Enforcement

Marksville Man Cited for Alligator Violations

Release Date: 09/10/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited a Marksville man for alleged alligator hunting violations on Sept. 5.

Agents cited Ray Ussery, 62, for violating alligator tagging requirements and taking alligators from an unapproved alligator hunting area.

After receiving a tip from the public about potential alligator violations on the Richard K. Yancey and Grassy Lake Wildlife Management Areas (WMA), agents set up surveillance in the area.  The WMAs are adjacent to each other and separated by the Red River with Richard K. Yancey WMA located in Concordia Parish and Grassy Lake WMA in Avoyelles Parish.

On the morning of Sept. 5, agents observed Ussery take an alligator from the Grassy Lake WMA without using an alligator tag.  Ussery had previously won a bid to legally take alligators from the Grassy Lake WMA.

Later in the morning, agents observed Ussery take two alligators on the Richard K. Yancey WMA, which is an unapproved area for taking alligators.

After making contact with Ussery, agents located two more alligators in Ussery’s vessel and three more on lines that belonged to Ussery on the Richard K. Yancey WMA.  Agents seized six alligators, Ussery’s remaining tags for the Grassy Lake WMA and the rest of the lines he had set on both WMAs.

Failing to comply with alligator tagging requirements and taking alligators from an unapproved area each bring a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail for each offense.

Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Gabe Guidry, Senior Agent Doug Anderson, Lt. Russ Kiser, Senior Agent Joey Merrill and Senior Agent John Volentine.

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

LDWF Agents Make Two Red Snapper Cases while Patrolling Gulf Flower Gardens

Release Date: 09/05/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited three Texas men in two separate cases for alleged red snapper violations while on a Joint Enforcement Agreement (JEA) patrol on Aug. 31.

Agents were patrolling the Gulf of Mexico Flower Garden Marine Sanctuaries and encountered 20 fishing vessels.  While checking these vessels, agents found two vessels in non-compliance with red snapper regulations.

Agents cited Elvis Con Le, 52, of Port Arthur, Texas, and Hai Le, 51, both from Port Arthur, Texas, for possessing red snapper during a closed season.  Elvis Con Le was also cited for over limit of red snapper.  Agents seized five red snapper.  The daily limit during an open season is two red snapper for each licensed person.

Agents also cited Minh Van Le, 54, of Port Neches, Texas, for possessing red snapper during a closed season and possessing an undersized cobia.  Agents seized a red snapper and a 30 inch cobia.  Cobia must be at least 33 inches.

The open red snapper season in federal waters closed on June 29.

Agents involved in the cases are Major Jubal Marceaux, Capt. Robert Buatt and Sgt. Stuart Guillory.

LDWF participates in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) JEA program.  In the JEA program, LDWF provides enhanced enforcement of federal laws and regulations in federal waters.

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

CONVICTED MURDERER FROM TEXAS PLEADS GUILTY TO BEING A FELON IN POSSESSION OF A FIREARM IN CADDO PARISH

Release Date: 09/04/2013

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division investigation led to a Texas man pleading guilty to possessing a firearm by a convicted felon on Aug. 29 in U.S. Federal Western District Court in Shreveport.

Larry R. Baker, 50, of Maud, Texas, entered a guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Tom Stagg to possessing a firearm after being convicted and serving time for a murder in Texas and other felonies.

Baker faces up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.  A sentencing date of Dec. 5, 2013 was set.

LDWF agents arrested Baker for night hunting violations and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon on Jan. 11, 2013 in Caddo Parish.  Agents observed Baker west of Rodessa operating a motor vehicle traveling north on United Gas Road #1 near the Texas state line.  Baker stopped his vehicle and emerged with a flashlight and a gun.

Baker was then observed firing his weapon at what appeared to be a deer standing near the roadway in his headlights.  Upon further investigation, agents found that Baker had been recently released from prison after serving 20 years for a Texas murder conviction.

Baker was found guilty of murder on Aug. 5, 1993 in the 54th District Court of McLennan County, Texas.  Baker also has prior burglary and property theft convictions.  Baker bought the firearm from an individual who did not know Baker was a convicted felon.

LDWF and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tabaco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) conducted the investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert W. Gillespie Jr. and U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley prosecuted the case.

LDWF Agents participating in the case were Senior Agent Jay Thomas, Senior Agent Frank Reger and Lt. Roy Schufft.

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

Louisiana Dove Season to Start Sept. 7 Statewide

Release Date: 08/30/2013

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) would like to remind hunters that the 2013-14 dove hunting season starts on Sept. 7 in both the north and south zones.

LDWF is issuing this reminder because the 2013-14 Louisiana dove season falls at a later date than past seasons.  Furthermore, the LDWF smart phone app may not be updated with the current hunting regulations in time for the start of the dove hunting season.

LDWF is currently working with the app provider to get it updated with hopes to have the update available shortly with the 2013-14 hunting regulations.  The current LDWF smart phone app still contains last year’s hunting regulations that had the 2012-13 dove hunting season starting on Sept. 1.

The 2013-14 dove hunting season for the south zone runs from Sept. 7-15, Oct. 19-Dec. 1 and Dec. 21-Jan.6.  The north zone runs from Sept. 7-22, Oct. 12-Nov. 10 and Dec. 14-Jan. 6.  The daily bag limit is 15 in the aggregate with a possession limit of 45 in the aggregate.

For more information on the north and south zone boundaries for the dove hunting season, please refer to the 2013-14 hunting regulations pamphlet found at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/regulations.

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

Three Men Cited For Illegal Oyster Activity in Plaquemines Parish

Release Date: 08/27/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited three men for alleged oyster and boating safety violations in Bayou Stephan in Plaquemines Parish on Aug. 26.

Agents cited John Phillipe, 32, Patrick Sylve, 25, both of Port Sulphur, and Jean Taylor, 32, of Sparta, Tenn., for harvesting oysters during illegal hours, unlawfully removing oysters from a private lease, failing to have written permission, and violation of the emergency fishery closure still in effect from the BP oil spill.

Phillipe, the licensed captain, was also cited for twice violating the state’s health code for not filling out his Department of Health and Hospitals log book and vessel sanitation requirements.  He was also cited for taking commercial fish without a vessel license, no visible boat numbers, improper running lights, failing to comply with personal flotation device requirements, failing to change ownership of vessel after 45 days and failing to display a valid certificate decal.

The incident occurred when agents witnessed Phillipe and his deckhands harvesting oysters from a lease near Port Sulphur that did not belong to them and under the cover of darkness after legal sunset.  The boating safety and health code violations were discovered during the stop.

Unlawfully harvesting oysters from a private lease, without written permission from the lease holder, and during illegal hours each carries up to a $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail for each offense.  Taking commercial fish without a vessel license brings up to a $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Each count of the state’s health code violations carries a $25 fine and up to 10 days in jail and forfeiture of the product.  Each of the boating safety violations brings a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail.

Agents issued 20 citations, seized one oyster dredge and 11 sacks of oysters were returned to the water.

Agents participating in the case were Sgt. Adam Young and Senior Agent Villere Reggio.

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

Agents Arrest Man for Possession of Stolen Crab Traps in Cameron Parish

Release Date: 08/26/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents arrested a DeRidder man on Aug. 23 for alleged crabbing and fishing violations on Calcasieu Lake.

Agents arrested Robby Joe Wiley, 38, for illegal possession of stolen things, taking commercial fish without a commercial gear license, taking or possessing commercial fish without a vessel license, using crab traps without required markings, violating crab trap escape ring requirements, taking commercial fish without a commercial license and improper boat numbers.  Wiley was booked into the Cameron Parish Jail.

Agents received a complaint from a fisherman who reported he had crab traps stolen from him.  Agents discovered that several crab traps in Calcasieu Lake were tagged with two commercial fishing numbers.  One of the numbers belonged to the victim and another belonged to Wiley.  Wiley replaced the victim’s lines and corks attached to the crab traps with his own.

On Aug. 23, Agents went back to the area and checked all the crab traps in the area with Wiley’s corks.  Agents then seized crab traps tagged with the two commercial fishermen numbers on them.

While Agents were conducting the investigation, they were met by Wiley.  Wiley identified the seized crab traps as his own.  Agents did a compliance check and discovered that Wiley was commercial fishing under another person’s commercial fishing license and possessed no commercial licenses of his own.  Agents also discovered several traps were not tagged and crab traps that did not have escape rings.

Agents seized 46 crab traps, Wiley’s boat, motor and trailer along with the fraudulent commercial licenses.

Possession of stolen thing things brings up to a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.  Using crab traps without the required markings and violating crap trap escape ring requirements each carries up to a $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail for each offense.  Taking commercial fish without a commercial gear license, without a vessel license, or without a commercial license each carries up to a $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail for each offense.  Improper boat numbers brings a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail.

Agents participating in the case are Lt. Beau Robertson, Sgt. Stuart Guillory, Sgt. Justin Sonnier, Senior Agent Anthony Verret and Senior Agent Sean Moreau.

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

Two Men Cited For Crab Trap Theft in Calcasieu Parish

Release Date: 08/21/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited a man on Aug. 14 and another on Aug. 19 for alleged crab trap violations in Calcasieu Parish.

Agents cited Nicholas Wayne Erny, 35, of Lake Charles, and Eric L. Linden, 33, of Grand Lake, for theft, destroying legal crab traps, violating crab escape ring requirements, using crab traps without the required markings, and taking commercial fish without a commercial gear license.  Linden was also cited for selling fish to a consumer without a fresh products license.

Agents heard from an anonymous crab fisherman on Black Bayou in Calcasieu Parish who was missing crap traps.  After further investigation, agents found several crab traps near Fred’s Lounge on Black Bayou with the anonymous crab fishermen’s license number on the trap, but with different corks and lines from what the crab fishermen uses.  Agents were able to bring the crab fishermen to the traps for positive identification.

Agents also observed several traps without any tag numbers and some with no escape rings.

On Aug. 14 agents located Erny who admitted to having stolen crab traps, cutting the lines and corks of the stolen traps, using traps without tag numbers and escape rings.  Erny stated he and Linden ran the traps a couple of times for commercial use.

On Aug. 19, agents located Linden who also admitted to stealing crab traps, cutting the lines and corks of the stolen traps, and using traps without tag numbers and escape rings.

Neither Linden nor Erny possessed a commercial gear license.  Agents seized 22 crab traps and Linden’s vessel.

Violating crab escape ring requirements, destroying legal crab traps and using crab traps without the required markings brings a fine up to $950 and 120 days in jail for each offense.  Taking commercial fish without a commercial gear license and selling fish to a consumer without a fresh products license carries a fine up to $500 and 90 days in jail.  Theft brings a $500 to $1,000 and up to six months in jail.

Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Stuart Guillory, Senior Agent Anthony Verret and Senior Agent Sean Moreau.

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

Denham Springs Man Cited for Alligator Violations

Release Date: 08/19/2013

Senior Agent Clarence Marques and Sgt. Randy Lanoux document seized alligator hides.
Lt. Will Roberts documents seized alligator hides

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited a Denham Springs man with 26 alligator violations on Aug. 15.
 
Agents cited David Caveretta, 51, for four counts of taking alligators without a license, four counts of taking alligators during a closed season, four counts of failing to comply with alligator tagging requirements, 10 counts of illegal possession of alligator skins and parts and four counts of not abiding the nuisance alligator program rules and regulations.  All violations occurred in Ascension and Livingston parishes over the course of the last two years.
 
Caveretta was enrolled in LDWF’s nuisance animal program and was a permitted nuisance alligator hunter.  During the investigation, LDWF agents learned that Caveretta was using nuisance alligator complaint tags on alligators that were not nuisances.  Agents found that if Caveretta was given a complaint tag for a specific nuisance alligator and if that alligator was too small or if he couldn’t find that particular alligator, that he would use the nuisance tag on a larger alligator taken from a different area than the original complaint.
 
Agents seized 10 alligator hides, Caveretta’s remaining 13 unused alligator tags and his nuisance hunter permit.  LDWF also removed Caveretta from the nuisance alligator program.
 
Failing to adhere to nuisance alligator program rules and regulations and failing to comply with alligator tagging requirements each brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail for each count.  Taking alligators without a license carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail for each count.  Taking alligators during a closed season and possessing alligator skins and parts each brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail for each count.
 
Agents participating in the case are Lt. Will Roberts, Sgt. Randy Lanoux, Senior Agent Clarence Marques and Senior Agent Garrett Kimble.
 
For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

 

LDWF Names New Boating Law Administrator for Louisiana

Release Date: 08/15/2013

Capt. Rachel Zechenelly

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has appointed a new state Boating Law Administrator (BLA), which will represent Louisiana on the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).

Capt. Rachel Zechenelly, of Baton Rouge, is replacing Col. Jeff Mayne as Louisiana’s BLA after Col. Mayne stepped down from the position when he was promoted to the head of the LDWF Enforcement Division in June.

“I’m honored to be named Louisiana’s Boating Law Administrator as we strive to make our waterways safer for everyone to enjoy,” said Capt. Zechenelly.  “We’ve made a lot of progress in making boating a safer experience and we will continue to look at ways to make it even safer in the future.”

Capt. Zechenelly also said she will expand education outreach programs to paddle sports due to a significant increase in people kayaking, paddle boarding and canoeing.

Capt. Zechenelly is originally from Pearl River and joined the LDWF Enforcement Division in 1999.  Capt. Zechenelly started as an agent working out of the New Orleans office where she primarily handled fishery patrols and boating safety enforcement on the water including on the coast and Gulf of Mexico.

Capt. Zechenelly was assigned to LDWF Enforcement Division’s Headquarters Staff in 2005 in Baton Rouge as the boating education coordinator.  In May of 2011, she was promoted to captain and put in charge of LDWF’s Boating Safety Enforcement and Waterways Management.  She currently oversees the Enforcement Division’s marine theft investigations, boating crash incident investigations, and the statewide boating safety education program.

“I have the utmost confidence in Capt. Zechenelly’s ability and experience to spearhead our boating safety programs,” said Col. Jeff Mayne.  “She has led our boating education program almost from the beginning and is familiar with NASBLA’s training curriculum and key personnel.”

Capt. Zechenelly has participated and coordinated the Enforcement Division’s emergency response for Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Ike and Isaac, the BP Oil Spill in 2010, and the Mississippi River Spring 2011 Flood event.

Capt. Zechenelly completed the U.S. Coast Guard’s Marine Patrol Officer Course and the month long National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Law Enforcement Training Program.  She also completed the NASBLA Comprehensive Boating Accident Investigation and Analysis Course.

NASBLA is a national nonprofit organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety. NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories.

NASBLA’s mission is to strengthen the ability of the state and territorial boating authorities to reduce death, injury and property damage associated with recreational boating and ensure a safe, secure and enjoyable boating environment.

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

Buras Man Arrested for Boat Registration Fraud

Release Date: 08/14/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested a Buras man for alleged boat registration charges on Aug. 13.

Agents arrested Limauel Watson, 66, for filing public false documents and injuring public records and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Jail.

Agents began investigating Watson in May of 2013 after he tried to register a 20-foot aluminum vessel in April of 2013.  Watson claimed on the boat registration forms that he purchased the vessel in April of 2010.

After investigating Watson’s registration, agents learned that Watson’s vessel wasn’t manufactured until July of 2010 and that he didn’t purchase the vessel until October of 2010.

It is believed that Watson filed a fraudulent boat registration in an effort to receive reimbursement payment from BP for work he allegedly did with the vessel helping with the oil spill cleanup in 2010.  Watson has submitted a reimbursement claim with BP that has been unfulfilled at this time.

Injuring public records and filing false public documents each brings up to a $5,000 fine and five years in jail for each offense.

Agents participating in the case are Lt. Louis Burnett, Sgt. Todd Laviolette, Senior Agent Michael Williams, Senior Agent Michael Marques and Senior Agent Adam Tieben.

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

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