FWC received formation from an anonymous source at Crime Stoppers that a man was selling baby American alligators out of a residence in Naples. The subject was identified and Officer Futch and Investigator II O’Horo interviewed the man at his residence. The man confessed to capturing alligators at a canal at the end of his street, but denied that he was selling them. The man then led the Officers to a storage closet where he was keeping twelve baby alligators in an aquarium. He was arrested and booked into the Collier County Jail for felony capture and possession of alligators. The alligators were released at the original capture site.
Officers Barringer and White attended the Marco Island Sport Fishing Club Annual Meeting. The fishing club is known as one of the largest fishing clubs in Southwest Florida. Over one hundred club members were excited to learn the updated fishing rules and regulations for 2015. Both Officers spoke to the group and provided them with new and updated regulations for off-shore fisheries and back-water fishing.
Officers Barringer, Harris, Johnson, Lugg, Reith, Van Trees and White along with Sea Tow Naples, Naples Police Department and the Naples Fire Department responded to a call off a beach in the Port Royal area, near Gordon’s Pass, regarding a missing swimmer. The swimmer attempted to swim out to a sandbar off the coast, which was deeper than he expected it to be and attempted to swim back to shore. The swimmer’s body was recovered in the Gulf of Mexico waters.
Lieutenant Williams, Investigator II Cook, and Officers Futch, Miller, Reams, Thurkettle and Tolbert have been monitoring several illicit cannabis grow sites in the Picayune Strand State Forest. Over the course of several weeks, the Officers were able to develop a suspect as well as a predictable pattern of movement to and from the forest. When the suspect entered the forest, the Officers coordinated with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), who then provided an aviation unit to locate and surveille the suspect. The air unit relayed the suspect’s direction of travel, which was headed towards one of the cannabis grow areas. The Officers were in concealed locations and watched the suspect cultivate the cannabis plants. The Officers announced their presence and took the suspect into custody without incident. The Officers then coordinated with the CCSO Narcotics Unit who assisted with the collection, packaging and documentation of the evidence. In total, over 214 pounds of cannabis was seized. The suspect was booked into the CCSO jail for the felony of cultivating marijuana and trafficking marijuana.
While on offshore patrol, Officers Harris and White observed a disturbance in the water around 4 stone crab buoys. Upon closer inspection they found a 700 pound leatherback sea turtle caught in the buoy lines. The turtle was towing 4 traps and was struggling for air. The Officers caught the turtle and removed the lines allowing the turtle to swim away freely.
“The Great Dock Canoe Race” was held in Naples drawing thousands of spectators to the water. Hundreds of vessels congregated on the southern tip of Keewaydin Island within the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve area for the after party. FWC Officers coordinated with local law enforcement to ensure the event’s safety. FWC Officers arrested 4 individuals for boating under the influence and issued several citations and warnings. Additionally, there were no reportable boating accidents and no injuries.