Rattlesnakes take illegal bus ride
MUNCIE, Ind. ” This time, the snakes weren’t on a plane ” they were on a bus.
Now, a 21-year-old man who police say picked up a package of venomous baby timber rattlesnakes at the post office and took it home on a city bus is facing charges.
Dustin A. Draper of Muncie faces preliminary charges of possession of an endangered species and transportation of a dangerous reptile without a permit. He was in jail Friday on $3,500 bond. It was not known if he had obtained an attorney.
Postal inspectors told the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and county police about the shipment of rattlesnakes. Officials were waiting for Draper when he got off the bus near his apartment Thursday.
“He wants to be cool and have venomous snakes,” said Sgt. Ed Rucker, a DNR conservation officer.
Anyone who handles dangerous or wild animals in Indiana must have a state permit, and possessing endangered species like timber rattlesnakes is illegal, Rucker said.
The DNR said Draper is a known buyer and broker of venomous snakes. He was arrested last November on charges that he tried to sell an undercover conservation officer an eastern diamondback rattlesnake. He was given a suspended 60-day jail term and fined $360 in Muncie City Court. Draper also faces similar charges from August for possession of an adult cobra.
Draper has been advised to get a state wild animal permit, according to court records, although he never applied for one.