Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Citation for
illegal snake voided

State agriculture officials refer
the case to the attorney general

State agriculture officials have voided a citation and $5,000 fine they issued to a Waipahu woman whose luggage contained a live snake, and referred the case to the state Attorney General's Office.

The case remains under investigation, and officials may reissue the citation or issue a new one, said state Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Janelle Saneishi.

The citation charged the woman with violating state law for transporting or possessing a snake without a permit, a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of between $5,000 and $20,000.

Transporting or harboring snakes without a permit to breed, sell or release is a Class C felony under state law, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of between $50,000 and $200,000.

The 32-year-old woman was about to board a Hawaiian Airlines flight to Sacramento on May 2 when a Transportation Security Administration screener doing a random search of checked luggage at Honolulu Airport found a 3-foot-long albino corn snake in the woman's bag.

Agriculture officials questioned the woman, issued her the citation and allowed her to board her flight.

The woman is back in Hawaii and has retained a lawyer, Saneishi said.

"She's not talking to us," she said.

State Department of Agriculture

E-mail to City Desk


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