Florida woman who pulled gator from pants during traffic stop gets probation

Crime

PUNTA GORDA, Florida (AP) — A Fort Myers woman, who pulled a small alligator from her yoga pants during a traffic stop in Charlotte County in May, and had more than 40 turtles in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles backpack, pleaded no contest to multiple charges Wednesday.

Florida prosecutors say in May a Charlotte County sheriff’s deputy stopped a pickup truck after it ran a stop sign. The driver, Michael Clemons, 22, told the deputy he and his 25-year-old passenger, Ariel Machan-Le Quire, were collecting frogs and snakes under an overpass. He gave the deputy permission to search bags in the truck.

When the deputy found 41 3-stripe turtles in a “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle” backpack, he asked if Machan-Le Quire had anything else. She pulled the 1-foot gator from her pants.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission was called to take over the investigation.

Marchan-Le Quire, listed on an arrest report as homeless and living in Fort Myers, entered a no contest plea to one count of taking or possessing an American alligator, one count of taking or possessing more than one turtle per day, one count of transporting more than one turtle or turtle egg, and one count of taking or possessing a softshell turtle.

Officials say the Clemons case is pending.

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