Two Men Arrested For Oyster Theft in St. Bernard Parish

Release Date: 03/07/2018

Louisiana Department Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents arrested two St. Bernard men for alleged oyster violations on March 5, 2018 in St. Bernard Parish.

Agents arrested Nicholas Russell, 21, and Dalton Kieff, 21, for unlawfully taking oysters from a private lease and failing to have written permission.

Agents were on patrol south of the MRGO channel when they observed Russell in a vessel actively dredging for oysters in an area not leased to him around 10:30 a.m.

Agents seized a half sack of oysters and returned them to the water.  Agents also seized one oyster dredge and placed a forfeiture order on Russell's vessel.

Agents also found that after talking to the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office that both men had active warrants for their arrests.  Agents then booked the men into the St. Bernard Parish Jail.

Unlawfully taking oysters off of a private lease and failing to have written permission both carry up to a $950 fine and 120 days in jail.

The men could also face having their oyster harvester licenses revoked by LDWF 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 that is equipped with a vessel monitoring device for up to one year.

Four Men Sentenced for Migratory Game Bird Violations

Release Date: 03/07/2018

Four men pleaded guilty to migratory game bird violations and were sentenced in the Eastern District Court in New Orleans on March 3.

Ty Scott, 44, of Belle Chasse, Alan Yedor II, 50, of Port Sulphur, Alfred McDonald II, 42, of Bay Minette, Ala., and Kevin Simmons, 40, of Grand Bay, Ala., were each sentenced to pay a $2,752 fine for violations of the migratory game bird treaty act.

Scott, McDonald, and Simmons were also placed on three years of probation with Yedor receiving four years.  All probation periods contained provisions of no hunting, no migratory bird hunting, and no entering a National Wildlife Refuge anywhere in the United States.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agents cited the four men for migratory game birds violations during the 2016-17 hunting season.

Agents found that the men harvested over 90 ducks and were in excess of the daily limit after hunting in the Venice area.  The men also concealed their actions by creating harvest tags with false information in order to deceive law enforcement officers.

LDWF Enforcement Division Academy to Enroll Up to 24 Cadets for Training

Release Date: 03/06/2018

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ (LDWF) Law Enforcement Division will begin training up to 24 cadets in July of 2018 to bolster the ranks of agents in the field.

The cadets will train at the department’s training facility housed within the Waddill Outdoor Education Center in Baton Rouge.  Successful completion of approximately six months of intensive physical and academic training is required to graduate.

The opening dates that applications will be accepted for the “Wildlife Enforcement Cadet” position are from March 5 to 25.

Interested applicants can apply online through the Department of Civil Service website and must complete the LEAPS 9500 test to qualify for consideration. Please visit the civil service website at http://www.civilservice.louisiana.gov/ for “Wildlife Enforcement Cadet” position and LEAPS 9500 testing application information.

“We are looking for men and women that have a strong work ethic, enjoy the outdoors and have an interest in law enforcement,” said Col. Sammy Martin, head of the Law Enforcement Division.  “Getting the chance to work in the outdoors while upholding conservation laws as well as our other duties makes for a very rewarding experience and career field.”

At the academy, cadets train to enforce the state's recreational boating laws, the state and federal wildlife and fisheries laws, and general law enforcement work on the state's many wildlife management areas.  The academy also covers general law enforcement training required for all state law enforcement officers.

Agents are additionally trained for search and rescue and serve as the lead responders in search and rescue coordination under the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

This class of graduating agents will fill field office vacancies around the state.  Each cadet is assigned to a parish and must reside in that parish upon completion of the academy.

Monroe Woman Sentenced For Shooting of LDWF Agent

Release Date: 03/02/2018

A Monroe woman convicted of attempted first degree murder on a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agent was sentenced today, March 2 in District Court in Morehouse Parish.

Amethyst Baird Rathore, 32, of Monroe, was sentenced by Judge Carl V. Sharp of the 4th Judicial District Court to 60 years in prison without the possibility for parole for attempted first degree murder of a police officer for shooting LDWF Senior Agent Tyler Wheeler.  Rathore also received 40 years for obstruction of justice, 10 years for illegal possession of a stolen vehicle and 10 years for illegal possession of a stolen firearm all of which will run concurrently.

“This sentencing will hopefully give Tyler and his family some kind of closure as they continue to work on getting their lives back to normal,” said LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet.  “Tyler has had a long road to recovery from the bullet wounds he suffered and we feel that justice has been served. More than anything, though, I am glad that Tyler is back on the job doing something that he loves.”

Senior Agent Wheeler, 25, was shot four times including once in the head and once in the back by Rathore around 2 a.m. on Jan. 7 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.

“I would like to personally thank the investigators, prosecutors and judges for bringing justice to Tyler and his family.  We are very happy that the shooter of one of our agents will most likely spend the rest of her life in prison,” said Col. Sammy Martin, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division. “Tyler and his family went through a lot after he was shot and we are beyond thankful to have him back in uniform and continuing his career as an agent.”

District Attorney Steve Tew was the lead prosecutor for the state.

Body of Missing Boater Recovered from Lake in Caddo Parish

Release Date: 03/02/2018

Search crews from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division and the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office recovered the body of a Shreveport man in a Caddo Parish waterway today, March 2.

The deceased body of Jack Cobb, 33, was recovered from Wallace Lake and turned over to the Caddo Parish Coroner’s Office to determine an official cause of death.

LDWF agents and CPSO deputies were alerted about the missing boater around 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 23 near the Cypress Garden Boat Launch on Wallace Lake.  When authorities arrived on scene, they found a submerged 11-foot pirogue and a backpack belonging to Cobb.

LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this fatal boating incident.  No personal flotation devices were found in the pirogue or on Cobb’s body.

According to family members of Cobb, he left out of the Cypress Garden Boat Launch around 4:30 to 5 p.m. on Feb. 23.  It is unknown at this time what caused the pirogue to become submerged and how Cobb entered the water.

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.

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