17 Men Plead Guilty To Shrimp Violations On Sabine N.W.R.

Release Date: 08/31/2010

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division's Special Operations Unit in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) federally charged 17 individuals on May 6 for shrimp violations on the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Cameron Parish.

USFWS agents served notices to appear before the U.S. Magistrate in Lake Charles to Lee Allen Greene, 29, Jimmy Constance Jr., 48, Jimmy Constance III, 29, and Gary Fountaine Jr., 34, all of Hackberry; Dustin Craig Moore, 18, Joseph Harrison Mott Jr., 40, Joseph Eugene McManus, 38, Billy Joe Meche, 32, Kenneth Erick Meche, 39, Brandon Joseph Breaux, 29, James Michael Williams, 22, Clint Lee Mott, 26, Shannon Kyle Fuselier, 46, John Joseph McKay Jr., 42, Kenny Edward Kellum Jr., 30, and David Wayne Brooks, 57, all of Sulphur; and Steven Hollie, 50, of Starks.

LDWF undercover agents initiated the investigation in September, 2009 after receiving numerous complaints from commercial and recreational fishermen of individuals catching large amounts of shrimp with cast nets on the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge and selling the catch commercially. The Sabine NWR has a limit of one five-gallon bucket of shrimp per vehicle or vessel and the commercialization of the shrimp is prohibited.

LDWF undercover agents observed the suspects catching over the legal limit of shrimp and they were then able to conduct an operation designed to purchase the illegal shrimp from the suspects both on and off of the refuge. LDWF undercover agents purchased in excess of 550 pounds of shrimp from the suspects during the investigation.

The suspects were served with notices to appear before the U.S. Magistrate for illegal commercialization on a federal refuge, possessing over the limit of shrimp, failure to maintain custody of shrimp and trespassing.

At an arraignment in Lake Charles Federal District Court on May 27, 2010, the following pled guilty to shrimp violations and were given the following penalties: Joseph McManus was fined $1,180 and banned from the refuge for two years; Dustin Moore was fined $520; Kenneth Meche was fined $520; Kenny Kellum Jr. $360; Lee Allen Greene was sentenced to 10 days in the Cameron Parish Jail; James Williams was fined $560; David Brooks was fined $575; Jimmy Constance lll was fined $1,805 and banned from entering any NWR for three years; Joseph Mott ll was fined $1,370 and banned from entering any NWR for five years; Gary Fountain Jr. was fined $670 and banned from entering any NWR for five years; Shanon Fuselier was fined $2,775, banned from entering any NWR for five years and placed on supervised probation for one year; and Jimmy Constance Jr. was fined $1,170.

Due to pre-sentencing investigations, sentencing and trial were held in Lake Charles Federal District Court on Aug. 19. The following pled guilty to shrimp violations and were given the following penalties: John McCay Jr. was sentenced to five years unsupervised probation at which time he is banned from entering any NWR or participating in any hunting or fishing activities and fined $870; Billy Joe Meche was sentenced to five years unsupervised probation at which time he is prohibited from entering any NWR or participating in any hunting or fishing activities and fined $895; Steven Hollie was fined $2,420 and placed on unsupervised probation for one year, during which time he is prohibited from entering any NWR or participating in any hunting or fishing activities; Clint Mott was fined $3,730 and placed on unsupervised probation for 13 months, during which time he is prohibited from entering any NWR or participating in any hunting or fishing activities.

Brandon “BJ” Breaux will be sentenced on Oct. 21, 2010.

In addition to the undercover LDWF agents the following federal refuge agents participated in the case, John Branum, Brad Rabalais, Scotty Boudreaux and Sidney Charbonnet.

For more information, contact Capt. Cliff Comeaux of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries at 225-765-2980 or cjcomeaux@wlf.la.gov.

2010-E50