An Arizona man pleaded guilty to three counts of federal Larceny Act violations after selling two falsely labeled Gila monsters, two prairie rattlesnakes, two tiger rattlesnakes and one speckled rattlesnake in South Carolina, according to a release from the South Carolina Department of Resources.
Jonathan Sampson Benson pleaded guilty to taking reptiles from Arizona and selling them in South Carolina in 2013 and received five years of probation and restitution fees of $2,225 to the Larceny Act Reward Account and $2,500 to the Arizona Game and Fish Wildlife Theft Prevention Fund, the release states. He was also ordered to forfeit all wildlife to the government, including two Gila monsters, two prairie rattlesnakes, two tiger rattlesnakes, one speckled rattlesnake, one Hopi rattlesnake and one Arizona black rattlesnake, according to the release.
Benson was charged with making a similar transaction in July 2014, the release states.
The S.C. DNR Law Enforcement Division assisted federal authorities with the case, which was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Arizona Game and Fish Department, according to the release.
“We were glad to be able to provide assistance to federal authorities and to our colleagues in Arizona to help bring this case to a successful conclusion,” Col. Chisolm Frampton, SCDNR’s Deputy Director for Law Enforcement, said in the release. “I’m very proud of the work our officers did on this case.”