16 Year Olds Survive Boating Incident

Release Date: 10/29/2014

Two 16 year old boys from the Crowley area survived a boating incident on the Indian Creek Reservoir in Rapides Parish on Oct. 26.

The juveniles were fishing and traveling in a boat channel on the north end of the reservoir in a boat when they struck a tree.  Both boys were ejected from the 16 foot aluminum vessel and sustained minor to moderate cuts and bruises.

Because the operator was wearing the engine cut-off switch lanyard, the vessel shut off after the boys were ejected.  The boys were able to get back into the stalled vessel where a fisherman found them shortly after the incident and transported them to the boat launch where Acadian Ambulance was then able to transport the passenger to the Rapides General Hospital to treat a leg injury.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division will be the leading investigative agency for this incident.

LDWF agents believe at this time that the boys greatly increased their chance of survival because the operator took a safe boating education class, both boys were wearing personal flotation devices (PFDs) and the operator utilized the engine cut-off switch lanyard.

“These boys took all the right precautions to increase their chance of survival,” said Col. Joey Broussard, head of the Enforcement Division.  “We believe that this could have been a fatal outcome had they not been wearing PFDs that kept them afloat in case they wouldn’t have been able to swim from their injuries and the cut-off switch lanyard that prevented the boat from turning into a weapon and hitting one or both of the boys.”

PFDs are required for anyone 16 years of age and younger when in a vessel less than 26 foot long while underway.  An engine cut-off switch is required for anyone operating a vessel with a hand tiller outboard motor that is less than 26 foot long and in excess of 10 horsepower that is designed to have a cut-off switch.

“While this vessel was not required to have the cut-off switch since it was not a hand tiller engine, we always teach people to use it if the boat has one,” said Lt. Col. Sammy Martin, the state’s Boating Law Administrator.  “We are hoping that other people will see how these boys took the extra couple of safety precautions by wearing their PFDs and cut-off switch that may have been the difference between life and death.”

The free boating education safety class is mandatory for anyone born after Jan. 1, 1984 operating a vessel in excess of 10 horsepower.  The classes are available statewide and year-round and the schedule can be found at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating.

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

Terrebonne Parish Man Arrested After Boat Chase

Release Date: 10/21/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested a Houma man after a boat chase on Oct. 20 in Terrebonne Parish.

Agents arrested Charlie Use`, 32, for aggravated flight from an officer, careless operation of a vessel, taking or possessing more than 10 redfish, taking or possessing undersized redfish, no navigation lights, intentional concealment of fish and not possessing a basic or saltwater fishing license.  Agents booked him into the Terrebonne Parish Jail.

Agents made contact with Use` in Bayou DeCade south of Houma around 6 a.m. on Oct. 20.  Agents stopped Use` because he didn’t have the required navigation lights on his 18 foot vessel.

While making contact with Use`, agents observed him dump redfish into the water.  While the agents were trying to retrieve the redfish, Use` took off in his vessel in an effort to escape.  After a brief one mile chase, agents were able to get Use` to stop his vessel and arrest him.

Agents were able to determine that Use` possessed over 10 redfish of which some were undersized by observing the fish that were dumped and by questioning Use`.

Aggravated flight from an officer brings up to a $2,000 fine and five years in jail.  Reckless operation of a vessel carries up to a $300 fine and 30 days in jail.  Intentional concealment of fish brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Possessing more than 10 redfish brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Possessing undersized redfish carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Failing to possess basic and saltwater fishing licenses and for not having navigation lights each brings up to a $50 fine and 15 days in jail for each offense.

Agents participating in the case are Lt. Joe Arnaud and Senior Agent Stephen Rhodes.

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

Fraudulent Shrimp Sales Lands Rayne Man in Jail

Release Date: 10/15/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested a Rayne man for alleged fraudulent shrimp sales in on Oct. 14.

Agents arrested Shannon J. Roche, 37, for four counts of theft by fraudulent shrimp sales and for failing to maintain records in Acadia and Jefferson Davis parishes.

Agents received complaints from three victims in Jefferson Davis Parish and one victim in Acadia Parish.  Agents investigated each complaint and determined that Roche sold shrimp to these consumers whom did not receive the correct amount of shrimp.  LDWF agents booked Roche into the Acadia Parish Jail.

Fraudulent shrimp sales brings a up to a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail for each count.  Failing to maintain records brings up to a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail for each count.

Agents arrested Roche on similar charges on Feb. 26 earlier this year in Lafayette Parish.

Sgt. Justin Sonnier and Senior Agent Donald Murray are investigating this case.
For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Agents Cite Deville Man for Deer Hunting Violations

Release Date: 10/14/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited a Deville man for alleged deer hunting violations on Oct. 11 in Bienville Parish.

Agents cited Paul D. Deville, 58, for taking spotted fawns, possessing over the limit of deer, failing to maintain the deer’s sex identification and failing to comply with deer tagging or harvest record regulations.

Agents received a complaint that a man had taken three deer two of which were spotted fawns.  Agents responded at the location and found Deville in possession of three deer.

Deville kept the head of a mature antlerless deer for sex identification, but hid other parts from the other two deer in a wooded area behind the camp.  Agents located the heads and hides of all three deer and were able to identify two of the deer as spotted fawns.  Agents found that Deville did not tag any of the deer.

Agents seized all three deer and three of Deville’s antlerless deer tags.

Taking spotted fawns brings a $500 to $750 fine and 15 to 30 days in jail.  Possessing over the legal limit of deer and failing to maintain the sex identification of the deer carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail for each offense.  Failing to comply with deer tagging regulations brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.

Agents involved in the case are Sgt. Mike Kelley, Sgt. Chuck Dison and Senior Agent Bryant Coburn.

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

Two Terrebonne Parish Men Pleaded Guilty to Oyster Violations

Release Date: 10/13/2014

Two Terrebonne Parish men were sentenced in Division A of Terrebonne Parish Court for illegal oyster fishing violations on Oct. 8.

Fernando Carbajal, 39, of Houma, and Jonathan Reyes, 25, of Houma, both entered a guilty plea before 32th Judicial District Court Judge George Lark for one count of taking oysters from an unapproved area in Sevin Canal in Terrebonne Parish on June 26, 2014.

Judge Lark sentenced both men to pay a $950 fine, serve 120 days jail time suspended upon paying fines, revoked their oyster harvester license privileges for one year, serve 40 hours of community service in the litter abatement program and both men cannot harvest oysters for a period of one year unless the vessel is equipped with a vessel monitoring device.  Both men were also put on active probation for six months.

Assistant District Attorney Barry Vice prosecuted the case.  Participating in the investigation were Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division Sgts. Bryan Marie and Richard Purvis and Agent Richard Bean.

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

$7,000 Reward Offered for Information on Dead Black Bear

Release Date: 10/06/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents are seeking leads in the illegal killing of a black bear in Concordia Parish.

A reward of up to $7,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible.  The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering $5,000, LDWF’s Operation Game Thief program up to $1,000, and the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation another $1,000.

A fisherman found the bear, badly decomposed, on Sept. 1 in the Atchafalaya River. The bear was a part of LDWF’s Black Bear Restoration Program and was radio collared over the past year to track the animal’s movements. The bear was normally tracked in the Turnbull Island area of Concordia Parish.

At this time, agents believe that the approximately four-year-old female bear was killed in Concordia Parish and thrown in the river, where her body then floated downstream.

The Louisiana black bear has been listed on the Federal Threatened and Endangered Species List since 1992. Residents are reminded that killing a Louisiana black bear is a violation of both state law and the federal Endangered Species Act. Violators are subject to penalties of up to $50,000 and six months in jail. In addition, a restitution fine of $10,000 for the animal may be imposed on anyone convicted of killing a black bear in Louisiana.

Anyone with information regarding this illegal bear killing should call the Louisiana Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-442-2511 or use LDWF's tip411 program. To use the tip411 program, citizens can text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the "LADWF Tips" iPhone and Android app from the Apple App Store or Google Play free of charge.

The hotline and the tip411 program are monitored 24 hours a day. Tipsters can also remain anonymous.

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

Body of Houma Man Recovered Following Boating Incident in St. Mary Parish

Release Date: 10/06/2014

The body of a Houma man was recovered from the Intracoastal Waterway in St. Mary Parish this morning, Oct. 6, by search and rescue officials.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division (LDWF) agents and St. Mary Sheriff’s Office (SMSO) deputies found the body of Wallace Bailey Jr., 38, at approximately 6:30 a.m. after searching throughout the night.

Officials were notified at 9 a.m. about a boating incident in in the Intracoastal Waterway near the intersection of Bayou Boeuf.

According to witnesses, Wallace Bailey Jr. was operating a small aluminum skiff with a hand tiller steering motor with his father Wallace Bailey Sr., 64, of Morgan City, as the passenger.  The skiff crossed a wake and quickly turned ejecting both men into the water and sinking the vessel.

Witnesses were able to pull Bailey Sr. from the water and Bailey Jr. sank below the water and didn’t resurface.

LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this incident.  Neither man was wearing a personal flotation device.  Bailey Jr’s body was turned over to the St. Mary Parish Coroner’s Office.

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

LDWF Enforcement Agent Recognized at October Commission Meeting

Release Date: 10/03/2014

Senior Agent Wolf and Shikar-Safari Rep. Chris Kinsey

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agent was honored at the Oct. 2 Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting held in Baton Rouge.

Shikar-Safari Club International presented their Officer of the Year award for Louisiana to LDWF Senior Agent Thomas Wolf, of Houma.  The Shikar-Safari award recognizes an agent from each state for outstanding efforts in conservation law enforcement.

“Senior Agent Wolf deserves all the accolades for being such a fine conservation agent for the department,” said Col. Joey Broussard.  “He does an excellent job of using his knowledge, tips from the public and experience when making decisions in the field on difficult cases.  He is also a very dependable agent who always ranks amongst the highest each year in case load.”

Wolf has been an LDWF agent for five years and mainly patrols Terrebonne Parish.  Wolf also received the LDWF Enforcement Division’s “2014 Agent of the Year” award. 

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

Two Men Cited For Oyster Violations in Plaquemines Parish

Release Date: 09/30/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited two men for alleged oyster violations in Plaquemines Parish on Sept. 26.

Agents cited Matthew J. Lepetich, 37, of Belle Chasse, and Jose M. Bocanegra, 45, of St. Bernard, for violations of the states oyster sanitation code that are intended for raw consumption.  Lepetich was also cited for violations of the vessel monitoring systems for oyster cargo vessels, failing to tag oysters properly and failing to maintain the required records for oyster cargo vessels.

The charges stem from agents stopping Lepetich in Bay Adams in Plaquemines Parish without the required Department of Health and Hospitals log sheet filled out.  The log sheet is used to indicate what the intended use was for the oysters.

After further investigation, agents learned that Lepetich was receiving oysters from one of his other vessels that were not refrigerated properly and which were intended for raw consumption.  The vessel those oysters were received from had no type of refrigeration on board.

The oysters harvested by Lepetich himself were also not properly tagged by lot ID’s in accordance with Department of Heath and Hospitals regulations for raw consumption oysters.

Lastly, Lepetich did not have the required vessel monitoring system on his vessel as required by oyster cargo vessels.

Agents seized 351 sacks of oysters and returned them to the water.

Violating the states oyster sanitation code for non-refrigerated oysters for raw consumption, failing to maintain required records for oyster vessels and the vessel monitoring system for oyster cargo vessels each brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Failing to tag oysters carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.

Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Adam Young, Senior Agent Joel Cromp, Sgt. Tim Fox, Senior Agent Brett Nabors, Senior Agent Robert Cosse Jr., and Agent Jeff Farmer.

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

Many Resident Pleads Guilty To Possessing A Firearm, Ammunition After Being Convicted Of Felonies

Release Date: 09/29/2014

A Many man pleaded guilty on Sept. 26 to possessing a shotgun and ammunition after being convicted of multiple felonies, U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced.

Jerry Kenneth Thompson Jr., 44, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote to one count of possessing a firearm and ammunition after a felony conviction.

According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) agents discovered Thompson on Dec. 31, 2013 in possession of a 12-gauge shotgun and ammunition while hunting on private property without permission and using a stolen deer stand.  Thompson admitted to LDWF agents that he had prior felony convictions and knew he could not possess a firearm.

Further investigation confirmed that Thompson had seven felony convictions in California.  The felony convictions include: two convictions for grand theft, possession of marijuana with intent to sell, second degree burglary of a vehicle, possession with intent to sell a controlled substance with a gang affiliation enhancement, transportation of a controlled substance, and possession for sale of cocaine base.  Thompson also had a prior felony conviction in Sabine Parish for simple burglary.

Thompson faces up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine, and forfeiture of the firearm and ammunition.  A sentencing date of Jan. 30, 2015 was set.

The ATF and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries conducted the investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert W. Gillespie Jr. is prosecuting the case.

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

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