Monday, 26 November 2012

'Swamp Brother,' partner charged with violating federal wildlife rules (Star of Discovery Channel’s “Swamp Brothers”) – via Herp Digest

November 14, 2012|By Amy Pavuk, Staff Writer, Orlando Sentinel
A Florida man who stars in the Discovery Channel's Swamp Brothers series and his business partner have been accused of violating federal wildlife laws, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.

Swamp Brother Robert Keszey and Robroy MacInnes, co-owners and managers the Glades Herp Farm in Sumter County, are accused of buying wildlife they knew was illegally collected from the wild.

Federal prosecutors in Pennsylvania say the men transported the wildlife to the Glades Herp Farm in Bushnell, about 60 miles west of Orlando, so the company could sell the wildlife.

MacInnes, 54, and Keszey, 47, are also accused of illegally taking and attempting to collect animals from the wild in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The men were indicted by a federal grand jury in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

The alleged crimes occurred from 2007 to 2008, the indictment said.

In 2007, Keszey traveled to Jim Thorpe, Pa., and in that area seized two Eastern timber rattlesnakes from the wild without a permit. That species is considered endangered in New Jersey and threatened in New York. It is also illegal to possess an Eastern timber rattlesnake without a permit in Pennsylvania.

During the same trip, Keszey and another person, who was not identified in the indictment, traveled to the Pine Barrens area of New Jersey and seized a king snake from the wild.

Keszey, who resides in Bushnell, took the two Eastern timber rattlesnakes and other wildlife taken from the wild to the Glades Herp Farm, the indictment said. Prosecutors said that in 2008, MacInnes and Keszey took a pair of Eastern indigo snakes without a permit, violating Florida law, then shipped them to an unidentified person in Pennsylvania. It was done with the understanding that person would breed the snakes and share the sales from selling the offspring.

The Eastern indigo snake is listed as threatened by both Florida and federal law.
Jonathan Ripps, who represents Keszey, said his client is innocent and he will defend the case "vigorously."

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