Eco-tourism guide sentenced for smuggling snakes

Published on Tuesday, 29 October 2013 17:46 - Written by Staff Reports

A 63-year-old Tyler eco-tourism guide received three years of probation earlier this week for smuggling live snakes into the Eastern District of Texas, U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced.

 U.S. District Judge Michael Schneider sentenced William Lamar on Monday after he pleaded guilty to a charge of importation of wildlife in foreign commerce in violation of foreign law June 18, according to court records. Lamar also will pay a $2,300 fine to U.S. Fish and Wildlife, according to court records.

 According to information presented in court, on Aug. 29, 2012, Lamar imported seven live snakes that he had purchased at a market in Lima, Peru. Lamar smuggled the snakes in his jacket on flights from Lima to Miami and then to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. The next day, after TSA agents refused to let him board a commuter plane to Tyler with the snakes, Lamar traveled aboard a ground transport shuttle from DFW to his home in Tyler.  Game wardens went to Lamar's residence and seized the snakes.

 Peruvian law prohibits the exportation of wild live animals coming from the forest or jungle region unless the exporter has a properly issued order authorizing the export for either scientific investigation or for cultural diffusion. Lamar admitted that he knew that Peruvian law prohibited the unauthorized exportation of wildlife in a jacket without proper authorization.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Service, the Transportation Security Administration and the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport Department of Public Safety investigated this case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Noble prosecuted this case and defense attorney Bobby Mims defended Lamar.