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Five Men Cited for Oyster Violations in Terrebonne Parish

Release Date: 01/12/2017

In two separate cases Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited five men for alleged oyster violations on Jan. 10 in Terrebonne Parish.

Agents cited Christopher P. Luke, 44, of Houma, and Rocky L. Rel, 37, from Thibodaux, for taking oysters from a polluted area in Sister Lake.  Agents also cited Dustin M. Buquet, 19, Cline J. Ledet, 30, and Homer Pinos-Mazariegos, 20, all from Chauvin for taking oysters from a polluted area, failing to have written permission and unlawfully taking oysters from a private lease in Bay Souri.

While responding to Sister Lake complaints, agents observed Luke and Rel taking oysters north of the lake, which is closed to harvesting.  In a separate case agents also found Buquet, Ledet and Pinos-Mazariegos taking oysters from Bay Souri, which is also closed to harvesting.  The three men in Bay Souri were also harvesting oysters on a private lease without written permission.

Agents seized a total of 30 sacks of oysters and retuned them to the water.  Agents also seized the vessels and gear used in the illegal activity on a department seizure order.

Taking oysters from a polluted area and unlawfully taking oysters from a private lease each carries a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  The men could also have their oyster harvester licenses revoked by the department for up to one year, 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.

Failing to have written permission carries a $400 to $950 fine and up to 90 days in jail.

Agents involved in the case are Sgt. Bryan Marie and Senior Agent Norman Deroche.

Ponchatoula Man Arrested for Unauthorized Use of a Vessel

Release Date: 01/11/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents arrested a Ponchatoula man on Jan. 9 for allegedly using a vessel without authorization.

Agents arrested Blake A. Mitchell, 31, for felony unauthorized use of a moveable.

The arrest stems from an investigation that began Nov. 9, 2016 in Venice located in Plaquemines Parish.  Agents were notified about an airboat being removed without the owner’s consent from a camp in Cypress Cove Marina.

The vessels owner reported that the lock and license plate were removed and the vessel’s ignition was removed and replaced.  Agents later stopped Mitchell in the area of Buras where the vessel was being used for hog hunting and towing his own disabled airboat across the Mississippi River.

Agents then received video surveillance of Mitchell’s truck towing the vessel in the early morning hours of Nov. 8, 2016 from two separate security systems.  Agents the secured warrants and arrested Mitchell at the Jefferson Parish Courthouse where he was answering to unrelated wildlife charges on Jan. 9, 2017.

Felony unauthorized use of a moveable having a value in excess of $500 brings up to a $5,000 fine and five years in jail.

Agents participating in the case are Lt. Adam Young, Sgt. Villere Reggio and Senior Agent Patrick Dempsey.

Single Vessel Boating Incident Claims Life of Pierre Part Man

Release Date: 01/10/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents are investigating a boating fatality in Assumption Parish.

The boating fatality occurred in the Belle River sometime before 9 p.m. on Jan. 9 and claimed the life of Aaron Vickrey, 31, of Pierre Part.

Agents were notified around 9 p.m. of a single boating incident.  It appears at this time that Vickrey was travelling south in a 16-foot aluminum vessel in the Belle River before striking a pier ejecting him from the vessel.  Witnesses were able to recover Vickrey’s body from the water and to the shore where they were able to call 911 for help.

When emergency medical personnel arrived Vickrey was unconscious and attempts to bring him back were unsuccessful.  Vickrey’s body was turned over to the Assumption Parish Coroner’s Office to determine an official cause of death.

LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this boating incident.  Vickrey was not wearing a personal flotation device at the time of this boating incident.

Suspect Who Shot LDWF Agent Arrested for Attempted 1st Degree Murder

Release Date: 01/08/2017

Amethyst Baird

On Saturday, January 7, 2017 a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agent was shot in the line of duty while on patrol in Morehouse Parish.

Senior Agent Tyler Wheeler was shot multiple times during a vehicle stop on US 165 in Morehouse Parish just north of the Ouachita Parish line.

Louisiana State Police Detectives began investigating the shooting and evidence was quickly discovered that lead to the arrest of 31-year-old Amethyst Baird of Monroe.  Baird was charged and booked into the Ouachita Correctional Center on one count of Attempted 1st Degree Murder of a Police Officer for the shooting of Senior Agent Wheeler.

Also, during the course of this investigation, it was discovered that 34-year-old Jeremy Gullette of Monroe, LA assisted Baird in this crime.  Gullette was charged and booked at the Ouachita Correctional Center on one count of Accessory After the Fact to Attempted 1st Degree Murder.

“We are very pleased that the suspected shooter and her accomplice are in custody at this time.” said LDWF Col. Joey Broussard.  “Now we hope that Senior Agent Wheeler continues his recovery progress and that he and his family get the justice they deserve for this senseless shooting.”

Senior Agent Wheeler is listed in stable condition in the Intensive Care Unit of the LSU Health Shreveport Trauma Center.

Louisiana State Police is handling the investigation into the shooting with assistance from the LDWF Enforcement Division.

Wheeler has been an LDWF agent for two and a half years and is married with one child.

Shot LDWF Agent Listed in Stable Condition

Release Date: 01/07/2017

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agent is listed in stable condition in the Intensive Care Unit of the LSU Health Shreveport Trauma Center after being shot in the line of duty.

Senior Agent Tyler Wheeler, 25, of Monroe, was shot five times including once in the temple, jaw, shoulder and twice in the arm.  Wheeler was shot while performing a vehicle stop at 2:06 a.m. on Jan. 7 on Hwy. 165 between Sterlington and Bastrop in the Perryville area.

“Whoever committed this heinous act was shooting to kill.  Luckily Senior Agent Wheeler has displayed the type of courage, toughness and determination it takes to hopefully survive this senseless and cowardly shooting.” said LDWF Enforcement Division Col. Joey Broussard.  “We are encouraged by the hospital updates that say he is in stable condition and responsive to commands.  We will be by Senior Agent Wheelers’ side throughout his recovery and our prayers will remain with him and his family.”

Louisiana State Police is handling the investigation into the shooting with assistance from the LDWF Enforcement Division.

Wheeler has been an LDWF agent for two and a half years and is married with one child.

LDWF Agent Shot Multiple Times in Morehouse Parish

Release Date: 01/07/2017

Senior Agent Tyler Wheeler

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agent was shot in the line of duty while on patrol in Morehouse Parish in the early morning hours of Jan. 7.

At 2:06 a.m. Senior Agent Tyler Wheeler, 25, of Monroe, performed a vehicle stop in the south bound lane of Hwy. 165 in between Sterlington and Bastrop in the Perryville area.  During the vehicle stop, Wheeler was shot multiple times.

Another LDWF agent was a short distance from the traffic stop and arrived on scene around 2:15 a.m. when he found Wheeler on the ground.  He was able to radio a distress call to LDWF dispatch, secure the scene, notify local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and render assistance to Wheeler.

EMS arrived on scene and were able to stabilize Wheeler and prepare him for air transport.  Wheeler was airlifted around 4 a.m. to the LSU Health Shreveport Trauma Center for immediate treatment.  It is unknown at this time the extent of Wheeler’s injuries.

Authorities are currently looking for the shooting suspect at this time.  Louisiana State Police will be handling the investigation into the shooting with assistance from the LDWF Enforcement Division.

Wheeler has been an LDWF agent for two and a half years and is married with one child.

Agents Cite Five Men for Deer Hunting Violations in Ouachita Parish

Release Date: 01/06/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited five men for alleged deer hunting violations in Ouachita Parish.

Agents cited Joe Willis, 37, of West Monroe, Dana J. Murray, 66, of Monroe, and Bert T. Willis, 62, of St. John, Fla., for possession of an untagged deer on Dec. 12.  Joe Willis was also cited for hunting deer during illegal hours, possession of an illegally taken deer, and failing to comply with deer tagging requirements.

Agents also cited John Pineda, 32, of Benton, Ark., and Edward Grant Jr., 22, of Bryant, Ark., for hunting without non-resident basic and big game hunting licenses, failing to comply with deer tagging requirements, criminal trespassing and possession of an illegally taken deer on Dec. 14.

Agents received a tip on Dec. 12 about night hunters on Whitewood Road in West Monroe.  Agents arrived on scene and stopped a vehicle near a hunting camp and found an eight-point and seven-point deer head in the bed of the truck.  The driver of the vehicle, Joe Willis, admitted to shooting a deer in a field across from the camp at night with aid of a spotlight that did not belong to one of the antlered deer heads in the back of the truck.

Agents then escorted Joe Willis back to the camp where they came into contact with Bert Willis and Murray.  Agents then found an ice chest with quartered up deer meat, of which the men claimed as theirs.  They then found another ice chest with more quartered up deer meat with no possession tags, of which the men said belonged to Grant and Pineda.

Joe Willis then stated that he legally killed the eight-point deer on his land in Luna.  He then stated the seven-point deer was shot by his friend, Grant, across the river from the camp on Dec. 11.  He also admitted to Pineda harvesting an antlerless deer behind the camp on Dec. 11.  Willis also stated that Grant and Pineda already went back to Arkansas.

Agents then found that Joe Willis had not tagged three antlered deer from earlier in the season that he admitted to taking.  Agents seized Willis' 30-30 rifle, spotlight and all the deer meat.

Agents contacted Arkansas Game and Fish agents whom interviewed Grant and Pineda on Dec. 14 in relation to the incident of the two deer they shot in Louisiana.  They both admitted to killing the deer without licenses.  Grant also stated that he and Pineda went across the river in a boat and retrieved one of the deer from private property.  LDWF agents were then able to issue citations for Grant and Pineda.

Failing to comply with deer tagging requirements and hunting without non-resident and big game hunting licenses each brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 30 days in jail for each offense.  Hunting deer during illegal hours 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.

The men may also face civil restitution totaling $4,872 for three illegally taken deer.

Criminal trespassing brings a $100 to $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail.

Agents participating in the case are Senior Agent Sean Moreau and Agent Tyler Wheeler and Arkansas Game and Fish agents.

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Two Greensburg Men Cited for Numerous Deer Hunting Violations

Release Date: 01/03/2017

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agent cited two Greensburg men for alleged deer hunting violations in St. Helena Parish on Dec. 22, 2016.

LDWF Sgt. Toby Miller cited Rogelio Perez, 52, and Ben Avants, 54, for hunting deer during illegal hours, without wearing hunter’s orange, and possessing illegally taken deer.  Perez was also cited for failing to meet deer tagging requirements, taking over the daily limit of deer, intentional littering, taking deer illegally during an open season, selling deer meat, taking over the season limit of deer, concealing wildlife and failing to maintain sexual deer identification.

Agents received an anonymous tip about Perez illegally selling deer meat from deer he harvested at night in St. Helena Parish.  After a month long investigation Sgt. Miller was able to question Perez at his residence on Dec. 19 about a couple of deer he was skinning in his shed that were later revealed to have been taken on the same day.  Perez also tried to conceal an antlered deer’s head.

During questioning, Perez admitted to taking 11 deer at night in St. Helena Parish with Avants, night vision and a flashlight attached to his .270 rifle.  He also took two deer during the day giving him a total of nine antlered deer and four antlerless deer since Nov. 19.  Hunters are only allowed to take three antlered and three antlerless deer per season putting Perez seven over the daily limit.

Sgt. Miller questioned Avants on Dec. 22 and he admitted to going hunting with Perez eight different times and also helping with cleaning the deer.  Perez also admitted to selling eight deer and throwing the deer carcasses in a ditch.

Sgt. Miller seized two whole deer, two sets of antlers, the night vision and rifle with attached flashlight.

Hunting deer during illegal hours with artificial light and intentional concealment of wildlife each carries a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail for each offense.  Possession of illegally taken deer and taking deer illegally during an open season each carries a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail for each offense.

Taking over the daily and season limit of deer and failing to maintain sexual identification each brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail for each offense.  Failing to comply with deer tagging requirements and to wear hunter’s orange each carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail for each offense.

Selling and purchasing deer meat brings a $500 to $750 fine and up to 30 days in jail for the first offense.  For all subsequent offenses, Perez faces a $750 to $1,000 fine and up to 120 days in jail.

Intentional littering carries up to a $500 fine and eight hours of community service in a litter-abatement work program.

Perez may also face civil restitution totaling $21,521 for the 13 illegally taken deer.

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