Enforcement

Five Men Cited for Red Snapper Violations

Release Date: 07/14/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited five Louisiana men for alleged red snapper violations on July 11.

Agents cited Darren Bartlett, 50, of Kenner, Christopher Bartlett, 53, of Mandeville, Michael Moats, 39, of Metairie, Kevin Pichon, 52, of Metairie, and Robert O'Neil, 52, of Mandeville, for over the limit of red snapper.

Agents on a Joint Enforcement Agreement patrol out of Venice stopped the men’s vessel for an inspection.  Agents found the men in possession of 20 red snapper.

The bag and possession limit is two red snapper per person.  The five men doubled their legal limit of 10 red snapper.

All five men were also written warnings for not having their recreational offshore landing permit which is required in order to possess the red snapper.

Over limit of red snapper brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  The men could also face a total civil restitution of $287 for the replacement value of the over limit fish.

Agents participating in the case are Senior Agent Michael Marques Jr. and Senior Agent Michael Williams.

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

Three Men Found Harvesting Oysters in Closed Area

Release Date: 07/09/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested three men for alleged oyster harvesting violations on July 9 in Terrebonne Parish.

Agents arrested Juan Resendiz-Zarraja, 33, of Houma, Jorge Enrique Loper-Mendoza, 19, of Houma, and Gilberto Lopez-Pascual, 26, of Houma, for taking oysters during a closed season on the Sister Lake Public Oyster Seed Reservation.  The captain of the vessel, De-Laoanaya, was also cited for violating the log book requirements.

On the morning of July 9, LDWF agents were on patrol when they observed a vessel in the Sister Lake Seed Reservation actively dredging for oysters.

Agents stopped the vessel found the three men in possession of 31 sacks of oysters.  Agents seized the vessel, oyster dredges and returned the oysters to the water.  The men were booked into the Terrebonne Parish Jail.

The Sister Lake Public Oyster Seed Reservation is closed for the 2014/15 season.

Taking oysters during a closed season brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Violating the logbook sanitation code requirements carries up to a $25 fine and up to 10 days in jail.

Agents participating in this care are Lt. Joseph Arnaud and Sgt. Bryan Marie.

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

LDWF Agents Make Three DWI’s on the Water During Operation Dry Water Weekend

Release Date: 06/30/2015

In support of Operation Dry Water, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) arrested three boaters statewide for alleged driving or operating a vessel while intoxicated (DWI) from Friday, June 26 to Sunday, June 28.

On June 26 agents arrested Steven P. Sander Jr., 35, of Metairie, on Bayou Segnette in Jefferson Parish for DWI on the water.  Agents also arrested Donald Lennox, 54, of Prairieville, on the Amite River Diversion Canal in Livingston Parish, and Jay B. Burchfield, 39, of Hammond, on North Pass in Tangipahoa Parish for DWIs on the water on June 27.

Louisiana had 18 boating fatalities in 2014 with alcohol playing a role in six fatalities or 33 percent.  Nationwide, statistics from 2014 reveal that 21 percent of all boat incident fatalities listed alcohol as a contributing factor.

LDWF agents issued five DWI citations to boat operators during the 2014 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.

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.

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

Authorities Recover Body of St. Landry Man from Bayou Marron

Release Date: 06/30/2015

Search and rescue crews from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division and the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office recovered the body of a St. Landry man from Bayou Marron on June 29.

Search and rescue crews were notified around 3 p.m. of a missing canoer in Bayou Marron.  The crews found the body of Lawrence Fontenot, 58, around 5:45 p.m.

According to the other canoer with Fontenot, the two men were frogging from a canoe early in the morning on June 29 in the vicinity of Chatagnier when the canoe capsized.  The survivor was able to make his way to the shore and call for help.

Neither man was wearing a personal flotation device when they entered the water.  LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this boating incident.

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

LDWF Agents Participating in Operation Dry Water this Weekend June 26-28

Release Date: 06/25/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement Division (LDWF/LED) agents will take part in Operation Dry Water from June 26-28 with increased patrols for boaters 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.

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.

“Alcohol use and operating a vessel don’t mix.  We want people to treat a boat the same way they would a vehicle when it comes to having a sober operator.” said LDWF Lt. Col. Sammy Martin, the state’s boating law administrator.  “We want people to have fun on the water, but we also want them to come home safely.”

Louisiana had 18 boating fatalities in 2014 with alcohol playing a role in six fatalities or 33 percent.  Nationwide, statistics from 2014 reveal that 21 percent of all boat incident fatalities listed alcohol as a contributing factor.

LDWF agents issued five DWI citations to boat operators during the 2014 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.

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.

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

Bowfishermen Guides Arrested For Deer and Alligator Violations In Plaquemines and Jefferson Parishes

Release Date: 06/18/2015

After a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division investigation, three men turned themselves into authorities for alleged deer and alligator violations in Plaquemines and Jefferson parishes.

On June 16 Blake A. Mitchell, 29, of Gretna, turned himself in to Jefferson and Plaquemines parish authorities.  On June 17 Stephen Black, 19, of Slidell, and Neil Mitchell, 32, of Gretna turned themselves in to Jefferson Parish authorities.

The three men were arrested for failing to tag alligators, taking alligators from an unapproved area, taking alligators without a license, taking or possessing alligators during a closed season, and hunting or taking alligators at night.  Blake Mitchell and Black were also cited for failing to comply with deer tagging requirements.

The case stems from an investigation into illegal commercial taking and pursuing of alligators for profit on guided bow fishing trips with Louisiana Bowfishing Inc. from 2013 to 2014.  A search warrant was issued for Blake Mitchell’s cell phone in May of 2015 after agents received information from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) agents of the illegal activity.

The phone contained photographs of Black taken by Mitchell with numerous alligators in Jefferson Parish.  The photos included date stamps that were out of alligator season and GPS data from unapproved alligator hunting areas.

Through the investigation agents also found Neil Mitchell was involved in the illegal taking of alligators in Jefferson Parish and that Mitchell was conducting the same illegal alligator hunting practice in Plaquemines Parish.  Interviews with customers also indicated the three men commonly take alligators illegally to generate more money.

The phone included photographs of deer killed in Plaquemines and Jefferson parishes that were not reported through the LDWF Deer Tagging Program as required by law.

Each count of failing to tag alligator, taking alligators from an unapproved area, taking or possessing alligators during a closed season, hunting/taking alligators at night brings up to a $950 fine and 90 days in jail.  Hunting alligators without a license carries up to a $500 fine and 90 days in jail.  Not abiding with deer tagging requirements brings up to a $350 fine and 60 days in jail.

Agents participating in the case were Sgt. Adam Young, Senior Agent Joel Cromp and Agent Travis Bartlett along with USFWS Special Agents.

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

Authorities Rescue 113 People from Flooded Area in Grant Parish

Release Date: 06/16/2015

Authorities Rescue 113 People from Flooded Area in Grant Parish
Authorities Rescue 113 People from Flooded Area in Grant Parish

Search and rescue teams from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), Grant Parish Sheriff’s Office (GPSO) and the Louisiana Air National Guard (LANG) rescued 113 people from a flooded area in Grant Parish on June 14.

The search and rescue teams were alerted around 5 a.m. about stranded citizens following a private land levee breach on the Red River at Louisiana Mudfest just south of Colfax.  Louisiana Mudfest is a private company that hosts all-terrain vehicle mud rides.

The majority of the Louisiana Mudfest property was submerged with quickly rising water leaving over 100 people stranded on a portion of high ground.

LDWF supplied eight agents with seven vessels and LANG provided air support.  The GPSO assisted with coordinating the rescues and helping people onto boats.

A total of 113 people and three dogs were rescued by 10:30 a.m.

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

Louisiana Operation Game Thief, Inc. Issued $9,500 in Rewards At Meeting

Release Date: 05/27/2015

Louisiana Operation Game Thief, Inc. (LOGT), a Louisiana wildlife crime-stoppers program, awarded $9,500 to diligent citizens statewide at their quarterly meeting on May 23 in Woodworth.

The LOGT board reviewed a total of 21 cases that included public tips from 23 informants.  A total of 31 subjects were apprehended and a total of 236 offenses were written in regards to the reviewed cases.  The LOGT has paid out a total of $368,400 since inception in 1984.

The cases reviewed and awarded money to the public for their assistance consisted of 13 deer cases,  four turkey cases, and the illegal cutting of trees on the Spring Bayou Wildlife Management Area among a few others.

In the Spring Bayou WMA case agents used a public tip to arrest Rick K. Savoy, 48, of Hessmer, on March 6.

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, tipsters can text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the "LADWF Tips" iPhone and Android apps from the iTunes or Google Play store free of charge.  Texting or downloading the app enables the public to send anonymous tips to LDWF and lets LDWF respond back, creating a two-way anonymous “chat”.

Users of the app or texters can also send in photos to help support their claim and be used as evidence.  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.

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

LDWF Agent Shot While On Patrol; Listed In Serious Condition; Suspect Captured

Release Date: 05/21/2015

Sgt. Scott Bullitt

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agent was shot in the line of duty while on patrol on the Russell Sage Wildlife Management Area in Ouachita Parish.

Around 6:40 p.m. Sgt. Scott Bullitt, 32, of Jonesboro, along with another agent stopped a vehicle at the end of Buckley Hill Road near the Wham Break Boat Launch.  Sgt. Bullitt believed the occupants of the vehicle to be impaired and proceeded to go back to the LDWF patrol vehicle.

While walking back to his vehicle, Sgt. Bullitt was shot in the lower back by the passenger of the vehicle, later identified as Luke Jarrod Hust, 29, of Monroe.  The other agent returned fire.  Hust fled the scene into the woods.  It is unknown if Hust was hit.

The unwounded agent was able to call for help and apprehend the driver of the vehicle, whom authorities don’t believe fired any shots at this time.  The driver was subsequently brought in for questioning.

Around 7 p.m. the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived on the scene and were able to take Sgt. Bullitt to a local Monroe hospital where he is listed in serious condition.

The LDWF Enforcement Division, State Police, Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Monroe Police Dept., and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection set up a perimeter and searched the area for Hust.  At 11 p.m. authorities located and arrested Hust on Timber Lane Drive in Monroe.

“We are praying for the well-being of Sgt. Bullitt and his family,” said LDWF Sec. Robert Barham.  “Also want to give thanks to everyone that helped locate this fugitive so that justice can be served.”

Sgt. Bullitt has been an LDWF agent for over five years and is married with no kids.  He recently received the “Louisiana Highway Safety Commission DWI Award” presented on March 24.  He was selected among statewide agents to receive this award due to his dedication and hard work to make Louisiana waterways and roadways safer for the traveling public by removing impaired drivers.

“This is a sad day for all wildlife and fisheries agents in the country,” said Col. Broussard, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division.  “Our agents travel into remote areas patrolling public lands often and it can be a very dangerous task as we saw tonight.  My thoughts at this time are with Sgt. Bullitt and his family and also the brave men and women that contributed to catching the shooter.”

Louisiana State Police will be the lead investigative agency for this shooting incident.

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

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