A Miami man’s haul of 267 wrung lobster tails, 246 of which were undersized landed him in jail ovber the weekend with a bond set at $1.4 million.
Keys Deputy Wilfredo Guerra was on patrol at 4 a.m. Saturday near Fiesta Key Marina when he spotted Jorge Vargas, 59, pulling traps onto a white Carolina skiff, wringing lobster tails and placing them into a mesh bag, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
Guerra watched as Vargas threw bag after bag filled with wrung lobster tails onto the shoreline and returned to the bay for more, according to authorities.
Finally, Vargas drove his boat to the marina and docked it. When he got into his truck to pick up the bags of lobster, Guerra confronted him.
Vargas was cited for possession of undersized lobster, possession of over the limit lobster and possession of wrung lobster tails.
He was booked into jail where a records check revealed that Vargas had been cited two times before over the past three years. His previous hauls in the Florida Keys had been equally gigantic — more than 300 wrung lobster tails as well as possession of stone crab out of season.
While Vargas was being held in jail, a warrant was issued for him Monday for failure to appear in court for a previous case in 2011. The judge set his bond at $1.4 million.
Separating, or wringing, the tail from the body is prohibited in state waters, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Recreational trapping is also prohibited and the bag limit during regular spiny lobster season (Aug. 6 to March 31) is six per person per day.