(HARTFORD, CT) – The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s (DEEP) State Environmental Conservation Police (EnCon), with the assistance of Meriden Police, on Thursday, April 26, 2018 served a search and seizure warrant at 22 Westfield Rd. Meriden, CT after information was obtained from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding an advertisement on a snake forum for the sale of several venomous snakes. Environmental Conservation Police Officers gained further information that the accused, Cameron DeFrances, 21, of Meriden had posted photographs on his social media account and listed the venomous snakes for sale.
Based on this information, EnCon officers applied for and executed a search warrant of the DeFrances residence in Meriden, locating multiple venomous snakes that are illegal to possess in Connecticut. With the assistance of a qualified licensed reptile specialist all the snakes were seized and safely transported to a secure facility for reptiles. Seven snakes that are illegal to possess under Connecticut law were located alive in the residence and two snakes that were illegally possessed were found deceased. Among the snakes that were found alive include a Gaboon Viper, a Forest Cobra, Two Egyptian Banded Cobras and Two Monocled Cobras. A Tree Viper and a King Cobra were also found deceased.
“DEEP takes these cases very seriously,” said Colonel Kyle Overturf. “The exploitation, importation and trafficking of illegally taken wildlife threatens species in our country and across the world. DEEP helped to pass regulations to prohibit the importation and possession of potentially dangerous animals, including venomous snakes, as a measure to protect the health and safety of our residents and to protect the welfare of these species.”
DeFrances was charged with the following violations: Nine Counts of Illegal Possession of a Category Two Wild Animal and Reckless Endangerment First Degree. DeFrances was processed at Meriden Police Department and released on a $1000.00 dollar surety bond with a court date of 5/10/2018 at Meriden Superior Court.