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Cops: Men arrested for illegal harvest of 4,600 lbs of berries


By Erin O’Brien

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    COLLIER COUNTY, Florida (WBBH) — Two men were arrested for illegally picking more than 4,500 pounds of saw palmetto berries on private property, officials said.

Daniel Navarrete, 23, and David Casillas, 19, face charges of fleeing and eluding, grand theft, and harvesting berries without a permit, deputies with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office said.

In Florida, people need to have a permit from the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services as well as permission from the property owner in order to legally harvest saw palmetto berries.

Neither Navarrete nor Casillas had a permit or permission to remove berries from the property owner, according to arrest reports.

The two men ran from deputies in separate vehicles after CCSO Aviation crews spotted them taking berries near 28th Avenue Southeast and Everglades Boulevard South shortly after midnight, deputies said.

When deputies caught up to the men, they confiscated 20 large bags of harvested berries weighing 4,600 pounds from the vehicles. The berries had a value of $5,400, arrest reports said.

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