NY: Cuffs and Collars Issue: 17

Western District Highlights

Air quality and commercial truck detail

(Seneca County)

On June 15, ECOs Angotti, Levanway and Smith participated in a
commercial truck detail with assistance from Tony Tagliaferro and
Rick Gage from DEC air resources, DOT commercial truck inspectors,
the state police and state park police. The detail started with
Levanway and Smith checking the large truck stop off Route 414 in
the Town of Waterloo. There they issued citations for idling diesel
engines in excess of five minutes. The detail then moved to a truck
pull-off just north of the Seneca Meadows Landfill. Detail members
issued four tickets for diesel engines emitting excessive capacity,
one leaking exhaust, one emissions sticker violation, 18
transportation law violations for equipment violations, 11
un-inspected motor vehicle tickets, one unlicensed driver, one
unnecessary smoke, and two drivers were arrested for second-degree
aggravated unlicensed operation. Both of those drivers were taken
into custody and remanded to the Seneca County Jail; in addition,
their trucks were towed from the scene. Several other trucks were
placed out of service until repairs could be made.

Memorial Day weekend boat detail

(Region 8)

During the Memorial Day holiday weekend Region 8 ECOs conducted a
“saturation” boat patrol, utilizing as many patrol boats allowed by
staffing levels. During the four-day weekend beginning Friday
evening, Region 8 members logged 86 boat patrol hours on 15
different bodies of water around the region. They performed
numerous Environmental Conservation Law and navigation law
compliance checks and issued 24 tickets for violations of
Environmental Conservation Law, including fishing without a
license, taking black bass during the closed season and taking fish
by means other than angling. The officers also issued 12 tickets
for navigation law offenses, most of which involved failure to
possess a PFD for each person on board, and unregistered motor
boats.

House shooting

(Allegany County)

On Nov. 19, 2010, Region 9 ECO Mark Wojtkowiak received a call from
Allegany County 911 that a subject was reporting that his house was
getting shot at from unknown shooters in the Town of Andover. The
called reported that the house had been struck several times,
including at least one time while he was standing outside and on
the phone with 911. Wojtkowiak arrived within 20 minutes, but the
shooting had already ceased. After being met on scene by Lt. Donald
Pleakis, the ECO determined the house had been hit four times by
possibly two different firearms. Wojtkowiak and Investigator David
DiPasquale spent all of opening weekend recreating the scene and
interviewing hunters in some possible shooting locations on the
hilltops opposite the complainant’s house. During the course of the
interviews on Nov. 20, the investigating officers found two
out-of-state hunters hunting without licenses. One of these hunters
also possessed the entire license, backtag and carcass tags of
another. Both hunters were taken for immediate arraignment, where
they pleaded guilty and were fined $100 and $175, respectively. The
person responsible for lending his license and tags also received a
ticket, since those tags aren’t transferrable. The investigating
officers went back to the same parcel of private property to
continue investigating the house shooting. In the course of their
travels, they found there was a father-son team that had taken two
illegal deer over the past two mornings. The list of charges for
these individuals included: hunting with the aid of bait (apples),
unlawful use of a DMP tag, and youth mentoring violations,
including failing to accompany a youth hunter and allowing a youth
hunter to hunt above ground level.

On Jan. 3, 2011, the father-son team both agreed to settle the
charges in Andover court. They paid a total of $1,505.00 in civil
penalties and court fees. Both are also subject to hunting license
revocation. On May 23, 2011, Wojtkowiak, with the assistance of
DiPasquale, arrested a 29-year-old Tonawanda, N.Y., man for the
house shooting. He was the brother of the owner of a neighboring
house. He came to town the day before opening day of the regular
deer season and was sighting in his shotgun and rifle in
preparation for the season. The officers obtained his confession
and, after conferring with the Allegany County DA’s office, charged
him with second-degree reckless endangerment, a class A
misdemeanor; fourth-degree criminal mischief, a class A
misdemeanor, and discharging a firearm over a public highway, an
unclassified misdemeanor. All charges were pending in Andover
court. Each charge holds fines of up to $1,000 and he will be
required to pay restitution to the homeowner in the amount of
$400.

Memorial Day weekend details

(Region 5)

A total of 159 tickets was issued overall throughout the Memorial
Day weekend for fishing violations and various other offenses. More
than 50 tickets were issued at Roger’s Rock for violating quiet
hours, underage alcohol possession, defacing trees and leaving
unkempt campsites. Boat patrols were also conducted on area
waterways during the Memorial Day weekend. Boat patrols on Lake
Champlain provided a look at damage to the lakeshore due to very
high water levels and a significant amount of debris in the water.
The ECOs recovered several pieces of floating debris, including an
empty beer keg. Recreational boat use on Lake Champlain was
significantly lower due to current lake conditions, high water and
debris.

Southern District Highlights

Auto Crimes Detail

(Kings County)

On May 10, ECOs Neil Stevens and Michael Mat assisted Brooklyn’s
NYPD Auto Crimes Division in conducting inspections on auto repair
shops, paint shops and chop shops. Patrol was focused on four
locations in of the 67th Precinct. Twenty-one citations were issued
for violations of Environmental Conservation Law, as well as New
York City administrative codes. Violations included, failure to
register waste oil tank; operating an air contaminant source
without a permit; producing excessive fumes; failure to label waste
oil tank; failure to complete monthly inspection reports on
above-ground tanks; failure To provide proof of permit for motor
vehicle repair; failure to maintain record of sale and purchase of
used automobile parts, and failure to obtain a permit for building
modification. All defendants were due to appear in Brooklyn
Criminal Court to answer the citations.

Venomous snakes

(Putnam County)

On June 14, a homeowner returning from work found his girlfriend
dead. The 56-year-old female was found dead from a suspected
African Black Mamba snake bite; the snake was housed in the
residence along with 74 other snakes. Of those 75 snakes, 57 of
them were venomous. The Putnam County Sheriff’s Department received
the 911 call and found the Black Mamba in its enclosure. They were
accompanied by the DEC, ASPCA and a snake expert who helped to
identify the snakes. The following day, DEC requested the
assistance of the Bronx Zoo, whose personnel arrived and removed
the 57 venomous snakes from the residence. The snakes were to be
housed at the zoo until there is a disposition in the case. The
investigation is continuing.

Illegal shellfish trade

(Kings County)

Marine Enforcement Unit ECO Jamie Powers received information from
his supervisors, Lt. Francisco Lopez and Captain Dorothy Thumm,
that a Brooklyn company was possibly wholesaling shellfish without
a valid shellfish shipper dealer permit. In previous years, the
company had inquired to DEC about applying for a shellfish permit,
but they never followed through. So on March 18, ECO Jamie Powers
drove to the location and performed a inspection of the warehouse.
In the first room Powers came to, he found several 100-gallon tubs
filled with water and raw clam meat. In the next room, he
discovered several cases of surf clams and several cases of
containers filled with surf clam tongue and bellies. In the
freezer, Powers found what appeared to be several hundred boxes
full of clam meat. Processing shellfish (removing them from the
shell and packaging the meats and tongues in containers) requires
an additional permit that facilitates an effort at assuring a
higher grade of sanitation or cleanliness in the handling. Upon
seeing the volume he had to deal with, Powers called ECOs Brent
Wilson and Dustin Dainack for assistance. When the two officers
arrived, they started from the beginning, carefully documenting,
photographing and weighing all of the evidence. By the time they
were done, the officers had seized 396 pounds of fresh clam meat,
20 cases (1,400 pounds) of live surf clams, 369 boxes (11,070
pounds) of frozen raw clam meat and 20 cases (960 pounds) of fresh
raw clam meat. Powers then interviewed the owner and was able to
obtain several sales receipts pertaining to shellfish dating back
several months. The company agreed to an administrative settlement
with the department with a penalty of $40,000, which has been
paid.

 

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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