Florida man pleads guilty to trading in wild-caught snakes

Author: associated press
MGN Online

WASHINGTON (AP) – A Florida man has admitted his role in the trade of 59 illegally caught wild snakes, including a live rattler mailed to him in a coffee can.

Gerard Kruse of Oviedo, Florida, appeared Friday in a federal courtroom in New York City. The 42-year-old social worker pleaded guilty to seven counts of illegally transporting wildlife and six counts of the illegal receipt of wildlife.

Federal prosecutors say the snakes were collected by Kruse and others from various states, including New Jersey, California and Oregon. It is a crime to ship or receive illegally collected snakes across state lines.

One charge stemmed from a deal where Kruse received a package that included a Western diamondback rattlesnake from Texas sealed in a coffee can. It is also unlawful to mail venomous snakes.

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