By Amanda Batchelor
Authorities say suspects have history of lobster poaching convictions
MIAMI - Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials and Biscayne National Park law enforcement officers arrested three people last weekend who they said have a history of lobster poaching convictions.
Donny Caridad Gonzalez, 53, Nemesio Gonzalez Garcia, 76 and Josefina Diaz Garcia, 68, are facing charges of possession of lobster during closed season, possession of wrung lobster tails, undersized lobster tails and interference with an FWC officer.
Authorities said they were performing a routine inspection aboard the "El Donny" on Saturday when officers spotted a lobster shell inside a crab trap.
Officers said the boat owner claimed that there were no lobster aboard the vessel, but a total of 87 wrung lobster tails were found in plastic bags throughout the boat.
Officers said the lobsters were captured outside of regular lobster season, which is from Aug. 6 through March 31.
"The occupants on this vessel are individuals with a history of poaching convictions," said FWC Maj. Alfredo Escanio, regional commander. "This arrest represents our efforts to conserve our natural resources and support law-abiding recreational and commercial fishermen."
Officers said the trio was also arrested for separating the lobsters' tails from their bodies aboard the boat, as lobsters must remain in whole condition until they are on shore.
Five others aboard the boat were issued citations for other infractions.