By Eric Nicholson
William Wylly Lamar is something of a rock star amongst readers of sites like HerpNation.com and WildHerps.com. His reptile-capturing skills -- we're talking herpetology here, folks -- are unparalleled, as is his knowledge. He wrote the book on venomous snakes. Several books, actually, including his magnum opus, the two-volume The Venomous Reptiles of the Western Hemisphere.
Needless to say, Lamar knows what's safe to put where. So before boarding a plane from Lima, Peru to DFW, he felt perfectly comfortable stowing the seven Peruvian snakes he had with him in his jacket for the seven-hour flight.
We don't know what kind of snakes they were. They could have been harmless, for all the detail provided by the federal prosecutors who went after Lamar for illegally smuggling the reptiles. Or they might have been so venomous that, had they escaped, they would have taken the plane hostage, pending the arrival of a dutifully exuberant Samuel L. Jackson.
What we do know is that the TSA found the snakes when Lamar arrived at DFW and weren't too keen on letting them take the connecting flight to his hometown of Tyler. Instead, Lamar and the reptiles took a shuttle.
Game wardens showed up at Lamar's house not long after he did and seized the snakes, which he admitted to smuggling from Peru in violation of that country's law banning wildlife from being taken from its jungles and forests without prior government approval.
Lamar, 63, entered a guilty plea last month, which was announced yesterday in a press release from federal prosecutors. The crime carries a maximum five years in prison. Here's betting it'll take more than that to keep Bill Lamar from herping.