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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Snakes confiscated from Clay City man's home

Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Adam Ferris, of Clay City, found himself a subject of a two-year, three-state, undercover investigation by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources on Monday.

A search of Ferris' home resulted in the seizure of an albino cobra, a western hopi rattlesnake, two massasagua rattlesnakes and a gaboon viper.

The investigation sought information on people who illegally sell reptiles and amphibians, according to Conservation Officer Max Winchell.

The undercover operation centered on Ohio and Michigan as well as Indiana. Thirteen Indiana conservation officers were involved in the most recent investigation that resulted in citations, search warrants and the confiscation of animals this weekend. The latest investigation followed an Indiana conservation officer investigation that concluded in 1998 with arrests and convictions for illegal sales of wild animals.

In addition to the Clay City man's home, officers also seized snakes at the home of Kelly Culley of Evansville, Ind.

Other animals confiscated in Indiana include a black mamba, considered the fastest and most dangerous snake in the world; a second gaboon viper; and an albino western diamondback rattlesnake.

Many violations of laws prohibiting the illegal sale of reptiles and amphibians allegedly occurred at reptile shows conducted in three states. More specifically, the violations include the illegal interstate and intrastate transportation of federal- and state-protected species, the unlawful collection and possession of native species taken from the wild without permits and failure to keep proper records about the animals.

Depending on the specific violations, these misdemeanors could result in fines up to $1,000 for each count, 120 days in jail per count and restitution for the wild animals illegally taken or possessed.

To complete the investigation, officers went undercover and posed as dealers, trappers and customers in the sale of reptiles and amphibians. The officers from the three states conducted business with about 50 dealers and collectors who were responsible for the unlawful sale of the various species.

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