Arizona man illegally sold venomous reptiles in South Carolina

Posted: Updated:
Gila monster (Photo source: Wikipedia) Gila monster (Photo source: Wikipedia)
COLUMBIA, SC (AP) -

An Arizona man has pleaded guilty to selling venomous desert reptiles in South Carolina.

The State of Columbia reports that the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources said in a release Friday that Jonathan Sampson Benson pleaded guilty last week to three counts of violating a federal law restricting people from selling wildlife across state lines. Benson, a former Greenville-area resident, received five years' probation, $5,000 in fines and an order to turn over the wildlife to the government.

DNR spokesman David Lucas said animals packaged for sale in South Carolina included two Gila monsters, two prairie rattlesnakes, two tiger rattlesnakes and a speckled rattlesnake. The venomous animals were intercepted before they reached their destination.

Lucas said importing non-native wildlife threatens native wildlife and can also be dangerous to humans.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

© 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.