A Denham Springs man, who owns Deep South Charters out of Venice, was sentenced on Feb. 27 in Plaquemines Parish for tuna fishing violations and resisting an officer.

Josh S. Howard, 31, pleaded guilty to two counts of resisting an officer, one count of intentional littering and one count of violating recreational take of tuna regulations.

Judge M. Clement of the 25th Judicial District of Plaquemines Parish accepted Howard’s guilty plea and sentenced him to forfeit his 2013 charter boat guide licenses and forbid him from acting as a charter captain for 2013. Howard was also sentenced to a total of $850 in fines plus court costs, 32 hours of community service and two years of probation with the addition that no wildlife and fishery offenses can be committed during the time of probation. If Howard does commit any wildlife and fishery violation during his two years of probation, he may face further revocation of charter boat licenses.

Howard’s guilty plea stems from an investigation conducted by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents. LDWF agents were tipped off by confidential informants that Howard participated in the catching and retaining of a large Bluefin tuna in April of 2012 after the season had closed.

After a lengthy investigation, agents secured a subpoena for the cell phone owned by Howard where photos of the fish were believed to be stored. When agents approached Howard with the subpoena and asked for his phone on May 18, 2012, Howard threw the phone overboard into the water thereby destroying any suspected evidence.

Howard was placed under arrest and booked into the Plaquemines Parish Jail.  Agents were able to secure a search warrant for his home in Denham Springs and seize his computer. Howard then provided agents with photos and videos of the illegally harvested tuna.

Agents participating in the case were Sgt. Adam Young, Sgt. Roy Pier, Sgt. Louis Burnett, Senior Agents Villere Reggio and Ladd Turner and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Special Agent Charles Tyre.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Logo courtesy Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

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