9 from SWFL arrested in alligator egg poaching ring

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. Nine Southwest Florida residents were arrested in connection to an illegal alligator poaching ring, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Wednesday.

More than 10,000 alligator eggs were illegally harvested and 44 felony violations took place, the FWC said.

“Many of these suspects were part of a criminal conspiracy,” said Maj. Grant Burton, head of the FWC’s Investigations Section. “Their crimes pose serious environmental and economic consequences. These suspects not only damage Florida’s valuable natural resources, they also harm law-abiding business owners by operating black markets that undermine the legal process.”

Below are the suspects and the charges they face:

Robert Kelly Albritton, 36 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, 38, of Arcadia

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

David Wentworth Nellis, 73, 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., 57, of Arcadia

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

Wayne Andrew Nichols, 41, 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, 21, 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, 24, 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, 22, 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, 23, of Fort Denaud

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

WINK News livestreamed part of an FWC press conference on the arrests on Facebook:

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