2 face snake-rustling rap

Posted: November 14, 2012

APAIR of snake traffickers are facing federal charges for allegedly capturing rattlesnakes illegally in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to sell through their thriving mail-order reptile business.

Robroy MacInnes, 54, and Robbie Keszey, 47, are co-owners of the Glades Herp Farm in Florida. According to prosecutors, however, the two were illegally obtaining many of their rattlesnakes from Pennsylvania.

According to a federal indictment, MacInnes and Keszey made several trips to Sellersville, Easton and Jim Thorpe in 2007 and 2008 to illegally trap, and sometimes buy, federally protected eastern timber rattlers.

The poisonous reptiles were flown to Tampa, via commercial airlines, from Philadelphia International Airport. Back at the Glades Herp Farm in Bushnell, Fla., the snakes commanded prices up to $350 each, prosecutors said.

The traffic in reptiles allegedly went both ways. MacInnes and Keszey also shipped nonvenomous eastern indigo snakes to Sellersville, prosecutors said, in violation of the Lacey Act, which prohibits the interstate trafficking of unlawfully obtained wildlife.

Penalties for violating the Lacey Act can be harsh, up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each violation.

-Sam Wood, Philly.com

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