News Releases

Bushnell men caught with 260 illegal baby alligators

News Release

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," said Straub.

Officers returned the hatchlings to the lake alive. Duval and Scroggins later bailed out on $13,000 and $3,000 bonds, respectively.

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.

FWC Facts:
Studies indicate fish-and-wildlife activities contribute more than $36 billion a year to Florida's economy.

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