florida men Charged With trafficking in endangered rattlesnakes
PHILADELPHIA - Robroy MacInnes, 54, of Fort Myers, FL, Robert Keszey, 47, of Bushnell, FL, and the business they co-owned, Glades Herp Farm, Inc., were charged today in a two-count indictment with conspiracy to traffic in endangered and threatened reptiles, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger, Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, and Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Neil Mendelsohn with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
According to the indictment, between 2007 and 2008, the defendants collected protected snakes from the wild in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, purchased protected Eastern Timber rattlesnakes which had been illegally collected from the wild in violation of New York law, and transported federally threatened Eastern Indigo snakes from Florida to Pennsylvania. The indictment further alleges that defendants MacInnes and Glades violated the Lacey Act by purchasing illegal Eastern Timber rattlesnakes and having the snakes transported to Florida. MacInnes and Glades are charged with trafficking in protected timber rattlesnakes.
The Eastern Timber rattlesnake is a species of venomous pit viper native to the Eastern United States, and is considered endangered in New Jersey and threatened in New York. It is also illegal to possess an Eastern Timber rattlesnake without a permit in Pennsylvania. The Eastern Indigo snake, the longest native North American snake species, is listed as threatened by both Florida and Federal law.
The Lacey Act, one of the oldest statutes in the United States, prohibits the interstate trafficking of wildlife that has been unlawfully obtained. The maximum penalty for conspiring to commit offenses and for violations of the Lacey Act is up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each violation.
This case was investigated by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mary Kay Costello and Patrick M. Duggan of the Environmental Crimes Section of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, EASTERN DISTRICTof PENNSYLVANIA
Suite 1250, 615 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
PATTY HARTMAN, Media Contact, 215-861-8525