Two Miami men accused of spearing lobster out of season while diving under the Tavernier Creek Bridge were arrested Saturday.
Roberto Carion-Batista, 37, and Lazario Enrique-Arse, 23, were charged with interference with a wildlife officer, not having a measuring device while harvesting lobster, and possession of 23 speared lobster, 23 out-of-season lobster, 23 lobster over the bag limit, 17 undersized lobster and 18 wrung tails on the water.
All are misdemeanors.
"This was a slam-dunk case," said Florida and Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) spokesman Bobby Dube. "They ran the gamut of lobster charges. They were charged with every lobster charge short of possession of egg-bearing females. Other than that, they were charged with every lobster violation you could have."
An FWC officer spotted the men under the bridge about 10:30 p.m. Saturday while they were exiting the water, Dube said. One of the men reportedly threw a spear deep into the mangroves and the other allegedly tried to hide his spear and catch bag in the water under some rocks when the officer identified himself, according to an FWC press release.
The catch bag in the water was retrieved and had 23 lobsters inside, reports say. The two men were booked into the Monroe County jail on Plantation Key. They have no prior criminal history in Monroe County.
Regular spiny lobster season runs Aug. 6 through March 31.
It is illegal to spearfish for lobster at any time in Florida.
"These guys were out at night and obviously trying to conceal what they were doing," Dube said. "They were spearing them and knew what they were doing."