Plaquemines Parish Man Sentenced For Oyster Violations and Public Intimidation of Law Enforcement Agent

Release Date: 04/16/2014

A Port Sulphur man pleaded guilty on April 15 to his sixth offense of taking oysters in a polluted area and felony public intimidation of a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Agent.

Judge Michael C. Clement of the 25th Judicial District in Plaquemines Parish accepted the guilty plea from Jonathan K. Ragas, 51, and sentenced him to pay a $2,500 fine plus court costs, five years in parish prison suspended and probation for six years.

Judge Clement also revoked all of Ragas’ commercial and recreational licenses for two years.  Ragas was also ordered to not be on a vessel that possesses oysters or any gear that takes oysters and he cannot act as deckhand on any commercial fishing vessel for those two years.  After the two-year revocation, he cannot be on a vessel with oysters or gear to take oysters, or work on a vessel with oysters for a period of three years unless the vessel is equipped with a vessel monitoring system that is monitored by LDWF.

The sentence stems from an incident when an LDWF agent and Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office (PPSO) deputies caught Ragas harvesting polluted oysters for the sixth time in an area closed to the harvest of oysters by the Department of Health and Hospitals on March 20, 2013.

After the stop occurred, Ragas resisted and threatened the LDWF Agent with a hatchet that was on board.

Edward McGowan prosecuted the case for District Attorney Charles Ballay’s office.

LDWF Sgt. Adam Young and PPSO Marine Division deputies assisted in the stop.

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