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."
doubt that is the reason. i wonder if this is a continuation of the lawlessness from a group of people that enter the country illegally?
i have wished that someone would do a study and see if overall numbers for various types of crimes (and who commits them) have increased.
my physician said his practice is being robbed blind by cleaning people who are illegals who grab up everything that isn’t nailed down.
Is it still illegal to go cat-fishing with explosives?
This is the kind of thing that Guiliani used to clean up NYC.
You're joking right? There is no lower standard than those of a lawyer.
Which reminds me, what is the difference between a dead lawyer in the middle of the road and a dead skunk in the middle of the road?
. . . . You swerve to avoid the skunk.
My apologies to all the good FReeper lawyers out there, I'm sure there are some.
I’m pro-anything that does something about all the illegals here in Alamance County. I wish this officer had some kind of authority to bust illegals in the Graham Wal-Mart.
“whats all this chatter about net fishing?”
Just me. I dont’ think they’re talking about a little bait net here. You catch more with a net than a rod and bait. I’m sure you would agree. Net fishing is illegal just about anywhere in the US unless you are a privledged native American tribe....and that is just more PC nonsense.
how many fish in the ice chest? get a bigger net.
Crime rates for all types including murder, rape, etc. were at 40 year lows in 2005 and have slightly upticked the last 2 years. Immigration, illegal or otherwise has a positive correlation with reducing crime rates WHICH DOES NOT MEAN CAUSE AND EFFECT. Unemployment also has been at historically low levels for the last 5 years. Housing prices and stock prices, until the last 2 years, have been at all time highs.
By every measure you can think of, immigration (legal or illegal) has had a positive correlation with improving statistics in the US WHICH ABSOLUTELY MEANS NOTHING WITHOUT SHOWING DIRECT CAUSE AND EFFECT.
But if you want to play the correlation game, one would conclude that illegal immigration has lowered unemployment, increase stock prices, lowered interest rates, lowered crime rates, lowered teenage pregnancy rates, increased lifespan, increase cancer survival rates, etc.
BOTTOMLINE, Statistics can be BS.
A game warden caught me last year fishing with an out of state license. I live in Ky and was fishing in Indiana. My wife and kids thought he was going to lock me up but he turned out to be a pretty nice guy and let me off with a warning. One of my teenage boys was running his mouth to the guy as he was walking me up to his car so I had to tell him to shut his mouth. After it was over I had a nice long talk with the boy about showing respect (especially when someone can confiscate all your stuff and fine you $300.00 bucks.
Never lie to law enforcement.
You can refuse to answer questions, but if you answer, tell the truth.
Cause if you’re fibbing, all you have to do is look at him sorta sideways, and you’re looking at at least a few hours of concrete floors and steel bars.
Well we didn’t treat them like Mexico treats illegals from their southern border. ;)
Only on the Rio Grande.
I just got back from vacation. Paid $53 for a family license so I could take the kids out fishing. Lines were wet for a total of perhaps 4 hours (and six fish). Expensive fish (catch a release anyway) - but cheaper than a movie (4 fishermen x 4 hours). And a whole lot of fun. I figure the $53 is going to a good cause too.
Years ago I got caught fishing on the wrong (Canadian side) of a lake. The mountie/warden gave me a ticket - on the low side as I was young and pleaded ignorance as I had a valid U.S. fishing license and thought that was good for the whole lake (well, that’s what I told him anyway although I had my doubts!).
Caught up to him at the next portage and he invited me over for a snack!
People have been killed for a lot less than this..... In Mexico......
The officer was also casting a wide net; bully for him.
Yes, but I really don’t mind buying hunting and fishing licenses because the money goes to improve hunting and fishing.
New York and Connecticut, also, particularly in the NYC Watershed areas and the Housatonic River. I recently saw a DEC officer handcuff and arrest three people for illegally fishing, without a license, using handlines with organic bait in a no kill area that is reserved for fly fishing.
A couple of years ago, a bunch of friends of mine were at a UKC Retriever Hunt Test in NC. This is of course an organized hunting test of retrievers (Labs, Goldens, and so forth) with the dogs running an artifical test, not an actual hunting situation. Farm-raised mallards (already dead, some of them for far too long!) are fired into the air via catapults, the handler or judge pretends to shoot them with blanks in a shotgun, and the dog goes out to retrieve the dead ducks and is judged on style, nose, marking, steadiness, etc.
Anyhow, in the middle of the hunt test here come a squad of NC Game Wardens all hot and agitated. They demanded to see EVERYBODY's hunting license -- judges, handlers, dog owners, the gallery -- and started arresting people. Protests that nobody was hunting anything, receipts for the delivery of the farm raised birds, all fell on deaf ears.
A state senator or some other bigwig was present and eventually convinced the GWs to see reason . . . and as I understand it there were some later repercussions for the overzealous enforcement.
But everybody has gotten really jumpy, and most everybody I know now springs for a license and duck stamp before a hunt test!!!! (and I think a number of NC clubs cancelled their hunt tests).
As an avid fly fishing river chick in central North Carolina, I can attest to the problems we have with illegal fishing. Not only do they not have a license but they keep fish that are below legal limits and keep more than they are allowed. There is also a huge problem with fisherman cheating during bass tournaments by catching bass and hiding them before the tournament begins and then retrieving them to win big bucks. These problems are certainly not limited to illegal immigrants however. Most cheaters I’ve seen are native tar heels.
The limit is zero seems to be the reporter’s belief.