Enforcement

LDWF Agents Investigating Fatal Boating Incident in Iberia Parish

Release Date: 08/13/2018

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents are investigating a single fatal boating incident that occurred on Aug. 11 in Iberia Parish.

The body of Leonard Norbert Jr., 58, of New Iberia, was recovered from Mud Lake around 9:50 p.m. on Aug. 11.

LDWF agents along with the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office were alerted around 6:40 p.m. by two fishermen that found an unmanned aluminum boat and a fishing pole nearby in the water.

LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this fatal boating incident.  Norbert’s body was found near the unmanned boat without a personal flotation device.

It is unknown at this time how Norbert entered the water.  His body was turned over to the Iberia Parish Coroner’s Office to determine an official cause of death.

Body of Ponchatoula Man Recovered from Lake Pontchartrain

Release Date: 08/12/2018

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents are investigating a single fatal boating incident that occurred on Lake Pontchartrain on Aug. 11 in Tangipahoa Parish.

The body of Milton B. Gomez, 66, of Ponchatoula, was recovered around 7:15 p.m. by authorities about a mile south of where the Tangipahoa River feeds into Lake Pontchartrain.

Agents were alerted around 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 11 about an unmanned 17-foot aluminum vessel in Lake Pontchartrain.  LDWF agents along with the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Coast Guard participated in the search.

LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this fatal boating incident.  It is unknown at this time how Gomez entered the water.  Gomez’s body was found without a personal flotation device.

Gomez’s body was turned over to the Tangipahoa Parish Coroner’s Office to determine an official cause of death.

Four Cited for Shrimping During a Closed Season

Release Date: 08/03/2018

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents cited four people for alleged commercial fishing violations on Aug. 2, 2018 in Plaquemines Parish.

Agents cited Tony Riley, 46, and Ingrid Ragas, 44, both of Port Sulphur, and Dac Tran,57, and Luong V. Tran, 54, both of Avondale, for using skimmers during a closed shrimp season.  Riley was also cited for not possessing a commercial fishing license.

Agents found the four subjects inside the closed waters of Bastian Bay on two separate vessels.  Agents sized a total of 405 pounds of shrimp and they were sold to the highest bidder.

Using skimmers during a closed shrimp season carries up to a $950 fine and 120 days in jail.  Taking commercial fish without a commercial license brings up to a $500 fine and 90 days in jail.

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.

Ville Platte Man Cited for Shooting Whooping Crane

Release Date: 08/02/2018

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents cited a Ville Platte man on July 26 for allegedly shooting an endangered whooping crane in Evangeline Parish.

Agents cited Gilvin P. Aucoin, 52, for violating the Endangered Species Act after he admitted to shooting a whooping crane.

Agents were notified about a shot whooping crane that was found near a crawfish pond in the northeast corner of Evangeline Parish.  Agents responded to the area and questioned Aucoin, who was working on the land at the time the crane was shot.

During questioning he admitted to shooting the crane with a .22 caliber rifle on July 25 while working on the property.  Agents seized the .22 caliber rifle.

Violating the Endangered Species Act brings up to a $50,000 fine and a year in jail.

LDWF has released 125 whooping cranes since 2011 and are currently tracking 65 whooping cranes.  The male crane in this case was released in 2011.

Three Men Cited for Using Shocking Device to Catch Fish

Release Date: 07/26/2018

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries cited three Columbia men for alleged fishing violations on July 23 and 25 in Caldwell Parish.

Agents cited Heath B. Rider, 43, Dillon R. Patterson, 26, and David H. Gregory, 41, for taking fish illegally by using a shocking device and fishing without possessing a recreational fishing license.  Rider was also cited for operating an unregistered motorized vessel and failing to comply with personal flotation device (PFD) requirements.

Agents were investigating complaints of people using a shocking device to land fish on the Ouachita River near Columbia.  Agents setup surveillance on the river and witnessed Rider and Patterson in a vessel actively fishing the area with a shocking device on July 25.

Agents made contact with the two men and found them in possession of catfish and two shocking devices.  During questioning, Rider admitted to shocking fish with Gregory on the night of July 23.

The three men did not possess recreational fishing licenses.  Agents seized the 14-foot vessel, motor and shocking devices.  Agents also seized 40 catfish that were caught on July 23 and 25 and donated them to a local charity.

Taking fish illegally brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail for each offense.  Fishing without a fishing license, failing to comply with PFD requirements, and operating a vessel without a registration each carry a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail for each offense.

LDWF Agents Cited a St. Bernard Man for Crabbing Violations

Release Date: 07/25/2018

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited a St. Bernard man for alleged commercial fishing violations on July 23.

Agents cited Robert Lopez, 65, of St Bernard for possessing over 20 percent undersized crabs and possessing immature female crabs.

While on patrol in Bayou Biloxi in Plaquemines Parish, agents observed Lopez operating his vessel and stopped him to conduct a license and creel check.  Agents made contact with Lopez and found him in possession of several crates of crabs.

Commercial fishermen are allotted a 10 percent incidental take of undersized crabs and a two percent incidental take of immature female crabs for the total number of crabs in their possession.

Agents sampled each crate and determined that three crates contained 24 percent, 30 percent and 32 percent of undersized crabs.  Agents also discovered that one of those crates contained six percent of immature female crabs. Agents seized approximately 180 pounds of crabs and returned them to the water.

Possessing over 20 percent undersized crabs carries a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Taking immature female crabs brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.

Two Houma Men Cited for Oyster Violations in Terrebonne Parish

Release Date: 07/25/2018

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited two Houma men for alleged oyster violations in Terrebonne Parish on July 18.

Agents cited Israel Beiza-Lopez, 32, and Ruiz Alexis-Luan, 44, for taking oysters during a closed season on the Sister Lake Public Oyster Seed Reservation and taking oysters from unleased state water bottoms.

Agents were on patrol around 5 p.m. on July 18 when they observed a vessel in the Sister Lake Seed Reservation actively dredging for oysters.  Agents stopped the vessel and found the men in possession of four sacks of oysters.

Agents seized the vessel and oyster dredges on a department seizure order and returned the four sacks of oysters to the water.

Taking oysters during a closed season and from an unleased state water bottom each brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail. The men could also face having their oyster harvester licenses revoked by LDWF for up to one year.  The violators could also be sentenced to perform 40 hours of community service and only be allowed to harvest oysters from a vessel that is equipped with a vessel monitoring device for up to one year.

Cadet Passes Away During Third Week of LDWF Training

Release Date: 07/20/2018

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) cadet passed away on July 19 in Baton Rouge.

Cadet Immanuel Washington, 38, of Youngsville, passed away at Ochsner Medical Center in Baton Rouge on July 19, a day after being rushed to the hospital.

“Our hearts are broken by this tragedy,” said Jack Montoucet, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. “The whole Wildlife and Fisheries family offer our prayers for his wife, his children, his family and friends. From the accounts I received, Mr. Washington was an excellent cadet and an even better person. This is a loss for Louisiana.”

Washington was in the third week of his training to become an LDWF Enforcement Division Agent at the LDWF Training Academy located off N. Flannery Road in Baton Rouge.  After completing a two-and-a-half mile run on the morning of July 18, the cadets were in the cool down period of their physical training when Washington collapsed to the ground.

Training agents immediately called for an ambulance and began cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on Washington.  Agents continued CPR until the ambulance arrived to take him to Ochsner Medical Center.  Once at the hospital, Washington was placed on life support in the intensive care unit until his passing on the morning of July 19.

“All of our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Washington’s family at this point. This is a very sad time for his family, the agents and the cadets that came to know him during his training,” said Col. Sammy Martin, head of the enforcement division.  “From everything I’ve heard about this man his dream was to become a Wildlife and Fisheries agent.  We were very happy to hire him and believe he would have made a great agent.”

Washington’s body was turned over to the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office to determine an official cause of death. He is survived by his wife, a three-year-old-son and a one-year-old daughter.

LDWF Enforcement Division Recognized For Re-Accreditation Through NASBLA BOAT Program

Release Date: 07/10/2018

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division is being recognized for its achievement of re-accreditation with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators’ (NASBLA) Boat Operations and Training (BOAT) Program.  LDWF was the first law enforcement agency to receive this national accreditation in 2011. Since then the agency has been an exemplary role model for other agencies pursuing accreditation.

“The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries truly shares our mission for ensuring excellence in the training of our nation’s maritime first responders and readying them in the best way possible to ensure safety on our waterways,” says Dave Considine, NASBLA BOAT Program Director.  “We are excited to see that our first accredited agency continues to hold the bar high for other agencies to follow.”

LDWF’s instructor cadre has played an integral role, not only in the training of Louisiana’s maritime operators, but also as instructors for NASBLA’s direct delivery courses throughout the nation.  At the end of 2017, LDWF’s Enforcement Division had trained all of their agents in Boat Operations Search and Rescue (BOSAR), Boat Accident Investigations, and the Seated Battery of Field Sobriety Tests.

“We need all of our agents to be well-trained in all aspects of safe boating and search and rescue operations as those are two of our main missions,” said Col. Sammy Martin, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division.  “We are proud of this re-accreditation as it shows our dedication to effective safe boating patrols and search and rescue operations in Louisiana.”

An additional 68 agents were trained in Boat Crew Member (BCM), 53 in Officer Water Survival, and 34 in the Tactical Operator Course discipline. LDWF has also trained an additional 73 officers in BCM and 8 officers in BOSAR from other marine law enforcement agencies throughout the state.

“The BOAT program and all of its many courses available provide our agents with the opportunity to train to a known standard,” said Major Rachel Zechenelly, Louisiana’s state’s boating law administrator.  “This accreditation also means our agency can provide the same training to our agents and other law enforcement agencies to ensure we are all on the same page.”

Through the BOAT Program Accreditation process, an agency, division, department or unit and its maritime training policies, procedures, curricula, qualification process and documentation are assessed to ensure alignment with the National Standard. This process and subsequent Accreditation ensures interoperability with marine units across the country in specific applicable competencies. By accrediting agencies and departments throughout the country, NASBLA’s BOAT Program creates more trainers and qualifies more officers than any other program in the nation, truly enhancing the safety and security of America’s waterways. Agencies accredited are required to go through a re-accreditation process every three years.

The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) is a national nonprofit association that represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories. NASBLA’s Boat Operations and Training (BOAT) Program was established in 2009 through the efforts of multi-organization “Council of Partners,” to ensure the readiness of state, local, and federal law enforcement and emergency response boat crews throughout the country, and in order to conduct missions on our nation’s waterways safely and effectively. The BOAT Program is recognized as the national standard of training, typing and credentialing by the United States Coast Guard, and by the boating authorities of all 50 States and six territories. Learn more about the NASBLA BOAT Program at www.nasblsa.org/boat.

New Iberia Father and Son Found Guilty in 2015 Killing of Louisiana Black Bear

Release Date: 06/28/2018

A New Iberia man and his juvenile son were found guilty in 16th Judicial District court in Iberia Parish for the 2015 killing of a Louisiana black bear near Weeks Island.

Judge Gregory Aucoin sentenced Elie Dupre, 60, of New Iberia, to pay $2,500 in civil restitution for delinquency of a juvenile for his role in his son’s illegal taking of a Louisiana black bear.

The juvenile son of Elie Dupre was found guilty for taking a bear during a closed season after he fatally shot a Louisiana black bear back in November of 2015.  Judge Aucoin sentenced the juvenile to serve 100 hours of community service, suspended his hunting privileges for one year, and ordered him to retake a hunter’s education course.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited Dupre and his son on June 23, 2017 for their roles in the illegal shooting of a Louisiana black bear.

The nine year old, 250 pound female black bear was part of a long term monitoring program and wore a tracking collar.  Over the eight years the bear wore the tracking collar it provided researchers with valuable information on black bear populations, productivity and population viability in the state of Louisiana.

Assistant District Attorney Angelique Narcisse prosecuted the case for the state.

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