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Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers recently found an illegal camping site with drugs while investigating a complaint in the Withlacoochee State Forest.

That tops the list of the FWC’s roundup of enforcement actions from late August to early September.

Illegal camping site; drugs found

FWC officers received an illegal camping complaint in the Withlacoochee State Forest Two Mile Prairie Tract. They located the site and found a woman and her two children.

She had several baggies that appeared to be methamphetamine, a bag of 30 pills and multiple smoking pipes, according to the FWC report. Each small baggie and several smoking pipes tested positive for methamphetamine. 

The woman was placed under arrest and booked into the Citrus County Jail. Citrus County Sheriff’s Office deputies assisted in transferring the two children into the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

The bag of 30 pills was submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for identification.

Harvesting and possessing shrimp without permit

Officers conducted inspections of commercial shrimp boats harvesting shrimp in federal waters off the Gulf of Mexico. 

Ten vessels were boarded and inspected for compliance. The officers issued three federal citations for harvesting and possessing shrimp in federal waters without the required permit. The cases will be turned over to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration for prosecution.

Hide and snook

Officers received information that subjects were catching and hiding snook during the closed season at a popular fishing spot. 

The officers arrived and saw a subject matching the description loading a snook into a cooler in the trunk of a vehicle. The officers contacted the subject, conducted an inspection and issued a citation for possession of snook during the closed season.

Invalid gator licenses 

Officers were on foot patrol, targeting alligator hunting on the Lake Rousseau spillway and saw three people operating a vessel from Lake Rousseau into the Barge Canal. 

The vessel did not have the required stern light and one of the individuals was spotlighting the bank. 

The officers announced their presence and did an alligator hunting and boating safety inspection. One of the individuals had alligator hunting tags but they were exclusively for Lake Rousseau. 

The other two people did not have valid alligator trapping agent licenses. The officers issued three resource citations, one uniform boating citation and eight written warnings.

Undersized triggerfish found

Officers on water patrol in federal waters conducted a marine fisheries inspection of a 26-foot recreational fishing vessel and discovered five undersized gray triggerfish inside the fish box aboard the vessel. 

The officer issued a federal citation for possession of undersized gray triggerfish and the case will be turned over to the NOAA for prosecution.

Redfish harvesting over the limit

An FWC officer received a complaint of individuals harvesting redfish over the bag limit in the area of Long Point, northwest of Crystal River. 

The officer found two individuals on a vessel fishing in that area and, after inspection, found them in possession of three redfish. The bag limit for that area is one per person. The appropriate citation was issued.


Contact Chronicle reporter Michael D. Bates at 352-563-3205 or mbates@chronicleonline.com.

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