Enforcement

Missing Boater’s Body Found in Lake Maurepas

Release Date: 06/26/2012

 

The deceased body of a missing boater was found on Lake Maurepas on Monday, June 25 around 8 p.m.

A passing boater found the body of Daniel Mitchell, 51, of Springfield, about 2 miles south on Lake Maurepas in Tangipahoa Parish from where his unmanned vessel was found.  The boater notified officials who then recovered Mitchell’s body.

Search crews from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division, Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office, Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Coast Guard and the Killian Dive Team have been searching for Mitchell since Saturday, June 23 around 5:30 p.m.

Officials responded to a report of an unmanned 18-foot lake skiff circling near the mouth of the Tickfaw River on Lake Maurepas.  After boarding the circling vessel, LDWF agents were able to match the boater’s registration to Mitchell.  A search of the area was immediately started.

Mitchell’s body was transferred to the Tangipahoa Parish Coroner’s Office.  Mitchell was not wearing a personal flotation device.  It is unknown at this time how Mitchell was ejected from the vessel.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-354-9517 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF Agents Make Five DWIs Over Operation Dry Water Weekend

Release Date: 06/25/2012

In support of Operation Dry Water, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) arrested five boaters statewide for driving or operating a vessel while intoxicated (DWI) from Friday, June 22 to Sunday, June 24.

LDWF agents issued DWIs to Joshua Fortenberry, 23, of Watson, Ark., on Moon Lake in Ouachita Parish, on June 23; Thurman Hitchcock, 65, of West Monroe, on the Ouachita River in Quachita Parish on June 24; Kayward Hebert, 61, of Kaplan, on Henderson Bay in St. Martin Parish on June 23; Nelson Navarre, 54, of Vinton, on the Sabine River in Calcasiue River on June 23; and James Walker Jr., 37, of Baton Rouge, on the Diversion Canal in Livingston Parish on June 24.

"We take DWI enforcement on the water very serious since the leading cause of boating fatalities is alcohol," said Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, the state's boating law administrator.  "We want everybody on the water to have a good time, but to keep in mind that they need a designated driver just like on land."

Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.  It can increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion.  Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion intensify the side effects of alcohol, drugs and some prescription medications.

Louisiana had 36 fatalities from boating crash incidents in 2011 with five of those listing alcohol as a primary cause.  Nationwide, statistics from 2011 reveal that 16 percent of all boat incident fatalities were a direct result of alcohol or drug use.

LDWF agents issued 108 DWI citations to boat operators in 2011 with 10 of those occurring over the Operation Dry Water weekend.

In Louisiana, a DWI on the water carries the same penalties and fines as on the road and includes jail time, fines and loss of driving and boating operator privileges.

Anyone cited for a DWI on the water or on the road will lose his or her driver's license and boating privileges for the specified time ordered by the judge in the case.  Also, each offense of operating a vehicle or vessel while intoxicated counts toward the total number of DWI crimes whether they happened on the water or road.

In Louisiana a DWI can be issued to anyone operating a moving vessel or vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.  First offense DWI carries a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.  Second offense DWI brings a $750 to $1,000 fine and between 30 days and six months in jail.  Third offense DWI carries a $5,000 fine and between one and five years in jail.

Operation Dry Water was started in 2009 and is a joint program involving the LDWF/LED, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and the U.S. Coast Guard.  More information is available at www.operationdrywater.org.

Agents making the DWI arrests this weekend were Senior Scott Bullitt, Sgt. Duane Taylor, Senior Agent Bear Fletcher, Senior Agent Jones, Senior Agent Bourdreaux, Senior Agent Beau Robertson, Sgt. Aaron Herpin and Sgt. Randy Lanoux.

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

Alligator Guide Receives a Six Month Sentence

Release Date: 06/22/2012

The U.S. District Court Judge in Baton Rouge sentenced a Plaquemine man to six months in a Federal Jail on June 21 for alligator violations.

Judge Brian Jackson also ordered Gregory Dupont, 38, to pay a $3,000 fine, serve four months in a halfway house and two years of probation.  Dupont’s sentencing was the first ever felony conviction and prison sentence resulting from the illegal hunting of American alligators.

On Feb. 10, 2012 Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents wrapped up a five and a half year investigation into the illegal taking of alligators when Dupont pled guilty to one felony Lacey Act violation.  Dupont was the sole owner and operator of an alligator guide and outfitting business known as Louisiana Hunters Inc.  The Lacey Act is the federal wildlife statute that makes it illegal to transport, sell, receive, acquire or purchase illegally taken wildlife.

The investigation uncovered that between 2006 and 2011 Dupont and six other individuals took at least 26 alligators illegally while guiding non-resident alligator sport hunters.  The majority of the illegal alligators taken were between 10 to 12.5 feet in length with an estimated value of $143,000 to the guide.

In September of 2006, Dupont guided his clients to an area that was unapproved, which is an area for that he did not have the required alligator tags.  During this illegal hunt, one of his clients killed an American alligator.  Dupont tagged the alligator illegally with a tag for another property.

Past convictions and penalties associated with this case are as follows:

Travis Dardenne and Jeffrey Brown, both of Plaquemine, were sentenced on Feb. 4, 2010 and ordered to pay a $2,000 fine and serve one year of probation for violations of the Lacey Act.  Dardenne and Brown had connections to Dupont’s guiding services.  As part of their punishment, they are prohibited from hunting or guiding anywhere in the world during their probation.

On Sept. 8, 2006, Dardenne, a licensed alligator hunter, and Brown, a licensed alligator helper, guided an out-of-state alligator sport hunter to an area for which Dardenne and Brown did not have appropriate state authorization to hunt. The sport hunter killed a trophy-sized alligator in the unapproved area.

On Sept. 13, 2011 Clint Martinez and Michael Martinez, both of Plaquemine, were sentenced to serve a three year term of probation during which they will be prohibited from hunting as follows: for one year of the probation the defendants will be prohibited from engaging worldwide in all hunting activities, including guiding, with any kind of weapon; for the remaining two years of probation the defendants will be prohibited from engaging worldwide in all commercial alligator hunting activities, including guiding.  In addition, each defendant will pay a $5,000 fine and serve 200 hours of community service.

The Martinez brothers guided out-of-state alligator sport hunters who were clients of Dupont’s, to areas for which they did not have appropriate state authorization to hunt.  In October 2005, the clients killed a 10 foot, two-inch trophy-sized alligator.  In September 2006, clients killed a 10 foot and a 12 foot, six-inch trophy-sized alligators.

On Aug. 10, 2011 Larry Dees Sr., and Larry Dees Jr., both of Maringuoin, were sentenced to three years of probation during which they will be prohibited from hunting as follows: for one year of the probation the defendants will be prohibited from engaging worldwide in all hunting activities, including guiding, with any kind of weapon; for the remaining two years of probation the defendants will be prohibited from engaging worldwide in all commercial alligator hunting activities, including guiding.  Dees Sr. was also fined $3,000.

The father and son guided out-of-state alligator hunters who were Dupont’s clients to unapproved areas on Sept. 10 and 24-25 of 2009.  On Sept. 10, 2009, the clients killed a 9 foot 4 inch trophy-sized alligator.

The Dupont case was prosecuted by Shennie Patel and Susan L. Park of the Environmental Crimes Section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice.

Participating in the case were LDWF case agents Sgt. Dusty Rhodes, Lt. Darryl Moore, Sgt. Ronald Hebert and Senior Agent Jerry Stassi.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Philip Siragusa and LDWF’s Noel Kinler and Lance Campbell in the LDWF Alligator program also assisted in the case.

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

Elm Grove Man Sentenced to Two Years in Jail for Illegal Silencer Possession

Release Date: 06/21/2012

June 21, 2012 - After a two and a half year investigation, an Elm Grove man was sentenced on June 20 in Federal Court in Shreveport to two years in a federal penitentiary for illegal possession of a silencer.

Senior Judge Tom Stagg of the U.S. Western District Court accepted Brett Roberts’, 52, guilty plea to the federal charge of possessing a homemade silencer and sentenced him to two years in a federal jail and three years of supervised probation.

LDWF Enforcement Division agents initiated the investigation in November of 2009 after receiving multiple tips that Roberts was illegally night hunting in the Bossier and Webster parish areas.  LDWF undercover agents were able to make contact with Roberts and tag along during some of his illegal hunts and witnessed other illegal activities.

LDWF undercover agents discovered that Roberts was using a homemade silencer on a .22 caliber rifle to kill deer at night and out of season.  Undercover agents witnessed Roberts hunt from a public road from his vehicle and sell deer meat.  Undercover agents also purchased methamphetamines, a stolen boat motor and a rifle silencer from Roberts.

On Jan. 31, 2011, LDWF and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents executed a search warrant of Roberts’ residence and charged Roberts with 228 counts of illegal activities.  Roberts was subsequently booked into the Bossier Max Detention Center in Bossier Parish and the Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center in Webster Parish.

On July 12, 2011, Roberts pled guilty to the following state charges in Bossier Parish; illegal possession of stolen things, possession of drug paraphernalia, hunting with an illegal firearm, hunting deer with illegal methods, hunting and taking deer during illegal hours and hunting from a public road.  Judge Ford Stinson of the 26th District Court sentenced Roberts to serve six months in jail in the Bossier Parish Jail with three months suspended, a $3,000 fine, restitution of $5,300, two years of supervised probation and a five year hunting ban.

On Aug. 5, 2011 Roberts pled guilty to the following state charges in Webster Parish; possession of drug paraphernalia, taking deer during illegal hours, possession of untagged deer, failing to maintain sex identification of deer, failing to tag deer and possession of illegally taken deer.  Judge Bruce Bolin of the 26th District Court in Benton, La. Sentenced Roberts to 18 months in the Webster Parish Jail of which six months were suspended, a $3,000 fine, restitution of $5,300 and two years of supervised probation.  Roberts must also forfeit his hunting privileges.

The jail, probation and restitution charges for each parish run concurrently bringing the total state punishment for Roberts to 12 months of jail, a $6,000 fine, a $5,300 restitution charge and two years of probation.

LDWF agents assisting undercover agents in the case were Senior Agents Jared McIver, Cullom Schexnyder, Wesley Duck, Bryant Coburn, Michael Dunn and Joey Melton; Sgts. Mike Kelley and Ryan Brashier; and Lt. Kenny Balkom.

Prosecuting the state charges were Assistant District Attorneys Sherb Sentell for Webster Parish and Santi Parks for Bossier Parish.  U.S. Assistant District Attorney Robert France prosecuted the federal charge.

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

LDWF Enforcement Division Cooperating In Operation Dry Water June 22-24

Release Date: 06/20/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement Division (LDWF/LED) agents will take part in Operation Dry Water from June 22-24 with increased patrols for operating or driving a boat while intoxicated (DWI) enforcement and boating safety.

During the Operation Dry Water weekend, LDWF agents will be out in force patrolling state waterways for boat operators whose blood alcohol content exceeds the state limit of .08 percent.

"We want people to be safe and have fun while boating recreationally," commented Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, LDWF’s state Boating Law Administrator.  "But alcohol use has become one of the leading contributing factors in fatal recreational boating crash incidents.  We recommend a sober operator of the vessel just like you would have a sober driver on the road."

Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.  It can increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion.  Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion intensify the side effects of alcohol, drugs and some prescription medications.

Louisiana had 36 fatalities from boating crash incidents in 2011 with five of those listing alcohol as a primary cause.  Nationwide, statistics from 2011 reveal that 16 percent of all boat incident fatalities were a direct result of alcohol or drug use.

LDWF agents issued 108 DWI citations to boat operators in 2011 with 10 of those occurring over the Operation Dry Water weekend.

Impaired boaters caught this weekend can expect penalties to be severe.  In Louisiana, a DWI on the water carries the same penalties and fines as on the road and includes jail time, fines and loss of driving and boating operator privileges.

Anyone cited for a DWI on the water or on the road will lose his or her driver's license and boating privileges for the specified time ordered by the judge in the case.  Also, each offense of operating a vehicle or vessel while intoxicated counts toward the total number of DWI crimes whether they happened on the water or road.

In Louisiana a DWI can be issued to anyone operating a moving vessel or vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.  First offense DWI carries a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.  Second offense DWI brings a $750 to $1,000 fine and between 30 days and six months in jail.  Third offense DWI carries a $5,000 fine and between one and five years in jail.

“There will be arrests this weekend and some boaters will face the consequences of operating a boat while impaired," added Lt. Col. Mayne.  "But we'd much rather arrest someone than to have to tell their friends and family they're never coming back."

Operation Dry Water was started in 2009 and is a joint program involving the LDWF/LED, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and the U.S. Coast Guard.  More information is available at www.operationdrywater.org.

To schedule a media ride along or for more information, please contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Officials Find Second Body in Lake St. John

Release Date: 06/17/2012

Search and rescue teams from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division and Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office recovered the body of a second boater from Lake St. John around 11:30 a.m. this morning, June 17.

Authorities located the body of Larry Allen, 52, of Pearl, Miss., under a collapsed pier on Lake St. John in Concordia Parish.  Allen was a passenger in a boat that crashed into a pier shortly after midnight on June 16 that also killed the operator.

LDWF agents responded to a boating incident on Lake St. John around 12:15 a.m. on June 16.  Bruce Pickle, 50, of Ferriday, was found in the water by some onlookers after they witnessed him crash into a pier on Lake St. John with his bass boat.  Pickle was ejected from the boat and was recovered by the witnesses who attempted CPR on him before authorities arrived.

Later on the morning of June 16, LDWF agents received a call about the possibility of Allen being a passenger with Pickle at the time of the wreck.  LDWF agents along with the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office immediately began searching for Allen.  Searchers had to remove the collapsed pier in order to get to Allen who was trapped underneath the wreckage.

Both Pickle and Allen were transferred to the Concordia Parish Coroner’s Office.  LDWF agents did pull a blood sample from each man as standard procedure for a toxicology report, but do not suspect alcohol or drugs played a role in this incident at this time.

Neither man was wearing a personal flotation device.  The causes of death are unknown at this time.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-354-9517 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Boating Incident in Lake St. John Results in Fatality

Release Date: 06/16/2012

June 16, 2012 --- Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents responded to a boating incident on Lake St. John that left one man dead and possibly another at 12:15 a.m. this morning, June 16.

Bruce Pickle, 50, was found in the water by some onlookers after they witnessed him crash into a pier on Lake St. John with his bass boat around midnight.  Pickle was ejected from the boat and was recovered by the witnesses who attempted CPR on him before authorities arrived.

Pickle’s body was transferred to the Concordia Parish Coroner’s Office.  LDWF agents did pull a blood sample for a toxicology report, but do not suspect alcohol or drugs played a role in this incident at this time.

This morning, LDWF agents received a call about the possibility of another person still under the water at the wreck scene at the pier.  The call has led authorities to believe there may have been a passenger with Pickle at the time of the wreck.

LDWF agents along with the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office have begun searching for this possible missing boater.

Pickle was not wearing a personal flotation device.  His cause of death is unknown at this time.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-354-9517 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Louisiana Operation Game Thief Issues $8,500 In Rewards To Tipsters

Release Date: 06/15/2012

Louisiana Operation Game Thief, Inc. (LOGT), a Louisiana wildlife crime-stoppers program, awarded $8,500 to diligent citizens statewide at their quarterly meeting on May 19 in Woodworth.

The group approved and dispensed cash reward amounts for tipsters who reported wildlife violations that led to 25 subjects being apprehended in wildlife cases.  There were a total of 17 cases presented and 65 offenses associated with those cases.

Louisiana Department Wildlife Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement LOGT Coordinator Lt. Will Roberts provided LOGT members with information on each case and a recommendation for reward amounts.

“We depend on Operation Game Thief and these public tips to help break a lot of cases that might have otherwise gone unsolved,” Roberts said.  “These tips led to a few turkey baiting cases, closed season and over limit waterfowl cases and a night hunting case.”

Anyone wishing to report wildlife or fisheries violations should anonymously call LDWF’s 24-hour toll free Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-442-2511 or utilize LDWF's new tip411 program.  To use the tip411 program, citizens can anonymously 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.

LOGT was instituted in 1984 and provides cash rewards for information leading to the arrest of violators of fish and wildlife regulations.  Funds are raised through private donations, court directed contributions and through contributions from cooperative endeavor agreements with organizations such as the National Wild Turkey Federation and Quality Deer Management Association.

To make a donation to the LOGT that can be used for cash rewards, please contact Lt. Will Roberts at wroberts@wlf.la.gov.

LOGT meets quarterly throughout the year to review cases and dispense rewards.

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

Three Cameron Men Cited for Illegal Shrimping on Cameron Prairie NWR

Release Date: 06/06/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited three Cameron men for alleged fishing violations on May 29 on Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge.

Agents cited Anthony G. Theriot, 36, Philip LeJeune Sr., 50, and Jerimie M. Pugh, 37, for taking and possessing game fish with illegal methods, leaving fishing nets unattended, blocking the passage of fish, taking shrimp with illegal gear and trawling at night.

Around 7:30 p.m. on May 29, LDWF agents observed a vessel traveling across the southern end of Calcasieu Lake before stopping in Grand Bayou where the subjects placed a shrimp trawl across the opening at the Grand Bayou water control structure.  Grand Bayou is located on the Cameron Prairie NWR in Cameron Parish.

With the aid of handheld thermal imaging systems, agents watched the subjects placing and running the trawl and emptying the shrimp into the vessel.  After the three men emptied their net they would leave the trawl and travel in to Calcasieu Lake to cull shrimp.

Around 10:15 p.m. agents made contact with the three men.  Agents seized 661 pounds of shrimp, two speckled trout, a 36 foot shrimp trawl and their vessel.

The three men may also facing federal charges through the U.S. Attorney’s Office for violating rules on a National Wildlife Refuge since this NWR does not allow commercial fishing activity nor night time fishing.

Taking and possessing game fish with illegal methods brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in prison.  Leaving nets unattended carries a $500 to $750 fine and 15 to 30 days in jail.  Blocking the passage of fish and taking shrimp with illegal gear each brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Trawling at night brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.

Agents participating in the case were Senior Agent Carl Pickett, Sgt. Aaron Herpin, Sgt. David Sanford and Senior Agent Stuart Guillory.

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

Body of Missing Boater Recovered From Lake Pontchartrain

Release Date: 06/05/2012

Search crews found the body of a Slidell man shortly after 2 p.m. today, June 5, on Lake Pontchartrain.

The body of Isiah M. Tate, 21, was recovered by search crews from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Coast Guard and Sea Tow.

According to the three other passengers on the 21 foot boat, Tate fell overboard due to rough waters around 3:30 a.m. near the twin spans on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain south of Slidell.  The passengers said they were able to locate the missing boater in the water twice before he would disappear into the water again before they could make contact.

According to the passengers, Tate was not wearing a personal flotation device.  His body has been turned over to the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office.

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

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