Sample News

Body of Port Barre Man Recovered from Toledo Bend

Release Date: 03/21/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents recovered the body of a Port Barre man on March 20 from Toledo Bend in Sabine Parish.

LDWF agents found the unresponsive body of Philip D. LeBlanc, 71, in the Pirates Cove area of Toledo Bend around 6 p.m.  Agents then transported LeBlanc to the Pirates Cove Marina where medical personnel pronounced him dead at the scene.  His body was turned over to the Sabine Parish Coroner’s office to determine an official cause of death.

Agents were called to the scene around 4:30 p.m. after being notified of an unmanned vessel.

Agents learned that a witness observed LeBlanc fishing in the area from the front deck of his vessel.  Moments later the witness saw the same vessel without LeBlanc in the vessel.  The witness then made contact with the 21 foot vessel and found the trolling motor on without an operator on board.  The witness was able to call authorities to begin searching for LeBlanc in the water.

LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this fatal boating incident.  LeBlanc was recovered without a personal flotation device.

Six Alabama Men Cited for Closed Season Shrimping in St. Bernard Parish

Release Date: 03/21/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited six men for alleged illegal shrimping on March 17 in St. Bernard Parish.

Agents cited, William Byrd, 42, Jobie Nelson, 38, Jack Harmon, 39, Joseph Nelson, 40, all of Grand Bay Ala., Derek Bateman, 29, of Coden, Ala., and Joshua Sprinkle, 30, of Irvington, Ala., for taking shrimp in state waters during a closed season.

Agents observed the six men onboard two separate vessels actively trawling for shrimp inside state waters ten miles inside the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet.  Agents boarded the vessels and found harvested shrimp on board as well as shrimp in the trawls. Agents seized 1,450 pounds of shrimp onboard, which were subsequently sold at the dock.

Shrimping during a closed shrimp season brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  In addition to any and all other penalties, for the first conviction of shrimping during the closed season, the court may revoke or suspend the violator's trawl, skimmer, and butterfly gear licenses for one year from the date of the conviction.  During such revocation or suspension, the violator may be present on a vessel harvesting or possessing shrimp or possessing a trawl, skimmer, or butterfly net, only if the vessel is equipped with and employs an operating vessel monitoring system which is accessible to LDWF.  The court shall also sentence the violator to perform 40 hours of community service.

Agents participating in the case are Lt. David Nunez, Sgts Mike Garrity, and Keith Francis, Senior Agents Richard Clark, Travis Bartlett, Kyle Haydel, Jason Gernados and Blaine Wagner.

Summerfield Man Arrested for Hunting Violations in Claiborne Parish

Release Date: 03/20/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents arrested a Summerfield man for alleged hunting violations this morning, March 20, in Claiborne Parish.

Agents arrested Zachary J. Verdin, 24, for hunting turkey during a closed season, failing to comply with turkey tagging requirements, and failing to comply with deer tagging requirements.

Agents were on patrol this morning when they found a man trying to call turkeys into his area and possessing a 12 gauge shotgun.  After making contact with Verdin, he admitted to actively hunting turkey.  Turkey season doesn’t open until March 25.

After further questioning, Verdin also admitted to not tagging a turkey his son killed during the youth hunt on March 19.  He also confessed to killing three antlerless deer this past hunting season of which none were tagged or validated.

Verdin was arrested and booked into the Claiborne Parish Detention Center.

Hunting turkey during a closed season brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Failing to comply with turkey and deer tagging requirements each brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail for each offense.

Agents also seized Verdin’s 12-gauge shotgun and three turkey calls.

Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Jared McIver, Senior Agent Will Holomon, and Senior Agent Bryant Coburn.

Two Men Caught Shrimping In Closed Area

Release Date: 03/20/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited two men for alleged illegal shrimping on March 17 in Iberia Parish.

Agents cited Hoang D. Nguyen, 55, of Katy, Texas, and Nile L. Franklin, 52, of Gretna, for taking shrimp in state waters during a closed season.

Agents observed the two men onboard a vessel actively trawling for shrimp inside state waters southeast of Marsh Island Refuge.  Agents boarded the vessel and found harvested shrimp on board as well as shrimp in the trawls.

Agents returned the shrimp from the trawls back to the water.  Agents also seized 3,409 pounds of sacked shrimp onboard, which were subsequently sold at the dock.

Shrimping during a closed shrimp season brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  In addition to any and all other penalties, for the first conviction of shrimping during the closed season, the court may revoke or suspend the violator's trawl, skimmer, and butterfly gear licenses for one year from the date of the conviction.  During such revocation or suspension, the violator may be present on a vessel harvesting or possessing shrimp or possessing a trawl, skimmer, or butterfly net, only if the vessel is equipped with and employs an operating vessel monitoring system which is accessible to LDWF.  The court shall also sentence the violator to perform 40 hours of community service.

Agents participating in the case are Lt. Jesse Savoie, Sgt. Justin Sonnier, Sgt. David Sanford, and Senior Agent Nathan Vanya.

LDWF Participating in “Spring Aboard” Boating Safety Campaign

Release Date: 03/15/2017

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) are encouraging boaters to enroll in a boating education course prior to the kickoff of the boating season.

LDWF will be participating in the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) Spring Aboard-Take a Boating Education Course campaign by providing seven free boating education courses across the state from March 19-25.

Developed by NASBLA, and produced under a grant administered by the U.S. Coast Guard, the annual Spring Aboard campaign informs and motivates boaters to prepare for the boating season by providing information on how to enroll in a boating knowledge or skills based education course.  The campaign emphasizes enrollment in courses verified as meeting the national boating knowledge or skill standard.

“We are excited to be a part of the Spring Aboard initiative and are always looking for ways to get the public involved in one of our free safe boating courses,” said Lt. Col. Sammy Martin, Louisiana’s state boating law administrator.  “We feel that safe boating course offers something for any skill level on the water and encourage everyone that boats to take one.”

Boating education courses are mandatory for anyone in Louisiana born after Jan. 1, 1984 who operates a motorboat over 10 horsepower.  To register for an LDWF boating education course please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating/courses.

LDWF implemented Louisiana’s safe boating education program in 2003 and since that time have certified over 99,000 boaters.

U.S. Coast Guard statistics indicate that of the accidents where the level of operator education was known, 80 percent of boating deaths occurred on boats where the boat operator had never received boating education instruction.

St. Bernard Parish Men Pleaded Guilty to Oyster Violations

Release Date: 03/13/2017

On March 9, 2017 three St. Bernard Parish fishermen pled guilty to commercial oyster fishing violations.

Tyler Campo, 24, of St. Bernard, Brian Cocchiara, 24, of Chalmette, and Nathan Molinary, 20, of Violet, pled guilty to one count each of unlawfully taking oysters from unleased state water bottoms and taking oysters during illegal hours.

Judge Kim Jones ordered the men to pay a fine of $800 each and serve 120 days in jail suspended.  The men can also only harvest oysters from a vessel that is equipped with a vessel monitoring system that is accessible to Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) agents.  The oyster dredge that was seized was also forfeited to the state.

LDWF agents initially cited the men on Aug. 9, 2016 when they observed the men dredging for oysters in an area where they did not have permission and one hour before legal harvest was set to begin.

Prosecuting the case were members of District Attorney Perry Nicosia’s office.  Case agents were Lt. Adam Young and Sgt. Jason Gernados.

LDWF Agents Arrest Man Wanted for Sex Trafficking

Release Date: 02/27/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents arrested a fugitive out of Orleans Parish on Feb. 26 in St. Bernard Parish.

Agents cited Jean Luc Williams, 26, of New Orleans, for failing to have a boat registration onboard and for failing to complete the boating education requirements.

Agents were on patrol in St. Bernard Parish when they observed the subject fishing alone in his vessel along Violet Canal.  Agents conducted a boating safety compliance inspection and found that Williams did not possess a boat registration and did not complete the required boating education course.

After running a background check on Williams, agents were able to determine that Williams had an active warrant out for his arrest in Orleans Parish since October of 2016.  He was wanted for trafficking of children for sexual purposes.

Agents placed Williams under arrest and transported him to the St. Bernard Parish Jail.

Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Ed Ridgel III and Senior Agent Michael Marques Jr.

St. Bernard Man Cited for Oyster Violations

Release Date: 02/16/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents cited a St. Bernard man for alleged oyster violations on Feb. 14.

Agents cited Bruce Guerra III, 33, for using an illegal scraper and taking over the limit of oysters on a public seed ground.

Agents observed Guerra fishing for oysters on the public seed ground in Drum Bay located within St. Bernard Parish.  Agents found him with 70 mini sacks of oysters on board his vessel.  The daily limit for the seed ground is 20 sacks, which is equivalent to 60 mini sacks.

Agents also found the teeth on his scrapers he was using to harvest oysters were 6 inches long.  Scrapers for use on a public seed ground may not be longer than 5 inches long.

Using an illegal scraper and taking over the limit of oysters on a public seed ground each bring a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Agents returned the 70 mini sacks of oysters to the public oyster seed ground in Drum Bay.

Agents participating in the case are Lt. David Nunez, Sgt. Charles Strain and Senior Agent Brett Nabors.

Two Men Booked for Illegally Selling Shrimp

Release Date: 02/14/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited two men for alleged commercial fish selling violations in Calcasieu Parish on Jan. 25.

Agents cited Kenny J. Menard, 45, of Rayne, and Jessie L. Dupuis Jr., 43, of Lafayette, for theft by fraudulent sales, selling shrimp without a retail seafood license and failing to maintain records.

Agents responded to a tip from two Hayes residents complaining about being shorted on shrimp they bought from two door to door shrimp salesmen on Jan. 25, 2017.

During the investigation, agents determined the two Hayes men were shorted about half of their agreed purchase amount of shrimp.  Agents were able to identify the sellers of the shrimp and found that the men were not licensed to sell shrimp.

On Feb. 8, agents secured arrest warrants for the two men.  Menard was arrested on Feb. 9 in Acadia Parish and is awaiting transport to Calcasieu Parish.  Dupuis Jr. turned himself in to Calcasieu Parish authorities on Feb. 13.

Theft by fraudulent sales carries up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.  Failing to maintain records and selling shrimp without a retail seafood license each brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.

LDWF agents participating in the case are Sgts. Justin Sonnier and David Sanford.

Illegal Alligator Egg Collectors Sentenced in Vermilion Parish

Release Date: 02/04/2017

Two Grand Chenier men were sentenced in the 15th Judicial District Court in Vermillion Parish on Jan. 24 for their part in the theft of alligator eggs.

Paul A. Canik, 48, pled no contest to illegal possession of alligator eggs, and criminal trespass.  Christopher M. Trahan, 25, pled no contest to not abiding by rules and regulations.

Judge Edward Broussard ordered Canik to pay a $593 fine for illegal possession of alligator eggs and a $50 fine for criminal trespassing.  Canik was also ordered to forfeit $1,740 from the sale of the illegally taken alligator eggs and an 18-foot aluminum boat with motor and trailer.  Canik’s egg collection privileges were also suspended for 18 months.  Trahan was ordered to pay a $293 fine.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited Canik and Trahan on July 21, 2015 for the illegal collection of 523 alligator eggs.  Agents determined that Canik collected numerous alligator eggs from property from which they did not have the required egg collection permits on Grand Chenier.  Canik also trespassed on property he did not have permission to access during the illegal egg collection.  Trahan assisted in the transport of the illegally taken alligator eggs.

Assistant District Attorney Aimee Hebert prosecuted the case.

Agents involved in the case were Sgt. David Sanford, Senior Agent Jason Stagg, Senior Agent Derek Logan and Senior Agent Anthony Verret.

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