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Illegal snakes removed from a Meriden home

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MERIDEN - The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) said they became aware of illegal poisonous snakes in a Meriden home after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service alerted them to an advertisement on a snake forum for the sale of several venomous snakes.

21-year-old Cameron DeFrances, of Meriden, has been charged with nine counts of illegal possession of a category two wild animal and reckless endangerment in the first degree.

"Our officers assigned to the case did some investigations and found postings and pictures of the snakes and was able to obtain a search warrant for the subjects residence," said Col. Kyle Overturf, of DEEP.

Among the snakes removed from the residence: a Gaboon Viper, which has the longest fangs of any venomous snake, at up to two inches, a Forest Cobra and two Egyptian Banded Cobras.

"He shouldn’t have had them. That is true." said Gabriele DeFrances, the accused man's mother. "I’m glad they’re gone, quite frankly."

Mrs. DeFrances called her son a foolish young man.

"There are channels to go through, which he chose not to go through," she said.

"I’m not sure where this person got the cobra, so we’re still investigating," said Overturf.

A reptile expert removed the snakes, which were up to four feet long.

"There was one cobra in particular," said Overturf.

"I believe it was the Forest Cobra that can be very very dangerous to deal with and even our expert had some issues with that. He said they left the room when they were trying to contain that snake."

"There’s one room locked, with cages that are locked," said Gabriele DeFrances. "That’s his room, where they are like in a facility."

She adds that she does not have a key to that room. So, she really did not know how many snakes he had in there.

Cameron DeFrances was processed at Meriden Police Department and released on a $1,000.00 dollar bond.

He is due in Meriden Superior Court on May 10.

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