FWC Division of Law Enforcement Weekly Report June 28, 2019 through July 11, 2019

August 11, 2019

Northwest Region

Cases

Holmes County

Officers Yates and Gore conducted a roadside shrimp dealer inspection for quality control in Holmes County. The vendor had questions on quality control and was found to unlicensed. The vendor was cited for no retail saltwater product dealer license and for failure to maintain records of acquisition.

Jackson County

Officers Little and Scott were on boating safety patrol on Merritt’s Mill Pond. As they were conducting a boating safety inspection of a vessel, they began to detect indicators the operator was possibly under the influence of alcohol. The officers administered field sobriety tasks and the vessel operator was placed under arrest for BUI and transported to the Jackson County Jail. Breath test results were .155 and .159.

Washington County

Officers Parrish, Greene, and Burkhead were called to find lost kayakers on Econfina Creek in the Econfina Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Officer Parrish was able to determine their location by receiving a screen shot from google maps from one of the lost subjects. The officers rescued them after walking a distance through one of Econfina’s hurricane damaged swamps. When back to safety, one of the subjects was found to have an active misdemeanor warrant and transported to the Washington County Jail.

Officers Parrish and Kinney were patrolling the Holmes Creek area at Cotton Landing on the Choctawhatchee River Wildlife Management Area. The officers encountered a subject passed out in a truck at the boat ramp. The subject was found to be in possession of methamphetamine and 5.1 grams of cannabis. The subject was arrested and booked into the Washington County Jail.

Officers Homan and Gore saw a careless motor boat operator at Culpepper Landing in Vernon on Holmes Creek. The ramp was congested with other boaters. The operator hit the bank while looking backwards at his motor, which threw the front occupant down into the boat. Their investigation found that the subject was operating a vessel while impaired. Officer Homan placed the subject under arrest and transported him to the Washington County Jail. Once there, the subject provided a breath sample of .139 blood alcohol content.

Bay County

Officers Hellett and Alsobrooks were on water patrol when they were told by FWC dispatch that Coast Guard personnel needed assistance with an operator they believed to be impaired. When the officers arrived on scene, Coast Guard personnel said the vessel operator had cut them off in the Panama pass and evasive action was taken to avoid a collision. They contacted the operator who showed signs of impairment and administered standardized field sobriety tasks. The operator provided two breath samples which were .173 blood alcohol content and .157 blood alcohol content. The operator arrested and booked in the Bay County Jail.

Escambia County

Officers Cushing, Land and Matechik were working Gulf State Waters aboard the offshore patrol vessel NW Fincat, Officer Cushing conducted a marine fisheries inspection of a 25-foot recreational fishing vessel and discovered a bag of fillets in a plastic bag. The captain stated that his wife caught her first “amberjack” and wanted to keep it. He admitted to filleting the fish and putting it in the bag. The appropriate action was taken reference the violations.

Officers Cushing and Land were on water patrol near Big Lagoon State park and saw an eastbound vessel plowing through the idle speed zone. Officers stopped the vessel to address the violation and instructed the operator to place his vessel engine in neutral. He had difficulty placing it in neutral, switching from forward to reverse multiple times. Officers then instructed him to turn the engine off. Officer Land saw a bucket full of empty beer cans in the vessel. The operator’s breath smelled of alcoholic beverage and Standardized Field Sobriety Tasks were administered. The operator was arrested and taken to Escambia County Jail.

Officers Clark and Long were on water patrol in the Quiet Water portion of the Santa Rosa Sound when they saw a vessel displaying partial registration numbers. They conducted a vessel stop and saw the operator showing indicators of impairment. Standardized field sobriety tasks were administered, and the operator was placed under arrest for boating under the influence. The subject provided a breath sample of 0.133 blood alcohol content and 0.122 blood alcohol content. The operator was cited for BUI and transported to the Escambia County Jail.

Officer Long and Investigator Livesay were patrolling Pensacola Bay and identified a vessel that was adrift with no navigation lights illuminated. A vessel stop was conducted to address the safety violation, and the owner/operator exhibited numerous signs of impairment. The operator was asked to perform Standard Field Sobriety Tasks and was placed under arrest and transported to the Escambia County Jail for operating a vessel while normal faculties were impaired.

Officer Allgood stopped a vessel near Fort McRee after noticing the registration was improperly displayed. The operator of the vessel saw Officer Allgood and switched places with another occupant. While speaking with the operator, Officer Allgood noticed several signs of impairment, including a very strong odor of alcohol. Officer Allgood requested the operator perform several field sobriety tasks. The operator refused to perform any of the tasks. Based on his observation Officer Allgood, arrested the operator for BUI. After being transported to the Escambia County Jail, the operator declined to give a breath sample but admitted to drinking 10-15 beers earlier that day.

Officer Allgood performed a safety check on a personal water craft (PWC) near Big Lagoon State Park. He found the operator was an employee of a nearby livery and he did not have a boating safety card as required. This prompted a livery inspection. Two PWC’s were rented out at the time and when they returned to the livery it was found that one of the operators did not have a boating safety card. The owner of the livery was cited for renting a PWC to a person that did not possess a required boating safety card. The employee was also cited for the violation.

Gulf County

Officer Gerber was on patrol at Iola Landing when he saw three individuals pull up in a vessel with no navigation lights. The individuals had been hog hunting on the river and had one hog in their possession. While conducting a resource inspection, Officer Gerber noticed a loaded .22 caliber rifle in plain view inside the vessel. One individual aboard was found to be a convicted felon. The vessel owner was cited for no navigation lights and insufficient number of lifejackets. The firearm was seized, and further charges are pending.

Officer Gerber and Officer Specialist Lipford were on water patrol working the Apalachicola River near Gaskin Park. During a vessel safety inspection, the officers noticed the operator was showing signs of impairment. The operator agreed to submit to the seated battery of field sobriety tasks and was placed under arrest for BUI. He provided breath samples of .115 blood alcohol content and .118 blood alcohol content. The operator was booked into the Gulf County Jail.

Officer Specialist Webb worked JEA dockside patrol over the weekend and checked 7 vessels and 28 users. He issued three warnings and two FWC citations for gray triggerfish out of season and undersized gag grouper. Officer Specialist Webb was conducting resource inspections at Indian Pass when he saw a Georgia recreational vessel with several people on board returning from the Gulf of Mexico. After inspecting their harvest, he discovered that they had in their possession two bags of fresh snapper fillets. The captain was issued the appropriate citation for failure to land reef fish in whole condition.

Okaloosa County

Lieutenant Bartlett and Officer Maltais were on water patrol in the Destin Pass when they conducted a vessel stop on a personal watercraft for violation of the idle speed zone. While interacting with the operator, Officer Maltais saw several signs of impairment and conducted field sobriety tasks. The operator was arrested for boating under the influence, refused to provide a breath sample, and was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail.

Officer Hahr was patrolling the Yellow River where he stopped a vessel to conduct a boating safety inspection. The operator was showing signs of impairment and after field sobriety tasks, was arrested for BUI. After towing the boat back to the ramp and dropping off the two young children with family members, Officer Hahr transported the operator to the Okaloosa County Jail where he refused to submit to a breath test. He was cited for operating a vessel while normal faculties impaired.

Lieutenant Molnar and Lieutenant Bartlett were on land patrol when they were flagged down by a concerned citizen who wanted to report an impaired driver. They contacted the suspected impaired driver at a nearby vacant gas station parking lot. The operator appeared confused about his location and showed signs of impairment. Field sobriety tasks were conducted, and the operator was arrested for DUI. He was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail where he provided a breath sample of 0.243 blood alcohol content and 0.239 blood alcohol content.

Officer Corbin was on water patrol in the Destin Pass when he conducted a vessel stop on a charter vessel returning from the Gulf of Mexico. A fisheries inspection revealed two undersized red grouper. The captain was issued a citation for possession of undersize red grouper and operating a charter without a state charter license.

Officer Corbin was on water patrol when he saw a charter vessel returning from the Gulf of Mexico with fishing equipment displayed. A resource inspection was conducted at the dock and two undersized red grouper were found on the vessel. A license inspection was also conducted, and the captain did not have a valid charter fishing license. The captain of the vessel was issued a notice to appear citation for possession of undersized red grouper and a resource citation was issued for no charter license.

Officer Corbin was on water patrol when he saw a charter vessel return to the dock and display its catch. Several fish appeared to be undersized and a resource inspection was conducted. Four undersize vermillion snapper were displayed at the dock. The deckhand claimed responsibility for the undersized fish and was issued a notice to appear citation for the violation.

Officers Corbin and Pifer were on water patrol when they saw two subjects renting out vessels from the beach near Crab Island. A livery inspection was conducted and one subject, who was the owner of livery, was issued a notice to appear citation for renting out vessels without any signage displayed at the livery related to the operation of vessels. The other subject was issued a notice to appear citation for providing prerental/pre-ride instructions without having taken an approved boating safety course.

Officers Corbin and Wilkenson were on water patrol when they saw a subject operating a vessel on full plane in the idle speed/no wake zone near Crab Island. A vessel stop was conducted to address the violation and to conduct a boating safety inspection. The operator showed signs of impairment and agreed to let Officer Corbin conduct Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. The operator refused any further tasks and was placed under arrest for BUI. The operator later provided two breath samples of .147 blood alcohol content and .150 blood alcohol content.

Officers Corbin and Pifer were on water patrol when they saw a vessel being operated without any registration numbers or decal displayed. A vessel stop was conducted to address the violation and conduct a boating safety inspection. During the inspection, the operator showed signs of impairment. The subject agreed to conduct field sobriety tasks and was placed under arrest for BUI.

Officers Corbin and White were on water patrol when they saw a vessel return from the Gulf of Mexico with fishing equipment displayed. The resource inspection found two grey triggerfish in a box. The captain of the vessel was issued a notice to appear citation for possession of triggerfish during the closed season.

Officers Corbin and White were on water patrol when they saw a vessel violating the idle speed/no wake zone around the Destin Bridge. A vessel stop was conducted to address the violation and conduct a boating safety inspection. The vessel had an expired registration and the operator was unable to provide a type IV throwable device or a fire extinguisher. The operator exhibited signs of impairment and there were numerous empty beer cans visible on the vessel. Field sobriety tasks were administered and the operator was placed under arrest for BUI.

Officers Corbin and Tison were on water patrol when they saw a vessel leaving a marina with fishing equipment displayed. A vessel stop was conducted, and the subjects stated they had just returned from fishing, dropped people off at the dock, were returning to the boat ramp, and did not have any fish onboard. An inspection of their coolers revealed four red snapper filets. A notice to appear citation was issued to the captain of the vessel for the violation.

Officers Corbin, Bradshaw, and Letcher were on water patrol and saw a deckhand of a charter vessel displaying its catch. A resource inspection was conducted, and one undersize scamp grouper and one undersize red snapper were found. During the stop, Officer Corbin discovered the deckhand had an active warrant for failure to appear. The subject was placed under arrest and a pat down revealed a pill bottle containing a plastic bag with methamphetamine in his shorts pocket. The subject was issued a resource citation for possession of undersize scamp grouper and was arrested for his active warrant and for possession of a controlled substance.

Officers Corbin, Bradshaw, and Letcher were on water patrol when they saw a vessel returning from the Gulf of Mexico with spearfishing equipment onboard. A resource inspection was conducted and two undersize gag grouper were located in a cooler on the vessel. A resource citation was issued for possession of undersize gag grouper.

Officers Corbin, Bradshaw, and Letcher were on water patrol when they saw a large fishing vessel return from the Gulf of Mexico with fishing equipment displayed. The vessel did not have a registration decal displayed and had a hailing port of Destin, FL. The vessel was documented through the Coast Guard but had not been registered with the state of Florida. A notice to appear citation was issued to the captain and owner of the vessel for failure to register a documented vessel.

Officer Pifer and an applicant ride-along were on water patrol when they saw a personal watercraft (PWC) driving recklessly in the Destin Pass. The PWC was operating in violation of the idle speed-no wake zone towards a pontoon boat and swerving at the last possible moment to avoid a collision and to cause the wake from the PWC to splash the pontoon boat. Officer Pifer and his ride-along saw the PWC perform this maneuver multiple times. A vessel stop was initiated to address the violation. The PWC was determined to be a rental from a local livery and the operator was cited for reckless operation of a PWC.

Officer Pifer and an applicant ride-along were on water patrol when they saw a pontoon boat operating on plane in an idle speed-no wake zone. A vessel stop was initiated to address the violation and to conduct a boating safety inspection. The operator displayed signs of impairment and agreed to perform standardized field sobriety tasks. The operator was arrested for BUI, cited for refusal to submit to a breath test and violation of the idle speed-no wake zone.

Lieutenant Hollinhead and Officer Pifer were on water patrol when they saw a vessel leaving the east side of Crab Island. Shortly after leaving the island, the vessel accelerated and began traveling on plane in the idle speed-no wake zone. A vessel stop was initiated to address the violation and to conduct a boating safety inspection. The operator displayed signs of impairment and agreed to perform standardized field sobriety tasks. The operator was placed under arrest for BUI and at USCG Station Destin, provided a breath sample of 0.197 blood alcohol content and 0.185 blood alcohol content. The operator was cited for BUI and violation of the idle speed-no wake zone.

Officer Maltais was on water patrol in the Destin Pass when he conducted a vessel stop for violation of the idle speed/no wake zone. Officer Maltais determined the vessel was a charter returning from offshore and a resource inspection was conducted. Two undersized red snapper were discovered. The charter captain was issued a resource citation for the violation.

Officers Hahr and Wilkenson were on water patrol at Crab Island when they received a call about a female that had nearly drowned and needed assistance. The officers were able to locate the vessel the female was onboard and had EMS conduct an assessment on her wellbeing. After she was medically cleared, Officer Hahr conducted a boating safety inspection. The operator showed several signs of impairment and field sobriety task were conducted. He was arrested for BUI and later refused to provide a breath sample.

Lieutenants Molnar and Bartlett, along with Officer Hahr were on water patrol in the Destin Harbor when they saw a pontoon boat operating in circles and impeding the flow of vessel traffic at the entrance to the harbor. A vessel stop was conducted to speak with the operator about the navigational concern. During Lieutenant Bartlett’s interaction with the operator of the vessel, signs of impairment were evident. After field sobriety task were conducted, the operator was arrested for BUI. He later provided a breath sample of 0.089 blood alcohol content and 0.087 blood alcohol content.

Santa Rosa County

Officer Land was conducting resource inspections at the Shoreline Park Boat Ramp. He saw a large vessel with multiple people on board return to the ramp and contacted the operator of the vessel to conduct a marine fisheries inspection. During the inspection Officer Land located an undersized cobia. The operator was cited for the violation.

Officer Ramos was on vessel patrol in the Santa Rosa sound and conducted a boating safety inspection on a pontoon boat with a family onboard. The inspection revealed that the pontoon did not have all required safety equipment even though it was rented from a nearby livery. Officer Ramos visited the livery and contacted the manager. The manager stated that the business does not use a check-off sheet to visually ensure all required safety equipment is on-board prior to each rental boat’s departure. He was issued a notice to appear citation for renting a vessel without the required safety equipment.

An FWC investigator saw two subjects steal a license plate off a vehicle near the Navarre Beach boat ramp. When the investigator identified himself to the suspects, one of the subjects fled in what later was identified as a stolen vehicle. The subject crashed into a vessel trailer parked at the Navarre Beach boat ramp while fleeing from law enforcement. FWC officers located the stolen vehicle a short-time later, and with the assistance of the Santa Rosa County Sherriff’s Office, located the subject swimming with a crowd on Navarre Beach in an effort to remain undetected. The subject was placed under arrest for multiple felony and misdemeanor charges.

Walton County

Officers Tison and Letcher were on water patrol in the Choctawhatchee Bay. They contacted two subjects on the shoreline of the Eglin Air Force Base property with free roaming dogs that displayed aggressiveness when the officers exited their patrol vessel. Neither of the subjects had an Eglin Recreation Permit or any form of identification. It was later determined that one of the subjects provided a false name and date of birth to Officer Tison. The following day Officer Tison saw the subjects back on the Eglin property without a recreational permit although the violation had been previously addressed the day before. Both subjects were cited for not having an Eglin Recreational Permit and one will be cited for providing a false name to a law enforcement officer. An Eglin Security Force Officer responded and suspended the subjects from Eglin property for a period of six months.

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