Wildlife and Fisheries agents find illegal immigrants caught violating Louisiana fishing laws

(Photo courtesy LDWF)

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents cited six individuals for alleged fishing violations in Plaquemines Parish on June 25. Agents cited Encarnacion Lopez, 33, of Chalmette, and Juan Lopez, 39, Oscar Ofion, 30, Armando Aguilar, 45, Yony Martinez, 27, and Mario Castro, 46, five of which are illegal immigrants, for possessing over the limit of red snapper and possessing undersized red snapper.

Aguilar, Ofion, Castro, Juan Lopez and Martinez were also cited for not possessing an offshore landing permit. Ofion, Martinez and Castro were also cited for saltwater fishing without possessing a non-resident saltwater fishing license. Martinez and Castro were also cited for fishing without possessing a non-resident basic fishing license. The captain of the vessel, Juan Lopez, was also cited for not possessing a fire extinguisher, failing to comply with personal flotation device (PFD) requirements and improper boat numbers.

Agents were on patrol in the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish when they observed a 20-foot bay boat occupied by six occupants heading north in the river. Agents stopped the vessel to perform a boating safety and creel inspection.

During the inspection, agents found the men in possession of 120 red snappers or which 97 were undersized. The recreational red snapper season began on April 15 in both state and federal waters with a daily bag limit of four fish per person and a 16-inch total length minimum size limit.

“This case highlights the many issues we face by the failure of the Biden Administration to secure our border and illustrates how our state’s resources are weighed down by the consequences of a broken immigration policy. Protecting and managing our wildlife is crucial to keeping Louisiana the Sportsman’s paradise,” said Governor Jeff Landry. “Thank you to Secretary Sheahan and these LDWF enforcement agents for protecting Louisiana’s fisheries and ensuring law and order is enforced.”

“I am proud of Corporal Landry, Agent Wiles, and Agent Smith for their hard work on this case,” said LDWF Secretary Madison Sheahan. “It is a priority for our department to enforce regulations intended to conserve and protect our fisheries for the sportsmen of Louisiana. We would like to thank Governor Landry for his continued efforts in addressing the abysmal failure of the Biden Administration’s border policies.”

Possessing over the limit of red snapper and undersized red snapper brings up to a $350 fine for each offense. Fishing without possessing non-resident basic fishing and saltwater fishing licenses also brings up to a $350 fine for each offense. Failing to possess a recreational offshore landing permit, improper boat numbers, failing to possess a fire extinguisher, failing to comply with PFD requirements carries up to a $50 fine for each offense.

The subjects also face civil restitution totaling $3,098 for the red snapper.

Agents seized all of the fish and donated them to the Second Harvest Food Bank on behalf of the Hunters for the Hungry Louisiana.

This investigation is still ongoing and more charges may be pending.

Agents involved in the case are Corporal Austin Landry, Agent Austin Wiles and Agent Brett Smith.