Kasey Platt, a Marathon, Florida dental assistant, was arrested Monday after she was accused of selling illegally harvested lobster tails without a license, news sources report. Platt, 20, was booked into the Marathon County Jail on charges of possession/sale of Florida spiny lobster during the closed season, unlicensed sale of saltwater products, not possessing a saltwater products license, not possessing a retail dealer license, and not possessing “bills of laden and invoices” pertaining to the transport of saltwater products. Sources did not say whether Platt qualified for bail bond. It is also unclear whether she has hired an attorney.
According to reports, Platt works as a dental assistant at an unspecified clinic in Marathon. Reports say the incident began when Platt created a craigslist posting advertising “Fresh Lobster Tails — $10 a tail. Shipping available @ extra charge.” An anonymous tipster spotted the advertisement and promptly reported it to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, sources say. An FWC officer viewed the post and reportedly contacted Platt, posing as a potential buyer.
Later that day, Platt sent the FWC officer a text message, reports say. During a subsequent text-message conversation, the FWC officer agreed to buy 25 fresh lobster tails from Platt for $250. Platt then reportedly said she would make the exchange at a Kmart parking lot in Marathon.
“The advertiser stated the lobster tails were frozen but had only been frozen for three days, thus guaranteeing their freshness and indicating the lobsters were harvested during the recreational mini-season,” the FWC officer reportedly wrote in his report. Sources say the two-day mini-season, which had recently ended, only allowed each person to collect six lobsters a day for a total of twelve seasonal lobsters. It is not clear whether Platt was licensed to catch lobsters during the mini-season.
A plainclothes FWC officer went to the Kmart parking lot to meet up with Platt. Meanwhile, another FWC officer conducted surveillance in a nearby SUV, reports say. “During the sale, Mrs. Platt indicated that she could get more tails if [the undercover officer] wanted to buy them. He just had to let her know,” the FWC officer allegedly noted in his report. The officers then placed Platt under arrest, reports say. It is unclear how many, if any, lobster tails were taken from Platt during the operation.
Platt wasn’t the only South Florida resident charged with illegally harvesting lobster over the past couple of months. In June, Javiel Vergel and Eriel Menendez Casanas of Hialeah were arrested after they allegedly took more than 400 out-of-season lobsters from Miami waterways, news sources report. Vergel, 37, and Casanas, 39, face multiple charges, including, taking lobsters out of season, taking an egg-bearing female, and illegally separating lobster heads from tails before coming ashore. Vergel and Mendez were arrested as they came ashore at Watson Island in Miami with the illegally capture lobsters, reports say. It is not clear whether the pair had a buyer already lined up or, if so, if the buyer has been apprehended.
Source: 8.1.13 Platt Keys Lobsters.pdf