Enforcement

LDWF Names New Boating Law Administrator for Louisiana

Release Date: 08/15/2013

Capt. Rachel Zechenelly

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has appointed a new state Boating Law Administrator (BLA), which will represent Louisiana on the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).

Capt. Rachel Zechenelly, of Baton Rouge, is replacing Col. Jeff Mayne as Louisiana’s BLA after Col. Mayne stepped down from the position when he was promoted to the head of the LDWF Enforcement Division in June.

“I’m honored to be named Louisiana’s Boating Law Administrator as we strive to make our waterways safer for everyone to enjoy,” said Capt. Zechenelly.  “We’ve made a lot of progress in making boating a safer experience and we will continue to look at ways to make it even safer in the future.”

Capt. Zechenelly also said she will expand education outreach programs to paddle sports due to a significant increase in people kayaking, paddle boarding and canoeing.

Capt. Zechenelly is originally from Pearl River and joined the LDWF Enforcement Division in 1999.  Capt. Zechenelly started as an agent working out of the New Orleans office where she primarily handled fishery patrols and boating safety enforcement on the water including on the coast and Gulf of Mexico.

Capt. Zechenelly was assigned to LDWF Enforcement Division’s Headquarters Staff in 2005 in Baton Rouge as the boating education coordinator.  In May of 2011, she was promoted to captain and put in charge of LDWF’s Boating Safety Enforcement and Waterways Management.  She currently oversees the Enforcement Division’s marine theft investigations, boating crash incident investigations, and the statewide boating safety education program.

“I have the utmost confidence in Capt. Zechenelly’s ability and experience to spearhead our boating safety programs,” said Col. Jeff Mayne.  “She has led our boating education program almost from the beginning and is familiar with NASBLA’s training curriculum and key personnel.”

Capt. Zechenelly has participated and coordinated the Enforcement Division’s emergency response for Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Ike and Isaac, the BP Oil Spill in 2010, and the Mississippi River Spring 2011 Flood event.

Capt. Zechenelly completed the U.S. Coast Guard’s Marine Patrol Officer Course and the month long National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Law Enforcement Training Program.  She also completed the NASBLA Comprehensive Boating Accident Investigation and Analysis Course.

NASBLA is a national nonprofit organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety. NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories.

NASBLA’s mission is to strengthen the ability of the state and territorial boating authorities to reduce death, injury and property damage associated with recreational boating and ensure a safe, secure and enjoyable boating environment.

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

Buras Man Arrested for Boat Registration Fraud

Release Date: 08/14/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested a Buras man for alleged boat registration charges on Aug. 13.

Agents arrested Limauel Watson, 66, for filing public false documents and injuring public records and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Jail.

Agents began investigating Watson in May of 2013 after he tried to register a 20-foot aluminum vessel in April of 2013.  Watson claimed on the boat registration forms that he purchased the vessel in April of 2010.

After investigating Watson’s registration, agents learned that Watson’s vessel wasn’t manufactured until July of 2010 and that he didn’t purchase the vessel until October of 2010.

It is believed that Watson filed a fraudulent boat registration in an effort to receive reimbursement payment from BP for work he allegedly did with the vessel helping with the oil spill cleanup in 2010.  Watson has submitted a reimbursement claim with BP that has been unfulfilled at this time.

Injuring public records and filing false public documents each brings up to a $5,000 fine and five years in jail for each offense.

Agents participating in the case are Lt. Louis Burnett, Sgt. Todd Laviolette, Senior Agent Michael Williams, Senior Agent Michael Marques and Senior Agent Adam Tieben.

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

LDWF Clarifies Hog Hunting on WMA Regulations

Release Date: 08/13/2013

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has clarified a hog hunting on public lands regulation in this year’s Louisiana Hunting Regulations pamphlet.

In the 2013-14 Louisiana Hunting Regulations pamphlet on page 47 and 48 in the Feral Hogs and Outlaw Quadrupeds section it states that “feral hogs may be taken during any legal hunting season on Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) by properly licensed hunters.”

However, there are raccoon hunting seasons at night on select WMAs throughout the state for a few weeks each year.  During these nighttime raccoon seasons on WMAs, the hunting, taking and possessing of feral hogs will be prohibited and enforced as such.

Furthermore, it states in the 2013-14 Louisiana Hunting Regulations pamphlet on page 29 that the nighttime take of feral hogs can only happen on private lands from the last day of February until the last day of August by properly licensed hunters.  This regulation purposely omits any nighttime take of feral hogs on WMAs and other public lands.

LDWF will take measures for next year’s hunting regulations pamphlet to further clarify this regulation as it pertains to feral hogs.

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

Metairie Subjects Cited For Stealing Crabs

Release Date: 08/05/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited two Metairie residents for alleged crabbing violations on Aug. 2 on Lake Pontchartrain.

LDWF agents set up surveillance from the shoreline of Lake Pontchartrain after receiving complaints about stolen crabs from crab traps in the area.  Agents observed David E. Shelhorse Jr, 37, and Jennifer Bourgeois, 31, running crab traps in the area with two different colored corks.

After stopping the subjects, the agents learned that the crab traps that Shelhorse Jr. and Bourgeois were taking crabs from belonged to another commercial fisherman.

Agents cited Shelhorse Jr. and Bourgeois for unlawfully removing contents of a crab trap, which carries a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail if found guilty.

Agents also seized 63.5 pounds of blue crabs.

The agents participating in the case are Sgt. Jason Russo, Sgt. Kris Bourgeois and Sgt. Adam Young.

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

Morgan City Man Arrested For Vandalizing LDWF Equipment

Release Date: 08/02/2013

A joint investigation involving the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division and the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office has resulted in an arrest of a Morgan City man this morning, Aug. 2, for his alleged role in vandalizing LDWF equipment on the Atchafalaya Delta Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
Aaron LeCompte, 18, turned himself into St. Mary Parish Office deputies and admitted to vandalizing two pieces of LDWF equipment and was subsequently booked into the St. Mary Parish Criminal Facility.
The investigation began when an LDWF bulldozer and utility vehicle (UTV) were first noticed missing on July 24 on the Big Island portion of the Atchafalaya Delta WMA.  LDWF staff found the missing equipment later that evening on Big Island.  The bulldozer was buried in mud and water up to the floorboard.  The UTV was found stuck in a ditch.
The total damage done to the equipment and the costs associated with retrieving both pieces of equipment are unknown at this time.
LeCompte is charged with two counts of unlawful use of a vehicle and simple criminal damage to property.  Unlawful use of a vehicle brings up to a $5,000 fine and 10 years in jail for each offense.  Simple criminal damage to property carries up to a $1,000 fine and two years in jail if the damage to the property is between $500 and $50,000.
For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Investigation Underway for Vandalism of LDWF Property on Atchafalaya Delta WMA

Release Date: 07/29/2013

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division and the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office are investigating two acts of vandalism that occurred on the Atchafalaya Delta Wildlife Management Area (WMA).

An LDWF bulldozer and utility vehicle (UTV) were first noticed missing on July 24 on the Big Island portion of Atchafalaya Delta WMA.  LDWF staff found the missing equipment later that evening on Big Island.  The bulldozer was buried in mud and water up to the floorboard.  The UTV was found stuck in a ditch.

The equipment was vandalized between July 19 when it was last seen by LDWF staff and July 24 when it was noticed missing.

LDWF is offering up to a $1,000 reward for anybody that volunteers information that leads to an arrest and conviction in this case.  Anyone with tips or leads can call LDWF’s Operation Game Thief’s (OGT) toll free hotline at 1-800-442-2511 or text LDWF OGT by texting LADWF and their tip to 847411.  Tipsters can also download the LADWF Tips iPhone and Android apps from iTunes and Google Play stores free of charge.

The total damage done to the equipment and the costs associated with retrieving both pieces of equipment are unknown at this time.

The Big Island portion of the Atchafalaya Delta WMA is only accessible by vessel.

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

Leads Needed for Missing Buoys off Independence Island Reef

Release Date: 07/25/2013

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division is requesting any leads regarding missing mooring buoys on Independence Island Reef.

Six mooring buoys, which were part of a 2011 restoration project, went missing in late June from the popular fishing spot located about 3 miles northeast of Grand Isle.  The buoys are provided to allow fisherman with an identifiable marker of the famed fishing spot.

Anyone with tips or leads can call LDWF’s Operation Game Thief’s (OGT) toll free hotline 1-800-442-2511 or text the LDWF OGT by texting LADWF and their tip to 847411.  Tipsters can also download the LADWF Tips iPhone and Android apps from iTunes and Google Play stores free of charge.

Removing buoys brings up a $250 to $500 fine and 90 days in jail.

Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) and LDWF completed construction in 2011 on Independence Island Reef, which is believed to be the largest limestone inshore artificial reef project ever in Louisiana.

Nearly 8,000 tons of limestone were dropped from barges onto four acres where Independence Island was once located.  At the time of the project completion, the total site acreage was more than 50 acres.

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

Golden Meadow Man Dies from Injuries in Boating Incident

Release Date: 07/24/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents are investigating a fatal boating crash incident that occurred in Lafourche Parish this morning, July 24.

Richard Griffin Jr., 29, of Golden Meadow, was travelling north in Bayou Lafourche alone in his 16 foot vessel around 5:15 a.m. when he struck a piling.  Griffin Jr. sustained severe head trauma from his collision with the piling.

Griffin Jr. was taken to Lady of the Sea Hospital in Galliano and then transported to University Hospital in New Orleans where he was pronounced dead.

LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this boating crash incident.

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

Deville Man Found Alive after Spending Night Lost in the Woods

Release Date: 07/22/2013

John L. Paul's Mother Hugs LDWF Agents After they Found Her Son Alive

July 22, 2013 -- After searching for over 15 hours, search and rescue teams found a missing Deville man alive on the Dewey Wills Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in LaSalle Parish.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents along with the Louisiana State Police, LaSalle Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office started searching for John L. Paul Jr., 29, after he was reported missing at 7:30 p.m. on July 20 on the Dewey Wills WMA.

LDWF agents found Paul on the banks of North Fork Bayou while conducting a search by boat of the area at 10:40 a.m. on July 21.  Paul was released to his family and did not need any medical treatment.  Paul told agents that he was out there with his dog and got turned around and lost.

The last known contact with Paul occurred around noon on July 20 when he called his girlfriend to bring him some water.  When the girlfriend arrived on the scene all she found was Paul’s truck.

The search and rescue teams used dogs, boats, a helicopter and infrared thermal imaging devices in the search.

LDWF agents participating in the search and rescue mission included Lt. Travis Burnett, Lt. Russ Kiser, Sgt. James Parish, Sgt. Marcus Constance, Sgt. Kevin Hill, Senior Agent Jay Callegari, Senior Agent John Volentine, Senior Agent Byron Cammack, Senior Agent Joey Tarver and Senior Agent David Nelson.

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

Kentwood Couple Cited for Possessing Undersized Seatrout

Release Date: 07/12/2013

July 12, 2013 -- Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited a Kentwood couple for alleged fishing violations on July 12 in Jefferson Parish.

While on a Joint Enforcement Agreement patrol, agents stopped a vessel in the Gulf of Mexico fishing along the beach in Jefferson Parish.

During the vessel inspection, agents found Chad Terrebonne, 30, and Nicole Terrebonne, 29, in possession of 49 spotted seatrout of which 40 were undersized. The legal minimum size limit for spotted seatrout is 12 inches.

Possession of undersized seatrout brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  The Terrebonne’s may also face a civil restitution penalty of $28.97 per undersized fish.

Agents participating in the case are Lt. Joseph Arnaud and Senior Agent Michael Marques.

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

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