This one's a doozy! FWC Law Enforcement Weekly Report 02/21 - 02/27/2014 FRANKLIN CO

FWC Law Enforcement Weekly Report 02/21 - 02/27/2014

FRANKLIN COUNTY

Officer Allen was on water patrol on the Apalachicola River when he observed a vessel operating without navigational lights. He observed the vessel pull into some saw grass in an attempt to conceal the boat. Officer Allen followed the vessel into the saw grass and conducted a vessel stop. He found the three occupants lying in the bottom of the boat in an attempt to hide. During the stop, Officer Allen discovered the occupants were in possession of an illegal net that was over 2,000 square feet with an illegal mesh size. They were also in possession of a commercial quantity of fish. All three subjects were issued citations for possession of a net greater than two‑inch stretch, nets not marked, possession of entangling net, possession of net greater than two‑inch stretch on a vessel less than 25 feet in length with a motor in forward half. The net measured over 11,000 square feet. The net and fish were seized as evidence.

Officer Gore concluded an investigation which stemmed from an attempted vessel stop three weeks ago. Officers Gore and Anderson were on water patrol in Apalachicola Bay when they observed a boat operating without navigational lights. They kept the boat under surveillance and determined the vessel was engaged in commercial net fishing. The officers got close enough to the vessel undetected and attempted to conduct a vessel stop, but the vessel failed to stop and fled. The officers stayed alongside the vessel, identified the operator, and observed the other vessel occupant dump a large quantity of net into the water. The suspect vessel then continued into a cove on the north end of the St. George Island Plantation. The officers followed the vessel into the cove where they found it aground. The suspects had left the vessel and ran on foot to the St. George Plantation. A ground search was conducted, but the officers were unable to locate the two occupants. The vessel operator was identified and it was determined his commercial fishing license had been revoked. He was out on bond for a previous arrest for net fishing violations. During the investigation, Officer Gore obtained evidence and secured warrants for the operator and passenger for fleeing and attempting to elude an FWC officer, possession of a commercial quantity of fish while license is revoked, fishing with a net greater than 500 square feet with an illegal mesh size, connecting nets, and nets not marked. The operator has 89 prior arrests for resource violations. During the investigation, Officer Gore determined several individuals assisted the operator to elude authorities, attempted to claim the boat was stolen, and concealed the crime. Officer Gore cited these individuals for giving false information to a law enforcement officer during an investigation. One of these subjects had 72 prior resource arrests. All five suspects have been arrested. Officer Gore was assisted in the case by Investigators Bryant and Cook along with Officers Cook, Stephens, Louque, and Anderson and Lieutenant Wood.

Officers Allen and Gore cited individuals during shellfish patrols this past week for harvesting oysters in a closed area and possession of undersized oysters. All suspects had prior arrests for the same violations.
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Replies

  • cprcpr Posts: 9,297 Admiral
    Rhettley wrote: »
    FWC Law Enforcement Weekly Report 02/21 - 02/27/2014

    The operator has 89 prior arrests for resource violations. During the investigation, Officer Gore determined several individuals assisted the operator to elude authorities, attempted to claim the boat was stolen, and concealed the crime. Officer Gore cited these individuals for giving false information to a law enforcement officer during an investigation. One of these subjects had 72 prior resource arrests. All five suspects have been arrested. Officer Gore was assisted in the case by Investigators Bryant and Cook along with Officers Cook, Stephens, Louque, and Anderson and Lieutenant Wood.

    Officers Allen and Gore cited individuals during shellfish patrols this past week for harvesting oysters in a closed area and possession of undersized oysters. All suspects had prior arrests for the same violations.

    Did anyone serve any time in jail. 89 arrests!!!!! or One of these subjects had 72 prior resource arrest
    "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." F. Scott Fitzgerald

    "Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." Niels Bohr
  • CranfieldCranfield Posts: 1,344 Officer
    Thats just amazing.
  • JKPJKP Posts: 2,918 Captain
    Problem is all of these wannabe outlaws know they won't receive any real punishment so they keep at it.
  • ducknfishducknfish Posts: 3,821 Officer
    JKP wrote: »
    Problem is all of these wannabe outlaws know they won't receive any real punishment so they keep at it.

    Ding, ding, ding...winner! And I thought the net related convictions were felonies. That's got to be frustrating as he!! for FWC officers.
  • trout069trout069 Posts: 4,476 Captain
    amazing is understatment.florida the fishing capitol of US,but doesn't really give 2 flips if you are a poacher.89 times!at some point lock their sorry butt up,cause they are also doing other crimes.now if it were deer or turkey he would do time,but everybody knows fish have more babies.
  • BodineBodine Posts: 2,888 Captain
    89 arrests, jeeze ya got to wonder if these cases are handled by local courts?
    Yea, you know what I am saying.
    F the feds
  • MulletMullet Posts: 2,308 Moderator
    where's max??
  • hooknredshooknreds Posts: 2,461 Captain
    I heard about the next day after it happened...said it was crazy as he!!
  • RedhunterRedhunter Posts: 435 Deckhand
    That is totally nuts. Pay a fine and be on you way to the next infraction.

    Really FWC!!! Somebody needs to get there head out of the tailend.
  • Circle-HookCircle-Hook Posts: 488 Deckhand
    Got to be more teeth in the law- take the boat- take the truck- 30 days then 60 days then 6 months
    Need a repeat offender law--
  • capt roncapt ron Posts: 137 Deckhand
    That's the problem with elected, local judges. Here in Franklin County, any one of a half dozen families controlls hundreds of votes. Being a judge is a pretty good gig, so......
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 9,046 Admiral
    It is a 3rd degree felony for the net violation, probably some major violations thrown in on the quantity.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • whiteelephantwhiteelephant Posts: 27 Greenhorn
    ANUMBER1 wrote: »
    It is a 3rd degree felony for the net violation, probably some major violations thrown in on the quantity.

    Perhaps we need another net ban vote to make only cast nets and bait nets legal. Why keep on dumping Federal and State monies on these lawbreakers who would catch the last fish and oyster out there if they could. A slap on the wrist hasn't and won't work.:nono
  • RhettleyRhettley Posts: 1,545 Officer
    I'd say all that is really needed is for the local judges to do their jobs and not let these same guys get away with this repeatedly. It seems the good ol boy network is in high gear. I seriously doubt if the FWC caught and ticketed me on 89 different occasions for short or over the limit redfish or trout, as a non local recreational fisherman, I'd receive this leniency.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 9,046 Admiral
    Perhaps we need another net ban vote to make only cast nets and bait nets legal. Why keep on dumping Federal and State monies on these lawbreakers who would catch the last fish and oyster out there if they could. A slap on the wrist hasn't and won't work.:nono
    Umm, that's what you have now.. And the net violation is a 3rd degree felony. I don't know about you but that is pretty serious to me.

    Don't forget that after the oil spill FWC opened up the closed areas and told the oyster guys get while you can cause they all gonna die.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • Old DogOld Dog Posts: 530 Officer
    This is shameful. And the judge involved in these legal wrist slaps should be ashamed. Then voted out of office. And I wonder if anyone has begun to look at possible payoffs to the judge(es) involved? There has got to be more to this story.
    D
  • ChuckGChuckG Posts: 18 Greenhorn
    Revolving door justice..
  • grouper sandwichgrouper sandwich Posts: 531 Officer
    Redhunter wrote: »
    That is totally nuts. Pay a fine and be on you way to the next infraction.

    Really FWC!!! Somebody needs to get there head out of the tailend.

    FWC is not at fault here, they did their part (made the arrest).
    corksling-2.jpg
  • stc1993stc1993 Albany, GA Carrabelle, FLPosts: 4,834 Captain
    It's not only the judges but the D.A. too. If he wasn't in on it too, he could appeal the sentence as being to lenient. They don't have any recidivism laws in FL.
  • illinoisfishermanillinoisfisherman Posts: 5,173 Admiral
    Well, I surely believe in less government and government handouts but there are some problems in the area concerning the commercial fishermen that seem to be being left not addressed.

    Right or wrong in many regions of our country and in many sectors of employment industries close down and the workers are afforded some sort of job training and assistance to start them in other lines of work. In this area it doesn't seem to be happening. It looks like they said well no more fishing so just get out and fend for yourselves. I agree that an "outlaw is an outlaw" (89/79 arrests) but I know some good people that are just near starving. With mortgages, household bills and mouths to feed can anyone wonder why some may cross the line?

    They eliminated most commercial fishing on Lake Michigan and the stocks rebuilt themselves in short order so I have seen first hand what the problem was and believe I have a solid idea where the blame can be laid for all Gulf Fishery declines......BUT.........they bought those fishermen out of their boats and retrained them in other businesses. Since then I can't think of one arrest for a commercial fisherman on the lake.

    It may be an unpopular belief but I think we as good people and good Americans owe it to the families of displaced fishermen to spend some of our NATIONAL LARGENESS right here in our country for a change and help some fellow Americans learn how to earn a decent living rather than give the money away overseas to do the very same thing for foreigners.

    ****, I know what I would do if my children were hungry. Please don't lump all those fishermen into a group of "drug addicts" or freeloaders as I have seen said before. There are some good people hurting and as far as I can see no one cares.

    Put the outlaws in jail, no - under the jail, but help some folks learn to earn in other sectors of legitimate employment. Heck we do it for our ENEMIES abroad, why not for our brethren at the coast?

    Please don't beat me too badly but that's my 2 cents.
  • CynicalCynical Posts: 274 Deckhand
    capt ron wrote: »
    That's the problem with elected, local judges. Here in Franklin County, any one of a half dozen families controlls hundreds of votes. Being a judge is a pretty good gig, so......

    Since these are felonies there wouldn't be an issue of a local judge. The Circuit Judge that hears Franklin cases resides (mostly) in Tallahassee, and is re-elected by voters from the entire circuit (Franklin, Wakulla, Leon, Gadsden, Liberty, Jefferson I think I got them all).
  • RhettleyRhettley Posts: 1,545 Officer
    This report just came out recently about $6.3 million in help for the oysters and the fishermen. This includes rebuilding the beds and job training for the fishermen.

    EASTPOINT-- David Barber owns Barber Seafood. 80% of his business is catching, and shipping oysters across Florida. On a good day, his boats will bring-in 3-bags apiece, far way less than just 5 years ago.

    "This time of year, they would be bringing in 10-15 bags," says Barber.

    In August, the federal government declared Apalachicola Bay a fisheries disaster area due to the lack of oysters.

    Last week locals received word the US Department of Commerce has allocated $6.3 million in disaster assistance for job training for displaced fisherman and restaurant workers and to rebuild the oyster beds.

    The good news is the Atlanta area has had record rainfall and should be taking less water out of Lake Lanier.

    Experts say that lack of fresh water flowing downstream from Atlanta is responsible for the oyster kill.

    What Mother Nature and a wet winter can't fix, barber is hoping rebuilt oyster beds will.

    "I think it's helped a lot, and will continue to help. They just didn’t do enough to make a big difference. But as long as they do some more and I understand that they are, so anything is better than nothing," said Barber.
  • RhettleyRhettley Posts: 1,545 Officer
    Cynical wrote: »
    Since these are felonies there wouldn't be an issue of a local judge. The Circuit Judge that hears Franklin cases resides (mostly) in Tallahassee, and is re-elected by voters from the entire circuit (Franklin, Wakulla, Leon, Gadsden, Liberty, Jefferson I think I got them all).

    How are these guys still walking the streets and racking up more violations with 70 something to almost 90 violations, especially with felonies in there?
  • conchydongconchydong Pompano BeachPosts: 3,970 Captain
    Rhettley wrote: »
    How are these guys still walking the streets and racking up more violations with 70 something to almost 90 violations, especially with felonies in there?

    There are thugs in the Cities walking the streets that also have rap sheets with double digit "violent" felonies. The legal system is a revolving door that keeps Judges, Lawyers, Bail bondsman and many others in business. If they locked them up for good the $$$$ would stop flowing.

    “Everyone behaves badly--given the chance.”
    ― Ernest Hemingway

  • capt roncapt ron Posts: 137 Deckhand
    Ok so its an issue between the circuit judges (still elected) and DAs. Still evolves around people that have sworn to uphold the laws not doing it.
  • CynicalCynical Posts: 274 Deckhand
    capt ron wrote: »
    Ok so its an issue between the circuit judges (still elected) and DAs. Still evolves around people that have sworn to uphold the laws not doing it.

    I would put it squarely on the backs of the prosecutors. It makes no sense to have that many violations.
  • NOLE66NOLE66 Posts: 1,630 Officer
    Got to be more teeth in the law- take the boat- take the truck- 30 days then 60 days then 6 months
    Need a repeat offender law--

    Guys it's not the FWC, they are doing their job. It's the judges that are the problem. Poaching fish and oysters has been widespread and common in Franklin County for a long time. I find hidden gill nets on Little St. George and St. Vincent's all the time.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 9,046 Admiral
    Well, I surely believe in less government and government handouts but there are some problems in the area concerning the commercial fishermen that seem to be being left not addressed.

    Right or wrong in many regions of our country and in many sectors of employment industries close down and the workers are afforded some sort of job training and assistance to start them in other lines of work. In this area it doesn't seem to be happening. It looks like they said well no more fishing so just get out and fend for yourselves. I agree that an "outlaw is an outlaw" (89/79 arrests) but I know some good people that are just near starving. With mortgages, household bills and mouths to feed can anyone wonder why some may cross the line?

    They eliminated most commercial fishing on Lake Michigan and the stocks rebuilt themselves in short order so I have seen first hand what the problem was and believe I have a solid idea where the blame can be laid for all Gulf Fishery declines......BUT.........they bought those fishermen out of their boats and retrained them in other businesses. Since then I can't think of one arrest for a commercial fisherman on the lake.

    It may be an unpopular belief but I think we as good people and good Americans owe it to the families of displaced fishermen to spend some of our NATIONAL LARGENESS right here in our country for a change and help some fellow Americans learn how to earn a decent living rather than give the money away overseas to do the very same thing for foreigners.

    ****, I know what I would do if my children were hungry. Please don't lump all those fishermen into a group of "drug addicts" or freeloaders as I have seen said before. There are some good people hurting and as far as I can see no one cares.

    Put the outlaws in jail, no - under the jail, but help some folks learn to earn in other sectors of legitimate employment. Heck we do it for our ENEMIES abroad, why not for our brethren at the coast?

    Please don't beat me too badly but that's my 2 cents.
    I usually find myself at odds with you and this is no exception(but in a weird twist).
    There were retraining programs after the netban, clam farming, guide license, and soft shell crab shedding to name a few of the on the water programs.
    There was also free two year Vo-Tech and AA/AS programs all designed to help transition into other employment. A lot of fishermen took advantage of those programs(Cedar Key clamming comes to mind) and have adapted very well.
    Some didn't but I wouldn't call them all drug addicts, mostly defiant and pissed at the sporty world for ruining their's.

    Now there is a new breed of poachers, I see a lot of idiots fishing that weren't fishing before the ban and their families didn't fish either, I don't know where these idiots came from but they sure eff it up for us that try to work within the law.
    FYI, I am a full time commercial fisherman for the past 27 years.
    I still do some mackeral fishing with nets offshore if stone crabbing is slow and I love seeing a net full of fish.
    I would not risk all I have to catch a handful of .75/lb mullet.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • whiteelephantwhiteelephant Posts: 27 Greenhorn
    FWC is not at fault here, they did their part (made the arrest).

    Neither does FWC set the penalties.
  • whiteelephantwhiteelephant Posts: 27 Greenhorn
    I know a guy in Pensacola that makes a darn good living commercial cast netting and selling mostly to local restaurants. In the previously bought and paid for a house on 5 acres in Gulf Breeze. He also will put on a fish fry for you for a price. He is still young enough.
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