Somewhere in Biscayne Bay there is a pod of manatees laughing their fat, mossy asses off.
Aristides Lorenzo Rodriguez, 43, was sentenced to a year of probation yesterday for repeatedly violating speed limits in a manatee zone. Clearly, a federal judge Jonathan Goodman is trying to scare Rodriguez into giving a shit about the lovable sea cows. Rodriguez has been caught speeding through manatee zones eight times in the past 15 years. When he was pulled over by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officers near Virginia Key in October, he paid such little notice that he was pulled over again 15 minutes later for the same offense.
But in a rare act of aquatic karma, Goodman sentenced Rodriguez to 100 hours of community service -- with an organization that protects manatees.
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"Mr. Rodriguez is a habitual zone violator who knew about the restrictions but chose to ignore them," said Andrew Aloise of the USFWS. "As this case shows, we vigorously pursue and prosecute those who do not slow down after being warned or cited."
Of course, speeding boats aren't the only danger to the cherubic creatures. They occasionally fall prey to poachers who grill their meat. Their habitat, meanwhile, is constantly polluted with Miami's finest: used condoms, cocaine bricks, and dead bodies.
Then again, Rodriguez could claim unequal treatment. While he gets probation and community service for messing with manatees, officials don't seem too concerned with a Port Miami proposal that could displace hundreds of the poor, protected bastards.