Bushnell men caught with 260 illegal baby alligators
Friday, September 16, 2011
Media contact: Joy Hill, 352-258-3426
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Officer
David Straub and FWC Reserve Officer John Parrish surprised two
Sumter County men early Thursday morning as the men came ashore in
their airboat on Lake Apopka with a couple of sacks full of
recently hatched alligators.
Robert "Bo" Martin Duval (DOB 02/06/79) and Christopher Cork
Scroggins (DOB 05/08/89), both of Bushnell, were booked into Lake
County jail early Thursday on felony possession/capture of
hatchling alligators and misdemeanor conspiracy charges. Duval had
additional felony charges of possession of firearms and ammunition
by a convicted felon. The firearms were concealed under some
vegetation in the boat.
FWC officers were on surveillance at the Montverde boat ramp
when the two men returned from their night of capturing the
hatching alligators on Lake Apopka in Lake County.
"You have got me, and I have a lot of alligator hatchlings,"
Duval said as the officers approached him and Scroggins.
"Unfortunately, there is an illegal market for hatchling
alligators, and people who participate in this type of poaching
have no regard for our resources or the laws that protect them,"
Officers returned the hatchlings to the lake alive. Duval and
Scroggins later bailed out on $13,000 and $3,000 bonds,
Charges are pending against a woman who assisted the two men at
the boat ramp, and the incident is still under investigation.
Possessing/capturing hatchling alligators is a third-degree
felony, which, on conviction, carries a maximum penalty of five
years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Possession of a firearm by a
convicted felon is a second-degree felony, which carries a maximum
penalty of 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
To report alligator and other fish, wildlife or boating
violations, please call the 24-hour Wildlife Alert Hotline at
888-404-FWCC (3922). Callers may remain anonymous and may be
eligible for a reward if their information leads to an arrest.