Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in outdoor and travel markets. A former small-town newspaper editor and reporter, she constantly hunts for news headlines you need to read. Barbara also publishes Women’s Outdoor News online and pens columns for the National Wild Turkey Federation and Shooting Sports USA. Hailing from the Ozarks of Missouri, this avid hunter is now mentoring the second generation of hunters - her own little bevy of Realtree-wearing grandchildren.
Operation Snake Pit Bites Hard
Matues Dal Maso, Jr., found out the hard way that hiding 27 snakes in stereo speakers, with the intent to leave the country, does not work. On Aug. 23, Dal Maso attempted to smuggle 27 snakes – a ball python, seven boa constrictors and 19 various color morph corn snakes – out of the country from Orlando to Brazil. He purchased the snakes legally at the National Reptile Breeders Expo in Daytona a few days earlier. Then, he illegally hid them in stereo speakers and tried to check his luggage.
The arrest, a result of a multi-agency partnership with the cool name “Operation Snake Pit,” included efforts from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Customs Border Protection and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation. Operation Snake Pit bit Dal Maso when he did not produce the correct papers (and obviously, means of transport) for the snakes. He said he wanted to take them back to Brazil, breed them and sell them.
Punishment for Dal Maso comes in the form of one year of supervised release when within the geographical confines of the United States (must report to probation within 72 hours of arrival), two days incarceration (already served), a $25 fee and a fine of $6,000.
The USFWS confiscated the snakes and is holding them at an undisclosed facility.
With Florida’s snake problem, especially in the Everglades, perhaps the government should make it easier for people to capture and take the snakes out of the country. Controlled, of course. It could be a catch-and-release program. Catch the snakes, and put them on a one-way plane to Brazil. What do you think?