Enforcement

LDWF Enforcement Agent Recognized at March Commission Meeting

Release Date: 03/01/2018

Sec. Jack Montoucet, Senior Agent Tyler Wheeler and Col. Sammy Martin

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agent was honored at the March 1 Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting held in Baton Rouge.

Shikar-Safari Club International presented their 2017 Conservation Officer of the Year award for Louisiana to LDWF Senior Agent Tyler Wheeler, of Monroe.  The Shikar-Safari award recognizes an agent from each state for outstanding efforts in conservation law enforcement.

Senior Agent Tyler Wheeler, 26, was shot four times including once in the head and once in the back around 2 a.m. on Jan. 7, 2017, on Hwy. 165 between Sterlington and Bastrop in Morehouse Parish.  After numerous surgeries and countless hours of physical therapy, Wheeler was cleared to return to full time duty in late July of 2017.

“Senior Agent Wheeler was put through a lot in 2017 including getting shot in the line of duty and then having the motivation to put in all the hard work to return to duty within eight months,” said Col. Sammy Martin, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division.  “We are happy to have him back and he has been picking right up where he left off before getting shot and that is being one of our top agents in the field.”

Wheeler has been an LDWF agent for five years and mainly patrols northeast Louisiana.  Wheeler also received the LDWF Enforcement Division’s “Agent of the Year” award in 2017.

$5,500 Reward Offered for Information on Dead Black Bears

Release Date: 02/28/2018

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement agents are seeking leads for two illegally killed black bears in St. Mary Parish.

A citizen alerted authorities on Feb. 14, 2018 about a dead black bear that was located off of Humble Canal in a marshy area about 10 miles south of Franklin.  Agents responded to the scene and found another dead black bear about a mile in a half away from the first reported black bear.

A necropsy revealed that both of the adult male bears were shot and illegally killed around Feb. 2 to 4, which was a weekend.

The Humane Society of the United States, the Acadiana Chapter of Safari Club International, the Safari Club International Foundation and LDWF’s Operation Game Thief program are teaming up to offer a reward totaling $5,500 to anyone with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the illegal killing of these black bears.

Anyone with information regarding this illegal 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. Upon request, informants can remain anonymous.

LDWF Agents Rescue Overdue Boater Near East Carroll Parish

Release Date: 02/21/2018

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents successfully rescued an overdue boater last night, Feb. 20, in the Mississippi River near East Carroll Parish.

Agents received a report around 4 p.m. of an overdue boater on the Mississippi River in the Bunches Bend Cutoff area about 10 miles north of Lake Providence.  Agents responded to the area and were able to use the services of a local pilot to locate the overdue boater from the air.

Agents arrived to the coordinates given by the pilot around 6:30 p.m. and found the missing 81 year old Oak Grove man with severe injuries and a damaged vessel.  Agents were able to stabilize the man and transport him to the nearest boat launch where an ambulance was waiting to transport him to a local hospital.

Agents believe the operator of the vessel hit a tree making the vessel inoperable and leaving the operator with severe injuries to the face and body.  The man is expected to make a full recovery at this time.

Three Louisiana Men Cited for Red and Black Drum Violations

Release Date: 02/21/2018

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agent cited three Louisiana men for alleged fishing violations in Plaquemines Parish on Feb. 15.

The agent cited David Lee Kimbrough Jr., 46 of Kenner, Michael Bazile Jr., 44, of New Orleans, and Devin Reynolds, 24, of Kenner, for possessing over the limit of red drum and taking undersized red drum.  Kimbrough Jr. was also cited for taking undersized black drum.  Bazile and Reynolds were also cited for angling without basic and saltwater licenses.

While on patrol, an LDWF agent observed the three men actively fishing from the bank around Port Sulphur.  During a license and creel check the agent discovered that Bazile and Reynolds did not possess basic and saltwater fishing licenses.

The agent found Kimbrough Jr. in possession of 38 red drum, of which 16 were undersized, and two undersized black drum.  The agent also found Bazile Jr. in possession of eight undersized red drum and Reynolds in possession of 11 red drum, of which two were undersized.

Licensed anglers are allowed five red drum and five black drum per day with a minimum size limit of 16 inches.

Taking over the limit of red drum, taking undersized red drum and taking undersized black drum each carry a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Possessing over 10 red drum brings a $400 to $950 fine and 120 days in jail.  Angling without basic and saltwater fishing licenses each bring up to a $50 fine and 15 days in jail.

The men may also face civil restitution for the replacement value of the fish totaling $878 for Kimbrough, $211 for Bazile Jr., and $291 for Reynolds.

Agent Observes Illegal Fish Transaction in Terrebonne Parish

Release Date: 02/14/2018

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited two men for their roles in an alleged illegal fish buying and selling transaction in Terrebonne Parish.

Agents cited Patrick Percle, 55, of Schriever, on Feb. 5 for purchasing game fish and buying fish from an unlicensed dealer.  Agents also cited Timmy Autin, 56, of Houma, on Feb. 9 for selling or buying fish without a wholesale/retail license, failing to maintain records, selling or purchasing game fish, selling undersized fish, and buying commercial fish from an unlicensed dealer.

An Agent on patrol on Feb. 5 observed a truck belonging to Percle with multiple ice chests in the bed parked at a gas station on the corner of Hwy. 20 and North Main Project Road in Schriever.  The agent then noticed Autin approach the truck and pour ice and fish into the ice chests in the bed of Percle’s truck.  The agent then observed Percle hand Autin money.

The agent then followed Percle as he left the gas station and stopped his vehicle.  During questioning, Percle admitted to the agent that he purchased red drum and crabs for $50.  The agent counted 22 red drum in the cooler of which 20 were undersized and six dozen crabs.

On Feb. 9, agents met with Autin where he admitted to buying the fish and crabs from another person and then called Percle to sell the fish and crabs to him.

Agents seized the fish and donated them to a local charity and returned the crabs back to the water.

Selling or purchasing game fish and buying commercial fish from an unlicensed dealer each carries a $350 to $500 and 30 days in jail for each offense.

Selling or buying fish without a wholesale/retail license, failing to maintain records, and selling undersized fish each brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail for each offense.

Three Restaurants Caught Selling Swai Fish as Catfish

Release Date: 02/14/2018

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited three restaurant managers on Jan. 26 in central Louisiana for allegedly selling swai fish as catfish.

Agents cited Robert Fant, 63, of Pineville, Mollie McDowell, 27, of Pineville, and Michael Rhodes, 39, of Pineville, for selling swai fish as catfish to their customers.

Agents received a tip that the Rosie Joe’s restaurant in Alexandria and the Crazy Cajun restaurant in Tioga were selling swai fish as catfish.  Agents performed an inspection of both restaurants and found that catfish was listed on the menu and found swai fish in the freezer.  Agents cited McDowell and Fant as a result of these restaurant inspections.

Agents also learned that the same practice occurs at the Debarge’s Crawfish restaurant in Alexandria and cited Rhodes.

Selling swai fish as catfish brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.

LDWF Agent Arrests Man for Crabbing and Criminal Violations

Release Date: 02/08/2018

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agent arrested a St. Bernard man for alleged criminal and commercial fishing violations on Feb. 6 in St. Bernard Parish.

Agent arrested Michael L. Diaz III, 23, for resisting an officer, taking commercial fish without commercial fishing and vessel licenses, using crab traps without required markings, violating crab trap ring requirements, and intentional littering.

The agent was on patrol in Bayou La Loutre when he observed Diaz III actively fishing crab traps.  The agent approached Diaz III to conduct a commercial license compliance check and commercial fish inspection.

During the inspection, Diaz III was unable to present commercial fishing and vessel licenses.  Diaz III also possessed multiple untagged crab traps, which he admitted to fishing prior to placing into his vessel.  The untagged crab traps were also absent of a third escape ring required during commercial fishing.

When told he would need to release his crabs back into the water, Diaz III threw the crabs and basket into the bayou.  During the Agents encounter with Diaz III, He ignored Agents lawful commands to exit his vessel and became non-compliant.

The agent with assistance from St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies were then able to detain and arrest Diaz III and book him into the St. Bernard Parish Jail.

Taking commercial fish without commercial fishing and vessel licenses each carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Violating crab trap escape ring requirements and using crab traps without required markings each carries a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.

Littering carries up to a $500 fine and serving eight hours in a litter abatement work program.  Resisting an officer brings up to a $500 fine and six months in jail.

St. Bernard Crabber Cited for Numerous Violations

Release Date: 02/08/2018

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited a St. Bernard man for alleged crabbing violations on Feb. 5, 2018.

Agents cited Lynn L. Alfonso, 41, for using crab traps without required markings, violating crab trap escape ring requirements, and taking commercial fish without a vessel license.

The Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office also cited Alfonso and his deckhand for criminal trespassing.

Authorities observed Alfonso in the Point a La Hache area checking crab traps on private property.  Alfonso was also using crab traps without tags and with less than the required three escape rings.

Using crab traps without the required markings and violating crab trap escape ring requirements each bring a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Taking commercial fish without a vessel license carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Criminal trespassing brings a $100 to $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail.

Bethany Man Caught On Game Camera Illegally Hunting and Trespassing

Release Date: 02/07/2018

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents arrested a Bethany man for alleged criminal and hunting violations on Feb. 3 in Caddo Parish.

Agents arrested Richard Wilson Jr., 38, for resisting an officer, theft, hunting without basic and big game hunting licenses, hunting deer during illegal hours, failing to comply with deer tagging regulations, criminal trespassing, and hunting deer using illegal methods.

Agents received a tip about a man being caught on a game camera hunting at night on a private lease without permission.  Agents setup surveillance on the area and observed a man fitting the description hunting at night.  When agents approached the man and identified themselves as LDWF agents, the man fled the area on foot.

Through further investigation, agents were able to identify the man as Wilson Jr.  Agents then got a search and arrest warrant for Wilson Jr.  Upon serving the warrants and during questioning, Wilson Jr. admitted to illegally hunting at night, not possessing the required hunting licenses, stealing game cameras, and using a .17 caliber rifle to hunt deer.

Wilson Jr. also admitted to taking an antlered deer during the 2016-17 hunting season and two antlered deer during the 2017-18 hunting season all at night without tags.

Agents seized two rifles, three sets of antlers and packaged deer meat.

Hunting deer at night carries a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Hunting deer using illegal methods brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Failing to comply with deer tagging regulations carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Hunting without basic and big game licenses each brings up to a $50 fine and 15 days in jail for each offense.

Resisting an officer carries up to a $500 fine and six months in jail.  Theft brings up to a $3,000 fine and five years in jail.  Criminal trespassing carries a $100 to $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail.

Wilson Jr. may also face civil restitution totaling $4,873 for the replacement value of the illegally taken deer.

Louisiana Operation Game Thief, Inc. Issued $4,800 in Rewards At Meeting

Release Date: 02/06/2018

Louisiana Operation Game Thief, Inc. (LOGT), a Louisiana wildlife crime-stoppers program, awarded $4,800 to diligent citizens statewide at their quarterly meeting on Jan. 27 in Baton Rouge.

The LOGT board reviewed 13 cases that included public tips from informants.  A total of 23 subjects were apprehended and a total of 181 offenses were written in regards to the reviewed cases.

The cases reviewed and awarded money to the public for their assistance consisted of 10 deer cases, an alligator case, and two migratory waterfowl cases.

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 tip411 program.  To use the tip411 program, tipsters can text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the "LADWF Tips" iPhone and Android apps.

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.

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