One of the two 'Swamp Brothers' on the Discovery Channel show by that name has been indicted by a federal grand jury with catching Eastern Timber Rattlesnakes in Jim Thorpe and several other locations and selling them. Eastern Timber Rattlesnakes are considered a threatened species in New York, Florida, and under federal law.
In Pennsylvania, they can be hunted with a permit.
Robert Keszey is one of three defendants named in the indictment filed in U.S. District Court, Philadelphia. The other defendants are Robroy MacInnes and Glades Herp Farm Inc. Glades Herp Farm is located in Bushnell, Fla. Keszey and MacInnes are listed as part owners and managers of Glades Herp Farm.
Bench warrants have been issued for the arrest of Keszey.
Keszey and his brother Stephen are co-hosts of the Discovery Channel show "Swamp Brothers." Stephen is not mentioned in the court action.
The indictment tells of two visits Robert Keszey made to Jim Thorpe.
According to the indictment, in 2007 Keszey traveled from Florida to Sellersville, Bucks County where he met an agent of Glades Herp Farm.
The indictment states, "At some point during the following approximately two days, Keszey (and the agent) traveled to the town of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, and in that vicinity, collected two Eastern Timber Rattlesnakes from the wild, without a permit, in violation of Pennsylvania law."
It adds that they also traveled to the Pine Barrens area of New Jersey where they collected reptiles from the wild, including a King Snake, which they possessed in violation of New Jersey law.
The indictment says they transported the rattlers from Jim Thorpe to Glades Herp Farm.
In April 2008, Keszey and MacInnes traveled to Sellersville, along with an agent of Glades Herp Farms, and the trio "traveled to the town of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, and in that vicinity, unsuccessfully attempted to collect Eastern Timber Rattlesnakes from the wild, without a permit."
Also in 2008, MacInnes and Keszey allegedly shipped two Eastern Indigo Snakes from Bushnell, Fla. to an individual in Sellersville, with the understanding that the Sellersville individual would breed the snakes and sell the offspring, sharing the proceeds of the sales with the two defendants.
Allegedly two individuals traveled from New York state to a location near Easton on Sept. 21, 2008, where they met the unidentified agent of Glades Herp Farm, and sold him about 15 juvenile Eastern Timber Rattlesnakes and two adult Eastern Timber Rattlesnakes for approximately $900. The two adults and 13 of the juveniles were shipped from Philadelphia to the Glades Herp Farm, the indictment says.
The website for the show lists Robert Keszey as an exotic animal expert.