Enforcement

L.D.W.F. Enforcement Agents Issue 142 Citations on Ouiska Chitto River

Release Date: 08/04/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents issued 142 citations on the Ouiska Chitto River in Allen Parish during the months of May, June and July 2010.

Numerous Enforcement Division details on the Ouiska Chitto River throughout the summer months consisted of boating safety patrols, surveillance for illegal drug activity, littering and underaged consumption of alcohol.

Agents issued seven boating safety citations, 24 littering citations,78 citations for consuming or possessing alcohol under 21, nine drug citations and 24 glass container citations. LDWF Enforcement agents also made arrests for disturbing the peace for fighting and public intoxication.

The Ouiska Chitto is a scenic river in Allen Parish and is a popular destination for families involved in canoeing, bird watching, photography and fishing. LDWF Enforcement agents along with the Allen Parish Sheriff's Office maintain frequent patrols on the river during the summer months. With the persistent law enforcement presence, there has been a significant decline in underage drinking and littering on the Ouiska Chitto River.

The penalty for purchase and public possession of alcoholic beverages under the age of 21 is a fine up to $100, or imprisonment for up to six months or both. The boating safety violations carry a fine of $50, or jail time up to 15 days or both for a first offense. The fines for the glass violations and littering are set by the Allen Parish District Attorney's Office.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.
2010-E44

L.D.W.F. Agents Arrest Two Men for Falsifying Trip Ticket Documents

Release Date: 08/04/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents with the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) arrested two New Iberia men on Aug. 3 for allegedly falsifying trip ticket information and booked them into the East Baton Rouge Parish Jail.

An Ly, 36, owner of Ly Ly Seafood, and Samith Huynh, 31, allegedly falsified trip ticket documents from January through April of this year in order to file a claim with BP America due to the Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Ly and Huynh were charged for filing false public records and injuring public records.  Huynh was also charged with theft by fraud, and Ly was charged with conspiracy to commit theft by fraud.  All charges against the men are classified as felonies.

The trip tickets were filed with LDWF on June 15 and July 7 and represented 6,347 pounds of crabs with a value of $9,548.91.

SIU agents met with Ly and Huynh on July 28 after receiving a complaint from the department's trip ticket section.  According to the arrest warrant, both men admitted they did not sell or purchase any crabs after agents told the men that Huynh did not possess a commercial fishing license from January through April of this year.  Huynh did purchase his commercial fishing license at the department in May.

Ly stated that he signed and mailed the trip tickets to LDWF headquarters in Baton Rouge after Huynh filled them out.  Huynh stated that he received checks from BP America for $5,000 in May and $5,000 in June according to the arrest warrant.

If convicted, both could face 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 conspiracy to commit theft by fraud and theft by fraud charges, both face fines 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.

2010-232

Foundation Donates G.P.S. Camera to L.D.W.F. Enforcement Division

Release Date: 07/30/2010

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation (LWFF) donated a camera package to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division that will be used to document sightings of oil and oiled wildlife in the gulf.
The foundation purchased a Nikon D90 DSLR that came equipped with a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) attachment that the LDWF Enforcement Division will use to report coordinates of oil related sightings.  The camera package was purchased for a total of $3,063 from Kadair's in Baton Rouge.
"This camera will be going into the field immediately on the coast to be used to document the oil spill from the air on our amphibious plane," said Col. Winton Vidrine, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division.  "We can't thank the foundation enough for their timeliness in meeting this urgent request."
The LWFF is a non-profit public, charitable foundation, tax exempt under Section 501(C)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  The foundation was formed to provide a means for individuals and corporations to become partners with LDWF and the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission in the challenge of conserving Louisiana's wildlife and fish resources.
To make a contribution to the foundation, please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/foundation or call 225-765-5100.  Donations can either be earmarked for oil spill causes, other specific purposes or for general usage by the foundation.
"Since the oil spill, we have received a lot of generous donations from almost every state and anywhere between $10 and $20,000. No donation is too small and they all add up," said Kell McInnis, LWFF's Executive Director.  "The foundation was happy to assist LDWF with the purchase of this camera package and look forward to helping the department as they move forward with the oil spill response."
For more information, contact Kell McInnis at 225-765-5100 or kmcinnis@wlf.la.gov.
2010-230

L.D.W.F. Agents Arrest Gonzales Man after Fatal Lake Maurepas Boating Incident

Release Date: 07/15/2010

 

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested a Gonzales man on July 13 for three counts of negligent homicide for his alleged role in the death of three Gonzales citizens following a boating incident in Lake Maurepas in May. 

Agents arrested Blake Carronna, 25, who was the operator of a boat when it spun out of control fatally wounding three people and injuring another on May 29, and booked him into the Livingston Parish Jail. Carronna was also cited for two counts of reckless operation of a watercraft. 

Agents also cited Thomas White, 24, of Gonzales, who was the other survivor, for one count of reckless operation of a watercraft. White suffered arm and pelvic injuries from the boating incident. 

Authorities found the bodies of Anna Hite, 20, Ryan Ducote, 24, and Mikayla Thibodeaux, 14, all of Gonzales, in the days following the incident. 

Agents also cited Carronna and White for not having enough personal flotation devices for everyone on board, failure to change ownership of registration and overloading a motorboat. Carronna was also cited for negligent injury. 

Negligent homicide carries up to a five-year jail term and $5,000 in fines. For negligent injury, Carronna faces up to $500 in fines and six months in jail. Reckless operation of a watercraft carries up to $500 in fines and 30 days in jail. The boating safety citations bring a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail. 

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov. 
2010-E41 

L.D.W.F. Agents Arrest Baton Rouge Boater

Release Date: 07/15/2010

 

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested a Baton Rouge man on July 9 for flight from an officer and other charges. 

On June 12, LDWF agents were attempting to stop a vessel for a violation on Blind River in Ascension Parish when the vessels operator fled and refused to stop.  Agents gave chase and a high-speed pursuit ensued.  The suspect eluded the agents in Lake Maurepas. 

As the result of a three-week investigation, agents identified, arrested and booked Darrell R. Smith Jr., 30, into the Ascension Parish Jail.  Smith was charged with violating a no wake zone, careless operation and flight from an officer. 

If convicted, Smith could face fines of $1,037.50 and serve up to seven months in jail. 

Agents involved in the case were Senior Agent Randy Lanoux, Sgt. Will Roberts, Sgt. Buck Hampton and Senior Agent Clay Marques. 

For more information, contact Capt. Len Yokum at 225-765-2999 or lyokum@wlf.louisiana.gov. 
2010-E42 

July 4 Boat Explosion on Old River Injures Five

Release Date: 07/06/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents patrolling Old River in Pointe Coupee Parish responded to a call about a boat explosion after 7 p.m. on July 4. The boat had 6 passengers on board at the time of the explosion and all passengers, including the operator, ended up in the water.

The boat's occupants were quickly pulled from the water by West Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s deputies working in the area and taken back to the boat launch. Agents responding found that Matthew P. Wilkes, 26, of Lakeland, was operating a 19-foot ski boat on Old River, when for unknown reasons the engine compartment exploded. Five of the passengers received third degree burns on their legs and backs. The injured were taken by Acadian Ambulance and Acadian Air Med to local hospitals for immediate medical treatment of their burns.

Those injured were: Raina Brown, 24, of Baton Rouge; Todd Hymel, 27, of Baton Rouge; Chris Duet, 25, of Baton Rouge; Keith Silvio, 25, of Baton Rouge; and Dustin Musso, 28, of Baton Rouge. Wilkes and passenger Allyson Marshall, 23, of Lakeland, were not injured.

The accident is currently under investigation by LDWF's Enforcement Division. Agents working the investigation are Sgt. Chris Carpenter and Senior Agent Allan Marbury. The West Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office, Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office and LDWF all responded to the incident.

For more information, contact Capt. Lastie Cormier, ph. 337-948-0257 or lcormier@wlf.la.gov

2010-208

SIX MEN SENTENCED FOR ILLEGAL DEER HUNTING ON KISATCHIE NATIONAL FOREST

Release Date: 07/01/2010

Six men were sentenced on April 23 for hunting deer illegally on Kisatchie National Forest (KNF) by the 10th Judicial District Court in Natchitoches Parish.

Robert L. Belsha, 37, Jeremy C. Martin, 23, John D. Redden, 31, Michael L. Sanders Jr., 23, John H. Saucier III, 27, all of Leesville, each pled guilty to possession of an illegally taken deer.  George F. Sheppard, 45, also of Leesville, pled guilty to not abiding by commission rules and regulations.

The men were charged following an investigation into illegal deer being killed during the bucks only segment of deer season on KNF.  Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents began the investigation after receiving information that a doe deer had been killed on KNF during a deer hunt with dogs on Dec. 22, 2009. 

As a result of the investigation, agents were able to document six doe deer that were killed illegally by the men using deer dogs from Dec. 19 through Dec. 26, 2009, on KNF.  LDWF agents seized three illegal deer and an antlerless deer tag.

Judge Dee Hawthorne accepted the guilty pleas and issued a suspended sentence of six months in jail to each man.  Martin was fined $600 plus court costs, with each of the others fined $500 plus court costs.  Redden, Sanders, and Sheppard were each ordered to pay LDWF restitution in the amount of $524.54 for their illegal deer.  Belsha was ordered to pay LDWF restitution in the amount of $1049.08 for two illegal deer.

All six men were also placed on supervised probation for one year or until their fines and restitution are paid in full.  In addition, Judge Hawthorne suspended the hunting privileges of Martin, Sheppard, Redden, Sanders and Belsha for one year.

Lt. Bill Tyree, Sgt. Curt Belton, and Senior Agents Russell Brack, Scotty Delaney, and Eric Droddy participated in the case.

The case was prosecuted by Natchitoches Parish District Attorney's Office.

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

2010-E39

JOINT INVESTIGATION INTO POACHING RING ON MILITARY INSTALLATION LEADS TO GUILTY PLEAS

Release Date: 07/01/2010

On June 23, 2010, two U.S. Army soldiers pled guilty in U.S. Magistrate Court to illegal hunting activities on Peason Ridge Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in 2006 and 2007.

Sergeant First Class (SFC) William M. Hutt, 36, of Pitkin, and SFC Andres I. Medrano, 36, of DeRidder, both pled guilty to one count each of taking deer during a closed season and taking turkey during a closed season.  A third defendant, Roderick R. Lowers (U.S. Army retired), 42, of DeRidder, also reached an agreement with the U.S. Attorney?s Office in which his charges were dropped in exchange for his testimony against Hutt and Medrano.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division began the investigation in October 2007, after agents received information that soldiers were killing a large number of deer illegally on the Peason Ridge WMA during training exercises. 

Peason Ridge WMA is owned by the U.S. Army and is used for live fire training exercises by the military.  The 20,000-acre WMA is enclosed by a fence and all access points are locked during live fire training for security and safety concerns.  Hutt, Medrano and Lowers used their military positions to keep the WMA locked down after live fire training exercises in order to poach deer and turkey.

Federal Magistrate Kathleen Kay accepted the guilty pleas and ordered both Hutt and Medrano to each pay a fine and court cost in the amount of $1,920.  She also revoked their hunting privileges for five years and placed them on supervised probation for two years. 

Magistrate Kay also ordered the men to pay restitution to LDWF for the illegally taken deer and turkeys.  Hutt is responsible to pay restitution in the amount of $7,374.94 for 11 deer and two turkeys.  Medrano is responsible to pay restitution in the amount of $6,357.24 for six deer and four turkeys.

Lowers agreement includes a lifetime ban from hunting on government land and to pay restitution to LDWF in the amount of $524.54 for one deer.

Agents seized two 30-30 caliber rifles, a .223 caliber rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun, one skinning gambrel and hoist, one 9-point buck deer rack and cape, four turkey gobbler beards, and one turkey leg spur in connection with the case.

LDWF Lt. Bill Tyree initiated and led the investigation and was assisted by Sgt. Curt Belton, Sgt. Joe Dewil, Senior Agent Ronnie Robertson, Specialist Lynn Bennett, and Fort Polk Game Wardens J.E. Haymon and Elton Herring and Stanley Wellman assisted in the case.

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

2010-E38

TWO MEN ARRESTED FOR MULTIPLE CRAB TRAP VIOLATIONS

Release Date: 07/01/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents apprehended two men for multiple counts of alleged crab trap violations in Lake Maruepas on June 24.

Acting upon a complaint from a commercial crab fisherman, agents observed Joseph Lamarca, 20, from Ponchatoula, crab fishing using allegedly stolen traps.  When confronted, Lamarca claimed to have purchased the stolen traps from Michael Shea King, 19, of Hammond.  

Agents confronted King whom admitted to have stolen the crab traps from a dock with the assistance of Lamarca.  Lamarca confessed and both subjects were arrested.  Also, while crabbing, Lamarca did not possess a vessel license, fire extinguisher and did not tag all crab traps per regulations.

If convicted of theft of crab traps (five counts each), Lamarca and King could face fines of $400 to $950, or jail time up to 120 days, or both plus court costs for each count.  

Lamarca was also cited with Illegal possession of stolen property (five counts), possessing commercial fish without a vessel license, no fire extinguisher and using crab traps without required markings (15 counts). 

If Lamarca is convicted of Illegal possession of stolen property, he faces a fine up to $3,000, imprisonment with or without hard labor for up to 10 years or both for each count.  The penalty for possessing commercial fish without a vessel license is punishable by a fine of $250 to $500, or jail time up to 90 days, or both plus court costs.  The penalty for failing to have a fire extinguisher is a fine of $50.  The penalty for using crab traps without required marking is a $250 to $500 fine, or up to 90 days in jail plus court costs.

Agents participating in the case were Sgt. Dane Thomas, Sgt. Guy Adams, Sr. Agent Clarence Marques and Sr. Agent Buck Hampton.

For more information, contact Capt. Len Yokum at 225-765-2999 or lyokum@wlf.la.gov.

2010-E40

AGENDA ANNOUNCED FOR LOUISIANA WILDLIFE & FISHERIES COMMISSION JULY MEETING

Release Date: 07/01/2010

The next regular public board meeting has been scheduled by the Commission for 9:30 A.M. on Thursday, July 8, 2010, at the Wildlife and Fisheries Building, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA.
 
1.            Roll Call
 
2.            Approval of Minutes of June 3, 2010
 
3.            Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege
 
4.            To receive and hear Update on Oil Spill and Current Response Efforts
 
5.            To receive and hear Enforcement & Aviation Reports/June
 
6.            To receive an update on Dewey Wills WMA Resolution for purpose of Adding Land
 
7.            To receive and consider Notice of Intent on 2011 Turkey Hunting Areas, Seasons and Bag Limits
 
8.            To receive and consider Notice of Intent on 2011 General and WMA Turkey Hunting Regulations
 
9.            To receive and consider Department Recommendation on Waterfowl Breeding Grounds Projects Funding
 
10.            To receive and consider Early Migratory Bird Season Recommendations (Dove, Woodcock, Snipe, Rails, Gallinules and Teal)
 
11.            To receive and hear Presentation on the Louisiana Waterfowl Hunter Survey
 
12.            To receive and consider Declaration of Emergency and Notice of Intent on Fisheries Closures due to Oil Spill
 
13.            Set November 2010 Meeting Date
 
14.            Receive Public Comments
 
15.            Adjournment

2010-205

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