In an operation that would make Indiana Jones and Samuel L. Jackson cringe, authorities in Shirley, New York have seized 850 snakes from the home of an animal control officer. Among the hoard were two 6-foot Burmese pythons, which are illegal in the state.
Authorities spotted the reptiles in the garage of Richard Parrinello, an off-and-on animal control officer for the town of Brookhaven, who was under investigation for possible disability fraud. By their sheer numbers, it was probably immediately clear that the man wasn’t keeping the reptiles as pets, or even planning to use them in a wacky revenge plot—he was selling them.
Over the course of several weeks, investigators caught Parrinello on camera claiming he had snakes, turtles, and turtle eggs for sale. He also has a website called Snakeman’s Exotics.
The snakes were said to be worth more than half a million dollars.
According to authorities, Parrinello is cooperating with the investigation. He faces multiple charges of owning the illegal pythons and operating a business without proper permits. He has also been issued two violations by the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation.
Suffolk County SPCA Chief Roy Gross said the pythons are headed to an animal sanctuary in Massachusetts. It’s unclear, however, what will happen to the other snakes. Hopefully, they won’t end up in another homeowner’s drawer, or on a plane.