MIDDLESBORO, Ky. (CBS Charlotte/AP) — An eastern Kentucky pastor wants Tennessee wildlife officials to return five venomous snakes that were confiscated in Knoxville.
Gregory Coots, who’s known as Jamie Coots, is pastor of at the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name Church in Middlesboro. Coots handles the snakes as part of worship services.
He told WYMT-TV in Hazard he bought three rattlesnakes and two copperheads in Alabama on Jan. 31. While he was driving through Knoxville, police stopped Coots for dark window tinting and saw the cages containing the snakes. A state wildlife officer confiscated them.
“He wanted to know if I had any documentation and I told him no. He came back a few minutes later and said he was going to take the snakes and containers,” Coots told the station.
The district attorney general’s office in Knoxville says Coots is charged with illegally possessing and transporting wildlife.
Coots was similarly charged in Kentucky in 2008. He said he now has a permit for snakes in Kentucky.
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)