GLADES COUNTY, FL: Deputies who stopped a pickup truck near Moore Haven found 36 dead alligators piled up in the vehicle.
A bag in the truck contained 19 live hatchlings.
Deputies called Florida Fish and Wildlife after the find. FWC officers determined only one of the alligators was legally tagged.
Joel M. Green, 47, of Fort Myers, and Donald T. Strenth, 22, of Moore Haven, are charged with 54 counts of illegal possession of American alligators and are being held in the Glades County Jail.
FWC took the carcasses to a processor and will keep the hides as evidence.
The hatchlings were set free.
"We hope this case sends a strong message to any would-be poachers," FWC investigator Capt. Jeff Ardelean said in a news release. "We will find you and hold you accountable for wildlife law violations."
Under Florida law, it is illegal to kill, injure, capture or possess, or to attempt to kill, injure, capture or possess an American alligator without authorization from the FWC.