Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
June 18, 2013
Smith County Snake Expert Guilty of Smuggling Peruvian Reptiles
TYLER, Texas – A 63-year-old Tyler, Texas eco-tourism guide has pleaded guilty to smuggling live snakes into the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.
William Lamar pleaded guilty to an Information charging him with importing wildlife taken in violation of foreign law today before U.S. Magistrate Judge John D. Love.
According to information presented in court, on Aug. 29, 2012, Lamar imported seven live snakes that he had purchased at a market in Lima, Peru. Lamar smuggled the snakes in his jacket on flights from Lima to Miami, Florida and then to Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport. The next day, after TSA agents refused to let him board a commuter plane to Tyler with the snakes, Lamar traveled aboard a ground transport shuttle from DFW to his home in Tyler. Game Wardens went to Lamar’s residence and seized the snakes.
Peruvian law prohibits the exportation of wild live animals coming from the forest or jungle region unless the exporter has a properly issued ministerial order authorizing the export for either scientific investigation or for cultural diffusion. Lamar admitted that he knew that Peruvian law prohibited the unauthorized exportation of wildlife in a jacket without proper authorization.
Lamar faces up to five years in federal prison at sentencing. A sentencing date has not been set.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Service, the Transportation Security Administration, and the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport Department of Public Safety. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Noble.