Brevard Florida Fish and Wildlife Officers Make DUI Arrest, Bust Fish and Alligator Poachers
By Space Coast Daily // July 13, 2018
FWC Officer MAKES DUI ARREST ON I-95
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following report highlights some cases the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission handled in Brevard County over the past week but does not include all actions taken by the Division of Law Enforcement.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Officers Eller and Hallsten were on federal water patrol outside of Port Canaveral. While offshore, they approached a vessel being operated in an unusual manner.
As the officers got closer they noticed one male and two females onboard along with an assortment of dive and spearfishing gear. When the occupants noticed the officers, the male signaled something to one of the females and she threw a towel over a large fish box on the bow and sat on it.
Officer Eller boarded the vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection and he asked the captain if they had any fish onboard the vessel. The captain pointed to three mangrove snapper lying on the back deck of the vessel and insisted that was all they had. When Officer Eller asked if there were any fish in the fish box on the bow both female occupants immediately turned and stared at the captain in silence.
The captain was extremely hesitant to answer. Officer Eller eventually lifted the lid of the fish box and discovered a very large spiny lobster. Officer Eller continued to search through the fish box and at the bottom, underneath all the bags of ice he also retrieved two red snapper. Both species are out of season during this time of year.
The captain of the vessel was charged accordingly.
Officers Eller and Hallsten were making their way back to Port Canaveral after working offshore. As they approached Port Canaveral, both officers identified a vessel full of fishing equipment moving extremely slowly back to port.
Noticing that the vessel did not have any lines in the water, this behavior appeared out of the ordinary. A saltwater fisheries inspection of the vessel revealed an undersized cobia onboard. It is illegal to land or possess a cobia in Florida waters less than 33 inches. The subjects were interviewed and the individual who caught the fish was identified.
He was cited accordingly.
Officer Eller was on his way to Port Canaveral to go on water patrol when a pickup truck on Interstate 95 swerved multiple times to either side of its lane of travel.
Officer Eller saw the truck swerve to its left going over the alert strips and then again back to its right, crossing three lanes of traffic and sending the other unsuspecting vehicles into Officer Eller’s direction. As the pickup truck made it into the far-right lane it merged into another vehicle causing it to be sent off the roadway and into the grass.
Officer Eller immediately conducted a traffic stop. Upon stopping the vehicle, the occupant began throwing empty beer cans out the passenger window. The occupant displayed several cues of heavy intoxication and performed poorly on standard field sobriety exercises.
The suspect was arrested and cited for driving under the influence (DUI) and numerous traffic violations.
Officer Hallsten was conducting patrols within Port Canaveral when he conducted a fisheries inspection on a commercial fishing vessel returning to the port.
He discovered 16 sharks that had their fins removed prior to being landed. He was able to ascertain that the sharks were taken lawfully and the remains of the sharks were also on board.
Citations were issued accordingly for failure to land in whole condition.
Officers Balgo and Humphrey received a complaint about an individual in possession of alligator at a residence.
After a short interview with the man, he admitted to having the alligator. The man further stated he caught the alligator and then transported it to his residence. The alligator was removed and relocated.
The subject was issued a citation for possession of American alligator.
Officers Dubose and Matthews conducted surveillance on a group of men fishing at Sebastian Inlet State Park late at night.
They saw fish being taken, bagged, and placed into the rocks. While Officer Dubose approached the men to conduct a resource inspection, Officer Matthews stayed concealed to observe them. After being alerted to Officer Dubose’s presence, one of the men threw two bags into the Sebastian Inlet.
Other bags next to the men were recovered and revealed two snook taken out of season. After speaking with the men and issuing them citations for the take of snook out of season, the four men refused to sign their citations.
All four were then placed under arrest for the take of snook out of season, refusal to allow inspection, and refusal to sign their citations.
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