Sea turtle nest disturbed and drug busts among other violations & investigations in Florida
The week of May 12 through May 18 seems to have been an eventful one for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). From proactive measures to drug busts, domestic disputes, and felony charges, the commission undertook a series of significant actions in accordance with Florida law last week — including concluding investigations into a report of a sea turtle nest disturbance.
According to a release from the FWC, Officer Specialist Morrison of Sarasota County responded to a report of a nesting site being disturbed, issuing a several-month-long investigation into the matter. Morrison was able to eventually track down the individual responsible and charges were filed with the Sarasota State Attorney.
The incident follows recent reports from FWC's Wildlife Research Institute's initial count showing promising numbers for this year's nesting season — including a doubling in total loggerhead nests, and several other increases that you can read more about here.
While nests were disturbed in Sarasota, in Palm Beach County, Officers Peters, and Stiltner rescued two turtles with assistance from FWC biologists. The injured loggerheads were found near Munyon Island after suffering a strike from a watercraft. The sea turtles were removed from the water for further assessment and rehabilitation.
Moving to Hendry County, Officers Naules and Watson responded to a report of a suspect shooting and killing an alligator. Upon further inspection, officers found the subject to be in possession of a recently skinned and cleaned gator. The suspect was charged after admitting to having fired the fatal shot.
Several FWC officers working the waterways for an annual boating event called Floatopia at Palm Beach County's Peanut Island resulted in the issuance of a multitude of citations and charges, including 35 boating safety citations, 31 boating safety warnings, one underage possession of alcohol charge, and five boating under the influence arrests.
In Gulf County, an investigation into a male suspect fishing from the banks resulted in the discovery of illegal substances when he went to obtain his fishing license from his truck. The suspect was found to be a convicted felon and was arrested by Officer Gerber for possession of a .22 caliber rifle, methamphetamine, and other drug paraphernalia located inside the vehicle, with additional charges pending.
The incident in Gulf County wasn't the only one to result in an arrest for meth possession.
Officers Norris and Lambert with Marion County were conducting resource inspections at the Moss Bluff Boat Ramp when they ran into a subject fishing. During the freshwater resource inspection, the officers were able to see a small baggie containing a powdery white substance in plain view. They conducted a chemical field test, which came back positive for methamphetamine. The subject was arrested for possession and transported to the Marion County Jail without incident.
In a week filled with various incidents and enforcement actions, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) demonstrated its commitment to protecting wildlife and upholding the law. Through these actions, the FWC continues to play a crucial role in safeguarding the state's wildlife as well as enforcing Florida and conservation laws.
You can read the FWC's May 12 through May 18 law enforcement action release in its entirety below:
Santa Rosa County
Indian River County
St. Johns County
Palm Beach County
Palm Beach County
Article by Rachael Volpe
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