Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Law Enforcement Report - March 22
March 23, 2012
SANTA ROSA COUNTY
An eight week investigation into the
illegal killing of a buck deer on the Eglin Wildlife Management Area
concluded this week with arrest warrants and criminal summons issued
to three suspects. On January 29, Officer Howard Jones was on patrol
within the Eglin Wildlife Management Area off of Range Road 213 when
he encountered three vehicles traveling west. A few minutes later,
Officer Jones, also traveling west, encountered the same three
vehicles; however, they were spread out along Range Road 213.
A subject was observed exiting a closed area and was verbally warned
by Officer Jones for being in the closed area. All three subjects
immediately left the area in their vehicles. Suspecting something
was wrong, Officer Jones began a search of the area and observed a
subject exit the woods.
The officer subsequently located a
freshly killed eight point buck deer. A three day search of the area
revealed evidence that suggested the suspect shot the deer from
Range Road 213 with a 7 mm rifle, tracked the deer, and shot it
three more times with a 12 gauge shotgun. Officers served two search
warrants on two separate residences and recovered evidence directly
related to the crime.
While serving one of the search
warrants, officers seized an illegal short-barreled shotgun, a
second degree felony. Lt. Doug Berryman and Officer Howard Jones
conducted interviews with all three suspects and obtained full
confessions from each of them regarding their role in this incident.
Charges filed with the State Attorney’s Office include possession of
a short-barreled shotgun, entering a closed area, hunting in a
closed area, and obstructing an FWC officer.
Murphy and Ben Pineda were checking fishermen in Blackwater Bay when
they encountered two subjects fishing under the I-10 Bridge. Neither
subject possessed a valid saltwater fishing license and they were in
possession of undersized redfish.
Additionally, a computer
check revealed one of the men had an outstanding warrant for failure
to appear. The subject with the warrant admitted to catching the
redfish. He was cited for possession of undersized redfish and taken
into custody for the warrant. Both subjects were cited for fishing
without a license.
Nelson was on water patrol conducting boating safety inspections and
state fisheries inspections in Choctawhatchee Bay when he observed a
23 foot vessel with two occupants onboard fishing. During the safety
equipment inspection, Officer Nelson observed opened and unopened
cans of beer and confirmed the individuals were underaged. Both
individuals were cited for possession of alcoholic beverages by a
person under 21 years of age.
Ken White checked two subjects returning to their vehicle after
turkey hunting on Eglin Wildlife Management Area. The subjects
reported hearing two shots and directed Officer White to a nearby
area which was open to spring gobbler hunting.
A short time
later, Officer White located a subject exiting the woods from where
the shots had been heard. The suspect was in possession of two
turkeys; however, the daily bag limit for turkeys is one per day.
The subject was cited for taking over the daily bag limit of
turkeys. One of the turkeys was seized as evidence.
Officer Neal Goss observed a fisherman catch and hide
an oversized redfish. Officers Jim Moore and Jeff Gager were
contacted and they talked with the individual who said he hadn’t had
any luck and was only trying to catch bait. When asked about the
redfish, the fisherman showed it to them and agreed it was illegal.
A citation was issued.
Officer Nick Price received a call
from a Bay County sheriff’s deputy concerning a subject who killed a
seagull on the beach and buried it. Officer Dennis Palmer
responded with Officer Price and located a witness and the suspect.
The suspect used food to draw the seagull close, struck it with a
shovel, and buried it in the sand.
The subject showed the
officers where the bird was buried. When they dug it up, the bird
was still alive. A statement was taken from the subject and a
witness who observed the incident. The subject was cited for
attempting to take a protected species and the seagull was
transported to a rehab center.
During patrol onboard the offshore patrol vessel, Gulf Sentry, the
crew boarded several vessels inbound to East Pass. Following a
fisheries and safety inspection onboard a Georgia registered vessel,
Officer Will Raker issued citations for over the bag limit of red
drum and possession of two oversized red drum.
night, the crew was patrolling off Little St. George Island when
they encountered several shrimp boats dragging inside three miles.
Officers boarded one of the vessels that appeared to be dragging
more than two nets.
Upon boarding the vessel, the officers
confirmed the vessel was dragging two primary nets, as well as a try
net within one mile from shore. Officer Josh Waite issued a citation
for the above violation and a warning in reference to Turtle
Excluder Device (TED) violations. Officer Waite provided the captain
with the necessary information to correct the TED’s.
crew of the Gulf Sentry was conducting a choke point patrol in the
Carrabelle River utilizing smaller patrol boats. As the officers
approached a vessel to conduct a fisheries and safety inspection,
they observed what appeared to be a large red drum surface just off
the stern of the vessel.
The officers recovered the red drum
and boarded the vessel. Upon inspection and interviews, Officer Matt
Gore issued citations for possession of an oversized red drum,
interference with an FWC Officer, and possession of 13 undersized
black sea bass. Later in the patrol, another vessel was inspected
and officers observed that the operator showed indicators of
After completing the field sobriety tasks Officer Will Raker
arrested the vessel operator for boating under the influence.
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