New York officials announce largest seizure of illegal reptiles in state history

ALLEGANY, New York -- A 71-year-old western New York man faces multiple charges including illegal sale of wildlife after state environmental officials seized hundreds of turtles and three king cobras from his home.

The Department of Environmental Conservation said this week that William Engelder of Allegany in Cattaraugus County was charged with reckless endangerment, illegal possession of venomous reptiles and numerous other offenses.

The reptiles seized last August included 17 endangered bog turtles and 184 spotted turtles, a species of special concern. Dozens of turtle eggs were also seized. It is illegal to possess reptiles that are native to New York state.

It could not be determined if Engelder has a lawyer to comment.

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