Two Kaplan men arrested for illegal seafood sales - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Two Kaplan men arrested for illegal seafood sales

The following is a news release from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries:

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division Agents arrested a convicted felon for alleged firearm, seafood and drug violations on Oct. 19 in Vermilion Parish.

Agents arrested Ralph E. Tucker 48, of Kaplan, for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of illegal drugs with the intent to distribute and selling recreationally caught fish. Lester J. Suire, 59, of Kaplan was also cited for selling recreationally caught fish on Oct. 20 in connection with Tucker.

LDWF agents coordinated a 12-hour long investigation involving marked and unmarked units, uniformed and plainclothes agents from Calcasieu, Cameron, Vermilion and Acadia parishes.

Agents observed Tucker and Suire cast netting for shrimp on the Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge (SWR) in Cameron Parish. Agents then followed Tucker and Suire leaving the refuge with shrimp caught on the refuge and observed the men deheading and packaging the shrimp in plastic bags at a residence.

Agents observed Tucker and Suire loading the shrimp back in their vehicle where they attempted to sell the shrimp at various locations in Vermilion Parish.
Agents then followed the men to Acadia parish where they were observed selling the shrimp to an individual.

After documenting the illegal activity, agents apprehended Tucker at his residence and found numerous assorted narcotic pills in his vehicle along with a firearm in the residence. Agents along with Kaplan Police officers arrested Tucker and transported him to the Kaplan Police Department.

Agents located Suire on Oct. 20 and issued him a citation for his illegal participation on Oct. 19.

Seized in connection with the violations were a 20-foot Cajun Mastercraft boat with trailer, an AR7 .22 caliber rifle and ammunition, numerous assorted narcotic pills, three castnets and nine quart sized plastic bags of shrimp tails. All evidence will be held and processed according to policy pending the court proceedings.

The penalty for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon carries imprisonment at hard labor between 10 and 15 years without the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence and a fine between $1,000 and $5,000.

The penalty for possession with the intent to distribute schedule II narcotics brings imprisonment at hard labor between two and 30 years and up to $50,000 in fines. The penalty for possession with the intent to distribute schedule III narcotics carries imprisonment at hard labor for up to 10 years and up to $15,000 in fines. The penalty for possession with the intent to distribute schedule IV narcotics carries jail time between five to 30 years and up to $50,000 in fines.

Selling fish caught recreationally carries a fine between $400-$950, or jail time up to 90 days, or both plus court cost. Not abiding by rules and regulations on a WMA or Wildlife Refuge carries a fine from $100-$350, or jail time up to 60 days, or both plus court cost.

LDWF agents participating in the case were Capt. Jubal Marceaux, Sgt. Keith Delahoussaye, Senior Agents Justin Sonnier, Carl Pickett, Jonathan Verret, and Jason Stagg. Other law enforcement personnel who participated were Kelly Hardy with Louisiana Probation and Parole, and Lt. Barry Krawchuk, Sgt. Irvin Cates, and Patrolman Shawn Boneski with the Kaplan Police Department. United States Drug Enforcement Administration agents from the Lafayette Post of Duty also assisted LDWF agents.

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