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Naples chef accused of buying illegal undersized snook

Posted at 1:59 PM, Jul 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-20 13:59:40-04

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. -- The head chef at a Naples restaurant has been arrested by wildlife officials after being accused of buying undersized snook from an unlicensed dealer and out-of-season.

54-year-old Todd Erling, head chef at Cafe Luna on Vanderbilt Beach Road, is facing six misdemeanor conservation violation charges.

According to a Collier County Sheriff's Office report, Erling was contacted by a person on May 17th about purchasing saltwater products, and Erling requested wild caught snook and redfish.  The person indicated that they did not have a wholesale dealer's license, and Erling voiced that he was not concerned about that and proceeded with the deal.

A week later, the same person met with Erling at the restaurant and sold him four undersized snook for $60.

The harvesting of snook is closed on the west coast of Florida from May 1st through August 31st.

On July 19th, the person who sold Erling the snook and two FWC officers met with Erling in a parking lot and arrested him.

As of Friday afternoon, Erling remained in the Collier County Jail on $10,000 bond.