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FWC Law Enforcement Summary
Southwest Region

On Wed., Aug. 6, Lt. Roger Young received a call from the Clearwater Police Dept. advising two anglers had caught an alligator and brought it home with them. Lt. Young and Clearwater Police Dept. units located a four-foot alligator in a bathtub at one of the suspect’s residence. A butcher knife was discovered near the tub. The subjects advised they caught the alligator while fishing and decided to eat it for dinner. Neighbors saved the alligator by alerting the authorities in a timely manner. Lt. Young issued the subjects notices to appear for illegal possession of an alligator. The alligator was released back into the wild, unharmed.

MANATEE COUNTY

On Thurs., July 31, Lt. Jon Dobbs checked three wade fishermen at Emerson Point who were returning to shore. Asked if they had caught anything, one man nervously replied, "stone crabs." A search of the man's bucket revealed four out-of-season snook, one undersize redfish, one undersize trout, and one undersize mangrove snapper. The fish were seized, photographed, and returned to the water. The man was issued a notice to appear for the violations.

BROWARD COUNTY

On August 8, at approximately 10:30 pm, Officer Mark Ream was checking fishermen along Old Griffin Road in Dania Beach. He was checking one fisherman on the bank when he noticed a vehicle under the bridge trying to back up and leave the area. Officer Ream jumped into his truck and blocked their exit before they could leave. Two subjects exited the vehicle and were found to be in possession of five mangrove snappers, four of which were undersized. One subject was cited for the violation.


On August 10, our agency received information regarding a smuggling boat traveling toward the Lake Worth Inlet. Officer Atwell Pride was on water patrol and spotted the vessel seven miles offshore. A violent storm came up and the vessel was tracked by radar coming into the Lake Worth Inlet. The smuggling vessel, with eight illegal immigrant Cubans on board, came into the inlet and headed for Phil Foster Park. When the vessel operator learned of the USCG, INS, and FWC waiting for their arrival, the occupants panicked and three Cubans jumped overboard and ran near the Sands Condominium on Singer Island. Officers Velez, Erik Howell and Hank Juntunen pursued on foot. The subjects would not comply with the officers and one immigrant was sprayed with OC in order to apprehend and detain him. No injuries were reported from this incident. The vessel operator had an active warrant and will be deported by INS as he has a record for forgery and felonies within Monroe, Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. He was booked into the county jail on Gun Club Road, fingerprinted, and promptly released to INS for deportation processing. The INS seized the 31-foot Chris Craft vessel.

LEVY COUNTY

While conducting a fisheries inspection near Cedar Key, Officer Jay Russel found some fishermen with several legal fish, but further inspection revealed nine undersized spotted sea trout. One of the fishermen claimed all the fish and was cited for possession of undersized and over the daily bag limit. Officer Russel continued his patrol and later cited a subject for littering a large amount of garbage and beer bottles.

TAYLOR COUNTY

Aug. 10, Officer Randy McDonald cited a local man for possession of an oversized red drum. The fish measured 31 inches.
 
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