POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Delvin Sasnett was in denial mode Tuesday when it came to allegations he offered a venomous coral snake to an undercover officer.
“I did not have no venomous snakes,” said Sasnett, who was released on bond.
“What did you have?” asked reporter Staci DaSilva.
“I had corn snakes,” he replied.
He was one of eight suspects arrested in a years-long investigation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission meant to disrupt a possible venomous reptile black market in Florida.
The agency seized nearly 200 snakes from all over the world including inland taipan, bushmaster, rhinoceros viper, African bush viper, Gaboon viper, green mamba, eyelash viper, multiple species of spitting cobra, forest cobra, puff adder and saw-scaled vipers.
Some of the people involved were alleged to be importing large shipments of non-native venomous snakes from all over the world.
“Extremely dangerous, since many of these snakes can cause serious bodily injury or even death,” said Major Randy Bowlin with FWC.
Also, if the dangerous, nonnative species escaped, they could easily live and breed in Florida’s subtropical climate, FWC said.
According to his probable cause affidavit, officials first identified Sasnett as a target of investigation in 2019, due to public complaints about him illegally capturing and selling wildlife.
He is accused of posting on Snapchat a picture of a venomous coral snake he had captured.
Sasnett did not have a permit allowing him to possess venomous reptiles.
Sasnett denies posting it on Snapchat.
But according to the affidavit, an undercover officer messaged Sasnett back on Snapchat with the “eyes” emoji and wrote “I want,” in reference to the coral snake.
The affidavit shows Sasnett offered it to the officer and invited him to his Eagle Lake home.
There, according to officials, Sasnett produced the venomous snake in an unlocked plastic container.
The officer also observed a python and a 4 to 5 foot alligator brought out from the bathroom.
“I had pets, not venomous snakes,” said Sasnett.
“Did you have an alligator in your bathtub?” asked DaSilva.
“I did not. That’s accusations,” said Sasnett.
Sasnett is next due in court on Feb. 14 for his arraignment in Polk County on two charges, court records show.