By Bert Rodriguez
The power of social media has once again made itself evident, and evidence. A south Texas man, 30-year-old Luis Castro, was convicted of poaching after his brother posted a photo on his Facebook page that was eventually used as evidence against him. The photo showed nine illegal red drum—eight of them on the bed of Castro’s truck and the ninth being held by Castro’s brother, who would later post the photo on FB. There’s no word yet on whether or not the brother will be charged with being a dimwit, but let’s just say at a minimum, he’s guilty of not being the sharpest tool in the shed.
As soon as it was posted, the photo started getting lots of attention and several folks reported it via the TPWD’s Operation Game Thief hotline. The photo was removed from FB the day after it was posted, but the damage was done. Game Wardens continued to receive word of the photo even as they closed in on Castro.
After he was located, presumably through evidence gathered on FB, an arrest warrant was issued and Castro arrested. He was convicted November 19th and fined $2,600 plus an additional $2,646 for civil restitution. Ouch…that’s some expensive red fish.
There are a couple of similarities between this story and one you may remember from LSC last year. An Austin area bass angler named Dustin Heathman posted a report on an online fishing forum–complete with photos–of a fishing trip he called “the best day of his life.” In actuality, it ended up being the worst day of is life when he posted several photos of 18 dead largemouth bass, neatly lined up on the deck of his fishing boat.
The resulting calls to Operation Game Thief were predictable to just about everyone, but apparently not so much to Heathman, who actually became indignant at the blow-back he received online after posting the photos.But he didn’t count on someone immediately pointing out the obvious: reporting a poacher could net you a $1,000 reward if there’s a conviction. More....