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Driver keeps tortoises in trunk for soup


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Driver keeps tortoises in trunk for soup

By Associated Press

June 14, 2005

PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- Deputies searching an impounded car found six live gopher tortoises in the trunk, officials said. Carl Franklin King, 43, reportedly told the deputies that he wanted to cook the tortoises in a soup, police said.

King faced several outstanding warrants for his arrest when Pinellas County Sheriff's deputies stopped his car Saturday night in Palm Harbor, police said.

Deputies found the tortoises after they impounded King's car and searched the trunk, police said.

King was charged with animal cruelty in addition to unrelated charges of burglary and criminal mischief from the outstanding warrants.

The tortoises survived and were released, said Gary Morse, a spokesman for the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Gopher tortoises are a species of special concern in Florida. Their meat has been considered a delicacy.

Intentionally harming or killing a gopher tortoise is punishable by six months in jail and a $500 fine.

King was cited in Hernando County on May 7 for possessing four gopher tortoises, officials said.

King was being held Sunday night in Pinellas County Jail on $20,500 bail. It was not known if he had an attorney.

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Information from: The Tampa Tribune, http://www.tampatrib.com

Copyright 2005 Newsday Inc.


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