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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
12:57 PM Fri, Sept. 21st

Arizona man illegally sold venomous reptiles in S. Carolina

A Gila monster is a near threatened reptile which resides in the southwestern US and the northwestern Mexican state of Sonora.

A Gila monster is a near threatened reptile which resides in the southwestern US and the northwestern Mexican state of Sonora.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — An Arizona man has pleaded guilty to selling venomous desert reptiles in South Carolina.

The State of Columbia reports that the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources said in a release Friday that Jonathan Sampson Benson pleaded guilty last week to three counts of violating a federal law restricting people from selling wildlife across state lines. Benson, a former Greenville-area resident, received five years' probation, $5,000 in fines and an order to turn over the wildlife to the government.

DNR spokesman David Lucas said animals packaged for sale in South Carolina included two Gila monsters, two prairie rattlesnakes, two tiger rattlesnakes and a speckled rattlesnake. The venomous animals were intercepted before they reached their destination.

Lucas said importing non-native wildlife threatens native wildlife and can also be dangerous to humans.