Skip to comments.Arrested on fishing without a license charge, is it unusual or not?
Posted on 08/15/2008 9:48:02 AM PDT by AuntB
GRAHAM - The arrest of five men for fishing without a license has many people in Graham talking.
And while these types of arrests are not common in Alamance County, N.C. Wildlife Commission officers say they are not all that unusual.
According to court documents, Juan Carlos Arias, 23; Jose Ernesto, 21; Javier Jimenez, 30; Edwin Alexander Marquez Rosa, 26; and Antonio Ordaz, 34, all of Kernersville, were arrested Aug. 6 at around 8:30 p.m. by N.C. Wildlife Resources officer J.R. Brown and charged with fishing without a license and a wildlife violation (taking non-game fish by an authorized method).
Brown said he ran into the men that day as he was patrolling the Haw River near Cooper Road in Graham. He said that, at first, he only saw a car parked there and decided to check it because it was in an area where he had cited people for loitering in the past.
He said he walked toward the edge of the river bank and saw someone throwing a net in the water. He ran the car's license plate number through his computer and it came back as registered in Forsyth County.
He began talking with one of the men as the man approached the car. In broken English, Brown said, the man told him that he had no fish. As the rest of the group also began walking toward the car carrying fishing rods, Brown said he noticed a cooler nearby. Inside he found several fish.
Brown said he asked the men for identification. Two of the men, he said, produced a Mexican or Central American identification card. Another one showed him an expired California identification, which Brown described as false. He said the men told him they live in Kernersville.
"At that time, I could have wrote them out a ticket or a citation," Brown said. But, he added, since he couldn't establish their identity or place of residence, he knew that the chances the men were going to show up for their court date were very slim, so he decided to arrest them.
Brown said arresting people under these circumstances is not uncommon, adding that in the past he has arrested people from Virginia who didn't have identification on them while patrolling other lakes in the state.
An unscientific search of court records revealed that Brown has charged at least 51 people for fishing without a license, a misdemeanor, between 2006 and July 2008 in Alamance County. All but the five recent cases were citations only.
Those cited had addresses from different parts of the state, including Burlington, Graham, Greensboro, Chapel Hill, Reidsville and High Point. At least one person cited listed Fort Mill, S.C., as the place of residence. It is not known by looking at the records whether identifications were provided in those cases.
Brown said that on an average week he can check up to 150 fishermen in the areas he patrols. "We are looking for anything," he said, adding that he is responsible for enforcing game, boating and fishing laws.
Geoff Cantrell, public information officer with the Wildlife Resources Commission's Division of Enforcement in Raleigh, said patrolling and enforcing these laws are daily occurrences. He said that on average, every year 5,500 people across the state receive a citation for a fishing violation, which includes fishing without a license. He said arrests are "quite common as well," though he didn't know the number of arrests every year.
He said one thing that can prompt an officer to arrest a person is if the person does not have a valid identification. Wildlife enforcement officers are sworn, full-time law enforcement officers who have full arrest authority for state and federal violations.
THE FIVE MEN ARRESTED last week, who listed Mexico as their place of birth in the citation, were given a court date of Aug. 21. One of the men already had a citation for driving without a license in Kernersville, Brown said.
The men were each put under a $200 bond but, because they were processed through the 287(g) program when they were taken to the Alamance County jail and found to be in the country illegally, they could not be released on bond.
On Monday, the men pleaded guilty to the charges in Alamance County District Court and were given credit for time served. They are still in jail under a federal detainer on immigration proceedings.
Attorney Ehber Rossi said he found the situation "curious."
"I've been practicing law in Alamance County for eight years," he said. "In that time, having been in court four days out of the week, I've never seen anyone arrested for fishing without a license."
He said that not having identification should not be grounds for arrest. "I am not aware of any requirements under the law to require someone to carry an ID," he said, adding that based on the officer's account, some of the men did provide identification from their country of origin. "Perhaps the officer thinks he is an expert in international documents," he said.
Rossi said he didn't think that the fact that all the men arrested were Hispanics was a coincidence. "I'd be glad to be wrong," he said. But, he added, "If you've done it before, give me the names. Tell me when that was."
He continued, "Absent that, people might get the wrong idea and think that the criteria being used to arrest has to do with national origin."
Good for N.C. Wildlife Resources officer J.R. Brown. Sounds like he caught his limit of illegals.
Wasn’t there a thread just yesterday about a bus full of “foreigners” being detained in Almance County NC?
“Arrested on fishing without a license charge, is it unusual or not?”
I can tell you this, if it were a US citizen caught fishing with a net in restricted wildlife areas, they’d throw away the key in most locations of the PacNW. Of course, unless you are from a tribe that has been given the right to take any and all fish they want, endangered or not. Something else that is just plain stupid.
The lawyer can b*tch all he wants, it’s a misdemeanor and yes, he can arrest you if you don’t show ID when caught breaking the law.
How can he cite someone and demand they pay the fine or show up in court if he doesn’t even know who he is giving the ticket to??
Have they lowered the standards for being a lawyer lately???
“Good for N.C. Wildlife Resources officer J.R. Brown. Sounds like he caught his limit of illegals.”
There appears to be no ‘limit’ of illegal aliens. :<)
Missouri is another state in which you dare not fish without a license. They take all your fishing equipment and when you appear before the local (fisherman) judge, any excuse is laughed at.
catch and release.
Arrested for breaking the law, is it unusual or not?
Maybe we should ask a cop, but I think that’s what they usually do.
Yup. They’re doing their damndest to spin this as a story of poor (likely illegal) immigrants kept down by The Man. The truth is, they probably couldn’t get licenses because they were in the country illegally, and they were fishing with a net, which is going to draw the attention of the authorities every time.
It’s not their race that caused their troubles, it’s their stupidity.
They got off easy.I’m on $300 bond pending my payment for fishing without a license last week.Plus,I have to buy a fishing license and show it to the judge,in order to reduce my charge to $50,from $100.
Good luck with that!
Well, lying to a law enforcement officer about a crime AND having no ID is a great way to get arrested.
Thanks.It was no biggie.Thought I had my license and didn’t.First time I’ve ever NOT been in compliance.Showed my id and was issued a citation with a $300 bond amount and let go(to fish some more,no less).Now,if I had been caught illegaly obtaining fish(net,box,snagging,etc.,,)I’d been taken to jail as well.
I was “arrested” for fishing without a license in NC in 1976 or so. Hauled before the local JP and paid a fine of $25...............
From the article, they were arrested, put in jail and held in indefinite detention without bond at all. I'm not sure how that is "getting off easy".
i always take a net when i go fishing. i use it to catch bait shrimp in the bay or shad in fresh water. since they weren’t charged with fishing with a net, what’s all this chatter about net fishing?
ALL licensing is a TAX...
Is that actually possible? Just sayin'...
Standard's? We don't need no steenkin' standards!