Enforcement

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.

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.

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