New York Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars Report – September 16th, 2016

(Editor’s note: A criminal charge is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the state of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.)

Bears cause a scene
(Herkimer County)

On July 21, ECO Shana Hutton was dispatched to the village of Old Forge for a complaint of four bears – a mother and three cubs – in a tree. The tree was in the middle of the village along State Route 28 and the bears were attracting quite a crowd of on-lookers. Hutton secured a safety zone around the tree and conferred with DEC wildlife staff. It was determined that the best course of action would be to wait for the bears to come down on their own. Unfortunately, as the day progressed it became clear that there was far too much activity for the bears to make their way down the tree. Hutton, ECO Tim Worden, and a police officer from Webb rerouted vehicle and pedestrian traffic away from the tree, and after 15 minutes, the bears came down from the tree and headed off into the woods.

Operation Clear Passage
(Essex and Clinton counties)

Between July 11 and July 24, more than 40 ECOs participated in Operation Clear Passage on northern Lake Champlain. Clear Passage was a multi-agency operation that combined anti-terrorism and anti-radiological exercises with proactive enforcement of environmental and navigation regulations on the lake. The first phase focused on land-based water quality regulations and involved the inspection of 100 facilities with DEC permits in areas such as petroleum bulk storage, wastewater discharge and lakeside construction projects. At least 119 violations of law or permit requirements were uncovered during those inspections, including felony-level offenses.

The second phase involved a three-day, on-water exercise that included staff from DEC, the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, the New York State Police, the New York State Park Police, the New York State Naval Militia, the New York State Intelligence Center, the New York 2nd Civil Support Team, and the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office. Partners from Vermont included the Vermont State Police, Vermont Fish and Wildlife wardens, the Vermont Urban Search and Rescue, and the Vermont Department of Health. Federal agencies participating included the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, along with the Canadian Border Patrol.

A radiation detection exercise was held involving radioactive source material being hidden on non-police vessels in the exercise area to test law enforcement’s ability to detect and respond to radioactive materials in unexpected settings. Patrol activities focused on boater safety and locating marine sanitary systems that were not sealed to prevent illegal discharges of sewage into the lake. Over three days, 151 vessels were boarded and a total of 37 tickets and 70 warnings were issued for a wide range of violations. Eight of the tickets were issued for not having sealed marine sanitation devices on vessels as required by law.

Several rescues also occurred on the lake on the evening of July 23 when a powerful storm hit the area. An ECO 31-foot SAFE boat crewed by ECOs Matt Dorrett, Matt Krug, Dan Malone, and Brent Wilson was completing a patrol assignment as part of Operation Clear Passage south of the city of Plattsburgh when the storm struck. Numerous vessels on the lake were making their way to safety, while the crew assisted a kayaker and a swimmer traversing Willsboro Bay that were unable to get out of the path of the storm. Shortly after returning the swimmer and kayaker to safe harbor, the patrol vessel responded to a distress call from the 36-foot racing sail boat Odinn. The Odinn had lost its rudder, was unable to start its motor, and was drifting south uncontrollably near Four Brothers Island. Working through 6-foot waves, the patrol boat located the Odinn approximately three miles south of the Four Brothers Islands and two miles from the Vermont coastline. After a quick assessment of the crew of the Odinn to determine that no one was injured, the patrol boat took the Odinn under tow for the two-mile trip to a bay on the New York shore, where it was able to anchor safely to wait out the storm and assess damage to the boat.

Trio caught keeping short porgies
(Bronx County)

On July 24, ECOs Brad Buffa and Jeannette Bastedo were checking fishermen in City Island when they observed three men round the corner of a nearby building stop and suspiciously back up around the corner. The officers followed them and found three large coolers full of fish. In total, the coolers contained 114 porgies and one summer flounder (fluke). Of those, 84 of the porgies were undersized, as was the fluke. Additionally, the group was over the limit by 24 porgies and none of the men possessed a recreational saltwater marine registry. The men were issued numerous summonses for the violations, which were to be heard in Bronx County Criminal Court.

Drugged driving MVA
(Westchester County)

On July 26, ECO Dustin Dainack was traveling on Route 129 – a busy two -lane road in Westchester County – when he observed a woman standing in the road with her damaged car parked in a precarious position on the roadway.  Dainack stopped to assist her, and it soon became clear the woman was potentially under the influence of drugs, as she was having difficulty paying attention, began falling asleep and admitted to taking prescription pills earlier that day. A second motorist was also stopped and explained that the woman nearly hit his vehicle head-on and passed him between the guardrail and the passenger side of his car, striking his car as she drove by. Dainack secured the impaired driver and the investigation was turned over to the Yorktown Police Department.

Unpermitted shellfish dealer
(Kings County)

On July 29, ECOs Jeffrey Krueger and Paul Pasciak were conducting seafood inspections in Brooklyn. During their inspections they came across a lobster wholesaler who was in possession of 107 American lobsters with carapace lengths less than 3 3/8 inches, which are prohibited in New York state. Krueger questioned a man, who at first identified himself as the warehouse manager. Eventually, the man stated that there are two corporations based out of that warehouse. Krueger then asked to see invoices of the two corporations. After examination of the paperwork Krueger quickly identified one of corporations as a shipper of undersized lobster in another case which he had worked on with ECO John Gates. Also, only one of the corporations held a valid food fish and crustacean shipper/dealer permit. The unpermitted business had been allegedly using the other corporation’s permit to ship lobsters. As a result of the inspection the individuals and corporation were issued summonses in Kings County Court. Krueger and Pasciak donated the seized undersized lobsters to the Bowery Mission in New York County.

Illegal trash burning
(Fulton County)

On the morning on July 30, ECO Matthew Clemens received a complaint of an illegal burning in progress in the town of Ephratah. The complainant stated the fire was still smoking and smelled like garbage. Clemens responded to the scene and located a large metal container full of garbage, metals and plastics that had been burned hours earlier and was still smoldering. Clemens issued the property owner a ticket for the unlawful burning of rubbish, returnable in Ephratah Town Court.

Basket full of porgies
(Kings County)

On July 31, ECO Kevin Cummings was forwarded a tip that anglers were keeping undersized porgy (scup) on the Shore Parkway that runs along the Belt Parkway Highway in Brooklyn. Cummings patrolled the area and, while checking fishermen, saw a moped with a basket containing a number of undersized porgy. The owner of the moped admitted that he had caught all 16 of the fish in the basket, all of them under the legal size limit. The angler was issued a summons for the violation. Cummings also explained to the angler how to download the Pocket Ranger App so that he would know what size fish he could keep in the future.

Rescued owl
(Livingston County)

On Aug. 1, Livingston County 911 contacted the Region 8 office to report that a deputy had found an injured owl on State Route 256 in the town of West Sparta. Lt. William Powell responded and found the deputy with a barred owl that appeared to have been struck by a vehicle while catching a rabbit. The deceased rabbit was on the ground next to the owl and the owl’s talons were full of rabbit hair. The owl was carefully secured and transported to a licensed rehabilitator, who was to monitor its recovery for future release.

Undersized crabs and fish
(Kings County)

On Aug. 2, ECOs Paul Pasciak and Kimberly Garnsey were conducting shoreline checks in Kings County when they observed two individuals cast netting in the Marine Basin area. The ECOs made their way through the thick marsh to check on the fishermen. The tide was coming in rapidly so they made a quick inspection of the catch and located a large number of undersized crabs and short fish, so they directed the individuals to meet them on higher ground. The cast netters had seven short scup as well as 99 undersized blue claw crabs. One individual was written four criminal citations returnable to Kings County Criminal Court, and the fish and crabs were released back to the water.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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