FWC Division of Law Enforcement Weekly Report 2/16/2018 – 2/22/2018

March 20, 2018

Escambia County

Officer Land was on patrol at Pensacola Beach conducting resource inspections and approached an individual who was surf fishing on the beach. A large tail was protruding from a five-gallon bucket filled with water near the subject. The red drum was over the maximum size of 27 inches. The fish was released to the water and the subject was issued a citation for the violation.

Officer Pettey received information that an individual shot an illegal short horned buck and posted it on Facebook. During an interview, the individual admitted killing the deer. The deer antlers measured 8 inches, short of the 10-inch minimum. The deer was seized and donated to a local charity. The subject was issued a notice to appear citation for the violation and for not having a hunting license.

Lieutenant Hahr was patrolling the Escambia River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) when he observed two campers at the Mystic Springs Campground. While talking to them, he smelled the odor of cannabis and subsequently discovered a small amount of cannabis and a pipe. While detaining both subjects, they became uncooperative. While Lieutenant Hahr was handcuffing the man, his girlfriend ran to the truck and locked herself inside after being told to stop several times. The woman was removed from the truck and arrested for resisting arrest without violence. A search of the truck revealed more cannabis and paraphernalia along with to two forms of heroin, psilocybin mushrooms, unknown pills, and another unidentified substance. Both subjects were charged with possession of controlled substances and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Investigator Livesay was dispatched to a mobile home park regarding trespassing and illegal trapping. A subject admitted to trapping on the vacant property adjacent to the mobile home park. The property is owned by the U.S. Navy and the subject stated he did not have permission to set up traps on the property. The subject admitted to trapping two raccoons, a beaver, and a fox using steel leg hold traps. Two traps were removed from the Navy property and one from the mobile home park. The subject did not possess a trapping license and was issued two citations for possession of a fox without a permit and taking nuisance wildlife using steel leg hold traps.

Franklin County

Officers Nelson and Travis were conducting resource inspections of individuals fishing in Eastpoint. During an inspection, the officers found two individuals to be in possession of 14 spotted sea trout, four over the limit and six were undersized. The appropriate action was taken for the violations.

Holmes County

Officer Greene responded to a complaint of illegal road hunting in western Holmes County. The complainant got the tag information and passed it along to the officer. After a short interview, the subject admitted to shooting from the roadway. Appropriate charges were filed through the State Attorney’s Office.

Okaloosa County

Officer Bartlett was on land patrol at Joe’s Bayou boat ramp in Destin. The officer observed a pontoon boat returning to the ramp after sunset operating with a nonfunctional portside navigation light and displaying an expired Alabama vessel registration. During a subsequent boating safety inspection, the operator could not produce the registration, but explained he had purchased the boat in June 2017. Officer Bartlett explained the law requires that the new owner, within 30 days from the date of purchase, must transfer the vessel title into his name. The individual was issued a notice to appear citation.

Investigator Molnar was working night hunting activity on a county maintained road which passed through Eglin Reservation. A pickup truck slowed down while the passenger displayed a LED light into an open field in a manner capable of disclosing the presence of deer. Investigator Molnar followed the vehicle for about ½ mile and conducted a traffic stop. A pump action 12-gauge shotgun was located between the passenger side door and the seat along with five 00 buck shotgun shells. An LED flashlight was also located in the center console and there was dried deer blood and hair in the bed of the truck. After speaking with the subjects, it was determined they were attempting to take deer with a gun and light. Appropriate citations were issued. Eglin Range Patrol also cited the subjects restricting them from using the Eglin Reservation for three years.

Santa Rosa County

Officers Jones and Mullins were on foot patrol in a closed area of the Eglin Reservation. The officers encountered a subject dressed in camouflage and armed with a muzzle loading deer rifle. The subject was issued a notice to appear in criminal court for the offense of hunting in a closed area. The subject’s information was also referred to Eglin Range Patrol for action on his Eglin permits.

Officer Lewis was on forest patrol near Blackwater River State Forest when he observed a truck with a dog box parked at the gate where he had checked subjects in the past. He approached the vehicle and observed a man in the driver seat and a woman in the passenger seat. The man appeared to be trying to conceal something between the seats. Officer Lewis asked the man if they owned the property they were on, or if they knew who the owner was, and he said they did not. Officer Lewis searched the truck and subsequently found a medicine bottle containing three small baggies that appeared to contain methamphetamine, a glass smoking device with methamphetamine, and prescription narcotics. The man told him that the bottle contained methamphetamine, Percocet, and Hydrocodone, and that he smoked meth earlier that day. Officer Lewis arrested the man and charged him with three felony counts of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was transported to the Santa Rosa County Jail without incident.

Officer Lewis was on forest patrol at Bear Lake when he observed a subject fishing from a pier. The subject had kept a variety of fish. Upon request, the subject could not produce a valid freshwater fishing license. While the officer was copying the man’s vehicle tag number, the man stated that the tag did not belong on the vehicle, and he had attached it to the vehicle. While conducting his inspection, Officer Lewis observed a backpack in the truck that the man stated was not his. When asked about it, the man stated that it contained methamphetamine. Officer Lewis searched the backpack and discovered a soda bottle that had methamphetamine cooking inside of it, known as a one-pot. Officer Lewis contacted the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office narcotics unit to safely handle the substance. The narcotics unit arrived on scene and neutralized the substance. Officer Lewis arrested the man and charged him with manufacturing methamphetamine. He transported him to the Santa Rosa County Jail. The subject was also issued a citation for fishing without a license.

Walton County

Officers Bradshaw and Letcher completed an investigation involving a deer that had been reported as being a legally taken buck which had been processed and placed in a cooler. When parts of the deer were inspected, the officers knew it was not consistent with a legally taken deer due to the size. After multiple conflicting interviews, the subject in possession of the meat admitted it was an antlerless deer. The subject responsible for shooting the deer was later identified. Both subjects were charged for taking/possession of an antlerless deer.

Officer Tison began a derelict vessel investigation after observing a vessel that was partially submerged in Hogtown Bayou. The owner had previously been cited for failure to transfer the title. It was later determined the owner of the vessel was in the Walton County Jail for an unrelated violation. Officer Tison met with the subject and discussed options for correcting the issue with his vessel. He was charged for a having a derelict vessel on the waters of the state.

Washington / Holmes Counties

Officers worked a detail over the weekend focusing on areas where complaints of night hunting have been received. Officers Gore, Hayes, and Coker observed a vehicle illuminating a field in a manner capable of disclosing wildlife. After a traffic stop, they discovered the driver in possession of a firearm. The subject was issued appropriate citations for the violation.

Officer Gore was on patrol when he heard a gunshot. He coursed the shot, went to the area and located a parked vehicle. A brief time later, a subject in camo with a gun approached. Officer Gore identified himself and asked what he shot. The subject stated a coyote. Further investigation of the hunting stand and area revealed a freshly harvested doe deer. The subject was cited for taking an antlerless deer out of season.

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