It’s a federal crime to sell wildlife across state lines. Just ask Jonathan Benson, formerly of Greenville, South Carolina, who pleaded guilty to same this month. He got five years of probation and a $5,000 fine.
The state lines involved are pretty far apart…Arizona and South Carolina. Benson put together a package with two Gila monsters, two prairie rattlesnakes, two tiger rattlesnakes and a speckled rattlesnake.
Officials say the venomous critters were intercepted before they made it to the Palmetto State. Good thing – Imagine opening a box of angry rattlers used to dry heat finding themselves in a swampy new home.
And maybe there is something going on. A guy in Maine also was pinched for interstate critter trafficking. Scott Willey pleaded guilty to illegally harvesting baby eels in Virginia and South Carolina and sending them to Maine.
Harvesting baby eels, also known as elvers, is legal in Maine and on one river in South Carolina.
Willey got two years of probation and a $5,000 fine. Authorities said he poached about 29 pounds of elvers worth about $58,000.
Elvers often are sold to Asian aquaculture companies; they are raised for food.
Along the same lines, periodically some perp is picked up for killing bears in the national parks in western Virginia and then selling various organs on the black market (bear gall bladder is especially valuable). No reports of any poaching of bear parts last week, but things do come in threes.