Federal investigation report reveals man in shark dragging video previously investigated

TAMPA, Fla. - A federal investigation report reveals one of the men in the viral shark dragging video was investigated in 2015 by the US Fish and Wildlife Services for violations under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

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The 47-page report obtained by ABC Action News into the boat captain, Michael Wenzel was closed after investigators determined there was a lack of evidence.

The investigation redacted names and faces in the report, but referenced a number of pictures posted on Twitter and Instagram that were given to the federal agency after the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reached out to them while they were investigating Wenzel.

The images given to a special agent with the federal agency found six pictures with different birds that included two different Brown Pelicans, one White Pelican, two different gull species and one Cormorant.

The investigator determined six violations under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act -- they all included unlawful possession of the birds.

Two images show Wenzel holding birds by their beaks -- and one by its neck.

For the first time, we're also learning where one of those pictures were taken.

The investigator determined the image of Wenzel holding the beak of a Brown Pelican was taken at the Snead Island Crab and Fish House in Palmetto.

Tyler Trudeau's family owns the location right off the water that has a dock that fishermen pull right up to and purchase live bait before they head out fishing.

Trudeau tells ABC Action News they were mad when they found out the picture was taken on their property. They made clear they have no affiliation with Wenzel or his friends and they say Wenzel likely trespassed onto their dock after hours.

The local bait shop is opened from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., but closes early on days with slow business -- making it easy for Wenzel to have pulled up to the dock to snap the picture.

Trudeau said he helped investigators in 2015 determine exactly where the image was taken.


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Trudeau told us on Thursday that the picture was not taken under their watch, and if they had witnessed the act, they would have called FWC or he would have "probably beat him up" himself.

The report concluded that the they would close the case because they were unable to establish venue or a timeframe when the photos were taken, creating a possible issue with the statute of limitations.

The documents also say investigators did not speak with those involved in the investigation because they invoked their rights to an attorney.

To see the full report: click here.

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