March 2016 CT DEEP Highlights

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    wishinone
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    March Highlights

    Western District Highlights

    HUNTING ENFORCEMENT

    On 3/4/16 southwest officers were notified by the New York State Environmental Conservation Police about a Brewster New York resident who was purchasing Connecticut Resident Firearms Licenses. After an investigation by both NY EnCon Police and CT EnCon Police the New York resident was issued an infraction for CGS 26-31 False Statement to Procure a Hunting/Trapping License by Connecticut EnCon Police and an infraction for Illegal Possession of Protected Wildlife by NY EnCon Police.

    BOATING ENFORCEMENT

    On 3/25/16 Officer Johnston was on routine patrol of Collis P Huntington State Park in the town of Redding when he observed a vessel operating on a pond with no visible registration numbers. Upon stopping the vessel it was determined that there were no personal flotation devices (PFDs) aboard for the three occupants. In the bow of the vessel was an air rifle, the operator of the vessel admitted that he was shooting at trees on the shoreline with the air rifle. It should be noted that there are heavily used walking trails that surround the ponds at Collis P Huntington State Park. The operator of the vessel was issued an infraction for CGS 15-129(a)(1) Insufficient PFDs, CGS 15-144(h) Illegal Operation of an Unregistered Vessel, and 23-4-1(c) Unauthorized Possession of a Weapon in a State Park. The operator’s voyage was terminated and he was evicted from the park.

    FISHING ENFORCEMENT
    On March 22, 2016 Officers Mihalyak and Johnston were on patrol of the Housatonic River in Derby when they located an individual who had caught a brood stock Atlantic Salmon. The suspect admitted that he caught the Atlantic Salmon with bait on large weighted hooks, which is prohibited by DEEP regulations. The suspect was issued an infraction for RCSA 26-112-45(c) (2) Illegal Method of Taking Atlantic Salmon.

    Pre-season fishing activity was high during the month in Western District, and numerous persons were cited for violations of Fishing in a Closed Area and Fishing without a License.

    ATV ENFORCEMENT

    On March 13, 2016 Officer Chickos was on patrol conducting ATV enforcement in Torrington in the vicinity of John A. Minetto State Park. While parked, two dirt bikes passed by him illegally operating on the roadway. Officer Chickos activated his overhead emergency lights and siren in an attempt to stop them. Both operators looked back and fled at a high rate of speed with complete disregard for traffic controls and public safety of those walking along the roadway. Officer Chickos turned off his lights and siren and followed from a distance often losing sight of them. He was able to track them to a residence in Torrington, where both individuals were located along with both of their dirt bikes. Both individuals were uncooperative upon Officer Chickos’s arrival by running into the house and failing to answer the door for questioning. Officers Defelice and Yescott were dispatched to assist as well as Sergeants Williams and Begley. Both individuals were charged with Interfering with an Officer, Reckless Driving, Operating under Suspension, and multiple other motor vehicle charges. Case is still pending at GA 18 in Bantam.

    ARSON INVESTIGATION

    On March 9th, 2016 Officer Flockhart responded to Paugnut State Forest in the town of Torrington for a complaint of arson. While on scene Officer Flockhart with the Torrington Fire Department, Torrington Police Detective Unit, Connecticut DEEP Forestry Fire Control Unit, and the Connecticut State Police Fire & Explosion Investigative Unit investigated the incident and developed two male suspects who are volunteer firemen. Both males were subsequently arrested by the Connecticut State Police.

    ABANDONED PROPERTY INVESTIGATION

    On March 20th, 2016, Officer Hage and Officer Johnston issued an infraction for C.G.S 22a-250(a)(2) – Littering on Public Land and C.G.S. 15 – 140c* – Illegal Abandonment of a boat.
    The enforcement was a culmination of a combined effort by southwest sector officers after this agency was notified of an abandoned vessel, a 19ft Bayliner on Silver Lake in Berlin. Officers Mihalyak and Hage investigated the abandoned vessel and were able to track down the vehicle’s registered owner after locating the vessel’s HIN. They were able to do this despite the fact that vessel’s registration numbers and HIN location on the transom had been scratched off and spray painted black. The officer’s investigation found that the vessel had exchanged hands multiple times before being dumped by the accused. The officers were able to track down the accused using saved Facebook messages between the seller and the accused who admitted he did indeed buy the vessel. When officers arrived at the accused’s residence, they observed him towing the abandoned vessel back to his residence. The accused stated he learned the police were looking for whoever dumped the vessel and wanted to keep the registered owner out of trouble so he went and retrieved the vessel himself.

    Marine District Monthly Highlights – March 2016

    SHELLFISH INVESTIGATION
    On March 3, 2016 officers from the West Marine Sector were conducting inspections of seed oyster harvesters on the Housatonic River. Oyster harvesters can only take seed oysters that are two inches or less in length. The area is prohibited from direct harvest and all of the oysters are to be brought to “approved lots” and are allowed to depurate and grow to markets size. Officers inspected the vessel “Le Claire” which has had previous shellfish violations in 2015. During this inspection officers discovered twenty totes containing oysters greater than two inches in length. Approximately 3600 oysters were on board the vessel that were three inches or larger. The vessel operator was charged with violating the shellfish license requirements related to seed oyster harvesters and is scheduled to appear in Milford Superior Court on March 15th. The oversized oysters were temporarily seized as evidence and were returned back into the local waters where they belonged.

    On March 4, 2016 officers from the West Marine Sector received an anonymous complaint that a seed oyster harvester was hiding large oysters on board the vessel. The seed oyster harvesters are prohibited from harvesting oysters over two inches in length. Officers boarded the vessel “Catarina” and inspected the oysters on board. Numerous oysters of legal size were observed on deck and officers further noticed a large pallet and numerous containers of oysters covering a nearby deck hatch. After removing these items, officers discovered twelve bushel baskets hidden below deck. The twelve baskets contained three inch oysters which are illegal to possess. Each basket contained approximately four hundred oysters which are market size. The twelve baskets were seized and returned back into the waters where they belonged. The value of the seized oysters is estimated at $2400. The shellfish license holder was charged with violating the shellfish license requirements related to seed oyster harvesting and is scheduled to appear in Milford Superior court later in the month.

    On March 17, 2016 Officer Hey received a complaint regarding a commercial shellfish vessel actively harvesting clams in an area that belonged to another shellfish fisherman. Officer Hey immediately responded via vessel with members of the Aquaculture Division and saw the vessel “Michael Christopher” actively dredging the water harvesting clams. The vessel operator was over one quarter mile off of the permitted leased grounds. The vessel operator stated he thought he had permission to harvest clams from the adjacent lot. The clams were seized and returned to the waters were they were harvested. The operator was issued a Misdemeanor Summons for violating the shellfish license requirements and is scheduled to appear in Milford court.

    FISHING ARREST
    On March 29, 2017 at approximately 10:00 p.m., EnCon officers received an anonymous complaint of four men actively fishing in the Housatonic River in Shelton who were in possession of a large quantity of undersized striped bass. EnCon officers responded and with the assistance of their K-9 Unit, located the accused. With the help of their trained dog officers discovered 38 striped bass inside bags that were hidden in-between rocks and bushes. The EnCon K-9 is specially trained and certified to detect a variety of fish species to assist in situations such as this. All of the fish were less than the minimum legal length (Daily limit is one fish per person and the legal length to possess is 28 inches.) Arrested was Hydri Cenkoli, age 60, of Woodbury, Daniel Cenkoli, age 32, of Waterbury, Bilbil Cenkoli, age 57, of Waterbury, and Gurali Cenkoli, age 46, of Woodbury for possession of 38 striped bass, all of which were less than the minimum legal length and for possession of striped bass over the daily creel limit. They were released on a Misdemeanors Summons and are scheduled to appear at Derby on April 12th.

    East District Monthly Highlights- March 2016

    All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Enforcement
    On the evening of March 13th, Officers Bouthillier and J. Williams responded to a report of an ATV rollover on the Airline State Park Trail in Chaplin. Upon arrival officers found a 19 year old male had driven his ATV into a gate while operating without lights; he was treated for minor injuries and released. He received citations for several ATV violations.
    On March 21st Officer Ulkus and Sgt. Dwyer responded to multiple reports of a red dirt bike operated by a male wearing a red coat on the trails within Gay City State Park, Hebron. The suspect was seen by responding officers operating just outside the park on Route 85 and failed to stop when signaled by the officers. He then turned onto a local, dead end street where he rode across a lawn and into the woods. A witness identified the suspect to the officers; Sgt. Dwyer then followed the dirt bike tracks on foot into the woods, and located the suspect’s bike abandoned behind a house on a nearby road. The suspect was hiding behind a vehicle at the same residence. The suspect admitted to operating within the park, failing to stop for officers, and attempting to elude them. The 21 year old was cited for trespassing and four ATV charges, and his vehicle was towed pending determination of ownership.
    On March 26th Officers Ulkus, Vroman and Sgt. Dwyer were working the Willimantic River area in Windham when a vehicle was located in an access area that appeared to have carried an ATV. Officers later made contact with seven young males on ATVs; most were from western Connecticut, and all were cooperative but admitted to knowing they were operating illegally on private lands. All subjects received citations for trespassing; one had a warrant for motor vehicle violations (reckless operation and evading responsibility) from Danbury, he was taken into custody and transported by Danbury Police to be processed accordingly.

    Medical Assist
    On March 10th Officers Lindo, Tavares, Ulkus and Sgt. Wolfe responded with East Haddam and Lyme Fire, EMS and State Police to Devils Hopyard State Park, East Haddam, for a report of a 24 year old male who fell from the ‘Vista’ trail overlook. Officer Lindo arrived on scene, contacted the victim and his girlfriend (who stated he fell after a branch broke), and helped EMS determine a quicker transport route to the waiting ambulance. The victim suffered very serious non-life threatening injuries to his back, neck and arm, and was taken by Lifestar to Hartford Hospital for evaluation and treatment.

    Pre-Season Fishing Enforcement
    Eastern District officers were kept busy during the warm weather of March checking inland fishermen both in areas open to fishing and responding to reports of illegal fishing in closed (trout-stocked) bodies of water, as well as assisting with some stocking runs. Well over thirty (30) citations were issued throughout the district, primarily for violations of fishing without a license and fishing closed bodies of water.

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    Sergeant Keith Williams

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