LDWF Enforcement Region 5 News

Agents Issue 34 Citations on Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge

Release Date: 07/25/2011

 

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents have issued 34 citations over the past two weekends on the Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge (SWR) in Cameron and Vermilion parishes.

These citations include charges for intentional littering, failure to return by-catch immediately to the water, trespassing in restricted areas, failure to abide by no-wake zones and over limit of crabs and shrimp.

The water management control structure known locally as Mud Hole, in that portion of Rockefeller SWR within Cameron Parish, was closed to the public until further notice on July 11 due to litter problems caused by recreational fishermen.

Refuge regulations prohibit littering, which includes not returning bycatch from recreational cast netting to the water.  Public use of the site has led to an accumulation of bycatch fish (mostly menhaden) that has created unsanitary conditions and litter along the banks of a water control structure accessible only by boat.

The unsanitary conditions caused by decaying fish prompted the precautionary closure.

“Agents in uniform and plain clothes monitor and patrol these areas on a regularly daily basis.  Users who do not return their bycatch immediately to the water can litter an area in a short time," said LDWF Captain Jubal Marceaux of the Lake Charles Office.  "We want the public to be aware that if uniform agents are not seen there is still a good chance agents could be at various locations to observe illegal activity specifically littering."

To report littering on Rockefeller SWR or any LDWF property, individuals are encouraged to report violators to Operation Game Thief at 1-800-442-2511.

Agents also want to let the public know that throwing cigarette butts on the refuge grounds and waterways does constitute litter.

Agents participating in the two weekend operation were Capt. Jubal Marceaux, Lts. Remy Broussard and Robert Buatt, Sgts. Todd Laviolette and David Sanford, Senior Agents Beau Robertson, Anthony Verret, Buddy Murray, Justin Sonnier, Justin Lowry, Cody Soileau, Charles Talbert and Ronnie Englehart.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF Investigating Pair of Weekend Boating Incidents in Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes

Release Date: 07/25/2011

 

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents are investigating two separate boating crash incidents that took place on July 24 in Cameron and Calcasieu parishes.

Agents are investigating a collision between two personal watercrafts (PWC) in the Hebert Landing area of Calcasieu Lake in Cameron Parish on Sunday, July 24.  The PWCs were operated by a male and a female both 14 years old.

One of the operator’s parents was returning from a fishing trip and spotted the two PWCs drifting near the landing.  The parents retrieved the two juveniles from the water and transported them to a Lake Charles area hospital.  One of the subjects was treated for soft tissue injuries to the left knee and ankle.  The other was being scheduled for oral surgery as a result of the collision.

Both juvenile operators were wearing their personal flotation device and kill switches were used to shut off the PWCs.  State boating regulations state that operators of PWCs must be at least 16 years of age.

The second boating crash incident involved a vessel on the West Fork of the Calcasieu River in Calcasieu Parish.  Duston Istre, 26, of Sulphur, was operating the vessel at a high rate of speed before losing control and striking a tree.

Istre and his passenger, Michael Fontenot, 18, also of Sulphur, were transported by ambulance to West Cal-Cam Hospital in Sulphur.  Istre suffered severe blunt force trauma to his torso and lower extremities.  Fontenot suffered a severe laceration to his temporal region as well as various other abrasions.

LDWF agents have charges pending against Istre for reckless operation of a watercraft, operating a watercraft under the influence and vehicular negligent injuring.

LDWF Capt. Jubal Marceaux, Lt. Remy Broussard and Senior Agent Stuart Guillory are investigating the incidents.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Sulphur Man Arrested for DWI on the Water

Release Date: 06/28/2011

 

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents arrested a Sulphur man on June 23 for allegedly driving or operating a vessel while intoxicated (DWI) in Calcasieu Parish.

Agents arrested William Hafer, 40, for DWI and also cited him for destroying crab traps and removing contents, taking commercial fish without a commercial fishing license or commercial gear license.

While on boat patrol, agents observed Hafer on a waterway south of Sulphur running crab traps.  Agents made contact with Hafer and determined that he did not have permission to remove the contents of the crab traps that he was checking.

While investigating the theft of crabs, agents observed that Hafer was operating his vessel under the influence of alcohol.  Hafer was taken to the landing where he was placed under arrest and brought to the Calcasieu Parish Correctional Facility and booked for DWI and crab theft charges.

Destroying legal crab traps or removing contents carries a penalty of $400-$950, up to 120 days in jail, or both plus court costs.  Taking commercial fish without commercial license and without a commercial gear license carries a penalty of $250-$500, or up to 90 days in jail, or both plus court costs for each offense.

This was Hafer's second offense DWI, which carries a fine of $750-$1,000, plus imprisonment between 30 days to six months.

Agents participating were Lt. Remy Broussard and Senior Agent Beau Robertson.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

L.D.W.F. Agents Cite Two Men for Gill Net Violations

Release Date: 04/19/2011

 

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited two men for alleged gill net violations in Grand Chenier in Cameron Parish on April 16.

Agents cited Richard Comeaux, 57, of Church Point, and Elridge Benoit, 71, of Duson, for using gill nets illegally, leaving nets unattended, taking commercial fish without a commercial fishing license and without a commercial gear license.

Agents responded to a complaint about illegal gill net activity in the saltwater area south of Highway 82 in Grand Chenier.  Agents observed Comeaux and Benoit retrieve two-gill nets that were hidden in the grass on the levee.  Agents then witnessed the subjects set one of the nets and herd fish into the net by driving their boat down the canal and chasing fish into the net.

After making contact with Comeaux and Benoit, agents determined that neither had a commercial fishing license or gear license.  Agents arrested the subjects and booked them into the Cameron Parish Jail.

Agents seized 147 pounds of garfish, a 15-foot aluminum boat with a 40 horsepower outboard, boat trailer and two gill nets.

Using a gill net illegally carries a fine between $900 and $950, or jail time up to 120 days, or both plus court costs.  Taking commercial fish without a commercial license or commercial gear license brings a $250 to $500 fine, up to 90 days in jail, or both plus court costs for each offense.  Leaving nets unattended carries a $350 to $500 fine, or jail time up to 30 days, license revocation and court costs.

Agents involved in the case were Senior Agents Beau Robertson, Carl Pickett and Sean Moreau.

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

L.D.W.F. Agents Cite Eight Louisianans for Oyster Violations

Release Date: 03/21/2011

March 21, 2011 - Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited eight Louisiana individuals for alleged oyster violations on March 18 in Calcasieu Lake in Cameron Parish.

Agents cited Arthur Rene Guidry, 34, of Lake Charles; Casey Ray Richard, 25, of Sulphur; Kenneth Rammie Levergne, 53, of Sulphur; Misty L. Wood, 35, of Sulphur; Jimmy Leslie Constance III, 30, of Hackberry; Robert Scott Dupre, 39, of Sulphur; Jimmy Don Hammett, 57, of Sulphur; and Joseph Swire, 29, of Sulphur; for unlawfully taking oysters from state water bottoms in Calcasieu Lake.

Agents also cited Guidry, Constance III and Hammett for failing to display proper numbers on an oyster vessel.

Agents observed four oyster vessels engaged in harvesting oysters in a closed area on the lake. The vessels and occupants were escorted back to the landing where all eight of the fishermen were cited for the violations and released.

Agents seized the four vessels and dredges and returned the oysters to the water.

Unlawfully taking oysters from state water bottoms carries a fine between $400 and $950, or jail time up to 120 days or both plus court costs and forfeiture of anything seized. Failing to display proper numbers on an oyster vessel brings a $50 fine or jail time up to 15 days.

Agents participating in the case were Lt. Remy Broussard, Senior Agents Beau Robertson, Sean Moreau and Carl Pickett and Agent Cody Soileau.

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

L.D.W.F. Agents Cite Six Louisianans for Oyster Violations

Release Date: 03/18/2011

March 18, 2011 - Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited six Louisiana individuals for alleged oyster violations on March 17 in Cameron Parish.

Agents cited Jerell Dwayne Christopher, 52, of Abbeville; Carroll Henderson Laws, 71, of Abbeville; Matthew Gaskins, Jr., 54, of Lake Charles; Waverly Evans Levere, 53, of Abbeville; Hubern Ray Doxey, Jr., 18, of Cameron; and Angela Kay Trahan, 21, of Creole; for unlawfully taking oysters from state water bottoms in Calcasieu Lake.

Christopher was also cited for failing to display proper numbers on his oyster vessel. Doxey was also cited for taking undersized oysters from a natural reef.

Due to complaints received at the Lake Charles office and regular patrols concerning oystering in closed areas of Calcasieu Lake, LDWF Enforcement dispatched a plane to patrol the area by air. Special concern was given to a cultch planting on a reef on the south end of the lake, which is a closed area for oystering.

From the plane, agents observed three oyster boats working in the area of the closed reef. LDWF agents then met the boats at the oyster docks while the plane was able to keep constant contact with the vessels.

Agents seized 22 sacks of oysters and returned them to the water. They also seized the three vessels and dredges.

Unlawfully taking oysters from state water bottoms carries a fine between $400 and $950, or jail time up to 120 days or both plus court costs and forfeiture of anything seized. Failing to display proper numbers on an oyster vessel brings a $50 fine or jail time up to 15 days. Taking undersized oysters from a natural reef carries a $100 to $350 fine, or up to 60 days in jail, or both plus court costs.

Agents participating in the case were Lt. Remy Broussard, Sgt. David Sanford, Senior Agents Beau Robertson, Carl Pickett and Jason Stagg and LDWF pilot Brian Dorsa.

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

L.D.W.F. Agents Recover Two Stolen Vessels

Release Date: 02/01/2011

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested three Dequincy men for allegedly possessing stolen vessels on Jan. 26, 2011 in Bayou D'Inde near Sulphur.

Agents arrested Heith Logan Babineaux, 22, Wacey Paul Goodfriend, 19, and Stann Michael Leblue, 19, for unauthorized use of a moveable. The case has been turned over to the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office for further investigation.

While investigating a report of a vessel floating freely, LDWF agents noticed another vessel with three occupants in the same general vicinity. The subjects in the vessel were tightening the engine bracket as LDWF agents approached them. Having received a memo a few days earlier, agents recognized the vessel as having been reported stolen the previous week from a residence in Lake Charles.

Agents confirmed the vessel was stolen and detained the three subjects for further questioning. Agents also confirmed that the free-floating vessel was stolen and had been stripped of the motor, which was being used on the previously mentioned stolen vessel. Agents seized the stolen property and returned it to the rightful owners.

The penalty for unauthorized use of a moveable is imprisonment with or without hard labor for up to three years, or up to a $5,000 fine or both.

Participating in the case were Sr. Agents Sean Moreau and Beau Robertson, Sgt. David Sanford and Lt. Remy Broussard.

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

Joint Effort Leads To Successful Coordinated Search and Rescue Mission

Release Date: 11/23/2010

Personnel with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and Cameron Parish Sheriff's Office helped coordinate and rescue a missing Kaplan boater on Nov. 18 in Cameron Parish.

Jacob Blanchard, 31, left the Lakeside public boat launch at approximately 7:30 a.m. and headed to a camp near the Old Intracoastal Waterway near Grand Lake.  After being reported as on overdue boater, LDWF agents received information mid afternoon of Blanchard's potential whereabouts from the Cameron Parish Sheriff’s Office.

LDWF quickly dispatched eight agents and five boats to the area, but were hampered with strong north winds, high seas and shallow water.  Since the water was making a boat rescue difficult and agents were concerned for the missing person not being found with temperatures expected to fall to low 50s, LDWF requested a USCG helicopter to assist with the rescue.

LDWF agents provided the USCG helicopter with GPS coordinates and an outlined grid description for a specific area to search.  The helicopter arrived in the Grand Lake area at 6 p.m. and began searching the east side of Grand Lake and the Old Intracoastal Waterway.

At approximately 6:30 p.m. the helicopter located a subject flashing a light on the south bank of Grand Lake near Betty Lake in Cameron Parish.  The helicopter was able to air lift the victim from his boat to the helicopter and fly Blanchard to Chennault Air Field in Lake Charles.

Blanchard said he ran out of gas on his trip across Grand Lake and due to high seas had drifted to the south bank obscured behind a rock dam.

"The smooth coordination between our department, the Cameron Parish Sheriff’s Office, Coast Guard and the subject's family helped find and retrieve this young man very quickly," said Col. Winton Vidrine, head of LDWF's Enforcement Division.  "If he would have had to spend the night in the cold conditions, then hypothermia could have been a very real possibility."

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

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