tip411 Complaint Leads to Closed Season Alligator Case

Release Date: 10/10/2011



A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agent cited a Basile subject for an alleged closed season alligator violation on Oct. 7, 2011.

LDWF agents received an anonymous tip411 complaint concerning four alligators that were captured and being held in a container at a Basile address belonging to John Sonnier, 50, in Evangeline Parish.

After arriving at Sonnier's residence, LDWF Sgt. Scott Fontenot located four live alligators in a large black container on the property near the shop.  Sonnier admitted that his farm hands had captured the alligators and he had them placed into the container for approximately two weeks.

Sgt. Fontenot cited Sonnier for possessing alligators during a closed season.  The four alligators were seized and released live back into the wild.  Taking or possessing alligators during a closed season brings a $400 to $950 fine, up to 120 days in jail, or both plus court cost and forfeiture of anything seized.

LDWF launched the tip411 program a few weeks ago as a part of their Operation Game Thief program, which may offer a cash reward for information leading to arrests or convictions.

To use the tip411 program, citizens can text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the "LADWF Tips" iPhone app from the Apple iTunes store free of charge.   CitizenObserver, the tip411 provider, uses technology that removes all identifying information before LDWF receives the text so that LDWF cannot identify the sender.

Texting or downloading the app enables the public to send anonymous tips to LDWF and lets LDWF respond back, creating a two-way anonymous “chat”.  Users of the app or texters can also send in photos to help support their claim and be used as evidence.

Citizens can also call Operation Game Thief's Hotline at 1-800-442-2511.  The hotline and tip411 program are monitored 24 hours a day.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov.