April 2006

NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife
Monthly Highlights
Bureau of Law Enforcement
March 21-April 20, 2006

Northern Region Highlights

CO Applegate and Lieutenant Cole responded to a residence in Milford, Hunterdon County regarding reports of a six-foot caiman in a greenhouse on the property. The reports were accurate, as the owner stated that he had purchased the caiman several years before in Pennsylvania. The officers left the animal in Custodial Care in order to arrange for relocation. The incident is currently under investigation.

During the week prior to Trout Season, COs Hutchinson and Kuechler encountered many individuals fishing closed waters. The officers working in city environments, apprehended 41 individuals, signing 19 complaints and 12 written warnings.

Lieutenant Fletcher and CO Hutchinson assisted the West Milford Police Department with an investigation of an unattended death at the Wanaque Wildlife Management Area in Passaic County. The woman had been missing for approximately two months and was found in her vehicle in approximately 30 feet of water in Green Turtle Pond.

CO Nestel attended the Sussex County Federation Dinner and was presented with an award for Public Service and Supporting Hunting by the organization.

Lieutenant Cole and COs Nestel and Williamson assisted with the Annual Open House at the Pequest Hatchery. Officers manned the Law Enforcement display and answered questions from the public.

CO Williamson and Captain Cussen attended the Morris County Farmer-Sportsman Federation Meeting.

CO Hutchinson and Captain Cussen attended the Passaic County Farmer-Sportsman Federation Meeting. In addition, the Somerset and Hunterdon County Meetings were also attended.

Lieutenant Cole apprehended two individuals on Opening day of Trout Season exceeding the daily limit of trout on the Musconetcong River in Hunterdon County. Complaints were signed against the fishermen who had one and three trout over the limit.

CO Applegate responded to a complaint of a turkey hunter killing three gobblers at one time in White Township in Warren County. After interviewing the suspect with little luck, the officer met with the complainant at the scene. CO Applegate located two jake gobblers hidden in a hedgerow and recovered ballistic evidence at the scene to corroborate the complainant’s information. Complaints are to be signed for trespass, take more than the daily limit of turkey, untagged turkey, interference and fail to register turkey by 3 p.m. on date killed.

Central Region Highlights

Officers from the Central Region conducted an evening patrol of the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area located in Jackson Twp. During the evening, Officer’s Fresco, Martiak, and Szalaj issued a total of 29 summonses for wildlife management and motor vehicle violations that involved illegal campfires, under age drinking, after hours, littering and operating a motor vehicle while diving privileges were suspended. During one particular incident CO Fresco attempted to stop a motor vehicle using his emergency lights and siren. The driver after being instructed to stop drove around the officers patrol vehicle and fled the scene. As the officers continued to inspect other members of the group, the vehicle that had fled earlier returned and was now being driven by another operator. Officer Fresco realizing this was the same vehicle, made the stop. He was able to identify a passenger in the vehicle as the driver during the earlier encounter. It turns out that the suspect was driving while his privileges were suspended and probably the reason why he refused to stop. That individual was issued summonses for driving while suspended and after hours on a wildlife management area.

CO Tonnesen stopped a pickup truck that was being operated on the Stafford Forge Wildlife Management Area for a motor vehicle infraction and subsequently arrested two individuals for the illegal possession of marijuana. With the assistance of the State Police both subjects were taken to the Tuckerton State Police barracks where they were processed and released.

On the opening day of Trout Season Captain Boyle and CO Mutone stopped to inspect a group of fisherman on the North Branch of the Metedeconk River located in Jackson Township. During the inspection Officer Mutone noticed that one individual was acting a little nervous and when questioned was unable to produce a fishing license or a valid trout stamp. When the officer asked for identification the subject gave conflicting and vague information. With the little information they could confirm, it was finally determined that the subject had eleven active warrants for his arrest. They were for aggravated assault, illegal possession of CDS and various motor vehicle charges. With the assistance of the Jackson Twp Police the subject was arrested, processed at the Jackson Twp. Police Department and then transported to the Ocean County Jail. Summonses for fish no license and attempting to take trout without a trout stamp were issued.

On the opening day of Trout Season CO Fresco assigned Deputy Manfredi to work undercover at the Hamilton Fire Pond located in Neptune. After a short period of time Deputy Manfredi observed a fisherman catch over his limit of trout. CO Fresco was called in to make an inspection and apprehended the fisherman with four trout over the limit.

While CO’s Tonnesen and Mutone were monitoring a group of individuals that were participating in a sanctioned road rally within the Greenwood Forest Wildlife Management Area located in Lacey Twp., they encountered a large group of riders that were illegally operating their all-terrain vehicles on the management property. Using their skills and coordinating their efforts, the CO’s were able to apprehend fourteen of the riders without incident.

CO McManus was on patrol along the Delaware River in Trenton when he observed an individual tying a white plastic bag that appeared to have a large fish inside. The man looked around the area and then placed the bag in the back of his truck behind the spare tire and returned to the river to fish. CO McManus approached the man and asked him if he had caught any fish. The fisherman stated “no”. CO McManus then asked what kind of fish was in the bag that he had put in his truck. After a long pause and some stuttering, the man claimed it was a carp. He retrieved the bag from the truck after CO McManus asked to see the fish. Upon inspection, the bag was found to contain a 34-inch shortnose sturgeon. The fish was still alive so CO McManus photographed it and returned it to the water. The man stated that his friend had caught the fish and given it to him. The man was issued a summons for possession of an endangered species while his friend was issued a summons for taking a shortnose sturgeon. During the course of the inspection, it was also determined that both individuals had outstanding warrants, one of which was for a ticket issued by CO Sennick. They were turned over to the proper authorities.

CO’s Martiak, McManus, Szalaj and DCO Kalis conducted a night patrol of the Assunpink and Collier’s Mills Wildlife Management Areas on a recent Saturday night. A total of six summonses were issued on Collier’s Mills for after-hours violations. Twenty-eight summonses were issued on Assunpink WMA for violations of after-hours, alcohol, operating a vehicle off the established road and littering. Two Title 39 summonses were also issued to two juveniles. CO McManus also issued five fishing related summonses prior to dark for violations including no license, loaning a license, littering and consumption of alcohol. CO Martiak also issued nine summonses to fishermen prior to dark for violations of fishing without a license and littering.

Southern Region Highlights

CO Kille attended a Criminal Investigation School offered at Gloucester County College that provided instruction on investigation techniques used in apprehending various offenders.

While on ATV Patrol in the Glassboro WMA, CO Kille had three ATV’s elude him. The same ATV’s were observed earlier that afternoon at a home on an adjacent street. CO Kille returned to that location and stopped a truck attempting to leave the property. One of the occupants appeared to have been riding. That individual was detained and questioned about his involvement and/or knowledge of the ATV riders. He provided CO Kille with a false identity and refused to cooperate. CO Ely, DCO Santini and DCO Chiusolo arrived and the individual remembered his correct identity that revealed he had a $614 warrant out for his arrest. He was subsequently charged with Hindering Apprehension and Interference. Prior to posting bail he provided the officers with first names of the other two riders and a trailer park in which they might be found. The investigation then continued with CO Kille and DCO Chiusolo going door to door in a trailer park looking for an individual by the first name of Chris that was about 20 years old. After talking to 15 or so people the CO’s discovered where “Chris” resides. Although no one was home charges are pending for that individual as well.. The third rider was then apprehended after the CO’s paid a visit to the home of the first individual that had just posted bail.

CO Vazquez has devoted considerable time to freshwater fishing patrols in Camden County. He recently checked 6 fishermen together at New Brooklyn Lake, Camden County. Five who did not possess a fishing license were charged.

Conservation Officer Massey is investigating an osprey nest that was moved in Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic County. The nest, which was adjacent to a newly proposed marina, was moved several hundred yards from its original location. Several interviews conducted in the neighborhood suggested that the maintenance crew from the marina were responsible for moving the nest. The marina owner denies the allegations, however one neighbor states that the marina owner admitted to relocating the nest platform. Personnel from the non-game section said that the nest could have been moved without any detrimental effects if it would have been moved earlier in the year. The investigation is ongoing and may be settled with a NOV and the construction of several new nest platforms to mitigate the nest that was re-located during the breeding season.

During a routine patrol of the Great Egg Harbor River Wildlife Management Area in Mizpah, Atlantic County, CO Massey encountered a parked vehicle that had off-loaded several ATV's. Conservation Officer Massey waited at the vehicle and eventually stopped four individuals on two ATV's. While issuing the appropriate summonses for unlawfully operating the ATV's, CO Massey ran the VIN numbers and one of the ATV's was listed as stolen. Hamilton Township Police Department responded and the individual was taken into custody. The appropriate charges were issued.

While patrolling Union Lake Wildlife Management Area in Cumberland County, Conservation Officer Honachefsky observed three individuals throwing cast nets attempting to catch herring. During the inspection all three nets were measured and found to be over the legal four-foot radius size limit. The appropriate summonses were issued and the nets were seized.

Conservation Officers Ely and Honachefsky were conducting a herring operation in Mays Landing, Atlantic County. During the operation, CO Honachefsky observed two individuals catch 41 fish over their limit of 35 herring and called CO Ely to conduct the uniformed inspection. During the inspection the two individuals attempted to tell CO Ely that the female occupant had caught her limit as well and that they were only six fish over their combined limit. A quick interview, with a little insight from CO Honachefsky who had been fishing next to them in plainclothes, yielded a confession. The appropriate summonses were issued.

Conservation Officer Honachefsky was returning to his station from patrol when he encountered a motorcycle on the Bevans Wildlife Management Area in Cumberland County. The operator, who was on a street bike without a helmet or tags, immediately fled from CO Honachefsky when he activated his emergency lights. As the first bike fled six additional motorcycles approached the CO and they all attempted to elude him. Conservation Officer Honachefsky attempted to stop the riders on the opposite side of a guardrail and was almost struck by several of the riders. One rider got stuck and CO Honachefsky was able to stop him and remove him from his bike. The rider was charged criminally with eluding and received four additional fish and wildlife summonses.

Conservation Officer's Ely and Kille assisted the marine officers in a trapping investigation in Cape May County. The subjects were apprehended near the Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area with several illegal-trapping sets. During the field inspection, the subjects indicated that they had already trapped several coyotes and muskrat. Conservation Officers Ely and Kille assisted the marine officers in a subsequent interview and inspection at one subjects’ home. Conservation Officer Kille had just taken the trapper education class with the two subjects and had a lot of intelligence to add to the subsequent interviews. Both individuals had been trapping prior to taking the trapper education class without a license and had numerous animals, including an otter, that had been taken illegally. The marine officers issued the appropriate summonses and the case has been settled in court.

Conservation Ely investigated a dumping case on the Peaslee Wildlife Management Area in Maurice River Township in Cumberland County. The dumpsite was located by the land management crew and several labels from a Lowe's store were recovered. Conservation Officer Ely went to the Lowe's store and was able to ascertain who ordered the building materials. The homeowner that ordered the supplies advised CO Ely that he had contracted with a builder to install the material and paid him to dispose of the waste from the job site. An interview with the builder resulted in a confession and the appropriate summonses were issued.

Conservation Officer Ely encountered several ATV's during a routine patrol of the Menantico Ponds Wildlife Management Area in Millville, Cumberland County. Of the five individuals that he attempted to stop two eluded him and three were apprehended. An area of the WMA that had been planted with trees as mitigation for the damage caused by the Greenbriar Enduro race, a motorcycle race sanctioned by the Division of Fish and Wildlife on another adjacent WMA, has been destroyed by the recent increase in riding activity. This increase in riding activity has prompted an increase in patrol activity in the area. The appropriate summonses have been issued.

Captain Eisenhuth presented background and operational information to a group of about 60 police chiefs from various departments throughout south Jersey in Deptford, Gloucester County. A brochure listing useful Division phone numbers and ways to contact Cos was distributed, as well as WMA maps and Digests.

Charges for the taking of bald eagles filed against Cherokee Pennsauken and a consultant they hired were upheld in a recent court hearing in Trenton. Briefs by defense attorneys and the Attorney general’s Office were considered by the judge, who set a time table in order to move the case along. He commented that there was a “considerable amount of discovery” to come out in the case.

COs Massey and Kille, and Captain Eisenhuth met with a security consulting company hired by the US Coast Guard to update their port security study completed a year ago. Information pertaining to observations made by COs on the water was shared, and will become part of the federal study.

Marine Enforcement Highlights

On March 25, 2006 Officers inspected the party boat Jamaica out of Brielle, NJ. This vessel was on a special black sea bass fishing trip, having left the dock at 0100 and returned the same day at 1830. On this day, there were approximately 45 patrons aboard. Upon leaving the vessel, each patron's catch was inspected, many of whom had limits of 25 black sea bass. Resultant to this inspection, 3 warnings and 3 summonses were issued for the following violations. Two of the patrons were issued warnings for 1 black sea bass over the 25 fish limit. The vessel was issued a warning against its fillet permit for having removed the skin from several of the black sea bass fillets. One of the patrons received a summons for personally filleting his fish at sea, fish which were virtually unidentifiable without the skin on. Another patron received a summons for 5 black sea bass over the 25 fish limit and for a black sea bass less than 12" in length."

On April 15, 2006 Conservation Officer Fresco was working with Lt. Chicketano along Matawan Creek in Keyport. While watching vessels return to their docks, the two officers observed a 16’ aluminum boat with 2 white males enter the Matawan Creek. Along their route, they suddenly and inexplicably turned into an area along the creek which had several floating docks without boats in the slips. CO Fresco observed the one individual tie off something in the water. The vessel then left these slips and continued upstream. Lt. Chicketano and CO Fresco observed the vessel travel approximately _ mile upstream before stopping at another marina. The officers then drove to that marina only to find that the vessel had vanished. Lt. Chicketano and CO Fresco then returned to the empty slips where the vessel had stopped. At that location, CO Fresco pulled several lines which were descending down into the water and found a soft sided “Coors” cooler filled with sublegal striped bass attached to one of these lines. At this time, the officers returned to their vehicle and “ran” the boat’s registration which CO Fresco had dutifully written down and was thus able to determine the vessel’s registered owner. The officers then canvassed the local ramp areas, finding a Pennsylvania registered vehicle and trailer which matched the boat owner’s information. While checking the adjoining areas of Matawan Creek, CO Fresco spotted the boat in question pulled into yet another marina. After identifying himself, CO Fresco ordered the individual to remain at their location, at which time Lt. Chicketano approached the vessel. Both individuals initially denied knowing about the “extra” striped bass, but subsequently both admitted and apologized for their actions. One individual was issued a summons for two sublegal striped bass and the other individual was issued a summons for one sublegal striped bass.

On Wednesday, April 19, 2006 Officer Canale conducted a routine inspection of Frank’s Fish in Galloway Twp. When Officer Canale entered the packing room he noticed a fisherman weighing out bluefish. Upon questioning the fisherman, the fisherman admitted that his charter vessel in Cape May caught the bluefish by hook and line. Upon questioning the dealer the dealer admitted not having a Federal Dealer Bluefish Permit. Appropriate summonses were issued to the dealer for accepting bluefish without a dealer permit and the fisherman was issued summonses for selling bluefish by hook and line during the closed season and not having a federal Bluefish Permit. Sixty-seven pounds of bluefish was seized and donated to the Atlantic City Rescue Mission.

Training Highlights

Deputy Conservation Officers attended a refresher class on impact weapons and CPR. Three days were devoted to this training. Captain Boyle and CO Mutone conducted training on impact weapons while Lieutenant Brown and CO Martiak provided CPR class.

Captain Boyle assisted with a rifle instructor class held at the Division of Criminal Justice Range at Fort Dix.

Captain Boyle taught a low light instructor class at the Burlington County Police Academy. Sixteen law enforcements were certified as instructors after completing the three day program.

Captain Boyle and Lieutenant Brown met with members of the Federal Air Marshalls Service in reference to building a range in Berkshire Valley WMA.


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Last Update April 17, 2007