Release date: Thursday, November 9, 2023
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Law Enforcement Division enforces Chapter 71 of the New York State Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) to protect fish and wildlife and maintain environmental quality throughout New York. In 1880, the first eight Game Protectors proudly began protecting New York State’s natural resources and people. In 2022, Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) and investigators across the state responded to more than 25,600 calls and arrested 13,800 incidents ranging from deer poaching to solid waste dumping to illegal mining to illegal pets. Worked on cases that resulted in nearby tickets and arrests. Trade and Excessive Emissions Violations.
“DEC conservation police officers and investigators work hard every day to serve our communities, protect our precious natural resources, and protect public health. Those who did this will definitely be held accountable.” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said:. “DEC looks forward to working with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to continue supporting the work our ECOs do in every corner of New York.”
Illegal Log Dumping – Suffolk County, New York
A Deer Park tree service company recently paid a $2,500 fine for illegally dumping a large quantity of logs and eight pieces of tree debris on public land at the Central Pine Barrens in Yaphank. In December, investigators with the Environmental Crimes Bureau identified those responsible after the Central Pine Barren Commission and the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office discovered more than 100 cubic yards of illegally dumped debris. The piles were removed and disposed of appropriately.
Logs and debris illegally dumped in Suffolk County
Community Waterfowl Details – Western New York
DEC Regions 7 and 8 ECOs conducted compliance inspections for waterfowl hunters during opening weekend in the Western Zone. Officers focused their surveillance on Cayuga Lake, the Montezuma North Wildlife Management Area in Seneca County, and Lake Ontario Bay in Cayuga and Wayne counties. On each day of the weekend, his four teams of two ECOs went to the field and tested more than 150 hunters. Officers issued 14 tickets for waterfowl hunting violations, including having an unplugged gun and not having a license, stamp, or registration with the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program. Issued.
ECO Scalisi checking on duck hunters in the Northern Montezuma Wildlife Management Area
Overbait – Suffolk County
On October 2nd, ECO Cacciola responded to an injured fawn in St. James. The fawn appeared to have died of natural causes, but officers became suspicious after finding piles of food in three nearby deer stands and a small wooded area. Officer Cacciola regularly checks the area and on October 8th saw two hunters standing in a tree. The hunters had written permission to enter the property, but during questioning they admitted to baiting the area. One of the hunters confessed to shooting a doe with an arrow earlier that morning. Officer Anderson arrived on scene to assist in the seizure of evidence, including the doe, the hunter’s bow, and bait samples. Both hunters were charged with hunting using pre-placed bait piles, and the hunter who took the doe earlier in the day was charged with an additional charge of illegally taking a deer. Tickets can be returned to Suffolk County First District Court.
Bow used to illegally take deer in Suffolk County seized
Battery Park Burma – New York County
On October 11, U.S. Park Police and New York City Park Enforcement Officers responded to ECO Goonan about a man with a large python in Battery Park near the Statue of Liberty Ferry Terminal. When Officer Goonan arrived on scene, he found an individual carrying a 12-foot Burmese python without a permit. ECO’s Mr. Ableson and Mr. Pansini assisted the officers and confirmed that the subject was the same person who had recently kept a Burmese python and a reticulated python in the same location. Both species are designated as dangerous animals under the Environmental Conservation Act. ECO seized the python and issued a summons to New York City for possession of a wild animal. The python was transported to Nassau County SPCA police.
Nassau County SPCA Detective Roper and ECO Goonan with a 12-foot Burmese python
Trunk or Treat – Niagara County
On October 14th, ECO Scheer attended a “Trunk or Treat” event at Niagara County Community College in Sanborn. The event was hosted by the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Services Unit and was attended by emergency responders from across the county. Officer Scheer handed out candy to local children dressed in Halloween vests, including some dressed as local Buffalo Bills players. These treats were generously donated by the New York Conservation Officers Association.
ECO Scheer with Trunk or Treater in Niagara County
Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Details – Westchester County
On October 19, ECO’s Tompkins and Franz conducted a commercial vehicle enforcement detail in Westchester County with assistance from the DEC Pesticide Bureau, New York State Police, and the Lewisboro Police Department. The enforcement will focus on air quality, solid waste, invasive species, and pesticides, and will focus on violations such as expired heavy duty diesel vehicle (HDDV) emissions testing, uncovered solid waste loads, and operating broken down HDDVs. Five tickets were issued. Emission test.
Details of ECO Tompkins inspecting a truck at a commercial vehicle checkpoint.
Corn and Crossbows – Suffolk County
On October 22, ECO Zullo conducted a hunting compliance inspection in the town of Southold. During the investigation, Officer Zullo discovered that the hunter had set up a trail camera pointing at the corn pile and was using a crossbow to hunt a white-tailed deer on top of the corn pile approximately 25 yards in front of the stand. Hunting white-tailed deer with a crossbow is illegal in Suffolk County. In New York State, it is illegal to hunt deer using prepared bait. ECO Zullo collected crossbows, bolts, trail cameras, and corn as evidence and was charged with hunting deer using pre-placed bait piles, hunting with illegal crossbows, and hunting deer with crossbows in Suffolk County. So I gave Hunter a ticket. All summonses can be returned to Southold Municipal Justice Court.
Piles of corn bait found near standing trees and trail cameras in Suffolk County
Fishing Compliance Check – Broome/Suffolk/Nassau/Kings/New York Counties
From cast net fishing caught on camera to busting illegal sidewalk fish markets, here are some highlights from this week’s statewide fishing compliance inspections.
- On October 8, ECO McCormick received a report and photographic evidence of three people catching fish with cast nets near Gordy Dam on the Susquehanna River in Broome County. Officer McCormick and Lieutenant Ligori responded to the scene and approached the group, who were unaware that they could not cast nets to catch fish in the area. Officers found three people in possession of bags containing five fish, and photos identified a second bag. When asked, the anglers presented the ECOs with a bag containing 29 illegal fish hidden in nearby bushes. Officer McCormick issued eight tickets for taking fish by means other than fishing, taking small fish, and fishing without a freshwater fishing license, which can be returned to Union Town Court. I did it like that.
- On Oct. 10, ECO Dixon received a complaint that a boat was found with a bucket of blackfish (tautog) at a gas pier in Suffolk County, five days before blackfish season opens on the South Shore. Engineer Dixon requested assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard and began a search for the vessel. Officers eventually found a boat matching the description in the complaint anchored on the dock. Eco Dixon interviewed a fisherman who claimed to have only caught striped bass that day. Further investigation revealed this to be false. As reported, officers found an out-of-season porgyfish in the bucket, as well as several other out-of-season smaller fish in multiple locations on the boat, and anglers received multiple calls.
- On October 12, Kings County conservationists received a call about illegal Chinese mitten crabs at a store in Brooklyn. Eco Colts responded to the scene and found 289 illegally imported crabs from China in a Styrofoam container in the basement of the store. Because the Chinese mitten crab is an invasive species, it is illegal to possess it in New York State. Violation notices issued to your store are pending. Immediately after leaving the store, Officer Coltz conducted a market investigation at a nearby supermarket and discovered illegally possessed blood shells. Further investigation revealed that the same person in possession of the blood shells had been ticketed twice for the same offense by the same police officer the previous week. Approximately 250 red shellfish were seized from the second store and tickets were issued.
- Manhattan environmental groups recently conducted an in-depth investigation focusing on the illegal sale of fish on the streets of New York City. Officers issued tickets returnable to New York County Criminal Court for selling untagged striped bass and porgies and possessing fish below the legal size.
- On Oct. 15, the opening day for blackfish (tautog), conservationists Perkins and Paschke conducted a recreational saltwater fishing compliance check at Smith Point Outer Beach in Suffolk County. A fisherman approached officers on patrol and reported that a group of anglers were catching “short fish” on the pier. As the ECOs approached the group, one angler bent down near a rock and began pulling the fish off the rock and throwing it into the water, despite repeated instructions to stop. Officers, assisted by ECO DeRose and his K-9 partner Cramer, found 22 porgies, 14 of which were smaller. The ECO charged five anglers with charges including discarding fish at a stop signal, not having a marine register, under-fishing, over-limiting fish, and failing to release without unreasonable jeopardy. 18 tickets were issued.
- Early on the morning of Oct. 27, ECO’s Traynor and Kolts observed commercial vessels docking and unloading containers at the Kings County Marina parking lot. Officers say 85 untagged commercially harvested black fish (tautog) were in vented tanks awaiting transport to local markets, valued at $14 per pound, totaling $3,100. I found it on sale at. Of the 85 fish, 20 were smaller than the legal commercial size of 15 inches. The legal commercial limit for blackfish is 25 fish per day. ECO seized over 200 pounds of fish and issued the defendant with a violation notice.
Broome County conservationists seize fish and cast nets
ECO Dickson, home to a variety of small and out-of-season species in Suffolk County.
Confiscated mitten crab and red shell ecocolts
From left to right – Capt. Levanway and ECO Goonan and Abelson, and the fish seized in Manhattan.
ECO Perkins and Paschke, 14 smaller porgies and black sea bass.
ECO trainer has fish seized after early morning surveillance in Brooklyn
ECO Wins Sportsman of the Year Award – Sullivan County
Congratulations to ECO Wood on winning the Sullivan County Sportsman’s Club’s “Sportsman of the Year” award. Officer Wood received this award in October for his outstanding professionalism and contributions to the Sullivan County sports community. Eko Wood, a 16-year veteran of DEC’s law enforcement division, was joined by his family and colleagues at the ceremony.
Sportsman of the Year ECO Wood and K9 partner CJ
To contact ECO to report an environmental crime or incident, call 1-844-DEC-ECOS, available 24 hours a day. or email (for non-emergency violations).