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Florida man arrested after officers find live alligator in front seat during traffic stop

Deputies say they also found drugs in the vehicle.
Anthony Richardson was booked into the Hardee County Jail for multiple drug charges and illegally possessing or capturing an alligator. [Hardee County Sheriff's Office]
Anthony Richardson was booked into the Hardee County Jail for multiple drug charges and illegally possessing or capturing an alligator. [Hardee County Sheriff's Office]
Published Jul. 8, 2019

The Sunshine State strikes again.

A Florida man was arrested in Hardee County last week after deputies found him in possession of illegal drugs and ... a live alligator.

Deputies say the man, Anthony Richardson, was stopped by a drug task force in the area of S.R. 64 and Pioneer Park in Zolfo Springs on Thursday. Richardson told deputies about the live alligator in the car’s front seat just prior to a drug search of the vehicle.

After the search, Richardson told deputies that the alligator was given to him by a friend and that he planned on releasing it into a nearby river.

Deputies said Richardson admitted to not having alligator trapping or hunting licenses — mandatory permits that must be acquired before animals can legally be taken from the wild.

After securing the alligator — whose mouth was taped shut, and size not released — deputies also found paraphernalia throughout the vehicle, they said.

Richardson was booked and transported into the Hardee County Jail. He now faces multiple drugs citations and was charged with illegally possessing or capturing a live alligator.

As for the gator, the Hardee County Sheriff’s Office says it was “safely released” into Peace River after Florida wildlife officials examined its health.