June 10, 2019
Officers Hellett and Gore and Lieutenant J. Allen worked a night detail at St. Andrews State Park. Lieutenant Allen saw a vehicle pull up to the entrance gate. The passenger got out of the vehicle and pushed up the gate arm, allowing the vehicle to pull through. The officers stopped the vehicle and consent was given to search the vehicle. Methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia were found in the vehicle. The operator was arrested and taken to the Bay County Jail on the drug and paraphernalia charges. The operator was also cited for driving with a suspended license. Both the driver and passenger were issued citations for evasion of state park fees.
Officers Swindell and Pestka conducted resource inspections on the Eastpoint Fishing Pier. They encountered two subjects fishing who had more than 30 saltwater catfish on the pier next to them. The subjects were leaving the fish on the pier to die. One subject was cited for failure to return a marine organism to the water.
Officers Swindell and Pestka patrolled the Lanark Reef Critical Wildlife Area (CWA). They saw a vessel anchored within the boundary and three people walking on the CWA. They spoke to the subjects who said they saw the posted signs but chose to ignore them. The area is designated as closed to public due to the nesting shorebirds. The captain of the vessel was cited for accessing an area closed to the public.
Officer Kossey saw a subject fishing from a closed city dock. Officer Kossey conducted a resource inspection and found the subject in possession of undersized and over the bag limit of redfish. The subject was cited, and the fish seized as evidence.
Officer Gerber stopped a vessel occupied by two individuals on the Apalachicola River. During his inspection, he found them to be in possession of several flathead catfish. The individuals said they had caught the fish on limb hooks. Officer Gerber noticed one of the individuals attempting to hide a shocking device with his feet. Both individuals admitted to shocking catfish with the device and using a gig to retrieve the fish. Both subjects were cited for the use and possession of a device capable of producing an electrical current enough to stun or shock freshwater fish.
Officer McMillion and Lieutenant Guy conducted a resource inspection on a commercial fishing vessel at the Port St. Joe City Ramp. During the inspection, two spotted seatrout were located under a bag of ice in a separate cooler. The captain received a citation for commercial harvest of undersized spotted seatrout, harvest of seatrout during the closed season and possession of illegal gear for harvesting.
While patrolling the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) portion of the Aucilla Wildlife Management Area, Officer Wilcox encountered two individuals consuming alcohol which is prohibited by SRWMD rules. During the stop, dispatch told Officer Wilcox that one of the individuals had an active warrant out of Taylor County. Both individuals were given warnings for possession of alcohol on SRWMD lands, and the subject with the outstanding warrant was arrested and booked into the Jefferson County Jail.
Officer Specialist Raker and Officer Nelson were patrolling Oyster Bay when they saw two subjects fishing. They conducted a resource inspection and found the subjects in possession of an undersized red drum. They also located cannabis during their investigation. The subjects were cited for possession of undersized red drum and possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis.
Officer Morales was patrolling in the Apalachee Bay south of St. Marks when he conducted a resource inspection on a vessel. The subjects were found to be in possession of undersized flounder that they were using as bait. The subjects were cited for not landing flounder in whole condition and possession of undersized flounder.
Officer Specialist Raker was dispatched to an Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Landing Notification in Wakulla County. Upon arrival, he was unable to locate the vessel for the dockside inspection. He continued to investigate with the assistance of Officer B. Hughes. Several hours later when the vessel docked, they conducted a boating safety and resource inspection. The subject was cited for failure to land within notification allotment.
Community Oriented Policing – Expanding Participation in Conservation
As part of FWC’s “Adopt-a-School” program, Lieutenant Wass de Czege spent a morning reading to four different groups of 1st and 2nd graders at Fort Braden School. He read them “The Lorax” and brought an alligator for the kids to see. After interacting with the elementary school children, Lieutenant Wass de Czege gave a short presentation on conservation law enforcement to a 6th grade science class.
Santa Rosa County
Officers Land and Lewis displayed an FWC patrol vessel at Shoreline Park in Gulf Breeze and spoke to approximately 150 Gulf Breeze Middle School students. The officers educated students about boating safety, fish and wildlife regulations, and the role of an FWC officer in protecting Florida’s natural resources.
North Central Region
Officer Creel was dispatched to a complaint in Homosassa regarding an individual allegedly stuffing logs and yard debris into the entrances of multiple gopher tortoise burrows. Officer Creel arrived on scene, confirmed the information and started an investigation. He was able to identify a subject who had an active warrant out of Pinellas County for failure to appear. Officer Creel arrested the subject, read the Miranda warning and proceeded to question him about the gopher tortoise complaint. Citrus County Sheriff’s Office transported the suspect to the Citrus County Jail on the warrant and Officer Creel will direct file charges for harassment/destruction of gopher tortoise burrows.
Officers McDonald and Cline were on water patrol on the Santa Fe River when they encountered a subject dressed in camouflage actively hunting on Fort White Environmental Wildlife Management Area. The man had used his gheenoe to access the property from the river. After contacting the subject, the officers saw that he was in possession of a .22 caliber rifle and 3 plastic bags of cracked corn. The man claimed to be rabbit hunting but also said he puts corn out to attract turkeys. The subject took the officers to a spot that he had previously baited. The subject was cited for hunting during closed season and for placing bait in a WMA.
Lieutenant Farmer and Investigator Bing assisted the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office with the apprehension of two subjects wanted for burglarizing park patrons’ vehicles at the Payne’s Prairie State Park’s La Chua Trail. After learning of the burglaries, Investigators from FWC monitored areas where the violations were occurring. Investigators were able to identify the suspects breaking into more vehicles. Two subjects were arrested and taken to the Alachua County Detention Center for processing by sheriff’s detectives.
Officers Drew and Troiano worked the annual Goethe State Forest Hog Hunt. Officer Drew saw two trucks with dog boxes on the side of CR 326 and Wolf Arbor Road. Two subjects were outside with hand held GPS tracking devices. Both subjects had proper licensing for the hunt but had no luck catching hogs. Officer Drew smelled the odor of cannabis emitting from a subject’s truck and a mason jar with marijuana shake was produced by the subject. A probable cause search of the truck revealed 239 grams of cannabis in several mason jars and a large vacuum sealed bag, 32 flavored THC oil cartridges used for vaporizer pens, a vacuum sealer, a digital scale, multiple empty bags with different names of cannabis, weights and prices for the cannabis listed on the bags and $355 in cash. All items were in a duffel bag in the back seat of the subject’s truck. Officer Drew placed the subject under arrest for possession of cannabis over 20 grams, possession of cannabis with the intent to distribute and possession of a controlled substance. Two other subjects were charged for possession of an alcoholic beverage under 21 years of age by Officer Troiano.
Officer Tyler responded to a complaint of a subject cleaning a deer. Upon arrival, Officer Tyler spoke to the subject who said the deer was hit by a vehicle. The subject told Officer Tyler that he finished killing the deer by shooting it with a .22 caliber rifle. An inspection of the deer carcass showed no signs of being injured by a vehicle. A check of the subject revealed he was a convicted felon. While trying to validate the story, Officer Tyler located where the subject shot and killed the deer on the neighboring property. The evidence and firearm were documented and seized for trial. The subject was arrested and booked into the Baker County Jail for possession of firearm by a convicted felon, taking deer out of season and illegal method of taking deer.