A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission undercover operation led to the arrest of two men who are accused of illegally possessing a marine sea turtle, the FWC said Monday.
A FWC officer in plainclothes watched Alejandro Alvarez, 64, and Isreal Bonachea Ruiz, 30, as they landed their small skiff near the Stock Island Lobster Co. on Stock Island on Friday, the FWC said. The men carried a large mesh bag to the back of their Ford pickup truck, and they were arrested after the officer and his partner found a butchered, federally protected loggerhead sea turtle in the bag, according to the FWC.
Shortly after the arrest, the officers saw another skiff return to the same location. Roberto Torna, 43, and Michael Navarpo, 22, pulled up to shore with 47 snapper fish, most of which had been cut into fillets and were undersized, the FWC said.
According to the FWC, the two Key West residents did not have a commercial fishing license, and they were each charged with possession of 44 snapper not landed in whole condition and with exceeding the daily recreational bag limit of snapper.