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Man Charged For Possession And Sale Of Hundreds Of Reptiles

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation says it has made the largest seizure of illegal reptiles in state history.

Cattaraugus County resident William Engelder is facing hundreds of charges after he was arrested for the illegal possession and sale of hundreds of animals.

DEC police officers say the man was in possession of 17 endangered bog turtles, 28 Blanding’s turtles, 53 wood turtles, two painted turtles, six snapping turtles, and 184 spotted turtles. Authorities say he also had six venomous Gila monsters and three venomous king cobras. Twenty boxes of turtle eggs were also recovered.

If convicted on all charges, Engelder would have to pay up to $104,000 in fines and/or serve up to 33 years in prison.

Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.