A Fort Pierce man is behind bars after investigators say he bought and sold reptiles illegally.
FORT PIERCE, Fla. - As a reputable pet dealer in Fort Pierce, Nick Byers says the case of Ashtyn Rance is a frustrating one.
“You'd think you'd learn your lesson the first time,” Byers says. “There's a right way to do things and a wrong way. And it's really not that hard to do it the right way.”
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says what Rance was doing was not only wrong, it was illegal.
The 31-year-old was arrested Thursday on 12 charges, including 6 counts of possessing prohibited reptiles.
Among them were 3 reticulated pythons, 2 Burmese pythons, and 1 green anaconda. The reptiles all require proper state licensing.
A report shows Rance applied for the permit last year and was denied, but investigators say he went on dealing anyway.
It's not Rance's first run in with the FWC. He's been cited 3 times by the agency and warned 4 other times.
A search of his records revealed that he has a history of capturing, possessing and selling venomous or prohibited reptiles.
The report states Rance says he went as far as Guyana to export some of the animals.
“When people step in and do it the wrong way, it makes the industry as a whole look bad,” Nick says.
“We’re already on the edge of the government wanting to step in and control everything that we do, not allowed to sell this animal or that animal, and it's because of things like this.”
Rance is being held at the jail on a $240,000 bond.