October 13, 2011

Deputy instrumental in arrest for illegal lobster, stone crabs

Long key – An alert deputy was instrumental in the arrest of a Miami man caught with illegal lobster and stone crabs on Long Key early Tuesday.

Deputy Anthony O’Dea was on patrol at 2 a.m. and pulled into Sea Bird Marina to check the docks. He saw a man pulling his boat into a slip by hand, using  a rope. The lights and motor on his vessel were turned off. He decided to investigate further.

He asked the man for identification; he produced court documents in the name of 56 year old Jorge Vargas of Miami. Deputy O’Dea saw two large bags full of wrung lobster tails on the man’s boat. He also noticed the man had no fishing or diving gear in the boat. He asked if the man had any kind of fishing license. The man said “No, please, give me a break.” The deputy then called for assistance from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

A short time later, FWC Lt. Riesz arrived. As the officers continued to investigate, they found 274 short lobster tails, 20 legal size tails, and 8 stone crab claws caught out of season. The investigation was handed over to the FWC officer; Vargas was transported to jail to be charged by FWC with possession of short lobster tails and out of season crab claws.

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