Enforcement Officers Put the Bite on Two Men Illegally Selling Non-Native Rattlesnakes

CONTACT: Chief Allan Andress, 334-242-3467

Bradley Hudson, 48, and Richard Duckworth, 26, were arrested by Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division law enforcement officers in Limestone County on Friday, May 4, 2007. The two were charged with selling non-indigenous (non-native) venomous reptiles as a result of an investigation after officers learned the two were involved with buying and selling the deadly snakes on the Internet. ADCNR regulations make it illegal to sell, offer for sale or to possess non-indigenous venomous reptiles without a permit. Because the snakes were traded in interstate commerce, federal charges are also pending.

Following the arrests, officers served a search warrant at Hudson's residence in Toney, Alabama where they seized 13 other non-indigenous snakes and related evidence. Hudson was charged with an additional 13 counts of possession of non-indigenous venomous reptiles without a permit. Hudson had a storage building on his property converted to hold and breed venomous snakes. Specifically, Hudson was charged with possessing 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 species which has the most toxic venom of any North American rattlesnake.

"If these types of highly poisonous snakes escape and begin to breed, it could pose a serious threat to native wildlife," said ADCNR Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division Law Enforcement Chief Allan Andress. "More importantly, if the snakes bite someone, area hospitals would not have the antivenin on hand to counteract their potentially lethal bites." Currently the snakes are safely contained at an undisclosed location.

Anyone having information regarding non-indigenous venomous reptiles being held in captivity is asked to please call the ADCNR Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division Law Enforcement Office at 334-242-3467 or 1-800-272-4263.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama's natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Parks, State Lands, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR visit www.outdooralabama.com.