Enforcement

Authorities Searching for Missing Baton Rouge Couple

Release Date: 12/28/2011

Search and rescue personnel with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office are currently searching for a Baton Rouge couple in St. Tammany Parish following a boating incident.

LDWF Enforcement Division agents were notified by a passing boater around 10 a.m. this morning, Dec. 28, about a capsized boat that was found on the Bogue Chitto River in the Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge (NWR).  The boat belongs to William Holloway, 63, and his wife Kathy, 61.

According to a relative, the Holloways last contact was around 3 p.m. on Dec. 27.  The Holloways were camping on the Bogue Chitto NWR and still have their vehicle parked at the Lock No. 3 boat launch on the Pearl River Navigational Canal off of Lock No. 3 Road.  The Holloways also still have possessions at their campsite.

The 14-foot aluminum flat bottom boat was found about a mile from the boat launch.  LDWF has retrieved the boat and is investigating the cause of this boating incident.

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

Father and Son Rescued After Boat Capsizes

Release Date: 12/27/2011

Rescue personnel from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division, St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Office (SMSO) and the U.S. Coast Guard assisted in rescuing a father and son from Duck Lake in St. Martin Parish this morning, Dec. 27.

Russ Tircuit, 58, and his son Michael Tircuit, 25, both of Addis were rescued from the water about 8:35 a.m. by SMSO deputies and transported to the Franklin Foundation Hospital for hypothermia treatment.

Rescue personnel received a 911 call around 8 a.m. from Michael Tircuit that he was able to place on his cell phone.  Michael told the rescuers where they were and that they were clinging to the bow of their capsized boat.

According to Michael, he and his father were duck hunting and got into their 16 foot aluminum boat to retrieve a duck that was floating away.  The boat struck an object in the water, which caused the boat to take a violent right turn ejecting him and his father into the water.

According to Michael, his father was wearing a kill switch, which cut off the boat’s 90 horsepower motor.  When the boat came to a stop they were able to swim back to the floating capsized boat and hang on until rescuers were on sight.

“If the father was not wearing a kill switch, then this incident could have been a tragedy.  We have seen boating incidents similar to this one that turned fatal because the operator was not wearing a kill switch and the runaway boat hit ejected people in the water,” said Col. Winton Vidrine, LDWF’s Chief Law Enforcement Officer.

The LDWF Enforcement Division will conduct a boating investigation to determine the cause of the incident.

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

Black Bear Found Dead in Pointe Coupee Parish

Release Date: 12/22/2011

 

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents are seeking leads for an illegally killed black bear that was found floating in the Mississippi River in Pointe Coupee Parish.

Hunters in the area reported the bear to LDWF on Sunday, Dec. 11 near the old ferry landing.  LDWF performed a necropsy on the bear at the recovery scene, which revealed the bear was shot multiple times and then probably disposed of into the river.  LDWF is estimating that the bear was shot either a day or two before being reported.

"The bear was a lactating female meaning this action has left orphan cubs out there somewhere that will now also die as a result of this unfortunate shooting," said Maria Davidson, LDWF's Large Carnivore Program Manager.  "Losing this mother bear and most likely her cubs is a serious setback for our plans to make the Louisiana black bear a sustainable game animal in the near future."

When LDWF officials went back to retrieve the bear they found the bear had been decapitated by someone since the last visit to the scene.  LDWF is warning the public that being found in possession of parts of a Louisiana black bear is against the law.

Anyone with information regarding this illegal bear killing or the whereabouts of the missing black bear head 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 app from the Apple iTunes store free of charge.

The hotline and the tip411 program are monitored 24 hours a day.  Cash rewards up to $5,000 are offered for information leading to the apprehension of individuals harming a black bear.  Tipsters can also remain anonymous.

"We have solved cases like this in the past with the public's help and we are again asking for any leads that might guide us in the right direction" said Col. Winton Vidrine, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division.  "

This bear has no reported nuisance history and by all accounts was a healthy adult female Louisiana black bear.

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 civil 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 and know a few simple rules.  If possible, a hunter encountering a bear should back away and proceed in another direction.  If a bear approaches, you should raise your arms over your head to appear larger and speak in a normal tone of voice to let the bear know you are there.  If the bear continues to approach, wave your arms and yell at the bear.  At this point a hunter could use bear spray to deter the bear's approach.

Hunters should also be aware that baiting deer with corn artificially concentrates bears near deer stands.  It is recommended that hunters either refrain from using corn for bait or use soybeans to reduce bear feeding activity.  Bear encounters can be reported to 1-800-442-2511.

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

New Iberia Man Sentenced for Taking Louisiana Black Bear

Release Date: 12/22/2011

 

A New Iberia man was sentenced in Federal Western District Court in Lafayette on Dec. 21 for illegally killing a Louisiana black bear.

Federal Judge Patrick J. Hanna sentenced Cory R. Ronsonet, 39, to three years of supervised probation, three years of no hunting privileges, a $3,000 fine and 300 hours of community service.  If the fine is paid and community service completed within six weeks, then the probation will be reduced to unsupervised.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents initiated the investigation during the 2008-09 hunting season after receiving a public tip that a black bear had been shot then skinned and stored in a fashion to mount it in the future.  Agents then found a black bear skin and its decapitated head on May 19, 2011 off of Daniel Lane near a subdivision in New Iberia.

During the investigation, Ronsonet admitted to LDWF Enforcement Division agents on May 31, 2011 of taking the black bear in question.  Ronsonet pleaded guilty for violating the federal endangered species act for illegally taking a black bear in Federal Western District Court in Lafayette on Aug. 17.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joe Mickel and Howard Parker prosecuted the case.  LDWF Senior Agent David Boudreaux was the lead investigator on the case and was assisted by Sgts. James Rhodes, Mitch Darby, Brian Theriot and Senior Agent Jason Romero.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent Phillip Siragusa also assisted with the investigation.

The bear had been a part of LDWF's black bear program and was first tagged in 2000 when it was estimated to be six years old.  The passive integrated transponder implanted during the initial capture was left in the hide when the bear was skinned and provided positive identification.  LDWF had never received a nuisance call about this older male bear that lived mostly in the Weeks Island area of lower Iberia Parish.

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.

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

Five Louisiana Subjects Cited for Duck Hunting Violations

Release Date: 12/20/2011

 

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division Agents cited five Slidell residents on Dec. 17 for alleged migratory game bird violations in Orleans Parish.

Agents cited David Marshall, 55, Charles Efferson, 49, Michael Landry, 42, Robert Landry, 52, and a juvenile for hunting over bait.  Agents also cited Robert Landry for an unplugged gun, Michael Landry for hunting with lead shot and the juvenile for over limit of scaup.

Agents were given an anonymous tip through the new tip411 smart phone application of possible illegal hunting activity in the Lake Catherine area.  Agents conducted an investigation into the complaint and found several baited ponds.  Agents seized 36 ducks from the subjects.

The state penalties for hunting migratory game birds over bait, hunting with an unplugged gun, use of lead shot and possessing over the limit of scaup brings fines between $400 and $950, or up to 120 days in jail and forfeiture of anything seized for each offense.  The subjects could each owe the state $956 in civil restitution for the illegally taken game.

LDWF launched the tip411 program at the end of September as a part of their Operation Game Thief program, which may offer a cash reward for information leading to arrests or convictions.

To use the tip411 program, citizens can 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.

Citizens can also call Operation Game Thief's Hotline at 1-800-442-2511.  The hotline and the tip411 program are monitored 24 hours a day.

Investigating Agents were Sgts. Kris Bourgeois and Todd Laviolette, Senior Agents Doug Danna and Austin Arteaga, and Agents Mike Williams and Jared Taylor.

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

Agents Cite Two Louisiana Residents for Insurance Fraud

Release Date: 12/20/2011

 

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited two Slidell residents on Dec. 15 for alleged insurance fraud charges.

Agents cited Robert F. Angle, 78, and Joyce G. Angle, 77, for theft by insurance fraud, filing false public documents and injuring public records.

LDWF agents and National Insurance Crime Bureau investigators started a joint investigation involving a boat that was claimed as lost by the Angle's following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  The boat in question was recently found registered in Florida and was seized by detectives in Lee County Florida.

The Angle's each face up to 10 years in jail and up to $3,000 in fines for theft by insurance fraud.  Injuring and filing false public records each bring a fine up to $5,000 and up to five years in jail.

LDWF agents Sgt. Todd Laviolette and Senior Agent Doug Danna were involved in the case.

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

Commercial Alligator Hunter Fined

Release Date: 12/15/2011

Dec. 15, 2011   A commercial alligator hunter from Sorrento was sentenced on Dec. 7 for alligator violations committed in Ascension Parish.

Judge Marylyn Lambert of the 23rd Judicial District Court in Ascension Parish ordered Arnold Villeneurve, 65, to pay a total of $5,242 in fines.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited Villeneurve on Sept. 2 for possessing nine untagged alligators.  

Agents found Villeneurve with two untagged alligators in his possession.  After further investigation, agents revealed Villeneurve had seven more untagged previously caught alligators stored in a cooler located at his residence.  Agents also seized Villeneurve's 25 unused alligator tags from the 2011 season.

Case agents were Senior Agent Hal Bridges and Sergeant Todd Laviolette.

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

Tip411 Complaint Leads to Deer Violations

Release Date: 12/09/2011

 

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited a Winnfield Man for alleged deer violations in Winn Parish on Dec. 1.

Agents cited Jeremy S. Rowell, 26, for possession of illegally taken deer, taking over the legal limit of deer, hunting without a basic and big game license and without deer tags.

Agents received information through their tip411 program about Rowell harvesting three deer on Dec. 1 in Winn Parish.  The investigation determined that Rowell killed three doe deer.

LDWF launched the tip411 program at the end of September as a part of their Operation Game Thief program, which may offer a cash reward for information leading to arrests or convictions.

To use the tip411 program, citizens can 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.

Citizens can also call Operation Game Thief's Hotline at 1-800-442-2511.  The hotline and the tip411 program are monitored 24 hours a day.

Possession of an illegally taken deer brings a fine between $400 and $950 and up to 120 days in jail.  Taking over the limit of deer carries a fine of $250 to $500 and up to 90 days in jail.  Hunting without a basic license, big game license and deer tags are each punishable with a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail.

Rowell may also be responsible for civil restitution to LDWF in the amount of $1,624 per illegally taken deer.

Agents participating in the case were Sgt. Rusty Perry and Senior Agent Heath Wood.

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

Terrebonne Parish Man Cited for Filing False Boat Registration

Release Date: 12/08/2011

 

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited a Houma man for alleged boat registration violations in East Baton Rouge Parish on Dec. 6, 2011.

LDWF Strike Force and Undercover agents cited Chad Sagona, 36, for possessing a motorboat with an altered hull identification number and an outboard motor with altered serial number.  Agents also cited Sagona for injuring and filing false public records for his attempt to illegally register a boat.

Undercover agents answered an Internet classified ad in reference to a subject wanting to purchase a Louisiana boat registration for a vessel that could not receive a legal registration.  Undercover agents made contact with Sagona and sold him a false registration.

Sagona allegedly registered the vessel in his name with the false registration.  Agents seized the vessel along with a Yamaha outboard motor and boat trailer.

Filing false and injuring public records brings up to five years in jail and up to $5,000 in fines for each offense.  If found guilty of altering a hull identification number and outboard serial number, Sagona faces a $50 fine for each charge and forfeiture of his boat and motor.

Agents involved in the case were Lt. Joseph Arnaud, Agent Jake Darden and LDWF undercover agents.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Franklin Man Pleads Guilty to Alligator Violations

Release Date: 12/08/2011

 

A Franklin man pleaded guilty on Dec. 7 in the Lafayette Division of the Western District Federal Court of Louisiana to alligator charges.

Federal Magistrate Michael Hill sentenced Daniel A. Edgar, 62, to pay a $2,000 fine for pleading guilty to taking alligators from an unapproved area.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited Edgar on Sept. 7, 2006 in Iberia and St. Martin parishes for running alligator lines set in areas in the Atchafalaya Basin.  Edgar did not have alligator tags for where his alligator lines were set.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Luke Walker prosecuted the case.  LDWF agents participating in the case were Sgt. James Rhodes, Sgt. Ronald Hebert, Senior Agent Donnie Bozeman and Senior Agent Jerry Stassi.

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

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