March 29, 2017
The Florida FWC Division of Law Enforcement reported the following activity during the two week period ending March 23 in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.
Officers Ramos and McHenry were conducting saltwater fishing license and marine resource inspections on Pensacola Beach and saw a man, who was actively fishing, begin to behave suspiciously. When asked, the man provided a false name to the officers. After establishing the man’s name, an active warrant was found for violation of probation/DUI. The subject was booked into Escambia County Jail for the outstanding warrant and issued a citation for not having the required non-resident fishing license.
Officers Manning and Allgood concentrated their efforts on offshore fisheries inspections in the Gulf of Mexico. Four vessel operators were found in possession of undersized greater amberjack. Notice to appear citations were issued for these violations. Later that day as they approached another vessel, they noticed the operator throw some fish into the water. As Officer Allgood boarded the vessel, Officer Manning retrieved two gray triggerfish that were still floating. Officer Allgood questioned the operator of the vessel about the triggerfish and he admitted to throwing them. During his inspection, a strong odor of marijuana was present. One of the passengers admitted to having a small amount of marijuana and a pipe. The pipe and marijuana were seized and notice to appear citations were issued for possession of undersized gray triggerfish, possession of cannabis, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
SANTA ROSA COUNTY
Officer Jones was on patrol in the early morning on the Eglin Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and found a fresh set of vehicle tracks going through a closed range gate and into an area closed to all public access. He followed the tracks to an area where he saw flashlights working off in the distance. He followed the lights on foot and found a man and a woman standing near a parked vehicle. The two subjects were in possession of hundreds of spent brass ammunition shell casings. They were charged with numerous violations including entering a closed area, entering Eglin property during closed hours, no Eglin permit and theft. The male subject was also charged with resisting arrest without violence.
Officer Jernigan concluded an investigation into a boat that was found abandoned in the Blackwater WMA. He contacted the last registered owner who referred him to another man to whom he gave the boat. The officer finally contacted a subject who admitted to finding the boat in what appeared to be an abandoned state. He took the boat but later thought that it might have been stolen, so he hauled it to the nearby forest where he disposed of it. The man was charged with littering and the boat was returned to the registered owner.
Officer Hutchinson received information about a man who had a small alligator as a pet at his residence. The subject did not have the proper permits to possess the alligator and the officer found that the man was keeping the alligator inside an aquarium. The man admitted to catching the alligator in Yellow River at the end of the 2016 alligator hunting season. He said he caught two small alligators and took them home, but one later died. He kept the other one as a pet. The alligator was seized and the man was charged for possession of an alligator without a permit.
Lieutenant Berryman and Officers Hoomes, Roberson and Cushing responded to a request from the U. S. Coast Guard (USCG) of a reported distress call from a vessel somewhere in East Bay/Blackwater Bay. After searching the area for three hours in rough seas and inclement weather, the search was called off due to lack of additional information on the possible location of the vessel.
Officer Hutchinson helped coordinate an after-school function for S. S. Dixon Elementary School. The event’s theme was camping, fishing and nature. FWC Wildlife Biologist Almario, Wildlife Technician Jernigan and Officer Hutchinson participated in the event. They set up a wildlife display that involved hands‑on wildlife identification games as well as other displays. They answered many questions and interacted with the students and their parents. Approximately 300 people attended the event.
This report represents some events the FWC handled over the past week; however, it does not include all actions taken by the Division of Law Enforcement. Information provided by FWC.
March 29, 2017
Deputy Paul Hudson was staked out near Smith Tractor Company of Highway 31 just east of Atmore about 11:30 p.m. March 1 when he saw a vehicle drive slowly past the business, turn around and return.
Hudson watched as the two suspects used bolt cutters on a tractor/trailer combination package. The subjects then hitched the trailer to the truck and drove east on Highway 31 towards Canoe. Hudson, who was working the detail on his day off, chased the truck and stopped it on Highway 31 in Canoe. He called for backup, with other ECSO deputies and the Atmore Police Department responding.
Deputy Hudson arrested both men, 26-year-old Johnny Deon Whitt and 25-year-old Quentin Devontea Jackson, for first degree theft of property. Both were booked into the Escambia County (AL) Detention Center with bond set at $30,000 each.