A Denham Springs man, who owns Deep South Charters out of Venice, was sentenced on Feb. 27 in Plaquemines Parish for tuna fishing violations and resisting an officer.
Josh S. Howard, 31, pleaded guilty to two counts of resisting an officer, one count of intentional littering and one count of violating recreational take of tuna regulations.
Judge M. Clement of the 25th Judicial District of Plaquemines Parish accepted Howard’s guilty plea and sentenced him to forfeit his 2013 charter boat guide licenses and forbid him from acting as a charter captain for 2013. Howard was also sentenced to a total of $850 in fines plus court costs, 32 hours of community service and two years of probation with the addition that no wildlife and fishery offenses can be committed during the time of probation. If Howard does commit any wildlife and fishery violation during his two years of probation, he may face further revocation of charter boat licenses.
Howard’s guilty plea stems from an investigation conducted by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents. LDWF agents were tipped off by confidential informants that Howard participated in the catching and retaining of a large Bluefin tuna in April of 2012 after the season had closed.
After a lengthy investigation, agents secured a subpoena for the cell phone owned by Howard where photos of the fish were believed to be stored. When agents approached Howard with the subpoena and asked for his phone on May 18, 2012, Howard threw the phone overboard into the water thereby destroying any suspected evidence.
Howard was placed under arrest and booked into the Plaquemines Parish Jail. Agents were able to secure a search warrant for his home in Denham Springs and seize his computer. Howard then provided agents with photos and videos of the illegally harvested tuna.
Agents participating in the case were Sgt. Adam Young, Sgt. Roy Pier, Sgt. Louis Burnett, Senior Agents Villere Reggio and Ladd Turner and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Special Agent Charles Tyre.
A Marksville man was arrested and booked into the Avoyelles Parish Jail on Feb. 25 for his alleged role in the illegal killing of a Louisiana black bear.
Derek P. Sayer, 30, was arrested for shooting and killing a Louisiana black bear on Nov. 27, 2012 in Avoyelles Parish. A hunter alerted authorities on Nov. 27 about a dead black bear laying on an all-terrain vehicle trail on Avoyelles Parish School Board property located 20 miles northwest of Marksville.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officers responded to the scene and immediately started a joint investigation. After a lengthy investigation, officials concluded that Sayer allegedly killed the bear.
LDWF performed a necropsy of the bear, which revealed the bear was fatally shot with buckshot. The bear was approximately two years old and weighed about 100 pounds.
Harvesting a Louisiana black bear brings a state fine between $900 and $950 and up to 120 days in jail. In addition, restitution for the value of the animal up to $10,000 could be imposed.
The Louisiana black bear has been listed on the Federal Threatened and Endangered Species List since 1992.
The North Louisiana Criminalistics Laboratory in Alexandria and the Criminal Investigation Unit of the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Office provided forensic and technical assistance during the investigation.
Feb. 25, 2013 -- Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited three Louisiana men for alleged wildlife violations on Feb. 12, 2013 in Concordia Parish.
Kenneth Woods, 38, of Jonesville, Don Paige, 46, of Ferriday, and Kenneth Jenkins, 50, of Jonesville, were cited for hunting wild game quadrupeds during illegal hours and hunting raccoon illegally.
LDWF Sgt. Trey Mason and Concordia Parish Deputy Dusty Lemoine were patrolling the area of Haphazard Road near Dunbarton after legal shooting hours. They observed a spot light and heard several gunshots coming from a wooded area at the end of Haphazard Road.
While observing the area, the two officers observed two vehicles leaving the wooded area and they initiated traffic stops on both vehicles. During the traffic stops, Woods, Paige and Jenkins stated they were raccoon hunting, but did not have a dog in their possession.
The subjects were in possession of small caliber rifles. Subsequently, they were also found in possession of six freshly harvested rabbits.
Hunting wild game quadrupeds during illegal hours and hunting raccoon using illegal methods each carry a fine between $250 and $500 and up to 90 days in jail for each offense.
Feb. 21, 2013 -- Search and rescue officials recovered the body of a Walker man from the Intracoastal Canal in St. Martin Parish today shortly after 12 p.m., Feb. 21.
Search crews from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division, Baton Rouge Fire Department, Ascension Parish Fire Department, Gonzales Fire Department, St. Martin Sheriff’s Office, St. Mary Sheriff’s Office, Assumption Sheriff’s Office, Belle River Volunteer Fire Department, Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office, East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, Baton Rouge Port Security, and volunteers from Texas and Michigan have been searching for Jacob P. Lewis, 28, since Jan. 30.
Authorities were notified that Lewis, a Baton Rouge firefighter, fell into the Intracoastal Canal near Belle River while loading his boat. According to his wife, Lewis and she were out scouting for possible crawfish trap locations on Jan. 30.
Search crews utilized sonar, dive teams, cadaver dogs, and aerial and surface search techniques during the search and rescue period.
Lewis’ body was turned over to the St. Martin Parish Coroner’s Office to determine a cause of death. LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this boating incident.