A Texas Herpetologist Was Arrested for Smuggling Peruvian Snakes onto a DFW-Bound Plane

BillLamarHerpetologist.jpg
Atlanta Botanical Garden
You can see the frog, but can you spot the snakes renowned herpetologist Bill Lamar is wearing?
William Wylly Lamar is something of a rock star amongst readers of sites like HerpNation.com and WildHerps.com. His reptile-capturing skills -- we're talking herpetology here, folks -- are unparalleled, as is his knowledge. He wrote the book on venomous snakes. Several books, actually, including his magnum opus, the two-volume The Venomous Reptiles of the Western Hemisphere.

Needless to say, Lamar knows what's safe to put where. So before boarding a plane from Lima, Peru to DFW, he felt perfectly comfortable stowing the seven Peruvian snakes he had with him in his jacket for the seven-hour flight.

We don't know what kind of snakes they were. They could have been harmless, for all the detail provided by the federal prosecutors who went after Lamar for illegally smuggling the reptiles. Or they might have been so venomous that, had they escaped, they would have taken the plane hostage, pending the arrival of a dutifully exuberant Samuel L. Jackson.

What we do know is that the TSA found the snakes when Lamar arrived at DFW and weren't too keen on letting them take the connecting flight to his hometown of Tyler. Instead, Lamar and the reptiles took a shuttle.

Game wardens showed up at Lamar's house not long after he did and seized the snakes, which he admitted to smuggling from Peru in violation of that country's law banning wildlife from being taken from its jungles and forests without prior government approval.

Lamar, 63, entered a guilty plea last month, which was announced yesterday in a press release from federal prosecutors. The crime carries a maximum five years in prison. Here's betting it'll take more than that to keep Bill Lamar from herping.

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33 comments
cp8q
cp8q

Leave him alone.

roym1
roym1

Bill Lamar got bent out of shape when i posted some credits to him in Costa Rica .He protested that the people affiliated with that picture were know "smugglers".I wonder now who the real smuggler was.Maybe Bill Lamar was smuggling Reptiles from Costa Rica as well and did not want to blow his cover.Shame on you Bill Lamar,academics do not stoop to the level of smuggling. 

snakes
snakes

When scientist have to work this way, something is wrong with the laws i guess!

jmckee3
jmckee3

The most amazing detail in the story to me is finding out that American Eagle offers jet service between DFW and Tyler.

James080
James080 topcommenter

Ass holes just like Lamar introduced pythons into the Everglades and now the indigenous wildlife there is nearly extinct. We also have the fist sized Giant African Snail sliming a trail across the south, Hydrilla and Giant Salvinia choking lakes and ponds, kudzu vines spreading like eco-herpes, and a laundry list of destructive plants, insects, reptiles and mammals wrecking the environment because a few criminal like Lamar don't think the law applies to them.  I hope this guy gets the full five years, I wish it were more. Lots more.

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

What we do know is that the TSA found the snakes when Lamar arrived at DFW and weren't too keen on letting them take the connecting flight to his hometown of Tyler. Instead, Lamar and the reptiles took a shuttle.

So I guess he just breezed on past Customs ? And Here I am worried about bringing in to much Liquor when I come back from Cancun...

Honeybee
Honeybee

He's such a nature-lover that he took reptiles out of their habitat.  The snakes are adapted to that ecosystem and they fill a niche in it.  The health of the habitat depends on each organism within it.

And he's such a nature lover that he chose to jeopardize the habitats/ecosystems here by potentially introducing non-native species. See: kudzu, pythons in the everglades and brown snakes in Guam for how destructive non-natives species can be.

People who have a need to possess undomesticated animals are not harmless or eccentric, they are dangerous and ignorant of their own mental-health issues.

Lonnie Beene
Lonnie Beene

I have had it with these ... oh, never mind.

mcdallas
mcdallas topcommenter

Immigration posts in 3...2...

gracie
gracie

That's all we need, more snakes in Texas. What is this guy's problem? Couldn't he find a rattlesnake or copperhead to study or are they not exotic enough for him? Remember the cobra that disappeared in Dallas a few years ago? Maybe that is his snake. Did they ever find it or is it still at large? Snakes give me the chills. I am so glad they caught him. He probably keeps them at home where they can get loose and roam the city so he really needs to be in prison. 

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

This is a little unclear, he faces five years in American jail for violating Peruvian law?

drag
drag

@James080 That is not how the Burmese Python got into the everglades. Most of them came from a breeding facility that was destroyed.

As a fellow reptile lover...I hope that this guy gets the book thrown at him. Irresponsible assholes like this are what screws the rest of us responsible owners.

snakes
snakes

@James080 ... you are clearly clueless and have no idea what you are talking about. you dont even understand the difference between herpetoculture and herpetology. Lamar has absolutely nothing to do with the release of foreign wildlife anywhere in the US. when a scientist like him brings snake on board as he did, it is only a sign, that the laws in both countries are an obstruction to science!

lifedesignsclay
lifedesignsclay

@James080 First of all...it's not guys like Lamar that are introducing invasive species into the Everglades. It's poorly educated pet owners that buy juvenile Burmese pythons, that, when large and no longer convenient to keep, release them into what they perceive to be suitable habitat. Stupid for sure. Further, it is patently false that indigenous wildlife in the everglades is nearly extinct. And true, introduced species of all kinds are a remarkably bad idea...always the same detrimental effect. Having known Lamar for 28 or so years I can tell you for certain that he loathes invasive species and would never release a non-native species into the wild. What we have here is a rather brilliant herpetologist that let his love for pitvipers cloud his better judgement. I suspect he's already spent 50K or more on his federal case. I hope for his family's sake he gets probation.

Honeybee
Honeybee

@oakclifftownie For reasons I won't go into, I once had to pay $30 for 6 oz of sunscreen in a hotel gift shop (We called it Liquid Gold Sunscreen).  On the way home, the TSA guy tried to throw it out even though it was down to about 3 oz.  But a guy with snakes from another country is allowed to leave the airport with them.

snakes
snakes

@Honeybee ... dont be so ignorant. you dont jeopardiza an ecosystem by taking out 7 snakes in the name of science. native people to the same habitat kill dozens every day and it does not change the eco system. get real! and in the case of a scientist like Lamar, it´s not about possessing animal, it´s about studying them ....

CitzenKim
CitzenKim

@mcdallas Typical lib ... look, you let these illegal snakes into the country and before you know it you'll have them expecting amnesty and becoming Dem voters!

snakes
snakes

@gracie .... retard! go back an read the article again. he is a 63 year old brilliant scientist not a college boy keeping some hot pets at home. dont understand the difference?

snakes
snakes

@ruddski ... nobody cares about the peruvian laws. bringing the animals in on a plane as he did is violating US laws ... (even if he would have taken them with permits in peru).

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

@ruddski We have a federal law that makes it illegal to bring in animals that were illegally taken from other countries. Consider it something like smuggling stolen goods.

James080
James080 topcommenter

@snakes @James080  

Lamar committed a crime.  His ASS belongs in prison. I don't care what his expertise is or what his motives were. He INTENTIONALLY smuggled snakes out of Peru and into the US. You can rationalize all you want, but he is a criminal, he knew he was breaking federal law. He didn't care. Now there is a price to be paid. If you contend the laws of both countries are an obstruction to science, haul your sorry ass to Washington DC and lobby to change the law.

lupus_malus_magnus
lupus_malus_magnus

@Honeybee ok let me see if I get this straight because I keep a few snakes, and random "other" exotic pets (none of which are venomous) I am dangerous, ignorant and have mental health issues ? are you really so stupid as to think that "responsible" keepers are ignorant... most I know do their own research to find out what is needed to properly keep and house said animal... most of them are smarter than you will ever be and do it to further the education of the populace about this animal or that animal depends on what their passion is.... sounds to me like you are just another of the dumb panicky herd animals I talk about.... you fear what you don't understand you hate what you fear and destroy what you hate.... ignorance has a cure it is called knowledge stupidity (like yours) is a choice.....

oh and just food for thought here.... how do you think domesticated animals became domesticated

peruvianshipiboshama
peruvianshipiboshama

peruvian shipibo shaman

@snakes @ruddski  you can't say nobody cares about peruvian laws, because you must care about them if you plan to enter and stay some time in the country. A visa is not a stupid formality, is an agreement that permits your free and safe transit while obliges you to gain knowledge and obey the local laws.

Everyone must care a lot more about all those things that -for you "americans"- are so difficult to understand, before saying something as retarded as "7 snakes won't make any difference". One snake can make a big difference, just as the destiny of one of your sons can surely change for allways your life and your descendants future. Don´t let your arrogant ignorance justify -in the name of Science- this irrespectful action against MamaPacha (Mother Earth).

peruvianshipiboshama
peruvianshipiboshama

peruvian shipibo shaman

@snakes @ruddski you can't say nobody cares about peruvian laws, because you must care about them if you plan to enter and stay some time in the country. A visa is not a stupid formality, is an agreement that permits your free and safe transit while obliges you to gain knowledge and obey the local laws.

Everyone must care a lot more about all those things that -for you "americans"- are so difficult to understand, before saying something as retarded as "7 snakes won't make any difference". One snake can make a big difference, just as the destiny of one of your sons can surely change for allways your life and your descendants future. Don´t let your arrogant ignorance justify -in the name of Science- this irrespectful action against MamaPacha (Mother Earth).

James080
James080 topcommenter

@lupus_malus_magnus  

Are you really that ignorant? Your boy illegally imported poisonous snakes to the US, in his coat pocket for God's sake, and you have no issue with that? Does a real scientist or professional researcher transport specimens in his pocket? Your only complaint is if he is sentenced more harshly than you would prefer. As to your lame example, here's a clue for you - domestic animals were introduced into the US for what purpose? Think hard on this one, and try to differentiate the usefulness of domestic animals and poisonous snakes.   

lupus_malus_magnus
lupus_malus_magnus

@James080 Actually it was Hurricane Andrew, and it was 2 Facilities... and if they are not that easy to find then the everglades was NOT OVERRUN with them....so tell me this did you even READ my post or just gloss over it to cherry pic something to try and make your feeble point... did this guy break the law ? yes should he be imprisoned ? that's not for me to decide... and here is something for you

1) Hurricane Andrew was in 1992.
2) The countries that banned the export of Burms in 1994 were Thailand & Vietnam. 2 years after Hurricane Andrew.
3) It was actually 2 breeding faculties that were destroyed by Hurricane Andrew.
4) DNA testing has proven that over 90% of DNA tested specimens can be traced back to those two facilities due to records showing that the 2 facilities had both imported & 1st generation offspring of Thai & Vietnamese descent.

so please again either learn to do the research before you go off spouting gibberish... you are so worried about these things getting loose I suggest you move to a colder climate where there is absolutely no chance of something like this surviving in the winter cold.....

oh and just food for thought here.... how do you think domesticated animals became domesticated in the first place ?

but please where are your facts that the indigenous wildlife of the everglades is nearly extinct because of these pythons... where are your facts

James080
James080 topcommenter

@snakes @James080  

Ouch.....Call me another name.....

I wonder if the drug cartels subscribe to your theory that smuggling coke is only necessary because the laws in Peru and the US are an obstruction to science.

James080
James080 topcommenter

@lupus_malus_magnus@James080@snakes 

"it was a storm that took out a Facility that housed most of them..."

Possibly like a tornado that could hit your pal's facility and release his pet snakes into Texas. 

Now you're not really stupid enough to believe  that hunting pythons in the Everglades is as easy as rounding up rattle snakes in west Texas, or are you? You and your buddies on this blog sound like a bunch of petulant children who grew up believing rules don't apply to them. I'm willing to bet Lamar has been smuggling snakes into the country illegally for years. 

lupus_malus_magnus
lupus_malus_magnus

@James080 @snakes so he broke the law... I am willing to bet it was most likely a first offense... which would warrant probation and or supervision NOT incarceration as to your statements about "introduced pythons into the Everglades and now the indigenous wildlife there is nearly extinct." I would challenge YOU to back that up with facts....

as I remember they had something like several hundred hunters goto the everglades to hunt these invasive Pythons you vaguely reference and they only managed to frind somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 or 70.... and it was not careless people releasing them into the everglades it was a storm that took out a Facility that housed most of them..... please do me the favor of either backing up your statements with facts or STFU !!!

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