Monday, June 6, 2016

FWC Division of Law Enforcement Weekly Report May 27 through June 2, 2016

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
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Division of Law Enforcement
FWC logo and law enforcement badge 
 Weekly Report
May 27 through June 2, 2016
This report represents some events the FWC handled over the past week; however, it does not include all actions taken by the Division of Law Enforcement.

 Patrol, Protect, Preserve  




Captain Clements, Officers T. Basford and Wicker conducted a resource inspection on a charter vessel in the Gulf of Mexico. The charter was in possession of an undersized scamp and two undersized red snapper. The vessel captain was issued a citation for the violations.

Officer Goodwin observed a vessel coming from offshore heading towards the Panama City Pass. He observed fishing rods in the vessel and conducted a resource inspection. His inspection revealed amberjack fillets in the bait well. The fisherman stated that he was using the amberjack fillets for bait. A citation was issued for failure to land amberjack in whole condition.


Officer Allgood concentrated his patrols this week in state waters.  He issued six notice to appear citations for possession of undersized trigger fish and two for undersized greater amberjack.  He also issued several other related warnings.

Lieutenant Lambert observed an individual operating a vessel in violation of the idle speed zone near the Navy Point Boat Ramp.  When he stopped the vessel to address the violation, he noticed several signs that indicated the operator was impaired.  The operator performed poorly on several sobriety tasks and was arrested for boating under the influence (BUI).  The operator was transported to the Escambia County Jail, where he refused to give a breath sample.


While on water patrol on the Apalachicola River in Gulf County, Officers Henderson and Boutwell were asked by a houseboat owner to check out his vessel. As they approached the houseboat, they observed three people on the rear of the boat. After boarding the vessel, the officers identified the three people and found a fourth person asleep inside. One of the four people was a juvenile. The owner of the houseboat confirmed that none of the subjects had permission to be aboard the vessel, and gave permission for officers to search the houseboat. During the search, officers found a .22 caliber long rifle, a handgun case, a wallet with a large amount of cash, two digital scales and a glass mason jar containing baggies, white crystalized powder consistent with methamphetamine and a large quantity of cash. One subject, who had two prior felony convictions, claimed ownership of all the material and weapons. He was placed under arrest and charged with convicted felon in possession of a firearm and possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell and manufacture/delivery of drug paraphernalia. He was transported to the Gulf County Detention Facility. The juvenile female was turned over to her mother.


Officer Roberson and Lieutenant Berryman were conducting boating safety and fishery inspections at the Navarre Beach Boat Ramp when they observed a vessel come in with improper navigational lights and an expired registration decal displayed. Additionally, the officers observed fishing gear and two open beer cans on the console of the vessel.  As the operator retrieved his vehicle to load his boat and while loading his boat onto the trailer, he showed signs of possible impairment.  Officer Roberson conducted a boating safety and marine fishery inspection and spoke to the operator about his navigational lights and his expired registration. During this conversation, Officer Roberson became more suspicious that the operator may have been impaired and asked if he would perform field sobriety tasks.  The operator agreed to do so and subsequently failed these tasks. He was placed under arrest for operating a vessel while under the influence.  He was then transported to the Santa Rosa County Jail where he refused any additional testing.

Officers McHenry, Clark and Hutchinson were patrolling the Intracoastal Waterway near Big Lagoon State Park and observed a vessel travelling towards them in an idle speed zone creating a wake. The vessel was passing other vessels who were obeying the idle speed restriction.  The officers stopped the vessel and observed a male subject with four female subjects on board who all appeared to be under the influence of alcohol.  While speaking with the male subject who was operating the vessel, they noticed several alcoholic beverages inside of the vessel.  After conducting a boating safety inspection and interviewing the operator, it was clear that the subject’s normal faculties were impaired from being under the influence of alcohol.  The female subjects had a friend meet them and take possession of the vessel. The subject was arrested for BUI and transported to the Escambia County Jail.

Officer Ramos encountered a man fishing on the beach.  A records check revealed that he had three warrants from another state for sexual assault.  The man was arrested without incident.


Officer Corbin received a complaint of an ATV being operated on Eglin Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in the Mary Esther community.  When Officer Corbin arrived, he began foot patrol and observed obvious signs of an ATV doing 360-degree turns, destroying the habitat.  He tracked the ATV to a house that backs up to Eglin’s property, interviewed the homeowner and determined he was the individual operating the ATV.  The operator was cited for riding an ATV on Eglin’s property and destruction of property/habitat.


Investigator Louque responded to a complaint that an individual had purchased a reticulated python, a conditional reptile, from someone earlier in the week.  Upon making contact with the suspect at his residence, it was confirmed he was in possession of a reticulated python without a proper permit.  While at the residence, Investigator Louque also found the suspect to be in possession of two gopher tortoises and five eastern box turtles.  The subject was issued citations and the reticulated python and turtles were seized from the individual.



Officers Cushing, Manning, Livesay, Ramos, Roberson and Lieutenant Berryman responded at the request of the U. S. Coast Guard (USCG) by land and sea to two overdue paddle boarders in the Gulf of Mexico at Pensacola Beach. Approximately 1 ½ hours into the search, the two missing parties were located safely on land by emergency personnel.



Officers Manning, Pettey and Investigator Livesay patrolled offshore in federal waters this weekend conducting fisheries inspections.  They documented 15 federal violations for possession of red snapper in a closed season and also documented several other state violation warnings.


Officers Cushing and Land patrolled both federal and state waters over the Memorial Day weekend conducting marine fisheries inspections.  The officers conducted fishery inspections on 45 vessels and found 12 of them to be in violation of marine fishery regulations.  The violations included possession of red snapper during the closed season, possession of undersized gray triggerfish, possession of undersized greater amberjack, using reef fish as bait and failure to allow for inspection.  All suspects were issued federal citations.


Officers P. Rockwell, J. Rockwell, Jarvis, Pifer, and Investigator Nelson conducted offshore federal and state fisheries patrol on the offshore patrol vessel Vigilance.  Their patrol resulted in the following federal citations being issued:  three operators were cited for possession of red snapper during closed season; one operator was cited for possession of gag grouper during closed season; two operators were cited for possession of undersized red snapper; one operator was cited for undersized gray triggerfish, and one operator was cited for resisting a law enforcement officer.  The officers issued 12 resource warnings.

The south Okaloosa squad conducted high-profile vessel patrol throughout the Memorial Day weekend, focusing on public safety, state parks and resource protection. A summary of their activities:
  • Made contact with 744 individuals
  • Conducted 391 boating safety vessel inspections
  • Issued 35 boating infraction citations and 52 boating safety warnings
  • Conducted three boating accident investigations with one vessel exploding with no injuries
  • Responded to two medical emergencies
  • Responded to one physical altercation at Crab Island
  • Issued 18 warnings to individuals consuming alcohol at the state park
  • Issued 4 warnings to individuals evading state park fees

There were a total of four BUI arrests made.  Officer Molnar arrested two individual boat operators.  One operator refused to provide a breath sample and the other operator provided a breath sample, resulting in 0.117 and 0.120.  Officer Bartlett made one BUI arrest.  The operator provided a breath sample resulting 0.144 and 0.141.  Officer Corbin made one BUI arrest.  The operator refused to provide a breath sample.  All four operators were transported to the Okaloosa County Jail.



Officer Roberson attended an event put on by Audubon Florida where Navarre community volunteers put up fences along the Navarre causeway to prevent Black Skimmer hatchlings from crossing the roadway. Officer Roberson met and spoke with many of the community volunteers. There were approximately 100 volunteers who helped with this event.

Officers Lewis and Ramos spoke to 200 military personnel attached to an air squadron at Whiting Field.  They educated the group about area camping, fishing and hunting opportunities, regulations, license and permit requirements and discussed boating safety matters. They placed a strong emphasis on Boating Safety Week and the importance of responsible vessel operation and PFD requirements.