Gonzales pair charged in alligator killing

Staff reports

An investigation into the illegal killing of a 12-foot alligator resulted in charges for a Gonzales pair, according to Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sgt. Todd Lewis.

Authorities charged 26-year-old Brian Paul Berteau and 27-year-old Tanya Marie Garza, both of Gonzales, with several violations in connection with the killing of the alligator near Dutchtown.

Investigators suspect the couple killed the alligator Feb. 1 on a hunting lease, Lewis said. A call from a citizen Feb. 3 prompted the investigation by Lewis and Lt. Dennis Bueche.

Lewis said the alligator was estimated to be 40-60 years old, and was known by many as Hercules.

Berteau was charged with hunting alligator without a license, taking alligator during the closed season, failing to tag an alligator, violating commission rules and regulations, illegal possession of an alligator and hunting without a resident license. He faces fines totaling $3,700 and a potential jail sentence of up to 525 days as well as civil restitution for the value of the illegally taken alligator, Lewis said.

Garza was found to be in possession of part of the alligator, Lewis reported. She was cited for hunting without a license, failing to comply with hunter safety regulations and illegal possession of alligator. She faces fines totaling $1,050 and a possible jail sentence of up to 150 days as well as civil restitution for the value of the alligator, he said.

The public is reminded that their participation in the apprehension of poachers is encouraged. To report game and fish violations, call the department’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-442-2511. Callers may remain anonymous and may be eligible for cash rewards if a violator is apprehended as a result of information received from the participant.