Man arrested, accused of catching too many snails

Published On: May 18 2012 11:41:23 AM EDT
Updated On: May 18 2012 05:32:59 PM EDT

FWC

BIG PINE KEY, Fla. -

A commercial marine life collector is accused of collecting 13 gallons more than the legal limit of 1 gallon of turbo snails in the Florida Keys.

A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer wrote in a report that he spotted Vernon Siegel, 29, of Big Pine Key, and another person diving for more than four hours last week near the Spanish Harbour Channel Bridge.

The officer followed Siegel, a commercial marine life collector, to Big Pine Key, where he docked his boat. The officer asked Siegel what he was diving for, and he said he had caught some turbo snails, showing the officer a yellow bait container holding about a gallon of the marine animals, according to the report.

The officer said that it usually takes about 45 minutes to an hour to catch a gallon of turbo snails, and after seeing two divers in the water for about four and a half hours, he asked Siegel where the rest of the snails were.

According to the report, Siegel said, "You got me," and the officer found that he had 14 gallons of snails, 13 gallons over the 1-gallon limit. Officials said Siegel also failed to put the snails in a live well.

Siegel was arrested on charges of having 13 gallons more of the snails than legally allowed, and failure to have a live well.

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