Two Texas men arrested for poaching crabs

aacrabbaitSome people will go to great lengths to have a crab cake for dinner.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested and cited two Texas residents on Sept. 20 for crab theft and other fishing violations in Cameron Parish.

Agents arrested Jireh A. Slaughter, 21, and Tevvin T. Jones, 20, both of Orange, for theft of crabs; taking commercial fish without a license, without a gear license and without a vessel license; violating interstate commerce regulations; and resisting an officer by flight.

During August and September the LDWF Enforcement Division received numerous complaints of crab theft from several commercial fishermen fishing in Black Bayou in Cameron Parish. Agents responded by increasing patrols in this area assisted by Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office Marine Division deputies.

On Sept. 19, a commercial fisherman was watching his own crab traps and observed two men in a vessel stealing crabs from his traps. He contacted an enforcement agent but was observed by the men before agents were able to arrive. The men abandoned their vessel and dumped the harvested crabs in the marsh. The two men then left the vessel and hid in the marsh nearby.

When the agents arrived, they called out to the men to come out of hiding. After obtaining the suspects’ names from an overdue boater report from the Orange County Texas Sheriff’s Office, agents then contacted Louisiana State Police, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office and Cameron Sheriff’s Office for air support and additional officers to assist in the search for these men.

After leading a 14-hour search during severe weather and harsh conditions, LDWF agents received a phone call from an Orange County Deputy saying that the two men arrived at their residence. The two men walked through the marsh for 14 hours and swam the Sabine River in order to make it back to Texas.

The two men surrendered themselves to LDWF agents at their office in Lake Charles on Sept. 20. The two men were subsequently arrested and booked into the Cameron Parish Jail.

Theft of crabs brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail. Taking commercial fish without a license, without a gear license and without a vessel license each carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail. Violating interstate commerce regulations brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail. Resisting an officer by flight carries up to a $500 fine and up to six months in jail.

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