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Three Men Arrested for Oyster Theft in St. Bernard Parish

Release Date: 06/12/2018

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agent arrested three St. Bernard men for alleged commercial fishing violations on June 8 in St. Bernard Parish.

The LDWF agent with assistance from the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Office arrested Lorenzo Nicosia, 25, of Violet, Bronson Dunnam, 47, of St. Bernard, and Garrett Ledet, 28, of New Orleans, for unlawfully taking oysters off a private lease and failure to have written permission.

An LDWF agent was on patrol south of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet channel when he observed a vessel actively dredging for oysters in Lake Coquille around 9:15 a.m. The agent determined the vessel was dredging on a lease not owned by Nicosia nor did any occupant have permission to dredge in the area.

The agent seized 17 sacks of oysters and returned them to the water.  The agent also seized two oyster dredges and placed a forfeiture order for Nicosia's vessel.  The men were booked into the St. Bernard Parish Jail.

Unlawfully taking oysters off of a private lease and failing to have written permission both carry up to a $950 fine and 120 days in jail.

The men could also face having their oyster harvester licenses revoked by LDWF for up to 10 years.  The violators could also be sentenced to perform 40 to 120 hours of community service and only be allowed to harvest oysters from a vessel that is equipped with a vessel monitoring device for up to one year for first offense or ordered to cease commercial oyster harvest during license revocation upon second and third offenses.

LDWF Investigating Fatal Boating Incident in St. Martin Parish

Release Date: 06/08/2018

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents are investigating a single vessel fatality in St. Martin Parish on June 7.

LDWF agents recovered the body of Robert L. Julien Jr., 46, of Opelousas, from the water near the Butte La Rose boat launch near Interstate 10 around 5:30 p.m. on June 7.

Agents received a call about a missing boater around 5 p.m. on June 7.  According to a witness, Julien Jr. was attempting to load his personal watercraft onto a trailer when he fell into the water and never resurfaced.

LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this boating incident.  Julien Jr.’s body was turned over to the St. Martin Parish Coroner’s Office to determine an official cause of death.  His body was found without a personal flotation device.

Farmerville Man Arrested for Battery and Harrassment of Fishermen

Release Date: 06/08/2018

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents arrested a Farmerville man for alleged battery and harassment charges on June 5 in Union Parish.

Agents arrested Vincent Ditta, 64, for simple battery and harassment of fishermen.

Agents received a complaint on May 31 about Ditta throwing gas on three people while they were fishing.  Agents investigated the complaint and found that three people were legally fishing in front of Ditta’s property and dock on Lake D’Arbonne.  Ditta confronted the anglers and in an effort to run them off poured gasoline from a handheld gasoline tank on the men and in the water.

After getting a positive identification on Ditta from the fishermen, the agents arrested Ditta and booked him into the Union Parish Detention Center.

Simple battery brings up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.  Harassment of people lawfully fishing carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.

LDWF Agents Make Black Bear Case in St. Mary Parish

Release Date: 06/07/2018

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited two Louisiana men for alleged Louisiana Black Bear violations in St. Mary Parish.

Agents cited Cody J. Charpentier, 31, of Glencoe, and Bailey Rogers, 21, of Youngsville, for taking and/or possessing a black bear during a closed season and intentional concealment of wildlife.

Agents received a tip that Charpentier had shot and killed a Louisiana black bear on Nov. 12, 2017 in St. Mary Parish.  Charpentier and Rogers then moved the bear from the kill site six miles to a field off of Hwy. 83 near Glencoe that night.

On April 30, agents acquired a search warrant for Charpentier’s residence, handheld global positioning system (GPS) and cell phone.  Agents were able to use the cell phone and GPS to track where Charpentier was on the night of Nov. 12.

Agents used the GPS and cell phone to track Charpentier’s location from the kill site to the location of a black bear skeleton and claws in the mitigation field.

Agents seized Charpentier’s 7 mm rifle in connection with the case.

Taking or possessing a black bear during a closed season and intentional concealment of wildlife each brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  The men may also face up to $10,000 in civil restitution for the replacement value of the illegally taken bear.

The bear in this case is not tied to the other two illegally killed black bears that were found earlier this year in St. Mary Parish.  Agents are still looking for leads for the killing of two black bears that were discovered on Feb. 14 off of Humble Canal 10 miles south of Franklin.  If anyone has information about these two bears, please call the Louisiana Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-442-2511 to qualify for up to a $5,500 reward.

Louisiana Operation Game Thief, Inc. Issued Close to $7,000 in Rewards At Meeting

Release Date: 06/04/2018

Louisiana Operation Game Thief, Inc. (LOGT), a Louisiana wildlife crime-stoppers program, awarded $6,950 to diligent citizens statewide at their quarterly meeting on May 26 in Woodworth.

The LOGT board reviewed 18 cases that included public tips from informants.  A total of 49 subjects were apprehended and a total of 203 offenses were written in regards to the reviewed cases.

The cases reviewed and awarded money to the public for their assistance consisted of nine deer cases, four fishing cases, three turkey cases and two migratory waterfowl cases.

Anyone wishing to report wildlife or fisheries violations should anonymously call LDWF’s 24-hour toll free Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-442-2511 or utilize LDWF's tip411 program.  To use the tip411 program, tipsters can text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the "LADWF Tips" iPhone and Android apps.

LOGT was instituted in 1984 and provides cash rewards for information leading to the arrest of violators of fish and wildlife regulations.  Funds are raised through private donations, court directed contributions and through contributions from cooperative endeavor agreements with organizations such as the National Wild Turkey Federation and Quality Deer Management Association.

To make a donation to the LOGT that can be used for cash rewards, please contact Lt. Will Roberts at wroberts@wlf.la.gov.

Shot LDWF Agent to Receive Full Retirement Benefits Thanks to House Bill 37

Release Date: 06/02/2018

Shot LDWF Agent to Receive Full Retirement Benefits Thanks to House Bill 37
Col. Sammy Martin, Lacey Bullitt, Scott Bullitt, Rep. Terry Brown, Lt. Thomas Risser, Jack Montoucet and Cole Garrett

Gov. John Bell Edwards signed a bill into law on May 31 in Baton Rouge that will provide full retirement benefits to a shot Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agent and other hazardous duty members.

House Representative Terry Brown of District 22 authored House Bill 37 that will provide full Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement System (LASERS) benefits to hazardous duty members that are totally and permanently disabled in the line of duty by an intentional act of violence.  LDWF’s own Scott Bullitt will qualify for the full LASERS retirement benefits because of this bill.

Bullitt, originally from Grant Parish, had been an agent for over five years when he was shot in the line of duty on May 21, 2015 in Ouachita Parish.  Bullitt has been confined to a wheelchair since the shooting and was unable to return to regular LDWF agent duties.

“This law was a top priority within the department’s legislative package since it directly affected one of our agents and to show Scott how much the department valued his service,” said LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet. “We are happy for Scott, and honored that this law will be of assistance to all enforcement and other law enforcement personnel.  I thank Representative Brown, the legislature and Governor John Bel Edwards for making this happen.”

Bullitt’s shooter, Luke Hust, was sentenced to life in prison on Jan. 27, 2016 in Ouachita Parish.

“I can’t describe how thankful I am for this bill becoming law,” said Bullitt.  “Not only will it help me, but in the tragic event that this happens again other agents won’t have to worry about being taken care of retirement wise.”

LDWF Dedicates Flagpole in Honor of Former Cadet

Release Date: 05/30/2018

Byron Dore 1983-2008
LDWF Dedicates Flagpole in Honor of Former Cadet
LDWF Dedicates Flagpole in Honor of Former Cadet
LDWF Dedicates Flagpole in Honor of Former Cadet

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division dedicated a flagpole in memoriam of a former LDWF cadet at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Training Academy today, May 30 in Baton Rouge.

The flagpole is being dedicated in memory of Byron Dore who was a part of the 23rd LDWF Academy Class when he passed away at the age of 24 in 2008.  The Dore Family, the McIlhenny Company and the Louisiana Wildlife Agents Association donated the money to erect the flagpole.

“Future cadets will be reminded of Byron when they use this flagpole every day during their training to raise and lower the American and Louisiana flags,” said LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet.  “I’d like to thank the Dore family, the McIlhenny Company and the Wildlife Agents Association for donating the funds necessary to make this happen and to let Byron’s memory live on at the academy.”

Dore was about halfway through his LDWF training to become an agent when he drowned in Iberia Parish on his weekend off from training.

“By all accounts Byron was well on his way to a successful enforcement career with the department before his life ended tragically,” said Col. Sammy Martin, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division.  “From listening to those that knew him personally, his classmates and his training officers he had a love for the outdoors and a strong work ethic.  Those two characteristics usually make good wildlife agents.”

The Byron Dore Memorial Flag Pole is planted in front of the new Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement Training and Emergency Response Complex at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center off North Flannery Road in Baton Rouge.

The LDWF Training Academy is mostly used for the six-month cadet academy as well as in-service training for veteran agents.  At the academy, cadets train to enforce the state's recreational boating laws, the state and federal wildlife and fisheries laws, and general law enforcement work on the state's many wildlife management areas.  The academy also covers general law enforcement training required for all state law enforcement officers.

Three Subjects Cited For Illegally Dredging For Oysters in Terrebonne Parish

Release Date: 05/21/2018

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited three men for alleged oyster violations in Terrebonne Parish on May 21.

Agents cited the captain, Dillon Verdin, 26, of Bourg, and his two deck hands, Matthew Price, 23, of Houma, and Wayne Lafollette, 26, of Chauvin for taking oysters from an unapproved polluted area and taking oysters during illegal hours.  Verdin was also cited for failing to be in possession of a commercial license, failing to display number on vessel, operating a vessel with improper running lights, failing to comply with personal flotation device (PFD) requirements, and violating sanitation code requirements.

Agents on patrol near Cutoff Canal observed a vessel actively dredging for oysters around 5 a.m. with no running lights.  Agents made contact with the men in the vessel and found they were in possession of 15 sacks of oysters.  Agents also found that the men were dredging for the oysters in a polluted area.

Agents seized the 15 sacks of oysters and returned them to the water.  Agents also seized one oyster scraper in connection with the violations.  The vessel and motor were seized on department seizure order and subject to forfeiture upon conviction.

Taking oysters from an unapproved polluted area carries a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Taking oysters illegal hours brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Failing to have a commercial license in possession carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail. Failure to display proper number on vessel, improper running lights, and failure to comply with PFD requirement each carry up to a $50 fine and 15 days in jail.  Violating sanitation code requirements carries up to a $25 fine and 10 days in jail.

LDWF Investigating Fatal Boating Incident in Vermilion Parish

Release Date: 05/21/2018

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents are investigating a fatal boating incident that occurred on May 19 in Vermilion Parish.

LDWF agents recovered the body of Arnold "Pete" Lege, 67, of Mouton Cove, around 5:40 p.m. from the Intracoastal Waterway at Intracoastal City on May 19.  His body was turned over the Vermilion Parish Corner’s Office to determine an official cause of death.

A good Samaritan found Lege’s unmanned 18 foot vessel around 7 a.m. on May 19 and alerted authorities.  LDWF was assisted by the Vermilion, Calcasieu, and Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Offices in the search for Lege’s body.

LDWF is the lead investigative agency for this boating incident.  At this time it is unknown what caused Lege to enter the water.  His body was found without a personal flotation device.

Louisiana Safe Boating Week Set For May 19-25

Release Date: 05/18/2018

The state of Louisiana has issued a proclamation that recognizes May 19-25 as “Safe Boating Week” in Louisiana, which signifies the beginning of the spring and summer boating season.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will again be reminding all boaters to be safe, responsible and knowledgeable while on the water during this safe boating week.  Safe Boating Week is a time for all boaters to inspect their vessels to ensure that all required safety equipment is on board and that vessels are in good working condition.

LDWF Enforcement Division agents will be out in full force as always during the week to perform boating safety checks and driving or operating a vessel while intoxicated (DWI) patrols.

Each vessel should have enough personal flotation devices (PFD) on board for all occupants and a sober operator.  LDWF regulations also state that anyone 16 years of age and younger must wear a PFD while underway in vessels less than 26 foot long.  For more boating and PFD regulations, please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating.

Alcohol use is one of the leading causes of boating crash incidents and fatalities on the water.  Alcohol consumption impairs a boater's judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.  The penalties for DWI on the water are the same as on the road.  Anyone cited for a DWI on the water or on the road will lose his or her driver's license and boating privileges for the specified time ordered by the judge in the case.

LDWF also wants to remind anybody born after Jan. 1, 1984 that they are required to successfully complete a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) boating education course to operate a motorboat over 10 horsepower.  LDWF offers these classes free of charge statewide.

For a list of courses, please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating/courses.  Since the safe boating course’s inception in 2003, over 110,000 boaters have been certified in Louisiana.

In 2017 Louisiana reported 19 boating fatalities.  So far in 2018 Louisiana has reported eight fatalities.

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