Wildlife Officials: Man Illegally Kept Alligator Toes, Gopher Tortoises In Home
LAKELAND, Fla. (CBS Tampa) –– A local man was arrested and charged with multiple counts of illegal possession after authorities found alligator toes and body parts from gopher tortoises and migratory birds in his home.
The Florida Sun-Sentinel is reporting that officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission raided the home of Michael Todd Munford after receiving a tip about the illegal body parts.
A search warrant was subsequently obtained before the bust, the paper additionally learned.
Several unmarked packages containing alligator meat – with the hides attached – as well as skulls and toes were reportedly found around the house. Other containers with the wings of assorted migratory birds, feathers believed to belong to a vulture, and a gopher tortoise shell were also allegedly recovered.
As Munford did not have permits for the parts, he was determined to be in possession of them illegally, and was arrested by authorities.
He now faces multiple charges, the Sun-Sentinel reported, including one third-degree felony count of killing an American gator, two second-degree misdemeanor counts of illegally possessing alligator parts, and one count each of illegal possession of the gopher tortoise and migratory bird parts.
The felony charge could come with a five-year jail sentence and a $5,000 fine.
The other crimes reportedly could also result in jail time and hefty fines for Munford, if convicted.