken ducks in the amount of $130.

Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Kris Bourgeois, Sgt. Villerie Reggio, and Senior Agent Robert Cosse.

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

Reward Offered for Information on Dead Black Bear

Release Date: 12/23/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents are seeking leads for an illegally killed black bear that was found in Concordia Parish.

A citizen alerted authorities on Dec. 20 about a dead black bear lying in the woods in the Yancey Wildlife Management Area.  The bear was collected and sent in for a necropsy.

The necropsy revealed the bear was probably dead for about a week and that it was shot with a bullet through the ribcage.  Agents believe the bear was shot from an elevated deer stand since the bullet went through the ribcage at an angle.

LDWF’s Operation Game Thief program is offering a cash reward totaling up to $1,000 and the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust is offering up to $5,000 to anyone with information that leads to the arrest and conviction for this illegal killing of a black bear.

Anyone with information regarding this illegal bear killing should call the Louisiana Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-442-2511 or use LDWF's tip411 program.  To use the tip411 program, citizens can text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the "LADWF Tips" iPhone and Android app from the Apple App Store or Google Play free of charge.

The hotline and the tip411 program are monitored 24 hours a day.  Tipsters can also remain anonymous.

The Louisiana black bear has been listed on the Federal Threatened and Endangered Species List since 1992.  Citizens are reminded that killing a Louisiana black bear is a violation of both state law and the federal Endangered Species Act.  Violators are subject to penalties of up to $50,000 and six months in jail.  In addition, a restitution fine of $10,000 for the bear may be imposed on anyone convicted of killing a black bear in Louisiana.

With the number of bear and hunter interactions on the rise within the last couple of years, LDWF encourages hunters to carry bear spray.

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

Body of Central Man Recovered from Bayou Pigeon

Release Date: 12/22/2013

Search and rescue personnel from four different agencies and volunteers located the body of a Central man this morning, Dec. 22, in Bayou Pigeon in Iberia Parish.

Rescue personnel from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office, Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Assumption Parish Sheriff’s Office along with countless volunteers found the body of Brent J. LeBlanc, 37, this morning around 8:30 a.m.

Rescuers received a call around 4 p.m. on Dec. 21 about a surface drive vessel floating in Bayou Pigeon about a mile southwest from the Bayou Pigeon landing.  LDWF agents and Sheriff Office deputies searched into the night until severe weather made them call off the search for the night.  They resumed the search at first light this morning.

LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this boating crash incident.  It is unknown at this time how LeBlanc got ejected from the vessel.  Investigators do not suspect alcohol was a factor at this time.  LeBlanc was found without a personal flotation device.

LeBlanc’s body was turned over to the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 226-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Night Hunter in East Baton Rouge Parish Cited for Hunting Violations

Release Date: 12/20/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited a Baker man for alleged deer hunting violations on Dec. 18 in East Baton Rouge Parish.

Agents cited William R. Aucoin, 61, for two counts of hunting deer during illegal hours, four counts of hunting deer using illegal methods, two counts of illegal possession of poisonous arrow pods, obstruction of justice and no possession of deer tags.

Agents were notified by a confidential informant that Aucoin was night hunting on the west side of Zachary off of Hwy. 61.  Agents set up surveillance on Dec. 18 and found his hunting site.

Agents then came back to Aucoin’s hunting site around 6:30 p.m. and found him sitting in his stand with a bow and arrow armed, night vision goggles (NVG) and a flashlight attached to his bow.  Aucoin was not in possession of deer tags.

Agents also saw Aucoin fidgeting with his arrow and then throw an object on the ground.  During the investigation, agents found a poisonous pod that attaches to an arrow.

During questioning Aucoin admitted to hunting deer that night and also admitted to hunting deer on Dec. 2 at night with the same illegal setup.

Agents seized Aucoin’s bow and arrow, NVGs and flashlight.

Hunting deer during illegal hours brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Hunting deer using illegal methods and using illegal poisonous pods each carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Failing to possess deer tags brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 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 are Lt. Will Roberts, Sgt Guy Adams and Sgt. Carl Armstrong.

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

Two Men Cited For Red Drum Violations In Plaquemines Parish

Release Date: 12/19/2013

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agent cited two men for alleged recreational fishing violations on Dec. 18 in Plaquemines Parish.

LDWF Sgt. Villere Reggio cited Gilbert Merricks, 62, of New Orleans, and Corey Carter, 44, of Laplace, for possessing undersized red drum and for possessing more than the five red drum per person per day limit.

Sgt. Reggio found the men in possession of 47 red drum of which 29 were under the legal size limit of 16 inches.

Taking or possessing undersized red drum carries up to a $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Taking more than double the red drum limit brings up to a $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  The two men also face a grand total of $979.39 in civil restitution charges to the State of Louisiana for the illegally taken red drum.

The case will be forwarded to the District Attorney Charles Ballay for prosecution. Agents involved in the case are Sgt. Villere Reggio and Sgt. Adam Young.

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

Deer Hunter Pleads Guilty Of Attempting To Take Deer by Snare

Release Date: 12/13/2013

A Turkey Creek man pleaded guilty to taking deer illegally on Dec. 13 in the 13th Judicial Court in Evangeline Parish.

Judge Tom Fusilier sentenced Corey S. Gautreaux, 25, to pay a $1,000 fine and $122.50 in court costs, revoked his hunting privileges for two years and to 30 days of jail, which will be suspended.

On Oct. 23, 2011 Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited Gautreaux for taking deer illegally by snare in Evangeline Parish.

Agents received a complaint that Gautreaux had put several snares out on private land near the St. Landry community off of Frontier Road.  The snares appeared to be set in a manner to take deer.

Agents went to the area to investigate on Oct. 23, 2011.  After locating the snares, agents found a camera and a deer stand set up near the snares.  After reviewing the photos on the camera, agents found photos of Gautreaux checking the snares.

On that same afternoon agents found Gautreaux sitting in the stand with a bow and arrow.  After advising Gautreaux of his rights, he admitted to setting the snares for deer.

All the snares along with the camera were forfeited to the state.

Assistant District Attorney Tim Fontenot prosecuted the case.  Sgt. Scott D. Fontenot was the lead investigative agent in the case.

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

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