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Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Illegally Transporting Snakes

Joint Police Investigation with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Photo of a milk snakeA man pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court to two counts of illegally transporting protected wildlife in a case investigated by federal agents and the Maryland Natural Resources Police.

William Carl Bartlett, 65, of Eastpoint, Florida faces a maximum prison term of two years and a fine of up to $20,000 for violations of the Lacey Act. He will be sentenced Feb. 28 in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Bartlett was a snake and reptile collector, who bred snakes to sell for more than $400 a pair. Between April 29 and May 13, 2015, he took five Coastal Plain milk snakes from the Chesapeake Forest and Pocomoke River State Forest in Worcester County to his then-home in Connecticut. He did not have a state permit to do so.

Three years earlier, investigators found, Bartlett shipped 10 Outer Banks king snakes via overnight mail from his home to buyer in Pennsylvania. He bred the snakes after taking a male and female kingsnake from the Outer Banks violating North Carolina law, which has designated them a species of special concern.

The case was a joint effort with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement and Division of Refuge Law Enforcement.

A monthlong investigation into suspected deer poaching near an elementary school resulted in the arrest of a Worcester County man on multiple charges.

Charles Stanley Smith, 78, of Snow Hill, has been cited for discharging a firearm within 300 yards of an occupied school, using a rifle to hunt deer in Worcester County within 1 mile of a school, hunting deer during a closed season, hunting on private land without written permission and shooting wildlife from a vehicle.

Officers received a call Oct. 17 about someone shooting at a deer across from Pocomoke Elementary School. A witness described a vehicle in the area at the time. An officer was able to track the vehicle back to Smith.

The case was reviewed by the Worcester County State’s Attorney before charges were filed Nov. 30. Smith is scheduled to appear in district court Feb. 28. If found guilty of all violations, he could be fined a maximum of $7,500.

A Somerset County woman was arrested last weekend on U.S. 50 and charged with drunken driving.

Tonika Sledge, 41, of Princess Anne, received three citations for impaired operation and one for running through a stop light. An appearance in Worcester County District Court is mandatory; a hearing date has not been set.

Shortly before midnight Dec. 2, an officer on U.S. 50 near Walston Switch Road in Parsonsburg saw a car drive through a red light and stop in the median between the eastbound and westbound lanes.

Sledge failed the field sobriety test and was arrested and taken to the Maryland State Police barrack in Salisbury. She recorded a blood alcohol content of 0.13 on a breath test, exceeding the state limit of 0.08. She was released to a sober driver.

A man was charged with multiple hunting violations Saturday after officers on surveillance caught him trespassing on private property in Worcester County.

Peter Bradford Elliott, 23, of Newark, Delaware received citations for hunting with a shotgun during bow season, hunting on private land without written permission, failing to report a deer kill within 24 hours and failing to complete the Big Game Harvest Record before moving the carcass. He received four written warnings.

Elliott is scheduled to appear in Worcester County District Court Feb. 23. If found guilty of all charges, he could be fined as much as $3,750.