Three Men Plead Guilty and Sentenced for Oyster Theft

Release Date: 02/26/2014

On Feb. 25, John Phillipe, 32, Patrick Sylve, 25, both of Port Sulphur, and Jean Taylor, 32, of Sparta, Tenn., pleaded guilty to numerous commercial oyster violations in Plaquemines Parish.

Phillipe pleaded guilty to harvesting oysters during illegal hours, unlawfully removing oysters from a private lease, failing to have written permission, and violation of the emergency fishery closure still in effect from the BP oil spill, violating the state’s health code by not filling out his Department of Health and Hospitals log book, and another count of violating the state’s health code for vessel sanitation requirements, no tarp, no visible boat numbers and taking commercial fish without a vessel license.  He was also cited for improper running lights, failing to comply with personal flotation device requirements, failing to change ownership of a vessel after 45 days and failing to display a valid certificate decal.

Patrick Sylve and Jean Taylor pleaded guilty for harvesting oysters during illegal hours, unlawfully removing oysters from a private lease, failing to have written permission, and violation of the emergency fishery closure still in effect from the BP oil spill.

Judge Michael Clement accepted all three pleas and ordered the following sentences: Phillipe was ordered to pay a fine of $3,900 plus all court costs and was placed on two years probation.  All of Phillipe’s commercial licenses were also revoked for a period of two years and he is forbidden to be on any oyster vessel for two years.  His oyster dredge was also forfeited to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).

Patrick Sylve and Jean Taylor were each ordered to pay a fine of $950 plus court costs and were ordered to not be on a vessel harvesting or possessing oysters or gear to take oysters for two years unless that vessel is equipped with a vessel monitoring device that is approved and monitored by the LDWF Enforcement Division.

LDWF agents witnessed Phillipe and his deckhands harvesting oysters from a lease that did not belong to them and under the cover of darkness after legal sunset on Aug. 26, 2013 in Bayou Stephan located in Plaquemines Parish.  Agents discovered the boating safety and health code violations during the stop.

Assistant District Attorney Robert White prosecuted the case.  Agents participating in the case were Sgts. Adam Young and Villere Reggio.

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