Tadpole's Outdoor Blog

August 27, 2012

Cheating alleged in fishing tourney

Filed under: Fishing & Hunting — Freddie Keel @ 6:20 am

Seven people charged with fraud in Ladies Kingfish event

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Seven people who participated in the Ladies Kingfish Tournament were arrested this week on allegations that they cheated in the fishing competition, authorities said.

A game warden said four women participating as a team and three others engaged in a fraud to enter a fish in the tournament that had not been caught during the competition. The team won second place in a side bet called a “Calcutta” competition, with a prize of about $5,000, Game Warden Jason Duke said.

Arrested Sunday on a state jail felony charge of “fraud in a fishing tournament” were Stacy M. McMillen, 31, of Laguna Vista; Judith C. Schroder, 56, of Lyford; Jose M. Cavazos, 67, of Combes; Jose “Meme” Cavazos, 33, of Combes; David Lynn Garcia, 39, of Bulverde; Andrina M. Cavazos, 31, of Combes; and Ada P. Guijarro, 45, of Laguna Vista, authorities said.

McMillen, Schroder, Guijarro and Andrina Cavazos were entered in the tournament as a team that called itself Nice Tails, Duke said.

Officials of the South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored the Ladies Kingfish Tournament that was held Aug. 9-11, did not return repeated calls from a reporter on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Duke, a game warden for Kenedy County, stated in an affidavit that he discovered the seven were involved in a fraud to enter a fish in competition that was not caught by the persons entering it and not caught during the contest.

On Aug. 11 while patrolling Port Mansfield, he and Game Warden Oscar Castañeda inspected a boat at the north board ramp, Duke said in the statement. He stated he recognized the boat operator as Jose “Meme” Cavazos, who had several female passengers wearing blue shirts with “Nice Tails” embroidered on the back.

A man was waiting for the party in the boat ramp parking lot, Duke reported. Duke stated he planned to conduct a routine inspection of the boat’s safety equipment.

The unidentified man told Duke the fishing team was in a hurry to make the tournament weigh-in, and had already been inspected while at sea by Game Warden Robbie Robinson.

Duke stated he agreed to allow the fishing team to proceed to the weigh-in.

The man carried a blue cooler and Duke stated he “observed them select the fish that they would weigh in and place them in the cooler,” which were spotted sea trout and red drum, Duke said.

Duke reported he observed that two of the larger spotted sea trout that were placed in the cooler appeared to have red discoloration on their bellies, anal fins and tails that would indicate that they were held captive and “were not caught during the tournament, but rather caught days prior and held in a device to keep them alive for the tournament.”

Duke reported this information to other game wardens, asking them to watch the group when they weighed the fish at tournament site at South Point Marina in Port Isabel.

On Aug. 16, Duke stated, game wardens obtained a statement that “Meme” Cavazos made phone calls the day of the tournament “asking an accomplice to provide a flounder for the team to weigh in at the tournament in Port Isabel.” The flounder was provided to “Jo” Cavazos and David Garcia to transfer to the team, according to the affidavit. Duke said he did not see a flounder in the group’s catch.

No court date has yet been set for the cases, Duke said Wednesday.

Bonds were set at $10,000 for McMillen; $5,000 for “Meme” Cavazos; and $2,000 each for Schroder, Jose Cavazos, Garcia, Andrina Cavazos, and Guijarro.

The cases have been turned over to the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office, Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Bennie Ochoa said, adding “The DA might change the charges or just send them on to the grand jury.”

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