Low-graphic news index |
Wednesday, August 15, 2012 - Page updated at 09:00 p.m.
Piranhas seized from Spokane man who tried to trade fish on Craigslist
By The Spokesman-Review
SPOKANE — Piranhas offered for trade on Craigslist led state fish and game agents to seize several of the exotic, human-eating fish from an apartment on Spokane's lower South Hill.
The rare find took another surprising twist when agents also found a small alligator in Christopher Ryan Harper's apartment on Friday, as well as a suspected marijuana-selling operation, police say.
The alligator is being cared for at SpokAnimal, and the piranhas were killed and taken as evidence, said Madonna Luers, spokeswoman for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. Police said they seized 20 piranhas, but Harper said he had only six.
Harper, 31, who has not been arrested, said he bought the piranhas in Montana and knows selling them in Washington is illegal. But he said he believed it was legal to possess them, since local pet stores have piranhas on display but not for sale.
"I definitely wasn't selling them," he said. "I was trading them because I'm trying to move, and I didn't want to bring them with me, and I didn't want to kill them."
State law prohibits the possession of both piranhas and exotic alligators.
"They're both exotic, and nonnative," Luers said. "If they're released into the wild they can be detrimental to native wildlife."
Copyright © The Seattle Times Company
Low-graphic news index
Graphic-enabled home page