LAFOLLETTE—Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officers have seized numerous venomous snakes from a LaFollette pastor after an investigation Thursday morning, a press release said.
Officers received information that Andrew Hamblin, pastor of the Tabernacle Church of God in LaFollette, was illegally possessing venomous snakes. Two TWRA Officers visited Hamblin’s home Thursday morning to inquire about the snakes, and Hamblin admitted to being in possession of them at his church, the release said. Hamblin then led officers to the church where the snakes were being held.
According to Sgt. Joe Durnin, Hamblin was in possession of about 50 venomous snakes that included both native and non-native species. Hamblin was then issued a citation for possession of Class 1 wildlife, which includes species inherently dangerous to humans.
The snakes are being transported to the Knoxville Zoo, where they will be held as evidence until the Nov. 15 court date in Campbell County General Sessions court.
Campbell County District Attorney Lori Phillips-Jones stated: “Possession of a large number of venomous snakes is a significant public safety hazard. I truly appreciate TWRA’s efforts to keep all our citizens safe.”