Glen Arm dealer sentenced for buying smuggled snakes

February 19, 1999|By Eric Siegel | Eric Siegel,SUN STAFF

A 44-year-old Glen Arm reptile dealer was sentenced yesterday in Baltimore federal court to four months of home detention and three years' supervised release for illegally buying and selling about $70,000 worth of exotic African snakes.

Paul John Miles, who bred and sold reptiles through a business called Boa Barn in north Baltimore County, was also ordered by Chief U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz to perform 500 hours of community service.

Miles was arrested as part of a five-year undercover international investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service into smuggling of rare and endangered species of frogs, snakes and tortoises, authorities said.

He had pleaded guilty to violating federal law by receiving 30 Madagascar tree boas that had been smuggled into the United States without the proper import or export permits.

"Basically, I think I'm a good person," Miles told the court before his sentencing. "I've made a lot of mistakes."

Prosecutors had asked that Miles be barred from raising or dealing in exotic animals until his sentence was completed, but Motz said such a restriction would be too unwieldy to enforce.

Assistant U.S. Attorney W. Warren Hamel said Miles was taking advantage of the passion of a small group of people for exotic pets, adding, "The unfortunate result of that is the decimation of species around the globe."

Pub Date: 2/19/99

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