A Florida man was arrested on the Fourth of July after deputies found him possessing illegal drugs -- and a live baby alligator in the front seat of his car, several media outlets reported.
Hardee County deputies said Anthony Richardson was stopped by a drug task force Thursday, the Tampa Bay Times reported. According to deputies, Richardson told them he had a live gator in the front seat moments before the vehicle was searched for drugs, the newspaper reported.
Deputies said they asked Richardson if he had a license to trap or hunt alligators, WFLA reported. Richardson told them he did not own either license and had been given the reptile by a friend. He told deputies he was planning to release the alligator into a nearby river, the television station reported.
Mandatory permits must be acquired before animals can legally be taken from the wild, the Times reported.
When deputies searched the vehicle, they found the baby alligator in the front seat in a black bag with its mouth taped shut, WTVT reported. Deputies then checked with a wildlife officer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission before removing the tape from the gator's mouth and releasing it into the Peace River, the television station reported.
Richardson was booked into the Hardee County Jail on multiple drug charges, and for illegally capturing or possessing an alligator, WTVT reported.