Sample News

Texas Man Arrested in Fatal Boating Incident

Release Date: 08/21/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents are investigating a fatal boating incident that occurred in Calcasieu Parish on Aug. 20.

The fatal boating incident claimed the life of Damian Haines, 8, of Vidor, Texas.  The incident happened around 5 p.m. on Old Sabine River near Niblett’s Bluff Park.

According to the survivors, Eddie L. Dunwoody, 35, of Vidor, Texas, was operating a 19 foot bass boat with a 150 horsepower motor with four other passengers on board while towing a tube with three juvenile boys.  He made a turn and the tube swung out striking the bank and ejecting the three boys.

Haines was airlifted to the West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital in Sulphur where he was pronounced dead.  Another boy was taken by ambulance to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont, Texas, for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.  The other boy on the tube suffered minor injuries and didn’t need any further treatment.

LDWF agents arrived on scene and determined that Dunwoody was impaired and he tested over the legal limit for alcohol.  Agents also drew blood from Dunwoody for a toxicology test.  Agents also determined that Dunwoody was operating the vessel at the time of the incident in a no wake zone.

Agents arrested Dunwoody for operating (driving) a vessel while intoxicated (DWI) with child endangerment, vehicular homicide, vehicular negligent injury, reckless operation of a watercraft, and violating a no wake zone and booked him into the Calcasieu Parish Prison.

Vehicular homicide brings a $2,000 to $15,000 fine and five to 30 years in prison.  Vehicular negligent injury carries up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.  DWI with child endangerment carries a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail with 10 days being mandatory for the first offense.  Reckless operation of a vessel carries up to a $200 fine and 90 days in jail.  Violating the no wake zone penalties are set by the parish.

The LDWF Enforcement Division will be the lead investigative agency for this fatal boating incident.

Plaquemines Parish Man Arrested for Shrimp Violations and Battery of a Police Officer

Release Date: 08/17/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested a Plaquemines Parish man for alleged commercial fishing violations and battery of a police officer on Aug. 15.

Agents arrested Timothy P. Cheramie, 52, of Buras, for using skimmers during a closed season, resisting an officer and battery of a police officer.

Agents were on patrol in Bastian Bay when they found Cheramie actively shrimping with skimmers during a closed season.  The shrimp season is not set to open until Aug. 18, at 6 a.m.

When agents boarded the vessel, Cheramie began resisting the agents by not allowing them to seize his nets.  After numerous attempts to seize the nets and dealing with interference from Cheramie, agents told Cheramie he was under arrest.

When agents attempted to place him in handcuffs he became combative and began fighting with agents as they attempted to handcuff him.  After a brief scuffle, agents were able to handcuff and arrest Cheramie.

Using skimmers during 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.

Resisting an officer carries up to a $500 fine and six months in jail.  Battery of a police brings up to a $500 fine and between 15 days and six months in jail.

Case agents are Senior Agent Travis Bartlett and Agent Richard Heinold.  Assisting agents were Lt. Adam Young and Sgt. Villere Reggio.

Shot LDWF Agent Returns to Duty

Release Date: 08/15/2017

Shot LDWF Agent Returns to Duty

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agent who was shot in the line of duty while on patrol in Morehouse Parish in the early morning hours of Jan. 7, 2017, has returned to duty.

Senior Agent Tyler Wheeler, 25, was shot four times including once in the head and once in the back while questioning a motorist 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.

“Tyler Wheeler is an extraordinary young man with a faith and will to live that I have been blessed to witness," said LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet. "His courage and determination to return to work after surviving a life-threatening attack, typifies what it means to be a law enforcement officer."

Wheeler’s first day back in uniform was Aug. 4 and he went through a week of in-service training before beginning his first week of patrol duties on Aug. 14.

“We welcome back Senior Agent Wheeler with open arms and are very happy for him, his family, and our division that he has made a miraculous full recovery from his gunshot wounds,” said Col. Joey Broussard, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division.  “Senior Agent Wheeler has always had very high spirits during the entire recovery process.  He will once again be a vital asset for our enforcement division moving forward and it is great to have him back at full strength.”

Louisiana State Police Detectives arrested Amethyst Baird, 31, of Monroe on one count of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer and Jeremy Gullette, 34, of Monroe, on one count of accessory after the fact to attempted first-degree murder on Jan. 8.  Both are still awaiting trial at this time.

Wheeler was awarded with the Louisiana Wildlife Agent’s Association (LWAA) “Statewide Agent of the Year” award on March 11.

“I would like to thank everybody who has made it possible for me to return to work especially the doctors who got me stabilized and put back together, the rehab personnel, my family and the enforcement division for always being there every step of the way,” said Wheeler.

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

Two Men Cited for Closed Season Shrimping Violations

Release Date: 08/15/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents cited two men for alleged shrimping violations on Aug. 14 in Bay Couquette in Plaquemines Parish.

Agents cited Michael Bourgeouis, 26, of Buras, and Toby Brown, 40, of Boothville, for using skimmers during a closed shrimp season.

Agents found the subjects actively skimming for shrimp in Bay Couquette in the early morning hours of Aug. 14.  Agents seized 513 pounds of shrimp and sold them to the highest bidder.

Using skimmers during 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 Agent Rich Heinhold.

Nine Cited for Closed Season Shrimping Violations in St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parishes

Release Date: 08/09/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents cited nine people in five separate vessels for alleged shrimping violations on Aug. 8 and 9 in Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes.

Agents cited Robert M. Buras, 50, of Venice, Carey O’Neil, 49, of Buras, Jeffery Buras, 57, of Hazelhurst, Miss., Philip David Jr., 50, and Joseph Billiot, 56, both of Marrero, Jeffery Billiot Jr., 29, of Laplace, and Derek Perez, 39, of Laffite, for using skimmers during a closed shrimp season.  Agents found these subjects during the late night hours of Aug. 8 actively using skimmers in the closed season in Bay Long in Plaquemines Parish located in Zone 2.

Agents also cited Lindy Lebouef, 77, of St. Bernard, and Elward Perez Jr., 51, of Violet, for using skimmers during a closed shrimp season.  Agents found these two in the early morning hours on Aug. 9 actively using skimmers in Drum Bay located in St. Bernard Parish in Zone 1.

A total of 3,422 pounds of shrimp were seized from all vessels involved and sold to the highest bidder.

Both Zone 1 and Zone 2 have been closed to shrimping since June and is not set to reopen until Aug. 18.

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 cases are Sgt. Villere Reggio, Sgt. Austin Arteaga, Corporals Gary Pierce and Bret Nabors, Senior Agents Blaine Wagner, Austin Landry and Joel Cromp, and Agents Jonathan Boudreaux and Thomas Forehand.

Search Crews Looking for Potential Missing Boaters

Release Date: 08/01/2017

Search and rescue crews are currently searching for possible missing boaters in Lake Pontchartrain.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents recovered an overturned 12 foot flat boat with trolling motor, ice chest and various other debris related to a boating incident this morning, Aug. 1 near the Hwy. 11 bridge.

Search crews with the New Orleans Police Department, U.S. Coast Guard, Louisiana State Police and the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office are also participating in the search.
 

LDWF Agents Rescue Three People from Burning Trailers

Release Date: 08/01/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents rescued three people and a dog from a fire inside a trailer park in St. Tammany Parish on July 29.

LDWF Sgt. Keith Francis and Corporal Richard Clark were on patrol when they observed a trailer on fire inside Bob’s Trailer Park off of Hwy. 190 on the eastern side of Slidell around 10:45 p.m.  Agents drove into the trailer park and notified the St. Tammany Parish Fire District 1.

The agents noticed that the burning trailer was padlocked from the outside and were informed that no one was inside the trailer, which was completely engulfed in flames.  Due to the heat and size of the fire, agents observed that both trailers adjacent to the fire were smoking, melting and beginning to catch fire.

Agents warned the occupants of the two adjacent trailers about the fire.  Agents rescued an elderly woman and a man and his dog from one of the trailers and an elderly man from the other trailer.

Agents advised all residents to move their vehicles away from the fire and park them in an area that would not block the fire department.  Firefighters responded quickly and put out the fire before additional property was damaged.  No one was injured in the incident.

The St. Tammany Parish Fire District 1 are investigating the cause of the fire.

Illegal Shrimping Investigation Leads to Flight from Officer and Illegal Purchasing of Fish Charges

Release Date: 07/28/2017

A Lafourche Parish man turned himself into authorities on July 27 a week after fleeing from Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents.

Mel Guidry, 37, of Montegut, turned himself into Lafourche and Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Offices on outstanding warrants for using butterfly nets during a closed season; taking commercial fish without a commercial license, commercial gear license and commercial vessel license; failing to tag butterfly nets while unattended; improper running lights; misrepresentation during issuance of a misdemeanor; flight from an officer; and failing to complete trip tickets by a fishermen.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents responded to a complaint of a subject using a butterfly net during the closed shrimp season in Lafourche Parish on July 20.  Agents observed Guidry around 8:30 p.m. that night place the net in the water to catch shrimp and leave the net unattended.  At approximately 11:30 p.m. agents observed Guidry approach the net with improper running lights and begin removing the net from the water.

Agents made contact with Guidry whom subsequently gave the agents a false name.  Guidry then jumped from the agents patrol vessel into the marsh and swam away.  The agents then seized the net and vessel that Guidry was using with approximately 30 pounds of shrimp.  During the investigation agents learned that Guidry was not licensed to fish the net and the net was not properly tagged to be left unattended.

Agents also learned that Guidry was selling his catch to Point Aux Chene Kayak Rentals in Terrebonne Parish owned by Lisa Mullen, 56, of Montegut.  Agents further found that Mullen was not keeping records of the catch and not reporting the proper paperwork to LDWF.  Mullen admitted to buying shrimp from Guidry to sell to her customers as bait shrimp.  Agents cited Mullen for buying commercial fish from an unlicensed fisherman, failing to maintain records and failing to report monthly fish data.

Guidry already had two outstanding warrants in Terrebonne Parish for failure to pay child support.  Agents contacted the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office (LPSO) and the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office (TPSO) and made them aware of Guidry's additional warrants.

On July 25, the LPSO made contact with Guidry and once again he fled and escaped.  On July 27, Guidry contacted the LPSO and a patrol unit picked him up and booked him into the Lafourche Parish Jail for his outstanding warrants.

Using butterfly nets 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.

Taking commercial fish without a commercial license, gear license and vessel license each brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Failing to tag nets left unattended and failing to complete trip tickets each carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Improper running lights brings up to a $50 fine and 15 days in jail.

Flight from an officer brings a $150 to $500 fine and up to six months in jail.  Misrepresentation during the issuance of a misdemeanor carries up to a $500 fine and six months in jail.

Buying commercial fish from an unlicensed fisherman brings a $350 to $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail.  Failing to report monthly fish data and maintain records each carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.

LDWF agents involved in the case are Lt. Joseph Arnaud, Sgt. Richard Purvis, Sgt. Bryan Marie, Corporal Dean Aucoin and Senior Agent Michael Williams.

Three People Arrested for Illegal Drug Possession in Webster Parish

Release Date: 07/14/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents made multiple arrests on July 8 for alleged drug possession charges in Webster Parish.

Agents arrested Kenneth Brewer, 32, of Minden, Pete Talton, 49, of Minden, and Joey Burton, 40, of Arcadia, for possessing suspected marijuana, methamphetamine and assorted drug paraphernalia.  Brewer was also cited for possession of suboxone.

Agents made contact with the three subjects at Peterson’s Landing in Leton.  Two of the subjects were outside of a vehicle at the launch while one sat inside the vehicle with the door open.

Agents made contact with all three subjects and noticed an odor of marijuana was emitting from inside the vehicle.  A background check showed that all three subjects had an extensive criminal history for prior drug charges.

An inspection of the suspects and the vehicle produced one bag of suspected marijuana, two bags of suspected methamphetamine, one partially smoked marijuana cigarette, one glass pipe used to smoke methamphetamine, one package of uboxone, one spoon used to heat up methamphetamine and one pill bottle containing suspected methamphetamine residue inside.

All three subjects were placed under arrest and booked into the Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center.

Possession of suboxone brings up to a $15,000 fine and 10 years in jail.  Possession of methamphetamine carries up to a $5,000 fine and five years in jail.  Possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia each brings up to a $500 fine and six months in jail.

Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Jared McIver, Lt. Kenneth Balkom, Senior Agent John Blalock and Agent Justin Greer.

Two Men Cited for Summer Time Night Hunting Deer Violations in St. Landry Parish

Release Date: 07/13/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Agents cited two St. Landry men for alleged deer hunting violations in St. Landry Parish on July 12.

Agents cited Christian Cannatella, 21, and Lucas Leblanc, 21, for taking deer during a closed season, taking deer during illegal hours with aid of artificial light, hunting deer from a moving vehicle and hunting deer using illegal methods.

Agents were notified by an anonymous informant of illegal night hunting activity near Melville.  Upon investigating the tip, agents discovered that Cannatella and Leblanc allegedly harvested one antlerless deer the morning of July 12.

Agents learned the two men were out spotlighting deer on a Utility Task Vehicle and used a .17 caliber rifle to harvest an antlerless deer.

Agents seized the .17 caliber rifle and the cleaned deer meat.  The deer meat was later donated to a local charity.

Hunting deer during a closed season and during illegal hours with artificial light each carries a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Hunting from a moving vehicle and taking deer using illegal methods each carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.

Cannatella and Leblanc may also face civil restitution totaling $1624.61 for the replacement value of the illegally taken deer.

Agents involved in the case are Sgt. Ryan T. Faul and Senior Agent David Boudreaux.

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