Atascosa County Game Warden Derek Iden issued citations for drug paraphernalia last month when he approached four young fishermen at Atascosa River Park near Hunt and Adams Street.
The youngsters were fishing at the park July 18 when Iden made contact to check for valid fishing licenses.
“I was making a random pass through the park checking for fishing licenses when I saw the group,” Iden said.
After asking a few questions, Iden located drug paraphernalia after closer inspection. “As I approached them they put down their rods, so I knew something was wrong with the whole picture. I found two marijuana pipes, two small bags of marijuana, a roach and other drug paraphernalia,” Iden said.
“One of them had a fishing license with another name and two of them didn’t have identification.”
Iden found an undersized crappie in conjunction with the drug paraphernalia.
After Iden ran the youngsters names through the system, a female in the group was identified as missing from San Antonio.
“I ran their IDs through our system and it came back that she was missing from San Antonio,” Iden said.
The missing girl was turned over to the Pleasanton Police Department pending contact with her parents.
She was the girlfriend of one of the fishermen present at the scene. The youngsters didn’t have a criminal record and have never been caught before, so Iden felt it was best to issue a citation for drug paraphernalia.
“I could have written a ticket for a Class B misdemeanor, but I wanted to give them a chance and for them to learn from their mistakes,” he said.
“I don’t want people to think that they can go down there and do drugs, but I looked at the totality of the circumstances and thought it was best to write a ticket,” he said. “I told them if they didn’t contact the judge then it would turn into a warrant and I would dismiss it and file a Class B misdemeanor in county court.”
Game Wardens aren’t only officers of game laws they are also peace officers, which means they can conduct official police work just as any other police officer.
The park was built to bring the community together with the ability to offer fishing for numerous anglers.
“We want the park as a nice place for families to recreate and not to be used doing drugs,” Iden said.
“I like to make random paces down to the river to check with compliances and when ever I come across incidentally I deal with it like a regular peace officer.”