NY: Cuffs and Collars Issue: 7

Northern District

Highlights

Whey Spill from Persistent Violator

(Lewis County)

On Nov. 30, and Dec. 2 of last year, Region 6 ECO John Murphy
observed two separate spill incidents on a dairy facility in the
Town of New Bremen, Lewis County, that flowed directly into the
Black River. The spills were caused by the facility’s inability to
dispose of its waste properly. Lt. John Burke assisted with the
ensuing investigations on both occasions. Murphy and Burke were
able to determine that the owner of the facility was purposely
allowing and instructing his employees to let the waste overflow so
production would not stop. Stemming from the two incidents, the
Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigation applied for a search
warrant of the facility and company cellphone to determine if there
was knowledge of the spills by the owner. The warrant was executed
Dec. 14 by Division of Law Enforcement members, DEC program staff,
the law enforcement CSI Team and a member from the state Attorney
General’s office.

Stormwater Permit & SPDES Violations (Town of Henrietta, Monroe
County)

In March, 2010, Region 8 ECO Beth Haag received a complaint from
Monroe County Soil and Water that a developer was allowing water to
run off-site overwhelming the local storm drains and causing
turbidity of an adjacent stream. Haag did an on-site inspection and
took photographs. There were several violations of the permit and
stormwater prevention plan. Monroe County Soil and Water
representatives assisted with the investigation, as did members of
DEC Division of Water. After meeting with DEC representatives from
the law enforcement and water divisions, and several months of
negotiations, the permit holder agreed to an administrative
settlement for the cost of remediation and a $6,500 penalty for
causing a contravention of water quality standards.

Ashville Game Farm Investigation Culminates in Arrest

(Washington County)

On Dec. 16, 2010, the operator of a game farm in the Town of
Greenwich was arrested by Region 5 environmental conservation
officers and Washington County probation officers after a
Washington County grand jury handed up a 29-count indictment
regarding offenses committed at the game farm. The operator of the
game farm was also arrested on a violation of probation stemming
from a 2006 incident at the Saratoga County Fair when a child was
scratched by a tiger.

The facility has a long history of problems which culminated with
this arrest. In August 2010, Region 5 ECOs and Washington County
probation officers, in cooperation with the Washington County
District Attorney’s Office, executed a search warrant at the
facility after children were injured by animals being held and
displayed by the owner. One incident in July 2010 involved a child
who was bitten by a lemur. The lemurs tested negative for
rabies.

Region 5 Investigator William Bramlage handled the case in
conjunction with the Washington County Department of Public Health,
New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets, and the
United States Department of Agriculture. The owner was arraigned by
Washington County Court Judge McKeighan and remanded to the
Washington County Jail in lieu of $10,000 cash bail or $30,000
bond. Charges stemming from the indictment include six felonies, 10
misdemeanors, and 13 violations.

A breakdown of charges is as follows:

• Forgery in the second degree, 2 counts, a class D felony.

• Criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree,
a class D felony.

• Offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, 3
counts, a class E felony.

• Reckless endangerment in the second degree, a class A
misdemeanor.

• Endangering the welfare of a child, 3 counts, a class A
misdemeanor

• Failure to protect the public from attack by wild animals, 6
counts, an unclassified misdemeanor.

• Failure to comply with terms of a DEC Permit, 10 counts, a
violation.

Trap Thief Convicted

(Jefferson County)

Starting on Oct. 30, 2010 and continuing through the fall, the
federal game wardens on Ft. Drum had been receiving complaints of
stolen traps. The wardens kept a close watch for anyone with
trapping equipment and on Nov. 14, Federal Warden Ascough stopped a
vehicle occupied by a Watertown man. The individual had several
untagged traps in his possession in his vehicle and, upon
questioning, admitted to having stolen one of the traps.

The federal game wardens continued their investigation and upon
later questioning, the suspect admitted to stealing several more
traps on Ft. Drum starting on Oct. 30, 2010 and continuing until
caught. The wardens seized 40 pieces of trapping equipment from the
suspect, including traps, stakes and drags.

Region 6 ECO Worden was contacted by the federal game wardens on
Nov. 22 and asked to assist in the completion of the investigation.
Worden re-interviewed the suspect and he admitted to having stolen
over 30 traps during the two-week period. After speaking with the
assistant district attorney it was decided to have the suspect
appear in the Town of Antwerp Court to answer the charges. He was
charged with two counts of tampering with a lawfully set trap and
two counts of petit larceny. The charges were based on two trappers
who could positively identify specific traps taken from specific
areas on the post.

On Dec. 14 the suspect appeared before Town of Antwerp Justice
Donald Hull and pleaded guilty to all four charges. He paid a total
of $960 in fines and surcharges. Fortunately, no other trap thefts
have been reported, however, the suspect’s activities do not
account for all of the reported stolen traps.

Husband and Wife Plead Guilty

to Illegal Deer Charges.

(Monroe County)

A husband and wife pleaded guilty in Mendon Town Court and agreed
to pay fines totaling $1,780 for violations involving the illegal
taking of an antlered deer, lending and using deer tags of another
and trespassing. The guilty pleas concluded a year-long
investigation by Region 8 ECOs into the illegal taking of an
antlered deer by the husband.

The investigation established that he illegally shot and killed an
8-point buck during the 2009 archery season after having already
taken an antlered deer during the archery season. The legal limit
for antlered deer during the early archery season is one. The
investigation further revealed that his wife purchased a hunting
license and tags and provided those tags for her husband to use on
his illegal deer.

The husband admitted in court that he took over his limit of
antlered deer during the 2009 archery season and that he used his
wife’s deer carcass tag on the illegal deer. He also admitted to
trespassing on posted property while hunting on a previous date.
The wife pleaded guilty to lending her carcass tag to her husband
so that he could place it on the illegal deer and to assisting him
in the illegal taking of an antlered deer.

Southern District Highlights

My First Time!

(Queens County)

On Dec. 2, 2010, Marine Enforcement Unit ECO George Scheer was on
patrol along the Atlantic Ocean shoreline in Rockaway Park when he
observed a male loading five-gallon buckets of surf clams into the
back of a van. Scheer decided to talk to the man to find out more
about the shellfish. As Scheer began talking with the man, the man
quickly became visibly nervous and kept asking Scheer if he could
take the shellfish back down to the beach. Scheer asked the man to
show him what he had in the back of his van; the man obliged and
opened the door. The man was in possession of a large amount of
surf clams, later they were weighed at 400 pounds. During this
time, ECOs Jamie Powers and Kevin Thomas arrived on the scene. The
man was asked if he knew the regulation for harvesting surf clams
in this particular area and the man explained to Scheer that he did
not know the regulations and that this was his first time taking
shellfish. He also said that it was not his fault because other
people were doing the same thing on the beach. Thomas patrolled the
area but reported that there were no other people taking clams from
the beach. Later in the interview, the man admitted to owning a
restaurant a few blocks away but insisted that the shellfish was
for his family and not to be sold in his restaurant. Scheer and
Powers documented, took pictures and weighed the clams, then
assisted the man while he returned the illegal clams back to where
he harvested them. The clammer was issued citations for possession
of surf clams over the recreational limit, illegal
commercialization, possession of untagged shellfish and failure to
have digger’s permit.

Short Lobsters by the Hundreds

(Bronx County)

During a recent fish market inspection, over 500 lobsters were
seized for being undersized. On Dec. 23, 2010, ECO Dave Thomas
inspected trucks as they made deliveries at the market. While
inspecting one delivery truck, Thomas informed ECO Neil Stevens
that several containers of “chick” lobsters were being delivered.
Stevens, along with ECO Nichols, ECO Kevin Thomas and Lt. Matt
Lochner, found the shipment of lobsters at the facility and began
measuring the lobsters for legal size. “Chick” lobsters are
typically the smallest category of lobsters marketed, weighing
approximately one pound. These lobsters have the greatest
likelihood of being harvested and marketed at smaller than the
legal size of three-and-three eighths inches. After the officers
measured all the lobsters, 587 lobsters were found to be
undersized. The establishment’s manager was issued a notice of
violation for the lobsters and Lt. Francisco Lopez is handling the
case administratively. The lobsters were donated to the Open Door
Church in Brooklyn.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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