A 31-year-old Miami man was arrested in Florida over the weekend for allegedly harassing a sea turtle and illegally spearing a nurse shark, all in the same day. According to authorities, Carlos Argen Hernandez was booked into Monroe County Jail on Sunday and released shortly afterwards on a $4,700 bond.
Witnesses took video of the man’s activities earlier in the day when he jumped into the water near Conch Key and began wrestling a large sea turtle. Hernandez eventually subdued the animal and attempted to ride it before taking it to shore.
“He was with his girlfriend and had jumped in the water and brought up a sea turtle,” Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Captain David Dipre told keynews.com. “He took it to shore. He had it on the rocks and was taking pictures with it. I don’t know if his intent was to keep it or just take pictures of it.”
Conservation officers arrived at the scene to discover that Hernandez also had an undersized nurse shark in his cooler, which he allegedly killed with a spear. It is illegal to spear sharks in Florida and spearfishing is illegal in parts of Monroe County. Additionally, the Florida Keys Keynoter reported that officers found an illegally-harvested spadefish and a number of filleted snapper in Hernandez’s possession, which is also against regulations.
The turtle was released back into the ocean safely. The species has not been identified.