New York Cuffs & Collars – February 7th, 2014

Not you again
(Orange County)
ECO Michael Buckley patrolled to Silver Springs Reservoir in the town of New Windsor to check on the fishing activity. He found two Newburgh residents fishing from one of the usual locations on the shore. Both men failed to produce fishing licenses.  Buckley secured their identification and found one of their names to be familiar.  Buckley asked, “Don’t I know you?” The subject replied, “Yes, you caught me last year.” In fact, Buckley did catch him fishing without a license the year before and they were in the same exact location. Buckley issued the pair tickets for fishing without a license and sent them on their way. Later, Buckley learned that the repeat offender was, indeed, a repeat offender. Not only was he ticketed twice by Buckley in two years, but there was another incident last year when ECO Aaron Gordon caught him fishing without a license. All tickets were pending in the New Windsor town court.

Hide and Seek With Trout
(Sullivan County)
ECO Ricky Wood received a call on his state cell phone from a person who wanted to report an angler taking and keeping over the limit of trout at the Rock Tavern Club on the Neversink River in the town of Fallsburg. The caller advised that the subject was hiding the fish in the woods behind the camp property and requested the officer respond. It was further reported that this was the second day this angler was observed doing the same thing. Wood responded and foot patrolled the wooded area surrounding the club campsite. After watching anglers on the river, one subject was observed leaving the river with a trout and heading into the woodlot. After returning from the woodlot, no trout were observed. Wood then went to the area visited by the angler and located six coolers in the woods covered by a black plastic mat. Wood observed the angler returning with two additional trout and watched him clean them and then place them into one of the coolers. The subject was then observed relocating the cooler with the trout into a camper trailer. Wood announced his presence, and after a quick interview with the subject and examination of the cooler, 25 trout were seized. The subject was then charged with taking 15 trout over the limit and taken to Fallsburg Court for arraignment. The trout were confiscated and donated to needy families after the case was resolved in court.

A quick call
(Kings County)
Marine Enforcement Unit Officers Kevin Thomas and Brent Wilson were on boat patrol in New York Harbor when Thomas received a call from a concerned fish shop owner. Recently, the officer had been getting complaints of local recreational fishermen selling their catch along Brighton Beach Avenue in Brooklyn and taking business away from law-abiding local shop owners. Since Thomas was too far away to respond, he reached out to Officer Matt Baker. Baker was conveniently on his way into Brooklyn and was on the scene within a half hour. Baker saw an individual matching the complainant’s description, sitting on top of a large cooler. The officer approached the individual and had him open the cooler, which contained a few summer flounder. After questioning, the man admitted to selling the fish. The man was issued a ticket for selling food fish without a food fish license.

Undersized fluke
(Suffolk County)
ECO Joshua Sulkey received a call about two men keeping short fluke at Captree State Park. Sulkey quickly responded and observed two men matching the description given to him. The men were still fishing and catching fish. One of the fishermen was heard saying, "I have another nice one!" When the two were approached and questioned about their fishing, the first man replied they threw back some shorts. When asked if anything was in the bucket, the man went silent. The two fishermen had six fluke in their possession. One of the fluke was of legal size at 19.5 inches, but the other five were only 15 inches. The two men did not possess a marine registry and they were each issued summonses for the violations.

More undersized fluke
(Queens County)
ECOs Chris Lattimer and Shea Mathis were on foot patrol at Far Rockaway Inlet, checking for recreational fishing violations. While walking the beach they observed an individual catch what appeared to be an undersized fluke and with his foot dig a little hole to bury the fish. The officers approached the individual and his friend to inspect the fish and check for their marine registrations. Upon closer inspection, ECOs Lattimer and Mathis not only found the fluke to be undersized (16 inches), but also found an even smaller fluke (13 inches) in a hole underneath their bait. Both individuals were issued summonses for possessing undersized fluke, returnable to Queens County Criminal Court.

Felony shellfish case
(Bronx County)
An inspector with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) had contacted ECO Matthew Nichols about a large shipment of shellfish imported from outside the country to a Bronx seafood company. The concern was the shellfish were brought in from an area that was not certified by the FDA and could possibly be contaminated. Nichols passed along the information to ECO Matthew Clemens to respond. On arrival, the officer was met by one of the company owners, who explained he was testing the market for this type of shellfish and had no idea the product was illegal to bring into the U.S. and sell. The shipment consisted of 45 boxes of razor clams and 30 boxes of scallops from Northern Europe and was valued at over $7,500. Due to the shellfish being imported from uncertified waters, the officer explained the product had to be destroyed as it was not safe for human consumption. Product from uncertified waters could potentially be contaminated with bacteria or other diseases. Fortunately, this shipment of shellfish had only just been imported when the FDA inspector discovered the product and none of the shellfish was sold for consumer use in the New York City area. Clemens contacted Marine Enforcement Unit Officer Brent Wilson, who responded to assist in transporting the uncertified shellfish to a Department of Sanitation yard in the Bronx, where it was destroyed. Due to the high value of the product, the company was faced with two felony counts of importing shellfish from uncertified waters and elected to cooperate with DEC law enforcement. The company settled in an administrative agreement to a $5,000 penalty, half of which was suspended on the condition that they would not import any illegal product in the future.

City Island restaurant detail
(Bronx County)
Lt. Robert Peinkofer and R2 Officers conducted an inspection detail on City Island in the Bronx looking for shellfish, crustacean and food fish violations. The ECOs split up and inspected multiple restaurants. A total of nine violations were found at six locations. The violations included multiple bags of untagged shellfish and a total of 101 undersized lobsters. The shellfish were destroyed because of the possible health risks and the lobsters were donated to the Bowery Mission in Manhattan to feed the needy. Aside from the restaurants, a New Jersey company was found to be selling food fish and shellfish in New York without a food fish license or a shellfish shipper/dealer permit.

CPR first aid
(Suffolk County)
ECO Sean Reilly finished checking fishermen at Oak Beach in Babylon when he heard a call over Suffolk County command band of a man having chest pains who had collapsed at Cedar Beach Marina. Reilly responded and arrived with Babylon Bay constables a few minutes after the call. Friends and family had started CPR and Reilly and a Bay constable took over, with assistance from an off-duty EMT. Reilly could not find vitals and used the park’s AED, which administered a shock but did not bring back normal heart rhythm. Reilly delivered breaths using his pocket mask before eventually switching to compressions, with the CPR continuing for over 20 more minutes with the Bay constable and a Suffolk County police officer. An ambulance transported the victim to Good Samaritan Hospital, where he was admitted in critical condition.

I didn't catch any fish, but they did!
(Nassau County)
On July 28, ECO Michael Unger and Marine Enforcement Unit ECO Sean Reilly were on Hempstead Bay by the Sloop Channel Meadowbrook Parkway Bridge talking to a fisherman and his son about having no luck catching fish for the day. The elderly fisherman was frustrated with not having any luck and cheerfully provided the description of a nearby boat with two fishermen who he had observed catching and keeping fluke. After locating the vessel that matched the description given, the ECOs conducted a boarding, finding two short fluke and a few keeper fish which were cleverly hidden in the bottom of a chair. After further investigation it was revealed that the fisherman in possession of the short fluke was issued tickets previously for similar violations in New York City waters. The fisherman was issued a ticket for failing to have a type-four throwable life preserver and possession of two undersize fluke.

Poached terrapin for sale
(Richmond County)
ECO Timothy Machnica located an individual attempting to sell a “rare” baby turtle online for $60. Machnica exchanged multiple emails, attempting to identify the species of turtle, since there was no species listed in the advertisement and the picture was very blurry. Machnica has had extensive experience in illegal turtle trafficking and, due to his expertise, suspected it was a Diamondback terrapin. Later that night, Machnica met the seller of the turtle in a Staten Island bungalow and identified himself as a DEC officer. ECO Brent Wilson was nearby in uniform and approached as the sale was in progress. The officers confiscated the turtle and Machnica issued a summons to the defendant for illegal possession/sale of protected wildlife.It was determined that the Diamondback terrapin was poached illegally from the wild and was transported to a New York state licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

Camp DeBruce
(Sullivan County)
Lt. Martin Townley and ECO Aaron Gordon assisted with the sportsmen education program at Camp DeBruce. The officers assisted with the firearms portion of the class. Approximately 12 youth campers participated in the program.
Officers raise $21,000 for charity (Suffolk/Erie counties)
Region 1 ECO Don Damrath joined DEC officers from around the state at the Byrncliff Golf Resort in Varysburg for the Second Annual New York Conservation Officers Association "Hunt of a Lifetime" Charity Golf Tournament. Founded two years ago by Damrath, Region 9 ECO Jim Hunt, and Region 2 Lt. Bob Peinkofer, the golf outing raises money to send terminally ill children on their dream hunting or fishing trip through the "Hunt of a Lifetime" foundation. In 2013, New York Conservation Officers association (NYCOA), in conjunction with 53 corporate sponsors and countless volunteers, raised $21,000 through the tournament and dinner banquet auctions – enough money to send four or five kids battling life-threatening illnesses on hunting or fishing trip of their choice.

ATV complaint
(Warren County)
ECO Steve Stubing received a call from the director of Parks and Recreation from the town of Queensbury regarding ATV complaints on Hudson Point Nature Preserve and Clendon Brook. Stubing conducted a foot patrol and followed some fresh ATV tracks. He was able to quietly walk up upon three subjects parked in the preserve, drinking beer. One subject, having 12 suspensions, was ticketed for operating an ATV on public land and unpermitted, unregistered, and uninsured ATV. Another was issued tickets for the same violations and another for uninsured ATV and operating an ATV without a helmet. All three subjects were instructed on the requirements for legal operation of ATVs and a total of eight tickets were issued. They were all to appear in the Town of Queensbury Court. 

Make-A-Wish picnic
(Saratoga County)
ECOs Steve Gonyeau, Robert Higgins and Steve Shaw attended the annual Upstate New York Make-A-Wish picnic at McArthur Park in the town of Corinth. The event provides a variety of fun-filled activities for children with life-threatening medical conditions. One of the activities many of the children look forward to is fishing for trout in the Daly Creek. Division of Law Enforcement members stocked the fish two days prior to the event and then assisted the children with baiting their hooks, casting and reeling in some quality rainbow trout. The Division of Law Enforcement has been assisting Make-A-Wish children at the event for more than 20 years.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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