Enforcement

LDWF Agents Performing Search and Rescue Missions in Florida Parishes

Release Date: 08/12/2016

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement agents have currently rescued a total of 85 people and 12 animals to date due to the flooding in Louisiana.

Starting around 4 a.m. this morning, Aug. 12, agents have rescued 85 people and 12 animals mostly in St. Helena, Tangipahoa and Washington Parishes.

Agents are currently performing search and rescue missions in these parishes and the number of people and animals rescued will rise over the course of the day. Agents will also remain on alert and be ready for further search and rescue activities until the flood waters recede.

The flooding is being caused by a lingering surface low that is drawing in tropical moisture into the southeastern and coastal parishes. Numerous showers and thunderstorms will affect the area today with heavy rainfall anticipated through much of the morning and afternoon.

Three Men Arrested For Oyster Violations in St. Bernard Parish

Release Date: 08/09/2016

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement agents arrested three men for alleged oyster and boating safety violations today, Aug. 9 in St. Bernard Parish.

Agents arrested Tyler Campo, 24, of St. Bernard, Brian Cocchiara, 24, of Chalmette, and Nathan Molinary, 20, of Violet, for taking oysters during illegal hours and unlawfully taking oysters from state water bottoms.  Agents also cited Campo for failing to comply with personal flotation device (PFD) requirements, possess a fire extinguisher, have proper navigation lights, possess commercial licenses, for not filling out the Department of Health and Hospitals log book as it pertains to oysters, and not having the required vessel sanitation requirements fulfilled.

Agents made contact with a vessel being operated by Campo around 5 a.m. when they spotted the vessel being operated with no running lights and actively dredging for oysters one hour before legal harvest could begin.  During the stop agents learned about the health code and boating safety violations and that Campo was dredging in an area he was not allowed.

Unlawfully harvesting oysters during illegal hours and unlawfully taking oysters from unleased state water bottoms carries a $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Violating the health code requirements carries a $25 fine and up to 10 days in jail for each offense.  Each of the boating safety violations carries a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail.

Agents booked the three men into the St. Bernard Parish Jail.  Agents also returned one sack of oysters to the water, seized one oyster dredge and a forfeiture order was placed on Campo’s vessel until disposition of case in court.

The men could also have their oyster harvester licenses revoked by the department for up to one year.  The violators could also be sentenced to perform 40 hours of community service and only be allowed to harvest oysters from a vessel with a vessel monitoring device for up to one year.

Agents participating in the case are Lt. Adam Young and Sgt. Jason Gernados.

Four Men Cited for Illegal Shrimping in Plaquemines Parish

Release Date: 08/08/2016

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents cited multiple boats for alleged shrimping violations on Aug. 6 in Plaquemines Parish.

Agents cited Billy Pansy, 51, of Port Sulphur, and John F. Parker, 50, of Boothville, for using skimmers in a closed season.  Agents seized and sold 655 pounds of shrimp from this vessel.

Agents also cited Don A. Barthelemy, 53, of Harvey, and Rodney S. Andry, 33, of Buras, for using skimmers in a closed season.  Agents seized and sold 630 pounds of shrimp from this vessel.

The agents were on patrol after receiving complaints of illegal shrimping taking place in the Buras area.

Using skimmers in a closed season carries up to a $950 fine and 120 days in jail plus forfeiture of anything seized.

In addition for the first conviction of shrimping during the closed season, the court may revoke or suspend the violator's trawl, skimmer, or butterfly gear licenses for one year from the date of the conviction.  During such revocation or suspension, the violators may be present on a vessel harvesting or possessing shrimp or possessing a trawl, skimmer, or butterfly net only if the vessel is equipped with and employs an operating vessel monitoring system which is accessible to LDWF.  The violators may also have to perform 40 hours of community service.

Agents involved in the case are Senior Agents Travis Bartlett and Blaine Wagner.

Family of Five Rescued from the Pearl River in Washington Parish

Release Date: 08/04/2016

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents rescued a family of five from the Pearl River this afternoon, Aug. 4, in Washington Parish.

LDWF agents were alerted around 1:30 p.m. about a husband and wife with their three kids stranded in an anchored boat about six feet in front of a low head dam near Bogalusa.

According to the father the family was out fishing and was starting to head back to the boat launch when the motor lost power.  The low head dam’s current was forcing the 15 foot aluminum vessel down river towards the dam where they would have more than likely went over the dam capsizing the boat.

The father attempted to paddle but wasn’t able to reverse the direction of the vessel.  He then was able to put a boat anchor in the water that stopped their movement.  Once stopped the father was able to call for help.

Agents arrived on scene around 2:00 p.m. and was able to retrieve the family of five that included a six year old, four year old and 23 month old.  Once they had the family safely on shore, the agents went back and retrieved the vessel.

“We’ve had some fatalities with these low head dams and this situation could have turned out very differently and ended with a very sad story,” said Col. Joey Broussard.  “This father’s quick thinking of putting the anchor in the water to stop them from going over the dam may have saved their lives.”

LDWF Senior Agents Lee Davis and Joel Cromp performed the successful rescue mission.

Search Crews Find Missing Helicopter and Pilot

Release Date: 08/04/2016

Search and rescue crews found the missing helicopter and pilot in Iberia Parish this morning, Aug. 4.

Search crews from the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), Louisiana State Police, Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office, St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Coast Guard started searching for the missing helicopter and pilot yesterday, Aug. 3, after 4 p.m.

Around 9:30 a.m. this morning a Louisiana State Police helicopter found the wreckage site and notified LDWF agents and sheriff deputies in boats that were near the area.  Agents and deputies then walked about a 100 yards from their boats to the swampy remote wreckage site.  Agents and deputies then confirmed that the missing helicopter was found with the deceased body of the pilot nearby.

The wreckage site is in the Atchafalaya Basin in the Grand Lake area just east of the Atchafalaya River.  The pilot was the only person on board the helicopter.  The helicopter is owned by Texas-based Gulf Coast Helicopters, Inc.

Four Mississippi Men Cited for Illegal Shrimping in Louisiana Waters

Release Date: 08/03/2016

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agent cited four Mississippi men for alleged shrimping violations on Aug. 2 in St. Bernard Parish.

The agent cited Joe Tran, 48, Duc Le, 48, Tri Le, 55, and Phung Hoang, 59, for trawling in a closed season.

Senior Agent Brett Nabors received a complaint about a vessel illegally catching shrimp in Lake Borgne near the Rigolets.  The agent observed the four men with their trawls in the water around 8:10 a.m.

The agent observed shrimp and fresh bycatch in the closed tails of the trawls when they were instructed to pick up.  The agent seized 6,100 pounds of shrimp from the vessel and sold them to the highest bidder.

Using skimmers in a closed season brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail and forfeiture of anything seized.

In addition for the first conviction of shrimping during the closed season, the court may revoke or suspend the violator's trawl, skimmer, or butterfly gear licenses for one year from the date of the conviction.  During such revocation or suspension, the violator may be present on a vessel harvesting or possessing shrimp or possessing a trawl, skimmer, or butterfly net only if the vessel is equipped with and employs an operating vessel monitoring system which is accessible to LDWF.  The violator may also have to perform 40 hours of community service.

Two Men Caught Shrimping in Closure Zone

Release Date: 08/02/2016

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents cited two men for alleged shrimping violations on Aug. 1 in Plaquemines Parish.

Agents cited Ernie P. Barthélemy, 52, of Slidell, and Jimmy Lynn Merrick, 55, of Boothville, for using skimmers in a closed season.

The agents were responding to complaints of illegal shrimping taking place in the Buras area.  During the stop agents seized 300 pounds of shrimp that was later sold.

Using skimmers in a closed season carries up to a $950 fine and 120 days in jail plus forfeiture of anything seized.

In addition for the first conviction of shrimping during the closed season, the court may revoke or suspend the violator's trawl, skimmer, or butterfly gear licenses for one year from the date of the conviction.  During such revocation or suspension, the violator may be present on a vessel harvesting or possessing shrimp or possessing a trawl, skimmer, or butterfly net only if the vessel is equipped with and employs an operating vessel monitoring system which is accessible to LDWF.  The violator may also have to perform 40 hours of community service.

Agents involved in the case are Senior Agents Travis Bartlett and Jeffery Farmer.

Six Cited for Illegal Possession of Red Snapper in Federal Waters

Release Date: 08/01/2016

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents cited six people for alleged saltwater fishing violations on July 29 and 30 in federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

Agents cited Brandon Longman, 32, from Ethel; Henry Noto III, 32, from Denham Springs; and Steven Kennedy, 61, from Belle Chase, for possession of red snapper during the closed season in federal waters on July 29.

On July 30 agents cited James Clarkin, 55, from Baton Rouge; Walton Tate, 41, from Hammond; and Dwayne Reeder, 75, from Carencro; for possession of red snapper during the closed season in federal waters on July 30.  Agents also cited Reeder cited for intentional concealment of illegally taken fish.

The 2016 red snapper season is currently open in state waters with a limit of 2 per person; however, the red snapper season in federal waters is currently closed.  All six people were caught with red snapper several miles inside federal waters and nowhere near state waters that extends nine miles into the Gulf of Mexico.

Possessing red snapper during a closed federal season in federal waters brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to six months in jail.  Intentional concealment of illegally taken fish also carries a $900 to $950 fine and up to six months in jail.

Agents involved in these cases are Sgt. Nicholas Guillory and Senior Agent Lucas Hidalgo.

Two Louisiana Men Sentenced for Illegal Deer Hunting Violations

Release Date: 08/01/2016

Two Louisiana men were ordered to pay a total of $38,776 in East and West Feliciana courts in the past week for deer hunting violations that occurred in February of 2016.

Judge Elizabeth “Betsy” Jones of the 20th Judicial District Court in both East and West Feliciana parishes sentenced Devin Wascome, 26, of Slaughter, and Joseph Buhler, 21, of Zachary, to pay fines, fees and court costs, as well as revoke their hunting privileges for five years.

Wascome was ordered to pay $17,231 in East Feliciana Parish and $4,791 in West Feliciana Parish.  He was also forced to forfeit his .17 caliber rifle.  Buhler was ordered to pay $12,560 in East Feliciana Parish and $4,194 in West Feliciana Parish.  The men must also pay a total of $6,498 in civil restitution for the replacement value of the illegally taken deer.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) agents cited Wascome and Buhler on Feb. 10, 2016 for illegal deer hunting violations in East Feliciana, West Feliciana, East Baton Rouge and Livingston parishes.

After receiving a complaint about Wascome and Buhler illegally taking deer, agents initiated an investigation.  During the investigation agents found that Wascome and Buhler illegally harvested a deer on Feb. 1 in East Feliciana Parish, Feb. 7 in West Feliciana Parish, and on Feb. 8 in East Feliciana Parish.  Wascome also admitted to illegally shooting a doe on Feb. 4 at night while on foot.

The two men would drive around at night on public roads hunting for deer.  They were cited for taking deer during a closed season and illegal hours, hunting from a moving vehicle, possession of illegally taken deer, taking deer from a public road, intentional concealment of illegally taken wildlife, failing to comply with deer tagging requirements, and discharging a firearm from a public road among other violations.

The two were also cited for illegal deer hunting activities in East Baton Rouge and Livingston parishes since they admitted to actively hunting those parishes using the same methods they did to harvest the illegally taken deer in East and West Feliciana parishes.  The two men have yet to appear in court in East Baton Rouge and Livingston parishes.

District Attorney Sam D’Aquilla prosecuted this case for the state in East and West Feliciana parishes.

LDWF Investigating Two Boating Fatalities in LaFourche Parish

Release Date: 07/31/2016

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents are investigating two boating fatalities that took place in LaFourche Parish last night, July 30, and early this morning, July 31.

LDWF agents received a call around 11:40 p.m. on July 30 about Ethan Hancock, 5, of Houma, who was reported missing in the Intracoastal Waterway. Agents arrived on scene and with the assistance of the LaFourche and Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Offices and U.S. Coast Guard recovered his body at 7:30 a.m. on July 31.

Agents learned that Hancock and his father were out frogging in their 14 foot mudboat when they ran out of gas near Bourg. The father then attempted to paddle across the Intracoastal Waterway when a tugboat pushing two 297 foot barges came up from behind. The father and Hancock then entered the water with Hancock wearing a personal flotation device. The two got separated with the father able to swim away from the tugboat, but Hancock got sucked under the tugboat and didn't resurface from under the tugboat until 7:30 a.m.

LDWF agents also received a call around 1:15 a.m. on July 31 about Robert Sims, 44, of Metairie, who suffered from serious head trauma after hitting his head on a piling near Grand Isle while boating.

Agents learned that Sims was a passenger on a 28 foot vessel travelling at a high rate of speed in the Caminada Pass in Grand Isle heading to Port Fourchon. Sims was leaning out of the vessel as a lookout when his head struck a piling around 1 a.m. on July 31. Agents arrived on scene with LaFourche Emergency Medical Services within minutes of the incident, but Sims was already deceased.

LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for both boating fatalities.  Both bodies were turned over to the LaFourche Parish Coroner's Office.

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