News and Press Releases


MONDAY - February 28, 2011


NEW BERN - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court on February 16, 2011, KENNETH DOBIS, 60, of Woodlyn, Pennsylvania, pled guilty to aiding and abetting the taking, possessing and transporting of a protected species and trespassing on a wildlife refuge. DOBIS was also sentenced at the same time to three years probation and fined $10,000.00.

A Criminal Information was filed on August 31, 2010 charging DOBIS and his son, Keith Dobis.

On May 21, 2010, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Refuge Officers observed the DOBIS’ carrying pillowcases and snake sticks along a roadside adjacent to the Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge. For the next several hours, the officers along with officers with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission conducted surveillance on the two subjects in and around the Mattamuskeet and Swan Quarter National Wildlife Refuges.

The next morning, officers continued surveillance of father and son at their hotel. Keith Dobis left his hotel room carrying what appeared to be a snake in a pillowcase. Dobis placed the pillowcase inside the trunk of the vehicle. The DOBIS’ then left the hotel together in their vehicle.

After officers stopped the DOBIS’ and received consent to search their vehicle, a quantity of marijuana and an Eastern Pigmy Rattlesnake, a protected species under North Carolina law, was found. Also found in the vehicle were two copperhead snakes, one rat snake, two worm snakes, three turtles, eleven frogs, one skink, and equipment used for the collection of reptiles and amphibians.

Investigation of this case was conducted by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. Assistant United States Attorney Toby Lathan represented the government.


News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at within 48 hours of release.

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