Two men plead guilty to oyster violations in Plaquemines Parish

Published 9:38 am Monday, May 17, 2021

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Two Port Sulphur men pleaded guilty in the 25th Judicial District Court to oyster violations in Plaquemines Parish on May 13.

Nelson C. Williams III, 45, and James Garrison, 39, both of Port Sulphur, pleaded guilty to taking oysters in an unapproved polluted area closed by Department of Health.

Judge Kevin Connor accepted the men’s pleas and sentenced Williams, the captain of the vessel, to a $900 fine plus court costs.  Williams also had his oyster harvester license, oyster scrapper license, oyster seed ground permit, and recreational and commercial oyster tong licenses revoked until 2026.  If Williams works on any boat processing oysters or possessing gear to take oysters, then that vessel must be equipped with a vessel monitoring system that is tracked by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division.

In addition to those stipulations, Williams was also placed on one-year inactive probation.  If he doesn’t pay his fines, then he is subject to 90 hours of community service.

As the deckhand, Garrison pled guilty to taking oysters from an unapproved area and was sentenced to pay a $200 fine plus costs.

The sentences stem from an investigation when LDWF agents were on patrol on Dec. 29, 2020, in the area of Two Sisters Bayou and utilized a drone for aerial surveillance.  LDWF agents observed a vessel with two occupants actively dredging for oysters in a polluted area.  Agents also found that Williams falsified his DHH logbook for oysters and his vessel did not meet sanitation standards for an oyster vessel.

Agents seized five sacks of oysters.  Assistant District Attorney Jerry Lobrano prosecuted the case for the state.

Agents participating in the case were Lt. Adam Young and Corporal Thomas Forehand.