Operation Viper: 8 arrested for trafficking venomous snakes in Florida

ORLANDO, Fla. — A multi-year investigation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has resulted in eight people being arrested for illegally trafficking venomous and prohibited snakes, according to a news release.


The charges against the eight suspects range from second-degree misdemeanors to third-degree felonies.

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The investigation came after the FWC received intelligence reports and complaints that a black market for selling and purchasing illegal and highly dangerous venomous snakes was operating in Florida. The investigation was initiated in 2020.

Throughout the investigation, nearly 200 snakes and 24 species from different regions of the globe were purchased or sold by undercover investigators to or from wildlife traffickers, FWC said. Among the species were the green mamba, multiple species of spitting cobra, eyelash viper, rhinocerous viper, forest cobra and scores more.

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“Some of these snakes are among the most dangerous in the world,” Maj. Randy Bowlin, FWC DLE Investigations and Intelligence Section Leader said in a news release. “Florida’s rules and laws are in place to protect the public and prevent tragedies from occurring.”

The suspects face more than 60 charges between them, including the sale of venomous reptiles to an unlicensed person and illegal transportation of venomous reptiles. Those facing charges are:

  • Delvin Eugene Sasnet, 32, of Eagle Lake
  • William Chase Agee, 32, of Holly Hill
  • Dylan Isaac Levin, 30, of Palm Beach Gardens
  • Edward Daniel Bays, 25, of Southwest Ranches
  • Jorge Javier Gonzalez, 23, of Miami
  • Paul Edward Miller, 48, of Cape Coral
  • Joseph David Switalski, Jr., 37, of Plantation
  • Timothy James Gould, 38, or Central City

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.