Lieutenant Cole, CO Kuechler and CO Panico have been selected
to receive a Teamwork/Achievement Award for their activities relating
to the Caldwell Taxidermy Investigation. The award is made through
the New Jersey Public Service Recognition Awards Program and will
be presented at the State House in May. Congratulations on a job
Northern Region Conservation Officers assisted with public information
duties at the Suffern Outdoor Show recently. Lt. Fletcher and
COs Hutchinson, Nestel and Samona answered questions from the
general public relating to wildlife and enforcement issues.
CO Paul investigated a fish-kill involving suckers and small-mouth
bass on Chambers Brook in Branchburg, Somerset County. The mortality
was the direct result of runoff from a petroleum products fire
at a nearby warehouse. CO Paul assisted with the placement of
a boom to control the runoff.
CO Applegate, assisted by Lieutenant Cole, conducted an inspection
of records and wildlife at a taxidermist shop located in Ringoes,
Hunterdon County. The investigation is continuing.
CO Williamson assisted the Province of Alberta Fish and Wildlife
Division with the interview of a Long Valley, Morris County, resident
regarding hunting activities in Alberta during 2004 and 2005.
CO Kuechler attended the Essex County Federation of Sportsman
Captain Cussen attended the Bergen County Federation of Sportsman
CO Paul apprehended two individuals from a local hunting club
participating in the Bridgewater Community Based Deer Hunt. The
hunters had killed more than the number of deer allowed at one
time, and were attempting to find additional tags for the deer
when apprehended. The two individuals were removed from the list
of participants due to the violation, complaints were signed and
the extra deer were turned over to the food bank.
CO Williamson assisted with winter firearms qualifications for
Deputy Conservation Officers.
Lieutenant Cole and CO Kuechler were interviewed by the Korean
Television Broadcasting Company regarding their investigation
of Caldwell Taxidermy. The interview was conducted for viewing
in Korea, to inform the public of the duties of Conservation Officers
in their country as well as worldwide.
Lieutenant Cole and COs Paul and Williamson are investigating
a self inflicted hunting related shooting. The deer hunting incident
took place during the closed season in Branchburg, Somerset County.
The hunter shot himself through the upper left thigh with a 12
gauge rifled slug. The incident is still under investigation and
the wound resulted in the loss of the limb.
A resident of the state of Florida charged with the possession
of a road-killed bear plead guilty in Montville Municipal Court
in Morris County from a complaint signed by CO Williamson.
Central Region Highlights
CO Fresco has recently investigated a number of
illegal dumping cases located within the Colliers Mills Wildlife
Management Area. He has also apprehended two individuals who were
using the trash receptacles located on the Prospertown Wildlife
Management Area for the disposal of their household trash. Working
in conjunction with the lands management crew, trash that contained
identifiers was set aside. When a pattern of use was documented,
Officer Fresco was able to issue the appropriate summonses. It
is interesting to note that when both individuals were presented
with the evidence they promptly admitted their guilt and were
quite surprised that someone had taken the time necessary to make
Lt. Sich and CO Fresco attempted to initiate a stop of four ATV
riders that were illegally operating on the Colliers Mills Wildlife
Management Area. When the subjects noticed the patrol vehicle
lights and siren they immediately turned around and fled from
the officers by driving on Hawkins road at a high rate of speed.
The group split up in an attempt to elude the officers. Unfortunate
for them, the officers who are very familiar with the area set
up in an attempt to apprehend the riders before they could return
home. With CO Fresco parked in a strategic location, Lt. Sich
entered the woods and tracked the riders back to a location where
they were all found hiding in the brush. When everything was sorted
out three of the riders were issued a total of four motor vehicle
summonses and three fish and wildlife summonses.
While posting trout signs on the Toms River located in Jackson
Township, CO’s Tonnesen and Mutone noticed that sediment,
debris and what appeared to be a petroleum product was being deposited
into the stream leaving a sheen on the water. The two officers
were able to trace the source of pollution back to a construction
site where heavy equipment was being used to clean a retention
basin. The officers noticed fuel leaking from a large pump that
was being used to pump water from the basin into a storm drain
that led to the trout stream. An Emergency Response Unit was dispatched
and other state and local environmental enforcement agencies were
notified. The construction site supervisor halted the work until
the proper method of curtailing the pollution could be implemented.
The investigation is continuing and summonses are pending.
CO McManus was on patrol posting for trout along the D & R
Canal when he noticed a red fox mount displayed on a pickup truck
at the Golden Nugget Flea Market in Hopewell Twp. Upon closer
inspection, he also saw a rattlesnake mount displayed on a table
as well as deer skins and antlers. Since he was in uniform, he
contacted Lt. Lacroix who was able to respond in plain clothes.
Lt. Lacroix posed as an interested customer and told the two men
she was interested in buying mounted wildlife. The men were very
willing to talk and offered to sell the deer antlers for $40.
One of the men stated that he once had a great horned owl mount,
but it was illegal to sell those. After identifying herself, the
men were pretty upset that she had duped them. The appropriate
summons was issued to the seller. Afterwards, another seller at
the flea market approached the officers and stated that she sees
lots of wildlife offered for sale at the flea market. She stated
that several weeks earlier someone was selling a mounted owl.
CO's McManus, Martiak, O'Rourke and DCO Tindall were on patrol
in the Caruso Village area of Greenwood Forest WMA, when CO McManus
observed a motor vehicle pulling into a wooded area around 2120
hours. When CO McManus activated his emergency lights to approach
the vehicle for an after hours inspection, he observed the front
seat passenger making suspicious movements. CO Martiak approached
the passenger side of the vehicle and observed the passenger bent
over reaching under the front seat. The passenger and driver were
asked to exit the vehicle and an open box of "test tube"
shots was observed on the dashboard. The officers were given permission
to look through the vehicle after the occupants stated that there
wasn't anything in the vehicle. CO Martiak located a large plastic
bag containing a green leafy substance that had an odor of marijuana
under the front passenger seat. When asked if there was anything
else in the vehicle, the passenger stated no but removed two smaller
bags containing a similar substance and a pipe from his pant pockets.
A case of beer was also found in the vehicle. The passenger was
transported to Lacey Twp. Police Department where he was processed
for possession of CDS as well as wildlife management area violations.
CO Martiak assisted Alberta Fish and Game with a case involving
an Alberta hunting guide who had guided some New Jersey hunters
last fall. The guide had specific zone permits where he was allowed
to guide and kill deer, but Alberta had received information that
he had taken the New Jersey hunters to another zone and had killed
several large deer. CO Martiak interviewed one of the hunters
who lived in Middlesex County. The NJ hunter was unfamiliar with
the area in Alberta but statements made during the interview confirmed
the information that Alberta Fish and Game had received. The hunter
became worried that he was going to lose the large deer that he
had harvested and hired a lawyer. He then refused to talk when
asked for another interview. Alberta Fish and Game will be pressing
charges and is moving for a search warrant for the Alberta taxidermist
in order to seize the illegal deer.
Southern Region Highlights
A man pled guilty to dumping on Union Lake WMA
in Cumberland County. In an agreement worked out by Conservation
Officer Risher he agreed to clean up his trash and pay a $1000
Conservation Officer Risher also convicted a man for multiple
violations involving riding an ATV on Winslow WMA in Gloucester
County. The rider was fined $700. He had a previous apprehension
for the same offense.
Conservation Officer Kille obtained convictions for two different
dumping violations on Glassboro WMA Gloucester County. One case
involved a fraternity house that had been doing some early spring-cleaning.
Three people were convicted in this case. The other incident involved
a contractor that was dumping building materials. Both sites were
cleaned up as well as fines being paid.
Conservation Officer Massey responded to a trapping complaint
with Parks and Forest staff at the Brigantine Natural Area in
Brigantine, Atlantic County. The complaint stemmed from an individual
who was hiking the area and found several dead red fox in snares.
All of the recovered snares appeared to be lawfully set and marked,
however they just weren't tended properly. Conservation Officer
Massey conducted an interview with the trapper whose name appeared
on the snares and he admitted to having forgot the location of
several of his snares. The appropriate summonses have been issued.
Conservation Officer Massey located several pieces of identification
in a trash pile on the Great Egg Harbor River Wildlife Management
Area in Mullica Township, Atlantic County. During an interview
the suspect admitted to the illegal dumping and offered to clean
the area. The suspect has contacted CO Massey three times to advise
him that different areas of the WMA have been cleaned. Summonses
are pending the final inspection of the areas to be cleaned. If
the trash removal is successful a recommendation for the mandatory
minimum fines will be made to the Judge.
The Atlantic City Aquarium currently has a permit to possess a
Loggerhead turtle. Conservation Officer Massey received a complaint
from a citizen stating that the turtle was in deplorable condition
and in danger of dying. Lieutenant Cianciulli and CO Massey conducted
an inspection of the facility and its records and believed that
everything looked to be in order. Bob Schoelkopf from the Marine
Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine was called as expert and
identified several minor deficiencies, but said that the turtle
appeared to be in good health. The aquarium agreed to raise the
water temperature a degree or two and to add some additional lighting.
During the investigation the Camden Aquarium was asked if they
could house the turtle if it was in need of immediate care. It
became apparent that they were more than willing to house the
turtle because they had loaned it to Atlantic City and are attempting
to get the turtle back. The Camden Aquarium was advised that the
issue of ownership of the turtle would have to be addressed in
court and that we couldn't settle that dispute.
Conservation Officer Ely has spent a considerable amount of his
patrol time working ATV's and motorcycles being operated unlawfully
on our Wildlife Management Areas in Cumberland and Cape May counties.
The mild winter and the warm weather have led to an increase in
activity during a period when ATV and motorcycle activity is normally
slow. As is usually the case, the majority of the riders encountered
are fleeing apprehension.
Marine Enforcement Highlights
In early March Officer Petrucelli received a complaint
of illegal trapping at Higbee Beach WMA. Living only a short distance
away Officer Petruccelli located the trapper’s vehicle and
went back later that day to locate the trappers snares. Officer
Petruccelli found several snares which were untagged, on private
property and bait placed in an illegal manner. In addition, Officer
Petruccelli found one illegally set spring loaded ram powered
killer trap. On the following day Officer Petruccelli and Officer
James observed 3 trappers enter private property and tend the
untagged traps and illegally set killer trap. The trappers were
apprehended and questioned about the trapping violations. The
trappers were each charged with trespassing, littering, untagged
traps, bait placed in an illegal manner and failure to report
three coyotes. One trapper took responsibility for the illegal
killer trap and if convicted he will lose his trapping license
for a period of time determined by the court.
On March 11th, 2006 Lt. Yunghans was patrolling the shellpile
section of Commercial Township in Cumberland County. As Lt. Yunghans
passed the public warf he observed the F/V Brandy Lee Bateman
tied up to the Warf and the vessels catch visible on the dock.
The F/V Brandy Lee Bateman is licensed to dredge blue crabs and
conchs on the waters of the Delaware Bay. Lt. Yunghans inspected
the vessels catch, license and dredge and everything appeared
to be in order. As Lt. Yunghans was about to leave the vessel
he noticed a hatch cover in the forward bow that was opened slightly.
Lt. Yunghans lifted the hatch and observed three white bags filled
with bulky objects. Upon further inspection Lt. Yunghans determined
the bags were filled with horseshoe crabs. One summons was issued
under the crab dredge regulations and three summonses were issued
under the horseshoe crab regulations. Each summons carries a maximum
of $3,000.00 fine.
Three days were devoted to rifle training for CO's
and Wildlife representatives involved in Bear Response.
Firearms training for the winter quarter got underway. Emphasis
will be on low light shooting.Captain Boyle assisted with a Firearms
instructor class conducted by the Division of Criminal Justice
Academy at Fort Dix.
The Division hosted a two-day training put on by Amour Holdings.
Forty Law Enforcement Officers from around the state attended.