Enforcement

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.

Two Florida Men Cited for Fishing Violations

Release Date: 05/25/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited two Florida men for alleged fishing violations on May 18 near Fourchon in Lafourche Parish.

Agents cited Roberto C. Arenas, 51, and Lucio Alamo, 60, for possession of more than 10 red drum off of the water, taking and possessing undersized red drum and black drum, intentional littering, angling without non-resident basic and saltwater fishing licenses and obtaining licenses by fraud.

After receiving a complaint of illegal fishing and littering violations, agents setup surveillance and allegedly observed Arenas and Alamo catching and keeping undersized red drum and throwing beer cans in the marsh off of Hwy. 1 near Fourchon.

Agents found Arenas and Alamo to be in possession of 24 red drum and two black drum all under the 16 inch minimum size requirement, and two sheepshead.  Agents also discovered that both subjects possessed Louisiana basic and saltwater fishing licenses that they purchased illegally with a Louisiana ID, as they are residents of the state of Florida with Florida driver’s licenses.

Possession of more than 10 red drum off of the water brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Obtaining a license by fraud carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Taking and possessing undersized red and black drum brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Intentional littering carries a $250 fine and eight hours of community service in a litter abatement work program.  Angling without non-resident basic and saltwater fishing licenses brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail for each offense.

Agents participating in the case were Lt. Joseph Arnaud, Sgt. Thomas Dewitt, and Sr. Agents Doug Danna and Thomas Wolf.

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

LDWF Agent Receives Boating Award

Release Date: 05/22/2012

Lt. Spencer Cole

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agent was decorated with the 2012 Southern Regional Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award on May 15.

The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) acknowledged the work of LDWF Lt. Spencer Cole, 37, of Pineville, with the award for his “outstanding service to recreational boating.”  Lt. Cole will have a chance to win the 2012 Butch Potts Memorial Award for the National Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award at the NASBLA Annual Conference in September.  The other two nominees for the national award are Master Conservation Officer Shawn Brown of Indiana for the Northern Region and Ranger Dawn Larsen of Utah for the Western Region.

“This is a great achievement and one that is very deserving,” said Col. Winton Vidrine, head of LDWF Enforcement Division.  “Lt. Cole has spearheaded many boating programs that have helped create standardized training for our agents that will in turn result in more efficient boating safety, maritime security and search and rescue missions.”

Lt. Cole headed up LDWF’s Boat Operations and Training (BOAT) program, which provides a true national standard for training and ensures maritime agencies can interact together.  He was instrumental in LDWF becoming the first agency in the United States to earn national accreditation for the NASBLA BOAT program in 2011.  Also in 2011, Lt. Cole worked to get LDWF's BOAT program accredited in Louisiana’s Peace Officer and Standardized Training (POST) council.  These accreditations made Louisiana the first state to officially adopt the BOAT program as a law enforcement standard for maritime boating safety enforcement and search and rescue training.

Through the BOAT program accreditation, Lt. Cole has planned for every LDWF agent to complete the NASBLA Level One Boating Accident Investigation Course in 2012.  Lt. Cole also worked with NASBLA to get two LDWF agents certified as instructors in the Level One Boat Accident Course.

"Receiving the BOAT program accreditations were significant achievements for the department as we work with the U.S. Coast Guard, State Police and local authorities daily in patrolling our local waterways," said LDWF Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, the state's Boating Law Administrator.  "This training program allows every enforcement agency responsible for securing and providing safe passage on our waterways to train together and be on the same page during natural disasters and maritime security threats.”

Lt. Cole is the coordinator of the driving while intoxicated (DWI) enforcement agent training, which has led to increases in the efficiency, quality and quantity of DWI detection training LDWF agents receive annually.

Lt. Cole joined the LDWF Enforcement Division in 1999.  He has been active in recreational boating law enforcement and training throughout his career and became LDWF’s Director of Training in 2010.

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

Four Cited for Offshore Fishing Violations

Release Date: 05/21/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited five men for alleged fishing violations on May 15.

At 4:30 p.m., agents boarded the offshore supply vessel, M/V Tristian Janice, that was tied to an offshore platform.  Agents found Terry L. Bell, 42, of Livingston, and Zachary J. Thomas, 30, Houston, Texas fishing from the vessel and where fish had been cleaned on the rear deck.

After further investigation, agents found that Bell caught four red snapper and Thomas one red snapper.  Bell and Thomas were both cited for possession of red snapper during a closed season.  Bell was also cited for over the limit of red snapper.

At 5:45 p.m., agents boarded the F/V Arc Angel, a commercial shrimping vessel.  Upon inspection of commercial licenses and permits, agents found that the vessel did not have the required federal shrimping permit to commercially shrimp in federal waters.  Agents cited Raymond A. Herrera, 48, of Grand Bay, Ala., for not possessing a federal shrimping permit.

At 6:42 p.m., agents boarded the F/V Manana, a commercial shrimping vessel.  Agents found the captain, John C. Aleman, 51, Laguna Vista, Texas, on board and in possession of six red snapper.  All of the red snapper on board measured less than the minimum size of 16 inches.  Agents cited Aleman for possession of undersized red snapper during a closed season.

The recreational season for red snapper opens June 1, 2012 during which time the limit is two per person.

Taking red snapper during a closed season, taking over the limit of red snapper and taking undersized red snapper each carries a fine up to $350 and up to 60 days in jail.  Violating federal shrimping regulations carries a civil fine determined by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

LDWF maintains a Joint Enforcement Agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s NMFS for assistance in patrolling federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.  All three vessels boarded were approximately 50 miles offshore in federal waters.

Agents participating in these cases were Lt. Robert Buatt, Sgt. David Sanford, and Senior Agents Anthony Verret and Beau Robertson.

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

Three Men Cited for Red Snapper Violations

Release Date: 05/18/2012

 

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited three men for fishing violations on May 16 in federal waters.

LDWF Strike Force agents cited Vergice Bergeron, 41, of Cutoff, Chester Ellingson, 52, of Morgan City, and Jimmy Pitre, 32, of Galliano for possession of red snapper during a closed season, over limit of red snapper and failing to keep saltwater fish intact.

Agents seized 42 red snapper fillets that weighed approximately 21 pounds.  The civil restitution value of 21 red snappers totals $602.49.

Red snapper season in Gulf of Mexico waters opens on June 1 with a two fish per person per day limit.

While on a Joint Enforcement Agreement (JEA) patrol 40 miles into the Gulf of Mexico, agents observed an oil supply boat tied to a stationary rig.  Upon approaching the rig, agents observed several rods and reels on the deck of the vessel. Upon further investigation, agents discovered fillets of red snapper.

Taking red snapper during a closed season carries a fine up to $350 and up to 60 days in jail.  Taking over the limit of red snapper and failing to keep saltwater finfish intact brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail for each offense.
Agents participating in the case were Lt. Joseph Arnaud and Senior Agents Nick Guillory and Doug Danna.

LDWF maintains a JEA with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fishery Service for assistance in patrolling federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

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

Louisiana Safe Boating Week Set For May 19-25

Release Date: 05/17/2012

Louisiana is once again participating in the national "Safe Boating Week" that is scheduled for May 19-25 and signifies the beginning of the spring and summer boating season.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will again be reminding all boaters to be safe, responsible and knowledgeable while on the water during this safe boating week.  Safe Boating Week is a time for all boaters to inspect their vessels to ensure that all required safety equipment is on board and that vessels are in good working condition.

LDWF Enforcement Division agents will be out in full force as always during the week to perform boating safety checks and driving or operating a vessel while intoxicated (DWI) patrols.  Each vessel should have enough personal flotation devices (PFD) on board for all occupants and a sober operator.

"Personal flotation devices are made to be worn and not sit in a vessel storage compartment.  Even if you consider yourself to be a strong swimmer, we (LDWF) still encourage everyone on a boat to wear a personal flotation device whenever the boat is in motion," said LDWF Boating Safety Officer Capt. Rachel Zechenelly.  “A personal flotation device on a boat should be treated the same as a seatbelt in a car, because they are both easy to use and are proven to save lives."

LDWF boating incident statistics indicate that 19 out of the 36 boating fatalities in 2011 were drownings that could have been prevented if the person was wearing a PFD.  LDWF regulations state that anyone 16 years of age and younger must wear a PFD while underway in vessels less than 26 foot long.  For more boating and PFD regulations, please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating.

Agents issued 108 DWIs on the water last year to operators of vessels.  Alcohol consumption impairs a boater's judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.  Alcohol also increases fatigue and susceptibility to hypothermia.  Intensifying the effects of alcohol are sun, wind, noise, vibration and movement, which are all common to boating activities.

The penalties for DWI on the water are the same as on the road.  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 on the water or on the road 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.  Again, every DWI offense is also subject to a suspension of driving a vehicle and operating a boat privileges.

"One of the best parts of our job is to see people utilize Louisiana's waterways for recreation in accordance to the boating safety regulations and return home safely to loved ones.  However, the worst part of our job is to search for deceased bodies and notify family members of their loss," said LDWF Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, the State Boating Law Administrator.  "The two ways to make boating safe, fun and a memorable experience is to have a sober operator and to have everyone wear a personal flotation device when the vessel is underway."

LDWF also wants to remind anybody born after Jan. 1, 1984 that they are required to successfully complete a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) boating education course to operate a motorboat over 10 horsepower.  LDWF offers these classes free of charge statewide.  For a list of courses, please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating/courses.

*Media - To schedule a boating safety ride along for a story, please contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Video

St. Amant Man Arrested for DWI Following Collision With LDWF Patrol Boat

Release Date: 05/15/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents arrested a St. Amant man for allegedly driving or operating a personal watercraft while intoxicated (DWI) on May 11.

Agents arrested Gary Miller, 43, for third offense DWI, reckless operation of a vessel and operating a watercraft while under a driver’s license suspension.

According to witnesses, on May 6 at about 7:40 p.m. Miller was travelling downstream at a high rate of speed on the Amite River near French Settlement when he collided with an LDWF patrol vessel.

Miller required medical treatment and was released later that same night.  The LDWF agent, Sgt. Randy Lanoux, suffered no injuries.  Miller’s personal watercraft was badly damaged, while the patrol boat suffered minor damage.

On May 11, after LDWF agents received the results of Miller’s blood test that allegedly showed him over the legal alcohol limit, a warrant was obtained for his arrest.

Third offense DWI brings up to a $2,000 and one to five years in jail.  Reckless operation of a vessel carries up to a $200 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Operating a watercraft while under suspension brings an additional one year suspension of his driving privileges.

Agents participating in the investigation were Lt. Will Roberts, Sgt. Todd Lewis, Sgt. Dennis Bueche, Senior Agent Clay Marquez and Senior Agent Hal Bridges.

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

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