Enforcement

Public Can Call 1-800-LITRBUG For Littering Complaints

Release Date: 11/09/2010

Public Can Call 1-800-LITRBUG For Littering Complaints

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is advocating the public to call the "Litterbug Hotline" whenever they witness somebody littering or observe an illegal dumping site.

The "Litterbug Hotline" is now housed inside the LDWF Enforcement Division and littering tipsters can call 1-888-LITRBUG or 1-888-548-7284 to report any potential littering violations.

"This hotline is being manned 24 hours a day and we welcome all littering clues and complaints from the public as we strive to keep Louisiana's roadsides, woods and waterways clean," said Col. Winton Vidrine, head of the Enforcement Division. "Each tip will be investigated by our agents and other litter law enforcement agency partners."

Those convicted of litter violations face between $75 and $1,000 in fines and up to eight hours in a litter abatement work program. Dumping violations can carry even more penalties and higher fines depending on the severity of the dumpsite and the damage to the environment.

If witnessing somebody throwing trash out of a vehicle window or trash blowing out of a pickup truck bed, please call the hotline with the make, model and color of the vehicle and the roadway location. The hotline is also the number to call for detecting or knowing of an unauthorized trash or dumpsite. All callers can remain anonymous.

As a part of the Governor's Office strategy to streamline public services, the LDWF Enforcement Division communication's section took over the litter hotline from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. The LDWF Enforcement Division communication's section also handles the Operation Game Thief hotline that takes calls for hunting and fishing violation tips.

Since June 1, the Enforcement Division has received 474 calls through the hotline including 161 calls from East Baton Rouge Parish and 61 from St. Tammany Parish.

LDWF Enforcement Division agents issued 1,001 littering citations for fiscal year 2009-10 and logged 7,958 patrol hours for littering enforcement.

According to Keep Louisiana Beautiful, littering costs Louisiana taxpayers $40 million annually in cleanup fees. Littering also contributes to flooding, lowers property values and damages wildlife habitat.

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

2010-307

Bridge City Man Sentenced On Felony Conviction

Release Date: 11/04/2010

A Bridge City man pled guilty to a felony conviction in Jefferson Parish on Nov. 4 for stealing a boat.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents arrested Michael Joseph Higgerson, 25, on April 25, 2010 after being found to be in possession of a boat that was reported stolen in Orleans Parish in late 2009.

24th Judicial Court Judge Erin Shirer Kovach sentenced Higgerson to five years imprisonment at hard labor with three suspended, three years of active probation and 40 hours of community service.

Agents initially stopped Higginson for a standard safe boating check when they found him to be in possession of the reportedly stolen 19 foot Chaparral boat with motor. Agents seized the boat and trailer and returned them to the legal owner.

The prosecuting Assisting District Attorney for the case was Matthew Clausen.

The investigating agents in the case were Sgt. Jason Russo and Cadet Terrance Hicks of LDWF. Detective Nick Vega of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office assisted the agents with the forensic evidence in the case.

For more information, contact Captain Stephen McManus at 504-284-2023 or smcmanus@wlf.la.gov.

2010-E64

L.D.W.F. Enforcement Agent Recognized at November Commission Meeting

Release Date: 11/04/2010

Winton Vidrine, Ryan Brasher and Tom Montgomery

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agent was honored at the Nov. 4 Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting held in Baton Rouge.

Shikar-Safari Club International representative Tom Montgomery was at the commission meeting to present this year's Shikar-Safari Club International Officer of the Year award for Louisiana to LDWF Sgt. Ryan Brasher, 38, of Minden.

The Shikar-Safari award recognizes an agent from each state for outstanding efforts in conservation law enforcement.  Sgt. Brasher, an LDWF agent for eight years who patrols the Claiborne Parish area, received the award partly for his teamwork with other law enforcement units on joint cases, diligent work on turkey baiting cases and leadership roles as a field-training officer.

"Sgt. Brasher has always demonstrated a strong work ethic and professionalism since he came to the department and now his leadership roles are rising to the surface," said Col. Winton Vidrine, head of LDWF's Enforcement Division.  "He does a great job of doing whatever is asked of him and always carries a high case load."

Sgt. Brasher was recently selected as the LDWF Statewide Agent of the Year in March.  He is also a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps where he attained the rank of Corporal.

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

2010-301
 

L.D.W.F. Agents Rescue Missing Father And Two Sons

Release Date: 11/03/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents rescued a missing father and his two sons on Nov. 3 in Union Parish.

Agents received a call from the Union Parish Sheriff's Office shortly after 9 p.m. on Nov. 2 about Timothy Thomas, 36, and his two sons, age 7 and 10, who hadn't returned from a deer-scouting trip in D'arbonne National Refuge.  The man and his two sons left the Holland's Bluff boat launch around 2 p.m. on Nov. 2.

LDWF agents found Thomas and his two sons shortly after midnight on Nov. 3 on the bank of Bayou D'arbonne about five miles from the Holland's Bluff boat launch.

Agents transported the family back to the Joe Bob's landing where medical personnel were already standing by.  Everyone was treated for mild dehydration and hypothermia and released.

"These agents performed a search and rescue mission under very adverse conditions and successfully returned a man and his two sons to safety.  The rainy, foggy and nighttime conditions made it very difficult to traverse the waterway and to find the lost party, but these agents were able to persevere," said Col. Winton Vidrine, head of LDWF's Enforcement Division.  "This is a very fortunate event as now the man and his two sons can reunite with the rest of the family and move forward with a good story to tell."

Agents participating in the search and rescue were Sgt. Lane Kincaid, Agent Scott Jeansonne, Agent Mike Jones, Agents Scott Bullitt, Lt. Rick Owens, Sgt. Duane Taylor, Agent David Harrell and Scott Bullitt.  The Union Parish Sheriff's Office also participated in the search.

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

2010-299

L.D.W.F. Agents Rescue Boaters in Vermilion Bay

Release Date: 10/28/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents rescued two boaters this morning, Oct. 28, from the rough waters of Vermilion Bay in St. Mary Parish.

Responding to a 911 call around 7:30 a.m., LDWF Senior Agents Jason Romero and David Ducote found Rocky Romero, 45, and Willie Reaux, 52, both of New Iberia, clinging to a wharf piling after their 17-foot vessel had capsized and sank.

Agents threw a personal flotation device (PFD) connected to a rope to one of the men and were able to pull the man to their 32-foot whaler. Assisting the agents was a shrimp boat and its crew as they were able to pull the other man to their boat. Both men were wearing their PFDs, which helped them keep afloat as help arrived.

"Our agents are highly trained and have the equipment necessary for search and rescue missions. These two agents with assistance from the public did a great job in responding as fast as possible and getting the two men out of the water and back to shore," said Col. Winton Vidrine, head of LDWF's Enforcement Division. "The men that were rescued should also be congratulated as they did the right thing by notifying 911 before it was too late and wearing their lifejackets."

Agents and the local shrimp boat transported the men to Cypremort Point where Emergency Medical Specialists were waiting. The men were treated for minor injuries and released. LDWF agents will conduct a boating incident investigation to determine why the vessel capsized and sank.

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

2010-298

FIVE NEW ORLEANS AREA MEN CITED FOR FEDERAL FISH VIOLATIONS

Release Date: 10/26/2010

2010-E62

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited five New Orleans area fishermen for allegedly failing to keep saltwater finfish intact on Oct. 22.

The LDWF agents were on a Joint Enforcement Agreement patrol for the National Marine Fisheries Service when they stopped the men, who were fishing off the coast of Plaquemines Parish in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico known as the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

During a fisheries compliance inspection, agents found Minh Chi Nguyen, 36, Dinh M. Trinh, 36, and Do Thanh Tran, 39, all of New Orleans, and Than Hung Tran, 46, and Quang Huy Nguyen, 43, of Gretna to be in joint possession of approximately nine and a half pounds of fresh fish fillets.

Louisiana law states that any saltwater finfish taken recreationally must be kept intact with head and caudal fin attached. Special exceptions apply to garfish, swordfish and tuna. For the purpose of consumption at sea, a person may possess no more than two pounds of fish fillets while on the water as long as their vessel is equipped to cook such finfish and that they do not exceed applicable bag limits.

The fish fillets were seized and are being sent to the National Marine Fisheries Laboratory for analysis and species identification.

Failing to keep saltwater finfish intact carries a fine between $250 and $500, or jail time up to 90 days, or both plus court costs.

The agents involved in the case were Sgt. Jason Russo, Senior Agent Tim Fox and Senior Agent Mike Garrity.

For more information, contact Capt. Stephen McManus at 504-284-2023 or smcmanus@wlf.la.gov.
 

L.D.W.F. INVESTIGATION LEADS TO ILLEGAL SELLING OF SEAFOOD AND DRUG VIOLATION ARREST

Release Date: 10/26/2010

2010-E61

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division Agents arrested a convicted felon for alleged firearm, seafood and drug violations on Oct. 19 in Vermilion Parish.

Agents arrested Ralph E. Tucker 48, of Kaplan, for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of illegal drugs with the intent to distribute and selling recreationally caught fish. Lester J. Suire, 59, of Kaplan was also cited for selling recreationally caught fish on Oct. 20 in connection with Tucker.

LDWF agents coordinated a 12-hour long investigation involving marked and unmarked units, uniformed and plainclothes agents from Calcasieu, Cameron, Vermilion and Acadia parishes.

Agents observed Tucker and Suire cast netting for shrimp on the Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge (SWR) in Cameron Parish. Agents then followed Tucker and Suire leaving the refuge with shrimp caught on the refuge and observed the men deheading and packaging the shrimp in plastic bags at a residence.

Agents observed Tucker and Suire loading the shrimp back in their vehicle where they attempted to sell the shrimp at various locations in Vermilion Parish.
Agents then followed the men to Acadia parish where they were observed selling the shrimp to an individual.

After documenting the illegal activity, agents apprehended Tucker at his residence and found numerous assorted narcotic pills in his vehicle along with a firearm in the residence. Agents along with Kaplan Police officers arrested Tucker and transported him to the Kaplan Police Department.

Agents located Suire on Oct. 20 and issued him a citation for his illegal participation on Oct. 19.

Seized in connection with the violations were a 20-foot Cajun Mastercraft boat with trailer, an AR7 .22 caliber rifle and ammunition, numerous assorted narcotic pills, three castnets and nine quart sized plastic bags of shrimp tails. All evidence will be held and processed according to policy pending the court proceedings.

The penalty for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon carries imprisonment at hard labor between 10 and 15 years without the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence and a fine between $1,000 and $5,000.

The penalty for possession with the intent to distribute schedule II narcotics brings imprisonment at hard labor between two and 30 years and up to $50,000 in fines. The penalty for possession with the intent to distribute schedule III narcotics carries imprisonment at hard labor for up to 10 years and up to $15,000 in fines. The penalty for possession with the intent to distribute schedule IV narcotics carries jail time between five to 30 years and up to $50,000 in fines.

Selling fish caught recreationally carries a fine between $400-$950, or jail time up to 90 days, or both plus court cost. Not abiding by rules and regulations on a WMA or Wildlife Refuge carries a fine from $100-$350, or jail time up to 60 days, or both plus court cost.

LDWF agents participating in the case were Capt. Jubal Marceaux, Sgt. Keith Delahoussaye, Senior Agents Justin Sonnier, Carl Pickett, Jonathan Verret, and Jason Stagg. Other law enforcement personnel who participated were Kelly Hardy with Louisiana Probation and Parole, and Lt. Barry Krawchuk, Sgt. Irvin Cates, and Patrolman Shawn Boneski with the Kaplan Police Department. United States Drug Enforcement Administration agents from the Lafayette Post of Duty also assisted LDWF agents.

For more information contact Captain Jubal Marceaux at 337-491-2580 or jmarceaux@wlf.la.gov. 

Pointe Coupee Men Cited for Hunting Violations

Release Date: 10/19/2010

 

 

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited three Pointe Coupee Parish men on Oct. 14 for alleged hunting violations in Pointe Coupee Parish.

Agents cited Richard Plauche, 22, of Blanks, Robert Otremba, 21, of Livonia and Joseph Plauche, 17, of Blanks, for hunting wild quadrupeds during illegal hours and hunting from a moving vehicle.

Agents were working a complaint near Frisco when they heard a gun shot shortly after 10 p.m. After investigating the shot further, agents found a freshly killed rabbit in the bed of a pick up truck. After questioning the three men, the agents determined that the three men allegedly shot the rabbit from the moving pick up truck they were riding in.

Hunting wild quadrupeds during illegal hours and hunting from a moving vehicle each carry fines between $250 and $500, or jail time up to 90 days, or both plus court costs.

Agents participating in the case were Sgt. Cliff Ortis, Senior Agents Allan Marbury and Seth Gauthier.

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

2010-E60

Four New Orleans Men Cited for Federal Fisheries Violations

Release Date: 10/19/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited four New Orleans area residents for allegedly possessing over the legal daily bag limit of cobia on Oct. 15.

Agents found Toan Van Tran, 60, Thanh Van Tran, 28, and John Truong Vu, 28, all of New Orleans, and Anthony Anduc Nguyen, 45, of Gretna, fishing off the coast of Plaquemines Parish in federal waters, known as the Exclusive Economic Zone, or EEZ.

The LDWF Agents were on a Joint Enforcement Agreement patrol for the National Marine Fisheries Service when they observed the men fishing at a rig located in West Delta Block 44. During a fisheries compliance inspection, the men were found to be in joint possession of 13 cobias, as well as other species of offshore fish.

The daily bag limit for cobia is two fish per person with a minimum size limit of 33 inches.

The penalties for possessing over the limit of cobia is a fine between $100 and $350, or jail time up to 60 days, or both plus court costs. Agents seized the five cobia that were over the limit and donated them to the Ozanam Inn in New Orleans, an organization that feeds the area homeless.

The agents involved in the case were Sgt. Jason Russo and Agent Terrence Hicks.

For more information, contact Capt. Stephen McManus at 504-284-2023 or smcmanus@wlf.la.gov. 

2010-E59

LDWF Enforcement Agent Receives Keep Louisiana Beautiful Award

Release Date: 10/07/2010

LDWF Enforcement Agent Receives Keep Louisiana Beautiful Award

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agent received a Keep Louisiana Beautiful (KLB) award at the Oct. 7 Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting held in Baton Rouge.
Senior Agent Byron Cammack, 41, of Pineville, accepted the 7th annual KLB "Litter Enforcement Officer of the Year" award from KLB Executive Director Leigh Harris.  Harris thanked Cammack for his work and dedication to litter prevention.  

"This department is one of our best partners in litter prevention and enforcement," said Harris. "Our organization is trying to change attitudes towards littering and illegal dumping.  We change attitudes with education, and enforcement of litter laws is one of our best education and prevention tools."

Cammack is a five-year veteran of the Enforcement Division who works out of the LDWF Region 3 Office in Pineville and is assigned to patrol the Rapides Parish area.  This is the second time he has won the KLB award for litter enforcement.

"Keeping our woods, roadsides, swamps and waterways clean is a very important part of our everyday duties and something we don't take lightly," said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. "Litter prevention and enforcement is one of the department's top priorities and littering will not be tolerated.
We appreciate these Keep Louisiana Beautiful awards which confirm another job well done by our Enforcement Division and agents."

LDWF agents issued 1,001 citations for simple, intentional and gross littering during the 2009-10 fiscal year.  The penalties for litter law violations are fines between $75 and $1,000 and up to eight hours of community service in a litter abatement work program.

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

2010-283

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