A rattlesnake rancher who had more than 400 bottles of vodka containing snakes seized last week said the contraband is an "ancient Asian elixir" used purely for medicinal purposes and not bootlegged booze as law enforcement contends.
Officials from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission seized 411 bottles of reptile-infused vodka last week from Bayou Bob's Brazos River Rattlesnake Ranch in Santo, Texas. But Bayou Bob, aka Bob Popplewell, contends the liquid is legal to sell, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
"It's almost a spiritual thing," Popplewell told the paper, saying he caters to the Asian community and that the liquid is used for wellness and stability. He likened the concoction to cough syrup.
But officials disagree with Popplewell's medicinal argument, saying the use of an alcohol requires a state license, according to the Star-Telegram.
"He doesn't have any permit at all," TABC Sgt. Charlie Cloud said.
TABC officials filed charges for the sale of alcohol without a license and possession of alcohol with the intent to sell. Penalties for those charges include up to a year in the county jail and fines up to $1,000 upon conviction.