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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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Bill January 10 2014 at 8:45 AM

Wonder why the ecosystem is so screwed up with non native species? They should be showing up in the Everglades very soon.
Send their sorry asses to the Amazon Basin and let them mate with Catfish!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
TekRed January 10 2014 at 10:09 AM

I agree... these two should be thrown into a pit with the snake!!!

Flag Reply +4 rate up
Ronda January 10 2014 at 10:08 AM

STOP ALL BREEDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
GO TO THE SHELTER!!!!!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
misty January 10 2014 at 10:06 AM

Wow!! Here we go again. This is an example, of just another person(s) that got caught. I ask this question. How many other cases do we have here in the United States regarding this type of thing with reptiles, and it has not come to surface yet? This makes you believe that there are a lot of fears that exist in our country besides the norm.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
sunnylippold January 10 2014 at 10:04 AM

These kinds of people should be thrown into the snake pit as they like the snakes!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
my opinion January 10 2014 at 10:00 AM

under no circumstances import dangerous snakes or any other invasive species to other areas !
these snakes are loose in miami and everglades and just about every state and country ! they have introduced dangerous fish in the creeks intering the potomac river in virginia and lakes ! the people responsible should be fined and put in prison for at least 20 years !!!!!!!!!!!!!! think of the consequences not your likes or pockets !

Flag Reply +3 rate up
Jan January 10 2014 at 10:00 AM

Why in the world would anyone do this? Down in Florida they have pythons killing the native animals in the Everglades because people got them as pets, they got too big and then dump them in the Everglades. Shameful! It has become all about ME in this country instead of what the consequences of your actions etc. reap on everyone else.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
jgesselberty January 10 2014 at 9:51 AM

These are the kind of people who should be hit with the highest tax levels, since they don't know what to do with their money.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Hello Joe January 10 2014 at 9:50 AM

I'm not a big fan of snakes, I would go out of my way to kill them all if I could, however I do realize that many of them are helpful in keeping rodent population at bay, another species I don't much care for.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
ray13666 January 10 2014 at 10:13 AM

Why would anyone want this kind of 'pet'? This snake can suffocate you and then eat you, some people are just so dumb, and they vote which is even worse.

Flag Reply +8 rate up
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