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Five Good Samaritans Honored for Saving Three Kids

Release Date: 09/03/2015

From left to right: Holmes, Page, Lt. Col. Martin, Leach and Todasto

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) awarded five people with Citizens Meritorious Service Awards at a Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting in Baton Rouge on Sept. 3.

LDWF honored Paul L. Page, 17, of Bogalusa, Diane Leach, 34, of Covington, Timothy Rodosta, 42, of Covington, Chad Thompson, and A. J. Holmes, for helping save three children following a boating incident in the Pearl River Navigational Canal on March 28 in St. Tammany Parish.  The mother of the three children, Jonie Morgan, 31, of Folsom, and her boyfriend, Terry O’Keefe Jr., 41, of Folsom, passed away as a result of the incident.

“We are here today to recognize five individuals for their actions that resulted in saving the lives of three young children,” said Lt. Col. Sammy Martin, the state’s boating law administrator.  “All five individuals involved exhibited leadership, good judgment, and discipline.  All five people should be recognized for their heroic actions during a tragic event.”

Morgan and O’Keefe Jr., with eight and six year old boys and a five year old girl pushed off from the bank of the Pearl River Canal up river of a low head damn (sill) in a 14 foot vessel shortly after 5 p.m. on March 28. Unable to start the motor their vessel drifted to the sill and capsized putting all five occupants into the water.

Page came upon the scene and saw two boys, one girl and Morgan in the water near their capsized vessel.  While trying to help, his vessel also capsized sending him into the water.  While in the water, Page was able to grab onto the two boys while Morgan was holding her five year old daughter.

Page then spotted a vessel with Leach and Rodosta on board waved them over to help and when he looked back Morgan and her five year old daughter had disappeared.  Leach and Rodosta were able to get Page and the two boys into their vessel and safely onto shore.

LDWF Enforcement Agents Sgt. Keith Francis and Senior Agent Joel Cromp arrived on scene at the upstream side of the sill.  While the agents were interviewing witnesses near the sill, the five year old girl floated out from under the capsized vessel.

Agents noticed a vessel on the downstream side operated by Thompson and Holmes and directed them to the girl’s position.  Thompson and Holmes were able to pull the girl from the water and bring her safely to shore.

All three children and Page were wearing personal flotation devices and are in good health.  Search and rescue crews found the body of O’Keefe Jr. on March 29 and Morgan on April 1.  O’Keefe Jr. and Morgan were not wearing PFDs.

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

Six Men Arrested For Closed Season Oyster Violations In St Bernard Parish

Release Date: 08/31/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents arrested six subjects on board two vessels for alleged oyster violations in St. Bernard Parish on Aug. 28.

Agents arrested Glenn J. Cascio Sr., 54, and Glenn J. Cascio Jr., 35, both of St. Bernard, from one vessel and Baron T. Navarro, 40, of Mereaux, Sotelo A. Galdino, 36, of Seabrook, Texas, Rigoberto Badillo-Gomez, 38, Mereaux, and Jose Camalgo, 18, of of Seabrook, Texas, from another vessel for taking oysters during a closed season.  Navarro was also cited for failing to comply with refrigeration requirements.

Due to numerous complaints of illegal oyster harvesting on the State Seed Grounds in Drum Bay, agents set up surveillance nearby and at 3:30 p.m. observed two oyster vessels enter the area and begin dredging.  The Drum Bay public grounds are currently closed to all oyster harvesting.

Agents stopped both vessels and found each to have loose oysters on their decks and in their dredges. Agents seized all four dredges and a total of 136 sacks of oysters, which were returned to the water.

All men were booked into the St. Bernard Parish Jail.

Taking oysters during a closed season brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Any person convicted of this violation may only harvest oysters from a vessel that employs a vessel monitoring system monitored by LDWF for a period of one year.  Failing to comply with refrigeration requirements carries a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.

Agents participating in the case are Capt. Stephen McManus, Lt. Scot Keller, Sgts. Keith Francis, Adam Young, Mike Garrity and Villere Reggio, Agent Jason Gernados and Senior Agent Richard Clark.

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

Five Cited for Violating Scenic River Regulations

Release Date: 08/26/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited five men for failing to comply with scenic river regulations on Aug. 22 in East Baton Rouge Parish.

Agents cited Joe Baggett, 36, Dylan Boyd, 21, Kevin Rothman, 35, Micah Boyd, 46, and Dustin Boyd, 25, all of Denham Springs for riding vehicles in the Comite River just south of Zachary.

Agents have received several complaints over the summer of people riding vehicles in this scenic river and have increased their patrol efforts in the area.  Agents found Bagget in a Suzuki Samauri and the four other men in some sort of all-terrain vehicle riding down the Comite River around 12:45 p.m.

Scenic river regulations prohibit the use of a motor vehicle or other wheeled or tracked vehicle on a designated system stream, except for permitted uses and direct crossings by immediately adjacent landowners, lessees, and persons who have written permission from the landowner for non-commercial activities that do not significantly degrade the ecological integrity of the stream.

Violators of the scenic river rules face a $250 to $500 fine and up to six months of jail time.

Agents involved in the case are Lt. Will Roberts, Sgt. Carl Armstrong, Agent Max Wilkinson and Agent Hunter Pearson.

The Louisiana Scenic Rivers Act of 1970 provides LDWF the authority to regulate those activities that may directly and significantly degrade the ecological integrity of a natural and scenic river. The Louisiana Legislature created the Louisiana Natural and Scenic Rivers System for the purpose of preserving, protecting, developing, reclaiming, and enhancing the wilderness qualities, scenic beauties, and ecological regimes of certain free-flowing Louisiana streams. Today, there are approximately 3,000 miles of designated Natural and Scenic Rivers in the state.

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

L.D.W.F. Enforcement Division Academy to Enroll Up to 24 Cadets for Training

Release Date: 08/24/2015

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ (LDWF) Law Enforcement Division will begin training up to 24 cadets in December of 2015 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 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 will be from Aug. 24 to Sept. 9.

“An LDWF enforcement agent has a tremendous responsibility, protecting Louisiana’s rich natural resources, and those who enjoy those resources, whether in the field or on the water,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “And those responsibilities extend to response efforts during natural disasters when citizens need assistance in impacted areas.”

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.

“We are looking for men and women who have a love for the outdoors, want to enforce conservation laws and can make it through a demanding six months of training,” said LDWF Col. Joey Broussard, head of the Law Enforcement Division.

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.

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

For more information including a video about becoming an LDWF agent, please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/enforcement/becoming-agent.

LDWF is charged with managing, conserving, and promoting wise utilization of Louisiana's renewable fish and wildlife resources and their supporting habitats through replenishment, protection, enhancement, research, development, and education for the social and economic benefit of current and future generations; to provide opportunities for knowledge of and use and enjoyment of these resources; and to promote a safe and healthy environment for the users of the resources.

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

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Louisiana Environmental Education Commission
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Two Men Cited for Illegal Alligator Hunting Violations

Release Date: 08/19/2015

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agent cited two men for alleged alligator violations in Grant Parish on August 18.

Sgt. Chad Watts cited Samuel Daniels, 38, and Patrick Daniels, 43, both from Colfax, for taking alligators during a closed season and taking alligators without a license.  LDWF agents are still searching for a third subject who is believed to be involved and is being sought for questioning.

Sgt. Watts began investigating the case after receiving information from detectives with the Grant Parish Sheriff’s Office and a Probation and Parole agent concerning possible alligator violations.

During the investigation 12 different alligator heads and carcasses that were recently harvested were discovered behind the subject’s residence.  Inside the subject’s residence a large amount of alligator meat was discovered in two freezers.

Patrick Daniels and Samuel Daniels were interviewed and admitted to harvesting alligators in an oxbow off of the Red River on the Aug. 14 and 15.  They said they snagged the gators using rods and reels equipped with treble hooks.

Taking alligators during a closed season carries a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Taking alligators without a license brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  The men could also face civil restitution charges totaling $4,509.60 for the illegally taken alligators.

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

Four Cited for Illegal Deer Hunting Violations

Release Date: 08/19/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited four people in Livingston and East Feliciana parishes for alleged deer hunting violations on Aug. 18.

LDWF agents cited Edward A. Slaven III, Edward A. Slaven IV, 22, and Donald J. Weaver, all of Denham Springs, and Maegan C. Chavers, 25, of Liberty, Miss., for Federal Lacey Act violations, not possessing deer tags, hunting from a public road and moving vehicle, hunting deer during a closed season and illegal hours, not possessing a big game license and possession of illegally taken deer out of season.

Slaven IV, Weaver and Chavers were also cited for not possessing a basic hunting license.

Agents were notified about two illegally taken deer by the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office (LPSO) around 11:45 p.m. on Aug. 18.  The LPSO pulled the vehicle over for a moving violation on the intersection of Hwy 1024 and 16 in Watson.  During the vehicle stop, the LPSO deputy noticed two deer in the back of the truck and called LDWF agents.

When agents arrived they learned from the subjects that they tried to hunt for deer in Livingston and East Feliciana parishes from the truck, but couldn’t find a deer.  They then entered Mississippi and found two doe deers to shoot in Amite County.  After harvesting the two deer, they transported the deer back into Louisiana, which is a Federal Lacey Act violation.

The four subjects also face wildlife charges in Mississippi.  Agents seized the 2004 pickup truck, 12 gauge shotgun, .22 rifle, .357 pistol and two spotlights.

The Lacey Act violation brings up to a $10,000 fine and five years in jail.  Hunting deer during a closed season, during illegal hours each brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Possession of an illegally taken deer carries a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Hunting from a moving vehicle brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Hunting from a public road and not possessing deer tags each carries up to 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.

Agents participating in the case are Lt. Will Roberts, Sgt. Randy Lanoux and Senior Agent Terry Hicks.

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

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