FWC Division of Law Enforcement Weekly Highlights For Cases In Brevard County
By Space Coast Daily // July 7, 2023
FWC OFFICERS NAIL POACHERS, IMPAIRED BOATER
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – 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.
■ While patrolling from Port Canaveral, Officer Specialist Balgo and Officer Hedgepeth conducted a resource inspection on a charter vessel.
The officers found the operator of the charter vessel to be in possession of an undersized cobia. The captain of the vessel was cited accordingly.
■ Officer Specialist Marroquin and Officer St. Martin were on water patrol when they observed a fishing vessel approaching their location. The officers stopped the vessel to conduct a resource inspection. During the inspection, Officer St. Martin discovered the captain was in possession of two undersized cobia.
While Officer St. Martin was dealing with the resource violation, Officer Marroquin noticed the captain showed signs of impairment. Officer Marroquin’s investigation led to the captain being arrested for boating under the influence.
The captain was also charged for the resource violations.
■ Officer St. Martin and Lieutenant Eller were on water patrol at Sebastian Inlet when they observed a fishing vessel returning from offshore. The officers stopped the vessel to conduct a resource violation. Upon stopping the vessel, Officer St. Martin asked the captain how they did.
The captain hung his head and stated they kept some fish they shouldn’t have. Officer St. Martin’s inspection concluded the captain was in possession of an undersized red grouper, over his bag limit of aggregate grouper, and over his bag limit of golden tilefish.
The captain was cited accordingly.
■ Officers Beck and Delano and Captain Gaudion were on patrol in the Atlantic Ocean when they observed a fishing vessel returning to shore. The officers stopped the vessel to conduct a resource inspection.
As the officers were approaching the vessel, they observed one of the subjects rush over to a compartment, pull out a bag of fillets, and then hide it in another compartment. Once the officers were within speaking distance, they politely asked the subject if he could retrieve the bag of fillets they just witnessed him hiding.
The subject was cited accordingly.
■ Officer Specialist Marroquin and Officer Hopkins were on water patrol in the Indian River when they stopped a vessel to conduct a vessel safety inspection and ensure the vessel complied with all required U.S. Coast Guard safety equipment.
The breath alcohol concentration of the operator was two times over the legal limit.
During the inspection, Officer Hopkins noticed the operator showed signs of impairment. Officer Hopkins conducted standardized field sobriety tasks and placed the vessel operator under arrest for boating under the influence.
■ Officer Specialist Marroquin was on patrol at a local boat ramp when he observed a vessel returning to the ramp. The operator appeared to have difficulty locating the boat ramp while in the Intracoastal Waterway and then began to drive his vessel erratically through the slow speed and manatee zone.
Once the vessel operator made it to the dock, Officer Marroquin contacted him to address the violation. During the interaction, Officer Marroquin noticed the operator showed signs of impairment and performed poorly during standardized field sobriety tasks.
The subject was arrested and transported to the Brevard County Jail.
■ Officers Delano and Beck and Captain Gaudion were on water patrol when they observed a large fishing vessel approaching them. The officers stopped the vessel to conduct a resource inspection.
The inspection revealed the vessel operator was in possession of a dozen bags of filleted reef fish. State law requires all reef fish remain in whole condition until they are landed.
The captain was cited accordingly.
■ While on patrol in the early hours of the morning, Officer Hopkins avoided a vehicle collision when he was abruptly cut off by another vehicle pulling out of a parking lot. The vehicle crossed all lanes of traffic and nearly jumped a curb before regaining traction and reentering the roadway. The vehicle continued to fail to maintain its lane and then slow rolled through a red light.
Believing the operator was impaired, Officer Hopkins conducted a vehicle stop. Upon first contact, Officer Hopkins immediately observed the subject was severely impaired. The subject performed poorly during standardized field sobriety tasks and was arrested and transported to jail.
A breath test of the subject revealed his breath alcohol concentration was almost twice the legal limit.
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