State marine patrol police in the Florida Keys said a Miami Lakes man led them on a chase on a kayak through a canal and then on foot through a Key Largo neighborhood.
When they caught up to him Thursday morning, he had two undersized wrung lobster tails in his shorts pockets, and officers found seven more undersized tails that they say he discarded during the chase.
Yordanky Rosado Casares, 37, faces a felony charge of fleeing and eluding police, nine counts of possessing undersized lobster tails, nine counts of possessing wrung tails, a count of not having a device to measure lobsters, resisting arrest without violence and interference with an officer.
As of Friday afternoon, he was still in Monroe County jail with no bond information immediately available.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Rosado was free-diving for lobsters off the ocean side of Key Largo without a dive flag.
FWC officers, who were in plainclothes, pulled up to him in their boat while he was in the water and turned on their blue flashing lights and identified themselves as police, according to the agency.
Rosado got into his kayak and rowed down a residential canal to get away from the officers, they said.
“After multiple commands to stop, Mr. Rosado exited his kayak at a homeowner’s residence and began to run through a couple of other residential backyards,” said FWC Investigator William Thompson, one of the officers involved in the bust.
The FWC officer driving the boat dropped off Thompson, who caught Rosado after a brief chase through the neighborhood, located at mile marker 95.
Some of the wrung tails were well undersized. State law requires tails to be greater than 5 1/2 inches long. The lobster’s carapace — basically the rest of the lobster — must be 3 inches long. The animals must be measured in the water and be brought back to shore whole.
People arrested on conservation charges in the Florida Keys face stiff penalties, including hefty fines and jail time. The Monroe County State Attorney’s Office publicizes its efforts to aggressively prosecute fisheries cases, and judges have shown their willingness to incarcerate violators.
A county judge last month sentenced a Hialeah man to 60 days in jail after he was convicted of spearfishing in a restricted area and poaching a variety of undersized fish.