Newsoms man charged for allegedly possessing alligators, turtles

Published 11:13 am Wednesday, September 28, 2011

NEWSOMS—A Newsoms man has been charged with illegally possessing two juvenile alligators and 20 box turtles, some of which he had since he was a kid.

Jason Holloman, 31, told investigators he didn’t know he was breaking the law, said Sgt. T.J. Worrell with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries in Charles City, who serves Southampton County.

“Since he was a kid, he has really liked reptiles and he enjoyed collecting them,” Worrell said. “He collected the box turtles for years, and people would drop them off, and he didn’t know he was breaking the law.”

Holloman faces up to $1,000 in fines for misdemeanor charges of allegedly possessing more turtles than permitted by law and possessing the alligators.

He could not be reached for comment.

Acting on a tip, game officials on Thursday seized the 18- to 20-inch long alligators and box turtles from Holloman’s home on Mount Horeb Road between Franklin and Newsoms.

It’s against the law to import a species — alligators — that’s not native to Virginia. Alligators are found in Florida, Louisiana and the southern parts of Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.

Virginians also cannot get a permit to possess alligators because people tend to release them into the wild, and game officials don’t want them in Virginia’s waters.

Holloman purchased the alligators at a reptile show in Pennsylvania, Worrell said.

“It’s not illegal to sell (alligators in Pennsylvania),” he said. “We spoke with the Pennsylvania department of wildlife and they have no regulations whatsoever on exotic species. People can raise them and sell them and export them from Pennsylvania.”

Virginians can legally possess up to five box turtles. The turtles were seized because Holloman was over the limit.

The alligators have been turned over to the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk.

“I think they are going to find them a home,” Worrell said.

The box turtles, which can live up to 100 years, will go to a rehabilitation center in Virginia.

“They can’t be reintroduced into the wild because we don’t know where they came from or what diseases they contracted while held in captivity,” Worrell said.

The alligators and turtles were in great condition when they were seized from Holloman’s home.