A Flagler County man spent at least part of his 46th birthday in the Marion
County Jail Wednesday after he turned himself in to state fish and wildlife
officials for charges ranging from killing alligators to failing to register a
vessel. His bond was set at $37,500.
Gary Ronald Rahme Jr., 46, of Canal Avenue in Bunnell, is charged with six
felonies and four misdemeanors, including six felony counts of taking American
alligator; one count of possession of fawn deer; one count of possession of
marijuana, less than 20 grams; one count of possession of drug paraphernalia;
and one count of failure to transfer title of vessel within 30 days.
Officers seized evidence including Rahme’s airboat and a Ford F250 truck. They
also seized the fawn deer and took it to a wildlife rehabilitator for care.
Rahme’s recent problems with the law started about a month ago after someone
tipped Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) law enforcement
officers that some illegal alligator killings were going on in the Orange
Springs area of the Ocklawaha River and Rodman Reservoir.
FWC officers launched a two-week investigation that included monitoring
nighttime airboat activity in the area. Then, using cutting-edge night-vision
technology, pinpointed Rahme on an airboat working a spotlight in an area known
to contain alligators.
At about 3 a.m., April 16, officers visited Rahme’s camp and discovered a
severed alligator tail in one of his coolers. Rahme admitted to killing that
alligator a couple of weeks earlier. He also told them that the alligator bit
him when he caught it, but he did not seek medical attention.
Rahme then admitted illegally killing numerous other alligators and taking only
their tails, throwing the carcasses back into the water. He also told
investigators he had picked up a whitetail deer fawn and was keeping it as a
In the course of the investigation, officers discovered the marijuana and
paraphernalia, and that Rahme had not transferred the title to his airboat from
the previous owner.
“Ironically, the area of the Ocklawaha River where Mr. Rahme admitted to killing
alligators is a legal alligator hunting area during the public waters harvest in
September,” said FWC Lt. Gregg Eason, who organized the undercover
investigation. “Taking game illegally is stealing from legal hunters and the
people of Florida, and unfortunately, it only takes a few illegal hunters to
give legal, ethical hunters a black eye.”
FWC law enforcement officers are ever vigilant for those who violate wildlife
laws. However, they can’t be everywhere, all the time and so rely on the
public’s help to report those involved in illegal activities. Anyone with any
information about illegal fish, wildlife or boating activity, is encouraged to
call the Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922. The call is free, and the lines
are open 24 hours a day. Callers may remain anonymous and are eligible for a
reward if their information leads to an arrest.