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Brother and sister caught smuggling rare boa constrictor into Salt Lake City

Picture of a seized boa constrictor take

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Federal prosecutors this week indicted a brother and sister from Utah on charges of illegally importing a rare boa constrictor from Brazil.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Utah accuses Jeremy Stone, 39, and his sister, Keri Stone, 34, of bringing the snake into the country in a shipment that went through Miami.

Authorities say the Stones paid thousands of dollars to administrators at a Brazilian zoo to get the white leucistic boa, and falsely reported the snake had been caught in the wild in Guyana.

Jeremy Stone bred the boa constrictor with other snakes at his reptile business in Lindon, about 40 miles south of Salt Lake City. He then sold the offspring for tens of thousands of dollars, prosecutors said.

Los Angeles attorney Larry Bakman, who represents Jeremey Stone, said his client denies the allegation. Bakman said he looks forward to contesting the charges in court, though he declined to provide specifics.

"Until I see what they have, it's hard for me to comment on the allegations," said Bakman, who has handled several other federal wildlife smuggling cases.

It wasn't immediately clear if Keri Stone had an attorney.

Leucism is a condition in snakes, birds and other animals in which pigmentation cells fail to develop properly. It can cause white patches on skin, hair or feathers, or make animals completely white.

The indictment says Jeremy Stone learned in 2006 that the rare snake had been caught in the wild and given to the Niteroi Zoo near Rio de Janeiro. Prosecutors say he gave zoo administrators money from 2007 to 2009, and exchanged emails with them about how to get the snake out of the country without having to get the proper permits.

Stone sold the snakes he bred using the Brazilian boa out of his Utah business, Jeremy Stone Reptiles, to buyers in the United States, Canada and Italy, the indictment said.

Jeremy and Keri Stone are set to make their initial court appearances Feb. 11 in federal court in Salt Lake City.

In October, federal prosecutors in Brazil leveled charges of fraud, theft and trafficking of a wild animal against two Brazilians who worked at the Niteroi Zoo, along with Jeremy Stone and his sister, according to court documents available on the prosecutor's website.

It was unclear if Brazilian authorities had requested extradition of the Americans. After-hours calls to the federal prosecutor's office in Brasilia rang unanswered. Officials told Brazil's local press last year that they had asked that the snake and all its offspring be returned to the South American nation.

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Dolly D. January 10 2014 at 3:33 PM

My IQ dropped quite a few points reading some of these comments.

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Calvin January 10 2014 at 2:22 PM

Everyone is always saying God created the little bunnys -don't hurt them,God created the little birds-don't hurt them,the puppies,the kittens,on and on and on,but lets KILL ALL OF THE SNAKES ,we're sure God won't mind.We're pretty sure God won't mind.We don't think God will mind.He prabably won't mind?

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hsmith5973 January 10 2014 at 2:03 PM

Why not just kill the snakes?

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jsimancas January 10 2014 at 1:22 PM

Give thos people 8 years in Jail

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borisiak January 10 2014 at 1:12 PM

The lionfish and snake infestation in S. Florida is not good enough, lets bring in piranhas!! That would be cool......

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harkarro January 10 2014 at 1:03 PM

customs checks if you bring in labeled clothing haVE SENT PEOPLE TO PRISION FOR
THIS BUT A SNAKE THAT KILLS OUR ANIMALS AND PEOPLE DOES DAMAGE TO THE
EVERGLADES IN FLORIDA, DESTORYS THE ECO SYSTEM THAT THE GOVERMENT
DOES NOT KILL.IF THIS WAS A DOG WHO HURT SOMEONE THEY WOULD PUT
IT DOWN AND THESE SNAKES ONLY DESTROY. SOME WORLD

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2 replies to harkarro's comment
lori.salt January 10 2014 at 1:13 PM

We need snakes to kill the rodents.

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zombie2093 January 10 2014 at 11:00 PM

again another liberal moron. snakes only destroy? thats the stupidest ignorant bullshit i've ever read. now let me educate you and the rest of the ignorant liberal idiots out there. you see we live in a world that has different ecosystems that function just fine with out human intervention. so when idiots like you think you know better then mother nature and decide to wipe out an important part of the ecosystem all creatures with in this fine balance suffer. case in point in certain areas of india they got tired of cobras killing a few people a year so they decided to destroy these "good for nothing" pesky snakes, with ina year fields in these areas were completly over run by "harmless" vermin these cute little beedy eyed rodents ate everything and the stuff left behind was tainted by disease. which resulted in half the 1/3'd of the population in these areas dying of starvation and 1/3 dying of disease. so instead of you liberals who think you know something spouting bullshit that makes you look retarded why dont you pick up a 3rd grade science book and do a little ******* research.

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ajschrod January 10 2014 at 1:00 PM

Since all the parties involved are apparently very wealthy, why weren't the proper channels used to import the snake? Doing it properly couldn't have cost them that much more than they paid.

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1 reply to ajschrod's comment
dano33334 January 10 2014 at 5:23 PM

Whether you are rich or poor... no one wants to give money to the government. Governments are known to demand unreasonable sums for taxes and fees.... For example... The Brazilian Gov't wants the snake AND(?) all its offspring ... returned to Brazil. Tell them they can have 1/2 of all the offspring. Then tell them they even get to choose if they want the front half or the back half.

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boabyd January 10 2014 at 12:59 PM

Is there not enough snakes in this Country already.?????????????.
Of course after awhile they would turn it loose when it got to much to handle.
You would think they would learn a lesson,
With all the tropical snakes that are on the loose in Florida,
working there way up the East Coast.

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1 reply to boabyd's comment
zombie2093 January 10 2014 at 11:02 PM

lmfao omg how far do you think these tropical snakes are gonna get? lol!! it's not the snakes falut that florida is the collectively dumbest state in the in the country! lol

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Allan January 10 2014 at 12:58 PM

let it b. dum ass.

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Spinnaker January 10 2014 at 12:49 PM

Would have been much better for all of us if the snake had killed them. I love irony. As it is, now there are MANY snakes that cannot exist in capitivity or the wild without great potential damage.

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2 replies to Spinnaker's comment
ajschrod January 10 2014 at 1:01 PM

Boas are not poisonous and kill very few humans.

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zombie2093 January 10 2014 at 11:06 PM

oh yeah those damn destructive snakes with all their logging and and pollution and apple pushing!! they cant have done as much damage to the everglades as obama and his bp buddies, maybe we should wipe them out! lol it would definatly go farther towards saving the world lol!

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