Enforcement

Two Men Cited for Overlimit Bass on Yucutan Lake in Tensas Parish

Release Date: 10/05/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited two men on Oct. 1 for allegedly possessing over the legal limit of black bass on Yucatan Lake in Tensas Parish.

Agents found Ricky Jones, 57, of Chatham, and James M. Jones, 81, of St. Joseph, to be in possession of 38 black bass.  The daily limit for black bass is 10 per person.  

The two men caught their 20 black bass for the day and hid them in an ice chest in their vehicle.  The two fishermen then returned to the water and caught 18 more black bass.  Agents seized the bass and donated them to a local charity.

The penalty for over limit of black bass is a fine up to $350, or jail time up to 30 days, or both plus court costs.  A court order for restitution for the value of the illegally taken fish will also be filed with the case.

Agents involved in the case were Sgt. Larry May and Senior Agent Lee Tarver.
 

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

2010-E57

L.D.W.F. Agents Rescue Four Men in Timbalier Bay

Release Date: 09/30/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents rescued four crewmen from a sinking commercial shrimp boat on Sept. 29 in Timbalier Bay.
 
Agents responded to a distress call yesterday afternoon from the "Hippy Boy", which was located west of Belle Pass and taking on water.
 
Upon arrival, agents observed the 45-foot vessel resting low in the water, listing on the starboard side with waves crashing on the deck. The agents also observed four crewmen gathered on the vessel's highest point and signaling to be rescued.
 
Agents maneuvered their 32-foot patrol vessel to the port rear quarter of the "Hippy Boy" while dodging nets that were drifting near the vessel. One agent boarded the "Hippy Boy" to ensure that all of the crew were uninjured and assisted them into the patrol vessel.  The "Hippy Boy" eventually sank and remains in approximately eight feet of water.
 
The four crewmen safely rescued were Lenh Thach, 45, Phuong Tu Tran, 56, Tin Huu Mai, 43, all of Gretna, and Tuan Tran, 41, of Beaumont, Texas. Agents transported the four crewmen to the Fourchon Harbor Police to be evaluated and reunited with their families.
 
The cause of the vessel sinking has not yet been determined.
 
Agents participating in the rescue were Sgt. Ezekiel Talbert and Agent Ronnie Engelhard.
 
For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

 

2010-277

Monterey Man Cited for Numerous Wildlife Charges

Release Date: 09/22/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited a Monterey man for alleged deer hunting violations in Concordia Parish on Sept 7.

Seth M. Paul, 25, of Monterey, was cited for taking deer during a closed season, taking deer during illegal hours, taking deer with an illegal weapon, hunting without a license, discharging a firearm from the levee road and hunting from a moving vehicle.

The Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office was at Paul's residence investigating other charges when they came across evidence of wildlife violations and they then contacted Senior Agent Joey Merrill.  Merrill arrived and found parts of deer carcass lying in the yard, blood in Paul’s truck bed and blood on the pavement.  Paul admitted to killing a deer at night and a hog off the levee several days before.

The penalty for hunting deer during illegal hours is a fine between $900 and $950, or up to 120 days in jail, or both plus court cost.  Taking a deer with an illegal weapon is a fine between $100 and $350, or up to 60 days in jail, or both plus court cost.  Taking deer during a closed season is a fine between $900 and $950, or 120 days in jail, or both plus court cost.  Hunting without a basic hunting license is a fine of $50, or up to 15 days in jail or both.  Hunting from a moving vehicle is a fine between $250 and $500, or up to 90 days in jail, or both plus court cost.

For more information, contact Captain Peter Oliver at 318-487-5634 or poliver@wlf.la.gov.
 

2010-272

Six Men Cited for Fishing Violations on East Carroll Parish Waters

Release Date: 09/22/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited six men for allegedly taking and possessing over the limit of freshwater bass on four different days in September in East Carroll Parish.

On Sept. 10, agents found Stephen M. Lewis, 50, of Clinton Miss., with 14 bass in his live well in Albemarle Lake.  On Sept. 11, an agent returned to Albemarle Lake and found Robert Purvis, 56, of Tallulah, in possession of 11 bass.

On Sept 16, agents found Leigh T. Fraysier, 47, and Brannon Cooper, 56, both of Vicksburg, Miss., fishing in Chotard Lake and in possession of 22 bass.  Each subject claimed to have taken an equal amount of fish.  Therefore, both subjects were charged with taking and possessing over the limit of freshwater bass.  

On Sept. 20, agents found Tony Wuarnock, 51, of Jackson, Miss., to be in possession of 11 bass.  During the same patrol, agents contacted a separate vessel occupied by Charles M. Bryant Jr., 39, also of Jackson, Miss., and found him to be in possession of 11 bass.

The daily limit for largemouth bass is 10 per person.

The six men face fines up to $350, or jail time up to 30 days, or both plus court costs.  A court order for restitution for the value of the illegally taken fish will also be filed with the case.

Agents involved in the cases were Sgt. Wayne Parker, Sgt. Darren Bruce, Sgt. James Hagan and Senior Agent Justin Lee.

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

 

2010-271

L.D.W.F. Agent Receives Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award

Release Date: 09/02/2010

L.D.W.F. Agent Receives Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award

The National Association of Safe Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) honoredLouisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division Sgt. Joseph Ortis with the Louisiana Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award.  Ortis received the award today, Sept. 2 at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting in Baton Rouge.

Ortis, of Oscar, joined LDWF in 1990 and became an agent in 1997 and mainly patrols the False River during the boating season.  Ortis also previously earned the 2004 LDWF Agent of the Year award.

"Sgt. Ortis is a valuable asset to the department and patrols one of the most recreationally used bodies of water in Pointe Coupee, Lafayette, St. Landry and West Baton Rouge parishes," said Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, LDWF's State Boating Law Administrator.  "This award is well deserved and reflects Sgt. Ortis' dedication to safe boating and waterway enforcement."

Ortis has attended both the Level One and Advanced Boating Accident Investigation Courses offered by NASBLA and has effectively utilized the knowledge and skills gained by his attendance in recent boating crash incidents.  Ortis also instructs boating safety classes and public boating safety forums.

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

2010-260 

17 Men Plead Guilty To Shrimp Violations On Sabine N.W.R.

Release Date: 08/31/2010

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division's Special Operations Unit in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) federally charged 17 individuals on May 6 for shrimp violations on the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Cameron Parish.

USFWS agents served notices to appear before the U.S. Magistrate in Lake Charles to Lee Allen Greene, 29, Jimmy Constance Jr., 48, Jimmy Constance III, 29, and Gary Fountaine Jr., 34, all of Hackberry; Dustin Craig Moore, 18, Joseph Harrison Mott Jr., 40, Joseph Eugene McManus, 38, Billy Joe Meche, 32, Kenneth Erick Meche, 39, Brandon Joseph Breaux, 29, James Michael Williams, 22, Clint Lee Mott, 26, Shannon Kyle Fuselier, 46, John Joseph McKay Jr., 42, Kenny Edward Kellum Jr., 30, and David Wayne Brooks, 57, all of Sulphur; and Steven Hollie, 50, of Starks.

LDWF undercover agents initiated the investigation in September, 2009 after receiving numerous complaints from commercial and recreational fishermen of individuals catching large amounts of shrimp with cast nets on the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge and selling the catch commercially. The Sabine NWR has a limit of one five-gallon bucket of shrimp per vehicle or vessel and the commercialization of the shrimp is prohibited.

LDWF undercover agents observed the suspects catching over the legal limit of shrimp and they were then able to conduct an operation designed to purchase the illegal shrimp from the suspects both on and off of the refuge. LDWF undercover agents purchased in excess of 550 pounds of shrimp from the suspects during the investigation.

The suspects were served with notices to appear before the U.S. Magistrate for illegal commercialization on a federal refuge, possessing over the limit of shrimp, failure to maintain custody of shrimp and trespassing.

At an arraignment in Lake Charles Federal District Court on May 27, 2010, the following pled guilty to shrimp violations and were given the following penalties: Joseph McManus was fined $1,180 and banned from the refuge for two years; Dustin Moore was fined $520; Kenneth Meche was fined $520; Kenny Kellum Jr. $360; Lee Allen Greene was sentenced to 10 days in the Cameron Parish Jail; James Williams was fined $560; David Brooks was fined $575; Jimmy Constance lll was fined $1,805 and banned from entering any NWR for three years; Joseph Mott ll was fined $1,370 and banned from entering any NWR for five years; Gary Fountain Jr. was fined $670 and banned from entering any NWR for five years; Shanon Fuselier was fined $2,775, banned from entering any NWR for five years and placed on supervised probation for one year; and Jimmy Constance Jr. was fined $1,170.

Due to pre-sentencing investigations, sentencing and trial were held in Lake Charles Federal District Court on Aug. 19. The following pled guilty to shrimp violations and were given the following penalties: John McCay Jr. was sentenced to five years unsupervised probation at which time he is banned from entering any NWR or participating in any hunting or fishing activities and fined $870; Billy Joe Meche was sentenced to five years unsupervised probation at which time he is prohibited from entering any NWR or participating in any hunting or fishing activities and fined $895; Steven Hollie was fined $2,420 and placed on unsupervised probation for one year, during which time he is prohibited from entering any NWR or participating in any hunting or fishing activities; Clint Mott was fined $3,730 and placed on unsupervised probation for 13 months, during which time he is prohibited from entering any NWR or participating in any hunting or fishing activities.

Brandon “BJ” Breaux will be sentenced on Oct. 21, 2010.

In addition to the undercover LDWF agents the following federal refuge agents participated in the case, John Branum, Brad Rabalais, Scotty Boudreaux and Sidney Charbonnet.

For more information, contact Capt. Cliff Comeaux of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries at 225-765-2980 or cjcomeaux@wlf.la.gov.

2010-E50

JEFFERSON PARISH MEN CITED FOR OVERLIMIT BASS

Release Date: 08/25/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited two Jefferson parish men on Aug. 21 for allegedly possessing over the legal limit of bass in St. Charles Parish.

The agents were conducting surveillance near Lake Cataouatche in St. Charles Parish when they observed Elvin J. Rome, 53, of Marrero, and Richard Doucet, 52, of Westwego, rapidly catching fish. The agents continued surveillance until the subjects stopped fishing and followed them to a camp.

When the agents contacted the subjects, they discovered 92 black bass in their possession. The daily limit for largemouth bass is 10 per person.

The penalty for over the limit of black bass is a fine up to $350, or jail time up to 30 days, or both plus court costs. A court order restitution for the value of the illegally taken fish will also be filed with the case. The fish were seized and later donated to a local charity.

Agents involved in the investigation were Sgt. Ray Champagne, Senior Agent Tim Fox and Agent Terry Hicks.

For more information, contact Capt. Stephen McManus at 504-284-2023 or smcmanus@wlf.la.gov.
2010-E49  

Pearl River Man Cited for Second Offense D.W.I. in Lake Pontchartrain

Release Date: 08/25/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents arrested a Pearl River man for allegedly driving a motorboat while under the influence (DWI) of alcohol on Aug. 21 in St. Tammany Parish.

LDWF Agents Austin Arteaga and Jared McIver were on patrol in Lake Pontchartrain near the Interstate 10 twin span when they observed a vessel driven by Kip E. Asmos traveling northbound towards Eden Isles. Agents Arteaga and McIver made contact with the vessel and performed a boating safety inspection. The agents observed Asmos drinking a beer and a five-gallon bucket full of empty beer cans in the boat.

Agents conducted a field sobriety test and after further questioning placed Asmos under arrest and transported him to the St. Tammany Parish Jail for second offense DWI.

The penalty for second offense DWI is a fine between $750 and $1,000, and imprisonment between 30 days and six months.

Agents participating in the case were Senior Agent Austin Arteaga and Sgt. Jared McIver.

For more information, contact Capt. Steve McManus at 504-284-2023 or smcmanus@wlf.la.gov.
2010-E48  

Mississippi Men Cited for Overlimit Bass

Release Date: 08/16/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited two Mississippi men on Aug. 13 for allegedly possessing over the legal limit of bass on the Mississippi river in Madison Parish.

Robert P. Herrington, 60, of Brandon, Miss., and Jerry H. Simpson, 61, of Terry, Miss., were found to be in possession of 30 largemouth bass. The daily limit for largemouth bass is 10 per person. Agents seized the bass and donated them to a local charity.

The penalty for overlimit of black bass is a fine up to $350, or jail time up to 30 days, or both plus court costs. A court order for restitution for the value of the illegally taken fish will also be filed with the case.

Agents involved in the case were Senior Agents, Lee Tarver, John Hendrix, Leya Grover and Brandon Miller.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2465.
2010-E47

Chauvin Man Arrested by LDWF Agents for Falsifying Trip Tickets

Release Date: 08/05/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents with the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) arrested a Chauvin man today, Aug. 5 for allegedly falsifying trip ticket information and are transporting him to the East Baton Rouge Parish Jail.
Jessie Lambas, 58, allegedly falsified trip ticket documents dated from May and June of 2009 in order to file a claim with BP America due to the Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Lambas was charged with three felonies for filing false public records, injuring public records and theft by fraud.  The trip tickets were filed with LDWF on May 27 and represented 5,644 pounds of shrimp with a value of $10,237.50.  Lambas stated that he received three payments from BP America totaling $3,000 from May 24 to July 14.
SIU agents met with Lambas on July 26 and 31 after receiving a complaint from the department's trip ticket section that Lambas did not possess a commercial fishing license in 2009.  Lambas does have a wholesale/retail seafood dealer’s license that allows him access to trip tickets issued to the wholesale/retail seafood dealer.
Lambas stated that he filed trip tickets from 2010, but the department does not have any record of issuing Lambas trip tickets in 2010 according to the arrest warrant.  The warrant also states that the trip tickets under question match the 50 trip tickets that he was issued in 2008.
If convicted, Lambas faces fines up to $5,000 and up to five years in jail with or without hard labor for each charge of falsifying and injuring public records.  For the fraud charge, Lambas faces a fine up to $10,000 and up to 10 years in jail with or without hard labor.
"We want to ensure our commercial fishermen and dealers are compensated fairly by using accurate trip ticket information," said Col. Winton Vidrine, head of LDWF's Enforcement Division.  "We do not want to see commercial fishermen or dealers tempted to commit felony violations by falsifying trip ticket documents."
LDWF routinely reviews every trip ticket received from the commercial fishing industry to ensure that the most accurate data are collected and properly reflect the important role the state of Louisiana plays in the production of seafood.
These reviews are critical to ensure that commercial fishermen and wholesale/retail dealers are appropriately credited with landings in the event of compensation that results from a natural disaster such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and the current BP America oil spill.
BP America is requesting commercial fishermen to provide landings information from 2007-10 to determine eligibility for financial assistance.  LDWF is providing a landings data report back to commercial fishermen, when requested, to assist with this eligibility process.
The review of trip tickets has become even more critical during this time period considering that the previous years are being used to establish eligibility for assistance.  Any trip tickets from previous years are being subjected to another layer of review by LDWF staff to confirm their validity.
"The information provided on a trip ticket is the best way for the department to establish the value of Louisiana fisheries and the importance of those fisheries to the nation.  Trip ticket data also plays a key role in the managing of fisheries in Louisiana to ensure sustainability," said Michelle Kasprzak, LDWF Trip Ticket Program administrator.  "We ask that trip tickets be completed accurately and submitted on time as required.  Inaccurate or embellished trip tickets will be investigated by the department's Law Enforcement Division."
Trip tickets are filled out at the first point of sale between a commercial fisherman and wholesale/retail dealer or fresh product license holder and are due on the 10th of every month.  Trip tickets are then entered into LDWFs Trip Ticket Program's database.
Commercial fishermen and wholesale/retail dealers may request their trip ticket landings by following the instructions on the LDWF Web site at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/oilspill or calling the trip ticket section at 225-765-2399.
 For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.
2010-238

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