Three Berea men are among the ten men that were arrested earlier this week on charges of illegally buying, selling and possessing wildlife. 30-year-old Brian Fryer, 46-year-old John Rowland and 21-year-old Jerrod Allen were all arrested as part of a two year investigation by state wildlife officials called "Twice Shy."
Members of Fryer's family told 27 NewsFirst that they believe he captured the snakes in the wild and took them to services at the Harmon's Lick Holiness Church in Berea. They also say they doubt Fryer had any idea that he was doing anything illegally. Fellow church members also describe Fryer as a "nice man." The pastor of Harmon's Lick declined to speak with WKYT.
More than 125 snakes were confiscated in the "Twice Shy" operation. They are being quarantined at the Kentucky Reptile Zoo. Zoo director Jim Harrison says they will eventually be distributed to accredited institutions and will not go back into the pet trade.
Harrison says that in Kentucky you are allowed to keep five native species in a collection provided you have the proper permits. You are not allowed to sell the animals.
Each charge of illegally buying, selling or possessing wildlife is a misdemeanor offense carrying a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.