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Nine people arrested in undercover alligator bust

Alligator
Posted at 3:31 PM, May 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-01 07:05:50-04

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, FL (WWSB) - Nine people are behind bars after a three year investigation by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission into violation of laws pertaining to the possession of American Alligators.

The arrests happened Wednesday. The nine arrested face multiple charges of alligator egg harvesting, interstate transport of alligator eggs and hatchlings, falsifying official records, dealing in stolen property, conspiracy to commit racketeering, racketeering and other wildlife violations. These serious charges include first-, second- and third-degree felonies.

These charges are the result of an undercover operation initiated in 2015 by the FWC Division of Law Enforcement’s Investigations Section. FWC undercover officers managed to become part of the alligator farming community to gain information and evidence about poachers who were breaking the law in regard to the FWC’s public and private lands alligator egg harvesting program and alligator farming.

During the course of the investigation, FWC undercover officers documented numerous criminal violations, resulting in the arrest of nine individuals for 44 felony violations.

Investigators documented over 10,000 illegally harvested eggs during the course of the undercover operation.

Wildlife conservation laws are in place to protect and manage Florida’s  natural resources for legitimate use by the public.

There are aspects of this investigation that are still ongoing, and the FWC expects more arrests to be forthcoming.

The suspects and their charges are as follows:

Robert Kelly Albritton (DOB 01/21/1981) of Arcadia

  • One felony count of Racketeering.
  • One felony count of Conspiracy to Commit Racketeering.     
  • One felony count of Scheme to Defraud.
  • Fourteen felony counts of Unlawful Possession of Alligator Eggs/Alligators.

Robert Thomas Beasley (DOB 02/05/1979) of Arcadia

  • One felony count of Conspiracy to Commit Racketeering.
  • Six felony counts of Unlawful Possession of Alligator Eggs/Alligators.

David Wentworth Nellis (DOB 10/10/1943) of Punta Gorda

  • One felony count of Conspiracy to Commit Racketeering.
  • One felony count of Uttering a Forged Instrument.
  • One felony count of Unlawful Possession of Alligator Eggs.

Carl Wayne Pickle Jr. (DOB 12/22/1969) of Arcadia

  • One felony count of Conspiracy to Commit Racketeering.
  • Four felony counts of Unlawful Possession of Alligator Eggs/Alligators.

Wayne Andrew Nichols (DOB 07/15/1975) of Arcadia

  • Three felony counts of Unlawful Possession of Alligators.
  • One felony count of Unlawful Killing of White Ibis.
  • One first-degree misdemeanor count of Attempting to Take White Ibis.

Christopher Lee Briscall (DOB 01/28/1995) of Fort Denaud

  • One felony count of Unlawful Possession of Alligators.
  • One felony count of Conspiracy to Commit Dealing in Stolen Property.

Matthew Edward Evors (DOB 10/20/1992) of Cape Coral

  • One felony count of Unlawful Possession of Alligators.
  • One felony count of Conspiracy to Commit Dealing in Stolen Property.

Isaiah Joseph Romano (DOB 12/17/1994) of Fort Denaud

  • One felony count of Unlawful Possession of Alligators.
  • One felony count of Conspiracy to Commit Dealing in Stolen Property.

Jacob Oliver Bustin-Pitts (DOB 11/11/1993) of Fort Denaud

  • One felony count of Unlawful Possession of Alligators.
  • One felony count of Conspiracy to Commit Dealing in Stolen Property.