Enforcement

L.D.W.F. Agents Find Body of Missing Man in Vermilion River

Release Date: 03/10/2011

March 10, 2011 - Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents found the body of a missing man in the Vermilion River in Lafayette at 10:15 a.m. on March 10.

Senior Agent Nick Guillory, Agent Jake Darden and Agent Justin Lowry were on patrol when they located the deceased body of Mitch Jackson, 39, of Rayne, in the Vermilion River behind 200 Farmington Road in Lafayette.

Jackson had been missing since Friday, March 4 after he was involved in a five-car accident on Ambassador Caffery Parkway in Lafayette and left the scene. He then drove his vehicle to the local Home Depot and locked the vehicle with his cell phone and medications for high blood pressure inside.

He was last seen on surveillance video entering and leaving a few stores on Ambassador Caffery Parkway before disappearing.

After locating the body, LDWF agents contacted the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office (LPSO) and Lafayette Police Department (LPD), who then arrived on scene to recover the body and conduct an investigation. Jackson's body is now at the Lafayette Coroner's Office.  An official cause of death is not available at this time.

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

L.D.W.F. Agents Rescue 32 People in Tangipahoa Parish

Release Date: 03/09/2011

March 9, 2011 - Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents rescued 32 people on March 8 in Tangipahoa Parish from flooding conditions due to severe rainfall.

LDWF agents responded to a call around 7 p.m. of a vehicle that got swept off of Lewiston Road east of Kentwood into Big Creek. Sgt. Toby Miller and Senior Agent Brody Roberts launched a shallow drive vessel into the creek and were able to pull a female and her young daughter from the rooftop of the vehicle. Agents reported there was only about 6 inches of the vehicle above the water when the rescue was made.

LDWF agents then received a call around 8 p.m. from the Kentwood Fire Department of two trailer parks that flooded in Tangipahoa. By 12:30 a.m. on March 9, Sgt. Miller, Senior Agent Roberts and Sgt. Darryl Galloway were able to rescue 30 people from the two trailer parks again using a shallow draft vessel. Agents reported the water was above the skirting of the trailers. Agents also rescued two dogs and two horses.

Agents brought the rescued people to Hwy. 51 where emergency personnel from Acadian Ambulance, Tangipahoa Sheriff's Office, Tangipahoa Police Department and the Kentwood Fire Department were on standby. Emergency personnel then transported the rescued people to a shelter in Kentwood. Between all of the emergency personnel that responded, over 100 people were rescued from trailer parks and roadways on the night of March 8.

"These three agents responded in a very quick and efficient manner, which is required for any search and rescue mission," said Col. Winton Vidrine, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division. "Enforcement agents are well equipped and trained for search and rescue missions as they have the trucks and vessels to get to remote areas that flood and have numerous hours of swift water and first aid training."

LDWF agents will remain on standby statewide and also assist with local emergency responders as severe weather is expected to continue throughout the day.

The LDWF Enforcement Division is the primary agency for search and rescue in the state and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) designated lead for search and rescue operations. LDWF agents have several decades of experience in boating safety enforcement, maritime patrol enforcement and maritime search and rescue.

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

L.D.W.F. Agents Cite Individual for Taking Game Fish with Hoop Net

Release Date: 02/25/2011

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited a Plaquemine man for allegedly taking game fish illegally on Feb. 19 in Iberville Parish.

Agents witnessed Jessie Williams Jr., 47, in the Pats Bay area with 145 crappie that he allegedly caught in his hoop net. Williams was attempting to conceal the fish by placing them in a crawfish sack and hiding them on the bank.

Taking game fish illegally carries a fine from $400 to $950, or up to 120 days in jail or both. The illegal fish were seized and donated to a local charity.

Agents involved in the case were Sgt. Ronnie Hebert and Senior Agent Jerry Stassi.

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

Littering Leads To Drug Arrest

Release Date: 02/22/2011

Feb. 22, 2011 - Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited two Shreveport men on charges of illegal drug possession on Feb. 13 in Keithville.

Agents stopped a vehicle being driven by Leroy Ezernack, 28, after they witnessed the passenger, Ricky Kellogg, 53, throw a cup out of the passenger side window.

During the stop, agents allegedly found Ezernack in possession of drug paraphernalia, marijuana and an open alcoholic container. Ezernack was also cited for driving with a suspended driver's license. Agents also allegedly found Kellogg in possession of hydrocodone pills and open container of an alcoholic beverage. Kellogg was also cited for intentional littering.

Possession of hydrocodone pills without a prescription carries a fine up to $5,000 or up to five years in jail. Possessing drug paraphernalia brings a fine up to $500 fine or up to six months in jail. Possession of marijuana carries a fine up to $500 or up to six months in jail.

Driving with a suspended driver's license carries a fine up to $500 or up to six months in jail. For open container, both men face up to a $100 fine. Intentional littering carries a $75 fine and eight hours in a litter abatement program.

Agents booked the two men into the Caddo Correctional Center. LDWF agents involved in the case were Senior Agents Jay Thomas and Frank Reger.

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

L.D.W.F. Enforcement Division Academy Cadets Become Commissioned Agents At Graduation Ceremony

Release Date: 02/16/2011

To request high resolution version of photo, please email aeinck@wlf.la.gov

(Back row from left to right: Brandon Fontenot, Kurt Hatten, Charles Taylor, Mitchell Saunders, Michael Marques, Kenneth Robertson, Jake Darden, and Justin Lowry.  Front row from left to right: Chadwick Wood, Dale Wheat, Andrew Mitchell, Charles Talbert, Norman Deroche, Cody Soileau, and Adam Tieben.)

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Law Enforcement Academy today, Feb. 16, graduated its 26th class of cadets into the ranks of LDWF Enforcement Division agents at a ceremony in Baton Rouge.

After six months of intensive physical and academic training at the academy, 15 newly commissioned agents are ready to begin enforcing hunting, fishing and boating regulations that govern the use of the state's natural resources.

LDWF Secretary Robert Barham was the keynote speaker at the ceremony. “You have a tremendous responsibility to protect Louisiana’s rich natural resources and those who enjoy those resources, whether in the field or on the water,” Barham noted. “Congratulations on your achievement which we celebrate today.”

Col. Winton Vidrine, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division, presented certificates and recited the Oath of Office making the cadets’ transition to commissioned agents official. “We welcome them into the ranks and hope they all have long and successful careers as wildlife and fisheries enforcement agents,” said Col. Vidrine.

The 15 new agents are:

Jake Darden, 23, of Chitimacha; Norman Deroche III, 28, of Schriever; Brandon Fontenot, 25, of Sunset; Kurt Hatten, 23, of Dodson; Justin Lowry, 27, of Jennings; Michael Marques Jr., 34, of Slidell; Andrew Mitchell, 23, of Hornbeck; Kenneth Robertson, 25, of Monroe; Mitchell Saunders, 24, of Hammond; Cody Soileau, 26, of Lake Charles; Charles Talbert, 30, of Sulphur; Jared Taylor, 26, of Norco; Adam Tieben, 27, of Lafayette; Dale Wheat Jr., 25, of Baton Rouge; and Chadwick Wood, 28, of Boyce.

During the graduation ceremony, Lowry received the firearms award given for the best marksman in the class and the academic award for having the highest grades. Fontenot took home the physical training award for being the most fit. Lowry also won the overall award, which is a cumulative score from the firearms, academic and physical training categories.

At the academy, cadets train to enforce the state's recreational boating laws, the state and federal wildlife and fisheries laws and general law enforcement work on the state's many wildlife management areas. The academy also covers general law enforcement training equal to that of other state law enforcement officers.

The graduating agents fill vacancies in LDWF’s Enforcement Division and will be assigned to a field-training officer for their first six months of duty. Now part of the agency’s commissioned officer staff, the agents will join the ranks of those patrolling land and water to primarily detect game, fish and boating law violations. These duties require travel into Louisiana's forests, swamps, fields, streams, bayous, lakes, marshlands, the Gulf of Mexico and on the state roadway system.

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

Louisiana Man Passes Away in Two-Vessel Collision in Orleans Parish

Release Date: 02/16/2011

 

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents responded to a fatal boating crash incident on Tuesday, Feb. 15 in Unknown Pass in Orleans Parish.

LDWF agents along with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) arrived on the scene at 2:30 p.m. of a two vessel collision involving a 20-foot Hydrosport captained by Ralph Grimaldi, 63, of Slidell, and an 18-foot Boston Whaler captained by Scott Jordan, 49, of Pearl River.

The USCG airlifted Grimaldi to the Naval Air Station in Belle Chasse where he was not able to survive his injuries. LDWF agents transported Jordan to Orleans Parish Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel waiting on the shore. EMS personnel then took Jordan to the North Shore Ochsner Hospital to be treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Grimaldi's vessel was also carrying two passengers who did not receive any major injuries.

LDWF agents are currently investigating the incident. Agents do not suspect alcohol or drugs at this time.

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

L.D.W.F. Agents Arrest Maurice Man for Negligent Homicide

Release Date: 02/14/2011

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested a Maurice man on Sunday, Feb. 13 for negligent homicide, obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence for his alleged role in the death of an overdue hunter.

Quint Mire, 47, of Maurice, allegedly shot and killed Julian Gajan, 56, of Abbeville, on Wednesday, Feb. 9 while the two were hunting near White Lake located in Vermilion Parish.

On Thursday, Feb. 10 the Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office contacted LDWF about an overdue hunter. It was reported that Gajan was last seen Wednesday afternoon at 11:30 a.m. when he left by boat to go hunting.

Gajan’s boat was located in a canal tied to a tree off of Schooner Bayou on the east side of White Lake where he hunts. A search of the marsh and surrounding areas was organized. Agencies participating in the search were the LDWF Enforcement Division, Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Coast Guard, the Angola State Penitentiary K-9 Chase Team and the Patterson Police Department's K-9 Unit.

Rescuers searched until 1 a.m. on Friday morning and resumed the search at daylight Friday morning. The search was suspended at dark Friday night and again resumed at daylight Saturday morning.

Rescuers located Gajan’s body at approximately 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 12 on a canal levee in the marsh approximately one mile from his boat. Investigators revealed that he was shot with buckshot.

On Sunday morning, Quint Mire came forward and stated to investigators that he accidentally shot Gajan while hunting on Wednesday. According to Mire, he dropped Gajan off on the canal levee then went down and positioned himself farther down the same levee to wait for Gajan to drive a deer past his location. Mire said that he thought Gajan was a deer as he walked through the trees and shot him.

Mire was booked into the Vermilion Parish Jail. The LDWF Enforcement Division and Vermilion Parish Sheriff's Office are continuing the investigation of this incident.

If convicted of all three charges, Mire faces up to 28 years in jail and up to $65,000 in fines.

Agents who participated in the search and investigation were Lt. Bobby Buatt, Sgts. Keith Delahoussaye, Kane Thomas and Aaron Herpin, and Senior Agents Justin Sonnier, Lonnie Campbell, Anthony Verret, Derek Logan, Donald Murray and Jason Stagg.

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

L.D.W.F. Investigating Boating Incident in Gulf that Resulted in Four Fatalities

Release Date: 02/13/2011

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries staff and Enforcement Division agents are investigating a boating incident that left four people dead in the Gulf of Mexico on Feb. 12.

The four deceased bodies found in the Gulf were Wayne Dowsey, 61, of Point Clear, Ala., and who was the owner and operator of the vessel; Randy Dowsey, 58, of Fairhope, Ala.; Kerri Burns, 33, of Fairhope, Ala.; and Kenny Mock, 58, of Metairie. The lone survivor was Heath Dowsey, 33, of Fairhope, Ala; who was the son of Randy and nephew of Wayne.

According to Heath, the five left from Venice around 6:30 a.m. for a fishing trip. They left out of the South Pass into the Gulf of Mexico and were about 2 to 3 miles offshore when one of the engines in the twin engine vessel abruptly shut down between 7:30 and 8 a.m.

When checking out the engine, they noticed the back of the boat filling with water, which prompted the operator to turn off the other engine. With both engines turned off, the boat then rapidly filled with water and within minutes the boat was listing to one side according to Heath.

The five were able to grab four life jackets, but were unable to put them on before the boat capsized sending all five into the cold waters of the Gulf. Heath was able to hang on to the rope from the bow of the boat, and the other four were able to hang on to the life jackets and side of the boat. Heath eventually made his way onto the hull of the capsized boat getting himself out of the cold water.

According to Heath, around 1 p.m. an offshore supply vessel located the capsized vessel with Heath on top. The crew boat was able to take Heath into their boat and locate the other four people who had drifted away from the capsized vessel.

Within minutes, an LDWF Office of Fisheries vessel that was in the area doing field work came across the capsized boat and crew boat where the four bodies were still floating lifeless. The LDWF Office of Fisheries Vessel was able to transport the deceased bodies to the U.S. Coast Guard station in Venice. Heath was also transferred to a U.S. Coast Guard vessel for transport to the U.S. Coast Guard station in Venice.

Heath was treated for mild hypothermia by emergency medical workers at the U.S. Coast Guard station. It is unknown at this time if the four people perished from drowning or hypothermia.

The LDWF Enforcement Division will investigate the incident to determine a cause. At this time, LDWF does not suspect drugs or alcohol involvement. The LDWF Enforcement Division and Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office will attempt to recover the capsized vessel for the investigation.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov or 225-354-9517 (Cell) or 225-765-2465 (Work).

Allen Parish District Attorney Provides Essential Equipment to Local L.D.W.F. Enforcement Agents

Release Date: 02/11/2011

Feb. 11, 2011 - Allen Parish District Attorney Todd Nesom recently donated equipment to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents patrolling Allen, Beauregard and Evangeline parishes.

Nesom provided two spotting scopes with tripods, a night vision monocular, and a Garmin Map 76 global positioning system (GPS) among other equipment valued at $3,200 to the agents.

Agents in the Allen, Beauregard and Evangeline parishes will utilize this equipment enforcing the West Bay Wildlife Management Area (WMA), Ouiska Chitto River and other night hunting activities in Allen Parish.

Agents completed 54 night hunting related cases this past hunting season in Allen, Beauregard and Evangeline parishes with 35 of those cases occurring in Allen Parish in the vicinity of West Bay WMA. Agents also generated 300 cases during the spring and summer of 2010 on the Ouiska Chitto River along the nine-mile stretch utilized by the local canoe rental companies of Mittie.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

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

West Carroll Men Arrested As The Result Of 14-Point Deer Investigation

Release Date: 02/08/2011

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited five subjects in West Carroll Parish for alleged hunting violations on Jan. 29 south of Goodwill.

While investigating a complaint, agents discovered that Thomas Crawford Boyte, 24, of Pioneer, allegedly killed a 14-point buck with a 30-06 rifle during closed gun season on Jan. 25. Boyte and his wife, Amber Boyte, 19, of Pioneer, then entered the buck into the Simmon’s “Big Buck” contest in Bastrop that will be held on Feb. 12. Agents charged Boyte with taking the deer using illegal methods and failing to properly tag the antlered deer. Agents also arrested Thomas and Amber Boyte for contest fraud and booked them into the Morehouse Parish Jail.

During the investigation, agents also discovered blood and carcass evidence of another freshly taken deer. Agents revealed that Thomas Boyte aided Kevin Allen, 38, of Goodwill, Jacob Faircloth, 22, of Goodwill, and Amber Boyte in killing a deer on the previous night from Allen's pickup. Each subject received citations for taking deer during illegal hours with artificial light and hunting from a moving vehicle.

Agents also discovered that Thomas Boyte and Kevin Allen drove the deer meat and two rifles to a separate location in an effort to hide the items. Subsequently, agents charged Thomas Boyte and Kevin Allen with intentional concealment of illegally taken wildlife.

Agents charged all involved with possession of illegally taken deer. This charge included Thomas Boyte’s brother, Charles Boyte, 24, of Goodwill. Charles Boyte was found to have assisted Thomas Boyte in recovering the 14-point buck from the kill site.

The penalty for taking deer during illegal hours with artificial light is a fine up to $950, an up to 120 days in jail or both. Hunting from a moving vehicle carries fines up to $500, and up to 90 days in jail or both. The penalty for taking deer by illegal methods is up to $500 in fines, and up to 90 days in jail or both. Failing to comply with deer tagging requirements carries up to a $350 fine, and up to 60 days in jail or both. The penalty for intentional concealment of illegally taken wildlife is up to a $950 fine, and up to 120 days in jail or both. The penalty for possession of illegally taken deer is a fine up to $950, and up to 120 days in jail or both. Contest fraud brings a $500 to $3,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

All charges do not include court costs. Civil restitution penalties for the value of the deer may also be imposed. Agents seized the deer meat and donated it to local charity. The trophy deer head was seized and will be held at the LDWF Monroe office as evidence in the case.

Agents involved in the case were Lt. Scott Mathews, Sgt. James Hagan, Sgt. Wayne Parker, Senior Agent Josh Estis, and Agent Ray Ellerbe.

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

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