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Division of Law Enforcement
June 9, 2017 through June 15, 2017
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
Officer T. Basford was on land patrol near the Bailey Bridge in North Bay when he saw three subjects in an aluminum boat who appeared to be intoxicated and smoking marijuana. Officers N. Basford and Wicker arrived and approached the vessel. All three subjects on the vessel appeared to be impaired. A BUI investigation was conducted on the operator and, after he completed the standardized field sobriety tasks, the operator was taken into custody. A plastic bag containing less than 20 grams of marijuana and a glass pipe were seized. The operator claimed ownership of the seized evidence. At the jail, the operator provided two breath samples reading .219 and .223. He was booked into the Bay County Jail for operating a vessel with a breath alcohol level of .08 or higher and charged with possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Officer Baber was conducting boating safety inspections at a boat ramp along the Apalachicola River when he noticed a vehicle towing a vessel with an expired registration. Before the boater launched the vessel, he walked over to speak to him about the registration and noticed the boat owner was very nervous and he could smell a strong odor of burnt cannabis coming from the vehicle. A consent search of the vehicle produced a plastic bag of cannabis and methamphetamine. The suspect was booked into jail for possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis and possession of methamphetamine.
When Officer Hayes approached a vehicle leaving a boat ramp along the Chipola River, the two occupants appeared nervous. A small plastic bag containing a crystal-like substance was in plain view. A deputy with the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department responded to assist. The substance tested positive for methamphetamine and the suspect was booked into the Calhoun County Jail.
Officers Cushing and Pettey were on federal water patrol in the Gulf of Mexico and issued one federal citation for possession of greater amberjack during closed season and two state citations for undersized red snapper.
While on park patrol within the Big Lagoon State Park, Officer Long saw a subject throwing a cast net near an area that is frequently used as an illegal access point into the park. After approaching the subject and accompanying him back to his vehicle to retrieve his fishing license and identification, a strong odor of cannabis could be smelled coming from inside the vehicle. The cannabis was seized and misdemeanor citations were issued for possession of cannabis under 20 grams. Warnings were issued for state park violations.
Officers Cushing and Pettey, with the assistance of Officer Tolbert, were patrolling state and federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and conducted a marine resource inspection of a vessel in federal waters. The persons on board stated that they knew they were in federal waters and were not allowed to have red snapper but undersized red snapper was found in their cooler. One of the individuals admitted to catching and keeping the red snapper. The appropriate action was taken for the violation.
Officers Cushing and Pettey saw a vessel in federal waters with two persons on board actively fishing. When asked if they had any fish on board, the owner of the vessel stated that they had one amberjack. During the resource inspection, an undersized greater amberjack was found during closed season. The appropriate action was taken for the violation.
Officers Fletcher and Nelson were conducting vessel patrol before daylight in Apalachicola Bay and saw several commercial oyster vessels with a large harvest of oysters on the deck/cull board of the vessels. The appropriate action was taken for the harvest of oysters before daylight. The illegally harvested oysters were returned to the water.
Officers M. Webb and Lipford conducted JEA patrol in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. During their patrol, they conducted numerous resource inspections targeting the enforcement federal reef fish regulations. Four separate inspections revealed violations regarding the possession of red snapper in federal waters during a closure, which resulted in the issuance of four citations.
Officers H. Webb and M. Webb conducted JEA patrol in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. While patrolling, they saw a recreational vessel actively fishing. As the officers approached, the passenger in front quickly started dumping red snapper over their starboard side of the vessel. The officers instructed the fishermen to stop dumping fish. There were four red snapper floating in the water, one of which was taken by a dolphin. The officers retrieved the other three with a net. When boarding, Officer H. Webb asked the captain if they had any more fish on board. The captain of the vessel said no, but upon inspection, six additional red snapper, two gray triggerfish and one greater amberjack were located in the fish box. Six of the nine red snapper were undersized and one of the two triggerfish was undersized. The appropriate action was taken for the violations.
Officers Little and Baber responded to a complaint in which a landowner had game camera photos of a suspect trespassing on his property. The officers backtracked the suspect’s tracks to a residence on an adjacent property. They located and interviewed the suspect, who was subsequently charged with trespass.
SANTA ROSA COUNTY
Officers Ramos and McHenry were on vessel patrol in the Santa Rosa Sound and conducted a safety and resource inspection on a boat returning from offshore fishing. After a check of all required safety equipment, the operator stated they didn’t have any luck and that they had no fish on board. Officer Ramos received consent to look in the coolers and live wells. He didn’t locate any fish but discovered clues leading him to believe the operator was lying. He asked a passenger to move to the front of the boat and found a gray triggerfish hidden under her seat. The harvest of triggerfish is prohibited in Gulf waters for the remainder of 2017. The operator admitted he caught the fish. When asked for a fishing license, the man stated he had one but forgot to bring it with him. FWC dispatch confirmed that the man’s fishing license had been expired for a year. The man was issued a citation for the expired fishing license and a criminal citation with required court appearance for the harvest of triggerfish during the closed season.
Officer Lewis was patrolling in the Blackwater River State Forest when he saw two men and a woman getting ready to leave Krul Lake. When asked if they paid the Krul Lake day-use area fee, they said they had not. While speaking to the group, Officer Lewis smelled the odor of cannabis and asked the driver about it. The man retrieved a mason jar containing cannabis from the vehicle’s center console and handed it to the officer. The tag also was not assigned to the vehicle. The man admitted to possession of the cannabis and attaching the improper tag. The subject was charged with possession of not more than 20 grams of cannabis, possession of drug paraphernalia, and attaching tag not assigned. The subjects were issued warnings for not paying the day-use area fee.
Officer Gore was conducting boating safety inspections on Holmes Creek at Culpepper Landing when he encountered a vessel with two subjects cheering loudly and waving their hands in the air as they approached the ramp. The operator had difficulty showing his safety equipment and was very unsteady. Officer Gore performed standardized field sobriety tasks and determined that the subject was impaired. He was arrested and transported to the Washington County Jail where he refused the Intoxilyzer and was booked into jail for BUI.
While on foot patrol at Wilderness Landing, Officer J. Rockwell received a complaint about two missing teenagers. The complainant stated that they were 13 and 16 years old and had been missing for over an hour after heading down river. Officer Rockwell notified dispatch and began to search a few known forest roads that lead to the river. In a joint effort with Officers Arnette and Jenks of the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, the officers located the missing teens two miles south of Wilderness Landing.