WASHINGTON – A Scottsboro, Ala., man was indicted today for the illegal possession, transportation and sale of protected reptiles in violation of the Lacey Act, announced Ignacia S. Moreno Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’ s Environmental & Natural Resources Division and Joyce White Vance, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama.
David Langella, 43, a resident of Scottsboro, traveled to Arizona for the past six years to hunt and capture Arizona state protected reptiles. According to the felony and misdemeanor charges filed in federal court, Langella conspired with others to violate the Lacey Act, as well as Arizona and Alabama state laws. Langella transported some of the illegally captured reptiles back to Scottsboro for his own collection and some were distributed to others. In addition, Langella provided guiding services to others for the capture of Arizona protected reptiles.
According to the indictment filed in federal court:
In 2009, Langella traveled to Arizona where he provided guiding services to others for the capture of Gila monsters and Ridge nosed rattle snakes. Arizona state law prohibits the hunting and capture of both reptiles.
In 2009, Langella facilitated the transportation of non-indigenous poisonous reptiles into and out of Alabama in violation of Alabama law.
In 2009, Langella attempted to obstruct law enforcement officials in Alabama by concealing illegally obtained reptiles.
In 2006, Langella shipped illegally captured protected reptiles to Alabama using false shipping labels.
In 2008, Langella captures protected reptiles in Arizona and transported them back to Alabama in violation of Arizona and Alabama state laws.
The Lacey Act is a federal wildlife law which makes it unlawful to transport, sell, receive, acquire or purchase wildlife which was taken, transported, possessed or sold in violation of state, federal or Indian tribal laws or regulations.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The investigation was conducted by agents with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement and the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division, Special Operations Unit. The case is being prosecuted by the Office of U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance White, Northern District of Alabama, in conjunction with the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division.