Man who smuggled live snakes on plane was former East Texas educator

Man who smuggled live snakes on plane was former East Texas educator

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - We're learning more about the East Texas man who pleaded guilty to smuggling seven snakes on a plane from South America to the United States.

According to the U.S. attorney's office, the man bought the snakes from a market in Peru, then boarded a flight to Miami. He then boarded another flight to Dallas. It was at the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport that the man was refused boarding for his flight home to Tyler.

Herpetologist William Lamar is a tour guide and expert zoologist, according to Greentracks, a company that provides nature tours in tropical regions of Latin America.

In a YouTube video posted by Greentracks, Lamar introduces tourists to snakes in the Amazon.

"If you understand these creatures, you can set aside your fear and respect [them]. Then, when you do that, you're free to appreciate how absolutely gorgeous something like this is," Lamar says in the video.

In another YouTube video, you can see Lamar removing a pregnant anaconda from a village in South America.

Tuesday, Lamar pleaded guilty to smuggling seven live snakes into Texas by hiding them in his jacket. The U.S. attorney's office says Lamar told a judge he knew it was against the law to take the snakes from Peru.

In an undated online article, Lamar tells an interviewer that he does keep reptiles and amphibians, but doesn't consider them pets. He adds that "everything" he keeps "is venomous."

Lamar goes on to say he could fill books with "crazy stories" from his adventures. Lamar is a published author who co-wrote multiple books with another herpetologist. We reached out to both that man and Lamar Wednesday but were not able to reach them. However, The University of Texas at Tyler confirms Lamar was an unpaid assistant professor in the Biology department in 1984 and 1985.

According to Greentracks' website, Lamar's next scheduled amazon tour departs in mid-July. We tried contacting the company through the phone number listed on their website, but the number was disconnected.

Thursday, The U.S. Attorney's office said five of the snakes were venomous Peruvian pit vipers. Two of the snakes where non-venomous. All seven snakes are currently at the Dallas Zoo. [if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

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