Category Archives: Enforcement

Game Warden Honored 51 Years After Death

Media Contacts:
Capt. Nathaniel Arnold, DFG Law Enforcement, (559) 243-4005, ext. 136
Warden Patrick Foy, DFG Law Enforcement, (916) 651-2084
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8988

A California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) warden who died in the line of duty in 1959 is finally receiving the recognition he deserves. Thanks to the efforts of a captain and several staff members in DFG’s Fresno office, Warden Clarence Lester Brown is being honored alongside other fallen California peace officers at two separate services at the California State Capitol in Sacramento, and the Peace Officers Memorial in Fresno. His name will also be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C.

The 60-year-old game warden, who had worked for DFG for 32 years, was killed in a vehicle accident while on patrol on April 3, 1959. At about 9 p.m., he lost control of his patrol vehicle and plunged to the bottom of a canyon about six miles west of Coalinga on Highway 198. Warden Brown was survived by his wife and two children.

For decades, Warden Brown’s story was lost to history. In May 2010, when staff at DFG’s Fresno offices began an extensive purge of old archived files, an employee found a report detailing Warden Brown’s accident. She gave the file to Capt. Nathaniel Arnold, who realized that the warden’s name was not among those previously known to the Law Enforcement Division as having been killed in the line of duty. When an investigation concluded that Warden Brown had not been properly recognized as a peace officer killed in the line of duty, Capt. Arnold took the necessary steps to formally honor the warden’s sacrifice.

“This has been one of the most fulfilling cases I have had the pleasure of working on and overseeing in my career with the Department,” said Capt. Arnold. “It is time to recognize a fallen officer whose story has been lost for nearly 51 years.”

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Two of Warden Brown’s grandsons, their wives and one great-granddaughter were present in Sacramento on May 2 as Warden Brown became the twenty-first California Game Warden immortalized as a peace officer killed in the line of duty. His name will be added to the honor roll at the California Peace Officers Memorial on Capitol Mall. Warden Brown’s name will also be added to the Fresno County Peace Officers Memorial at a service on May 3, and in the coming weeks, he will be honored at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C.

“These brave wardens and their families can never be repaid for their sacrifice, but they will also never be forgotten,” said Nancy Foley, Chief of the DFG Law Enforcement Division.

DFG Reports Successful and Safe Trout Opener

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Contact: Andrew Hughan, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8944

DFG Reports Successful and Safe Trout Opener

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) held another successful opening of the general trout season in the eastern Sierra last weekend. Department and local officials said that although the overall number of fishing enthusiasts was down from last year, the quality of the fish caught was outstanding.

Because of the introduction this year of the Automated License Data System, DFG’s new computer database that facilitates license and tag sales, DFG made an extra effort to help anglers by setting up a license sales branch in the Bishop Chamber of Commerce for the opening weekend. More than 365 licenses, tags, enhancements and drawings were sold onsite, generating more than $12,000 in sales.

“Having DFG here in the chamber was a huge benefit for the town of Bishop and the anglers,” said Chamber Director Tawni Thompson. “We had nothing but positive comments from the public and community leaders about DFG.”

An estimated 5,000 anglers came to cast a line in local waters this weekend. Game wardens were out in force with 19 officers patrolling the lakes and streams from Bridgeport to Big Pine. The most serious resource crime discovered was an overlimit violation, as wardens observed a group of fishermen catching their limit of five in the lakes about Mammoth Mountain Ski Area and then returning later in the day returning to the same lake and catching additional fish. The wardens detained the group as they left the fishing area and the investigation found that the group had 58 fish in their possession, well over the limit of five per day per person and the 10 each is allowed to possess. The case is still under investigation and will be forwarded to the Mono County District Attorney for prosecution.

Wardens also wrote more than two dozen citations for various violations including fishing in a closed area, not having a valid license or an additional pole validation, and even littering. One citation was also issued for illegally hunting a non-game bird (a seagull) with a slingshot.

Officials report no serious injuries or accidents over the weekend.

The opening of trout season is historically one of the largest fishing weekends of the year in California with thousands of anglers from across the western United States converging on the area for the good fishing and beautiful scenery of the eastern Sierra region.

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Repeat San Francisco Abalone Poacher Sentenced to Jail

Media Contacts:
David Bess, DFG Law Enforcement, (916) 653-4094
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8988

A San Francisco man who was caught taking abalone out of season three times over a three-week span has been convicted on poaching charges. Qiong Wang, 32, pled guilty to felony conspiracy and taking abalone for commercial purposes in Mendocino County Superior Court. He was sentenced to one year in jail and three years of probation, in addition to being fined $20,000 and forced to forfeit his vehicle and all dive equipment. His fishing license was also revoked for the rest of his life.

Wang illegally took 96 abalone over the course of 17 days in February 2011. The last of the three arrests occurred near Van Damme State Park on Feb. 19, just five days after he was released from jail for the last poaching incident (see https://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/san-francisco-abalone-poacher-busted-three-times-in-three-weeks/ for details about Wang’s arrests).

Abalone season closed Dec. 1, and did not reopen until April 1.

Northern California Hunting Guide Loses License

Media Contact:
Lt. Rick Banko, DFG Enforcement Division, (707) 825-4861
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

A Department of Fish and Game (DFG) investigation led the Humboldt County District Attorney’s office to file 17 charges against a bear hunter and licensed guide. In an April 12 plea agreement, Edgar Ray Roden, 56, of McKinleyville, pleaded guilty to four Fish and Game Code violations.

In June 2009 DFG wardens caught Roden running his hounds in a dog control zone in Northern Humboldt County that was closed at the time. They later served a search warrant at his residence. The subsequent investigation uncovered 17 violations of California’s wildlife laws. Charges ranged from illegal take and possession of black bear to illegal possession of mountain lion hides that were made into rugs. Licensed hunting guides are subject to the same laws – and the same penalties for violating them – as all other hunters.

“People who offer guide services to hunters in California know the difference between legal hunting and poaching,” said Warden Jackie Krug, lead investigator in the case. “We count on them to help educate hunters, and expect them to know, respect and obey the laws and regulations.”

Roden pleaded guilty to taking two bears over the legal limit, using hounds to pursue/take mammals in a closed zone, falsifying his guide license application by failing to disclose a prior spotlighting conviction, and failing to keep and submit guide log records as required.

The court sentenced Roden to three years of probation and fined him $3,140. He was also ordered to forfeit his 2011 hunting license and hunting privileges for all species, beginning the opening day of bear season and ending the closing day of bear season. In addition, he will not be permitted to apply for or receive a guide license for three years from the date of sentencing.

The DFG Law Enforcement Division reminds Californians that environmental laws exist to ensure proper wildlife management and species survival. Poaching – illegally harming or killing fish or wildlife – is an insult to the vast majority of hunters and anglers who obey the rules. Californians can help protect their wildlife and habitat by reporting poachers and polluters to DFG by calling the toll-free CalTIP hotline: 1-888-334-2258 (888-DFG-CALTIP). For more information, please visit the CalTIP webpage at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/caltip.aspx.

DFG Hosting Natural Resource Volunteer Academy

Contact: Kent Smirl, DFG Law Enforcement, (714) 448-4215
Andrew Hughan, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8944

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is recruiting applicants for the Natural Resource Volunteer Program (NRVP) to serve in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

The NRVP provides conservation and enforcement education through public service while providing biological, enforcement and administrative staff support to DFG.

DFG is holding an NRVP training academy in Los Alamitos from April 25 to May 6, Monday through Friday. Graduates of this academy become volunteers for DFG. These positions are unpaid.

Interested individuals go through a selection process which includes initial screening, application, interview and background check. If selected, individuals attend an 80-hour conservation course to prepare them for a monthly service commitment of at least 24 hours. After completing the academy, volunteers work with a trained volunteer mentor implementing their newly acquired skills during a six-month probationary period.

Applicants should be teachable, accountable, have basic computer and writing skills, and a willingness to talk about conservation principles to the public in the field and in a classroom setting. Applicants must show a desire to work well with others in a team environment to do tasks that free up time for paid DFG staff.

DFG Natural Resource Volunteers have no law enforcement authority and are trained to be educational ambassadors for the department, donating their time in a variety of areas. Some of these areas include responding to human/wildlife incident calls, instructing at NRVP academies, representing DFG at community outreach events, patrolling DFG lands, ecological reserves, and coastal and inland fishing areas, and disseminating useful information to the public.

Applications must be received by April 15, 2011. Please contact Lt. Kent Smirl at (714) 448-4215 prior to submitting an application.

Further information and an application can be found on the NRVP website at www.dfg.ca.gov/volunteer/NRVP/.