Department of Environmental Conservation

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For Release: Wednesday, November 22, 2017

DEC Environmental Conservation Officer Highlights

ECO Actions for Early November

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) enforce the 71 Chapters of NY Environmental Conservation Law, protecting fish and wildlife and preserving environmental quality across New York.

In 2016, the 286 ECOs across the state responded to 26,400 calls and issued 22,150 tickets for crimes ranging from deer poaching to corporate toxic dumping and illegal mining, the black market pet trade, and excessive emissions violations.
If you witness an environmental crime or believe a violation of environmental law occurred, please call the DEC Division of Law Enforcement hotline at 1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267).

"From Montauk Point to Mount Marcy, from Brooklyn to Buffalo, the ECOs patrolling our state are the first line of defense in protecting New York's environment and our natural resources, ensuring that they exist for future generations of New Yorkers," said Commissioner Basil Seggos. "They work long and arduous hours, both deep in our remote wildernesses and in the tight confines of our urban landscapes. Although they don't receive much public fanfare, the work of our ECOs is critical to achieving DEC's mission to protect and enhance our environment."

Recent missions carried out by ECOs include:

Illegal Blackfish Helps Feed the Homeless - New York County

On Nov. 3, ECOs Brendan Dickson and Adam Johnson assisted Marine Enforcement Unit ECOs Paul Pasciak and Mary Grose in a commercial fishing enforcement detail led by Lt. Dawn Galvin. ECOs Louis Gerrain, Chris Nielsen, Jonathan Ryan, and Lt. John Murphy worked in plainclothes and visited retail markets to check for compliance with commercial fishing regulations. An inspection of one market led to a felony-level commercialization of wildlife case against the store for selling approximately 260 pounds of undersized live Tautog (Blackfish). The market's owner was issued a Notice of Violation for the possession of undersized Blackfish and illegal commercialization of wildlife. The illegal Blackfish were seized and donated to the Bowery Mission, which feeds the homeless in New York City.

ECOs Johnson and Dickson checking Blackfish at a market
ECOs Johnson and Dickson
checking Blackfish at a market

A Rifle in a Haystack - Cayuga County
On the evening of Nov. 4, ECO Scott Angotti responded to a report of a subject shooting an 8-point buck from his vehicle in the town of Venice. With assistance from ECO Mark Colesante, the complainant provided a written deposition and the deer was recovered. The witness had observed the deer-jacking from his tree stand and reported being threatened when he approached the suspect trying to collect the deer. Fortunately, the witness had the presence of mind to activate his cell phone and record his interaction with the poacher. Armed with this information, the two ECOs located the 70-year-old suspect the following day. Initially uncooperative, the suspect soon relented when confronted with the evidence and led officers to the rifle, which was hidden under a large bale of hay in his barn. ECO Angotti issued five tickets to the suspect, including taking a deer except as permitted by the fish and wildlife law, taking deer by means not specified, taking wildlife while in or on a motor vehicle, possession of a loaded gun in a motor vehicle, and failure to tag deer as required.

Rifle hidden in the hay
Rifle hidden in the hay

Genesee River Detail - Monroe County
Region 8 ECOs conducted a month-long fishing enforcement detail in Rochester on the Genesee River at the lower falls that concluded on Nov. 5. During this detail, officers wrote 178 tickets for various fishing violations, including 41 tickets for snatching, 32 tickets for fishing without a license, and 22 tickets for possession of foul-hooked fish. Other violations included using more than one hook point and fishing with weight below the hook. During this detail, ECOs encountered two subjects with outstanding warrants. These subjects were taken into custody and turned over to the local police agency.

Illegally taken fish stashed among the rocks
Illegally taken fish stashed among the rocks

Bay Scallop Season Opener 2017 - Suffolk County
On Nov. 6, Region 1 ECOs Lt. Frank Carbone, ECO Jeremy Eastwood, Brian Farrish, and Katie Jaukab conducted an early morning boat patrol in Little Peconic Bay and Great Peconic Bay for the opening of Bay Scallop Season in Suffolk County. Due to recent heavy rainfall, the officers were patrolling to check areas temporarily closed to shell fishing. The officers were also checking to make sure harvesters did not start the season too early. Several boats were found harvesting well before legal sunrise in Great Peconic Bay in the town of Southold. A total of four tickets and six written warnings were issued for taking scallops during the closed season.

Double Trouble - Chautauqua County
On Nov. 7, ECOs Jerry Kinney and Jacob Jankowski responded to a call of a deer exhibiting unusual behavior in the town of Charlotte. Upon their arrival, the officers observed two brothers standing over a large, freshly killed 9-point buck. Further investigation revealed that the buck had been shot by one of the men, but tagged with his brother's archery tag. The shooter admitted to having already taken a buck during the 2017 archery season, just a few days prior. The man was issued two tickets, one for taking big game in excess of bag limit and one for possessing the tag of another person. His brother was issued one ticket for lending a tag to another person. The deer was taken to Troyer's Processing in Panama, and the venison will be donated to the Venison Donation Coalition to help feed people in need.

Illegally taken fish stashed among the rocks
ECO Jankowski with the illegally killed buck

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