(WLTX) - An Arizona man has been prosecuted by federal authorities for the sale of protected reptiles in South Carolina.
Jonathan Sampson Benson reportedly sold two falsely labeled Gila monsters, two prairie rattlesnakes, two tiger rattlesnakes and one speckled rattlesnake in interstate commerce in November 2013. Benson is also charged with making a similar transaction in July 2014.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ Law Enforcement Division.
“We were glad to be able to provide assistance to federal authorities and to our colleagues in Arizona to help bring this case to a successful conclusion,” said Col. Chisolm Frampton, SCDNR’s Deputy Director for Law Enforcement. “I'm very proud of the work our officers did on this case.”
Benson pleaded guilty on three counts of federal Lacey Act violations.
He was ordered to serve five years probation and pay $2,225 restitution to the Lacey Act Reward Account and $2,500 to the Arizona Game and Fish Wildlife Theft Prevention Fund.
Two Gila monsters, two prairie rattlesnakes, two tiger rattlesnakes, one speckled rattlesnake, one Hopi rattlesnake and one Arizona black rattlesnake were also forfeited to the government.
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