Search and rescue teams recovered the body of a missing boater from the Atchafalaya River on Nov. 3.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agents and St. Martin Sheriff’s Office (SMSO) deputies recovered the body of William K. Seal, 56, of Butte La Rose, around 8 a.m. on Nov. 3 about two miles south of the Butte La Rose landing.
Search and rescue teams had been searching for Seal since the boat he was operating was found unmanned around 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 1 about two miles south of the Butte La Rose landing.
According to a Seal acquaintance, Seal was dropped off around 7 a.m. at the Butte La Rose public landing on Oct. 31 for a day of fishing of which Seal never returned. Seal’s 15 foot vessel was then found by a tugboat operator the next morning and reported to authorities.
LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this boating incident. Seal’s body was found without a personal flotation device. His body was turned over to the St. Martin Coroner’s Office to determine a cause of death. LDWF was able to retrieve the vessel for evidence in the case.
A joint investigation between the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents, U.S. Forest Service enforcement officers and Grant Parish Sheriff’s Office (GPSO) deputies led to the arrest of a Pineville man for alleged vandalism on Oct. 30 in Grant Parish.
GPSO deputies arrested Charles A. Melancon, 21, for unauthorized entry and simple criminal damage to property and booked him into the Grant Parish Jail.
Around 10:30 p.m. LDWF agents followed a vehicle to the end of Clear Creek Church Road. The agents then heard a loud noise near the church and moments later saw the vehicle approach their location.
Agents stopped the vehicle and identified Melancon as the operator. Agents asked Melancon about the loud noise and he said he heard gunshots coming from the woods.
After letting Melancon go and investigating the church grounds, agents found the door to the community center next to the church forced open and the door jamb broke.
Agents notified U.S. Forest Service officers who were able to stop Melancon on Hwy. 3130. During the stop Melancon admitted to breaking into the community center by kicking in the door. GPSO deputies arrived and arrested Melancon.
Unauthorized entry and simple criminal damage to property each brings up to a $1,000 fine and six years in jail for each offense.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement agents cited a Metairie man with an alleged commercial fishing violation on Oct. 29 in Plaquemines Parish.
Agents cited Seven P. Rhoto, 37, for using bandit gear in state waters. Bandit gear is allowed to be used in federal waters and is normally used by federally permitted reef fish holders, but is illegal in Louisiana water.
Agents observed a vessel using bandit gear fishing for red snapper near the mouth of the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish. Upon inspection of the vessel, agents found Rhoto in possession of 1,088 pounds of red snapper, 44 pounds of lane snapper and 17 pounds of white trout.
Using bandit gear in state waters carries a fine of $400 to $950 and up to 90 days in jail. Agents seized the vessel on a department seizure order, the bandit gear and the illegally taken fish.
Agents involved in the case are Sgt. Todd Laviolette and Lt. Louis Burnett.
A Morgan City man was found guilty of theft of crab trap contents on Oct. 9 in St. Mary Parish.
Judge Edward Leonard of the 16th Judicial District sentenced Curtis A. Richard, 38, to 10 days in jail, two years of probation and $750 in fines plus court costs.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement agents On Oct. 10, 2014 observed Richard actively tending crab traps that did not belong to him on Sweet Bay Lake in the Atchafalaya River. Agents found him in possession of 16 crabs.
Agents arrested the subject and booked him into the St. Mary Parish jail for theft of crab trap contents.
Agents involved in the case were Senior Agent Joey Thompson, Sgt. Winston Michel, and Senior Agent Jake Darden. Assistant District Attorney Wayne Simoneaud prosecuted the case.