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THURSDAY, MAY 10, 2007
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Selling snakes
with venom

2 Limestone men charged
with sales, purchases of reptiles

From staff, AP reports

Conservation officials arrested two Limestone County men for allegedly buying and selling highly venomous, non-indigenous snakes on the Internet.

One of the men also had a live piranha, according to the arrest warrants filed in the Limestone County circuit clerk's office.

Bradley Hudson, 48, of 20450 Lasso Circle, Toney, is facing seven charges for allegedly buying and selling the snakes, according to the warrants.

Richard Duckworth, 26, of 29420 Ardmore Park, Ardmore, allegedly had possession of the piranha and participated in the buying and selling of the snakes.

Both are out on bond. Their arraignment will be June 1 in Limestone District Court.

Officers from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources arrested the men Friday.

Rattlesnakes seized

The officers seized 13 rattlesnakes, including a Mojave rattlesnake, which has the most toxic venom of any North American rattlesnake.

The agency's regulations make it illegal to sell, offer for sale or possess venomous reptiles without a permit. The men face possible federal charges for allegedly trading the snakes in interstate commerce.

"If these types of highly poisonous snakes escape and begin to breed, it could pose a serious threat to native wildlife," DCNR Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division Law Enforcement Chief Allan Andress told The Birmingham News. "More importantly, if the snakes bite someone, area hospitals would not have the antivenin on hand to counteract their potentially lethal bites."

The snakes were in a converted storage building at Hudson's residence, officials said. They included six highly venomous Neotropical rattlesnakes, two Western Diamondback rattlesnakes, two Western Massasauga rattlesnakes, two Uracoan rattlesnakes native to northeastern Venezuela and one Mojave rattlesnake.

A licensed expert is caring for the snakes.

Copyright 2005 THE DECATUR DAILY. All rights reserved.
AP contributed to this report.

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