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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, August 30, 2001

Wahiawa man arrested for keeping illegal snake

By Jean Chow
Advertiser Staff Writer

Armed with a search warrant, state authorities arrested a man this week for keeping a 5-foot boa constrictor in his Wahiawa home along with a 250-gallon aquarium filled with illegal non-native coral, sea anemones, shells, clams and coral-like creatures.

A boa constrictor was confiscated at a Wahiawa home this week after officials were tipped off that the snake was soon to be released into the wild.

Deborah Booker • The Honolulu Advertiser

Carlos Arial, 29, was arrested Tuesday evening after state authorities found the snake and the aquarium at his Circle Drive residence. He was arrested on suspicion of committing two misdemeanor counts of possessing the snake and the illegal invertebrates. Arial was released pending further investigation.

Each count is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of $5,000 to $20,000.

Arial could not be reached for comment.

Deputy Attorney General Christopher Young said this is the first time in recent years that the attorney general's office has made such an arrest.

He said the Department of Agriculture usually handles cases involving illegal animals when the owner calls to ask that the animal be turned in. Under the department's amnesty policy, those owners aren't prosecuted, he said.

"We get involved if someone is saying someone else has an animal and when the person who has the animal is not necessarily cooperative," he said.

Attorney General Earl Anzai said the danger of releasing the snake and other non-native creatures is that it would damage Hawai'i's ecosystem.