State seizes several Cobras, venomous snakes offered for sale
Social media offers to sell some of the world’s most dangerous snakes brought the seller and unwanted response, and now the reptiles are slithering in state custody.
Police said a search of a 21-year-old Meriden man’s Westfield Road house found seven live venomous snakes and two dead ones. Cameron DeFrances was arrested on nine counts of illegal possession of wild animals and first-degree reckless endangerment.
Among the snakes found alive were a Gaboon viper, a forest cobra, two Egyptian banded cobras and two monocled cobras. A tree viper and a king cobra were found dead.
DeFrances had posted photographs on his social media account and listed the venomous serpents for sale. Officials said the living snakes were seized and safely transported to a secure facility for reptiles.
“The exploitation, importation and trafficking of illegally taken wildlife threatens species in our country and across the world,” said State Environmental Conservation Police Col. Kyle Overturf.
DeFrances was processed at the Meriden Police Department, released on a $1,000 bond and given a May 10 court date. None of the snakes found in his home are native to North America.
The seized snakes
Connecticut has only two venomous snakes: the northern copperhead and the timber rattlesnake, and both are viewed by state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection as highly beneficial animals. They are fearful of humans and they try to keep to themselves.