Phenix City Man Arrested for Selling Rattlesnakes on Internet

PHENIX CITY, Ala. (AP) - A Phenix City man is in legal hot water for allegedly selling highly venomous, non-indigenous snakes on the Internet.

Officers from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources arrested 47-year-old William Gornto on October 3rd. Tips from concerned citizens led to the arrest. Officers seized 35 Western Diamondback, 19 Prairie and three Black Tail rattlesnakes.

Alabama law make it illegal to sell, offer for sale or possess venomous reptiles without a permit.

A state conservation official said if the snakes had escaped and began to breed, it could have posed a serious threat to native wildlife.

The snakes were taken to an undisclosed location. Gornto faces a maximum fine of $500 per count and six months in jail if convicted.

Anyone with information regarding non-indigenous venomous reptiles being held in captivity is asked to call the conservation department's Wildlife and Fisheries Division at (334) 242-3467 or 1-800-272-4263.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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