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This image provided by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram shows a bottle of vodka with a juvenile rattlesnake inside. Agents said they confiscated 429 bottles of the snake vodka and one bottle of snake tequila from Bayou Bob's Brazos River Rattlesnake Ranch near Santo in Palo Pinto County, Texas. Bob Popplewell marketed the concoction as an 'ancient Asian elixir.' He was charged with selling alcohol without a license and possessing alcohol with intent to sell. (AP Photo/Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission via Fort Worth Star)

AP Photo: This image provided by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram shows…

NOTE FROM FRANK - I THINK THIS WHOLE STORY SHOULD NOT EVEN BE DIGNIFIED BY NOTICING, BUT MAYBE BY READING IT, PEOPLE WILL BE MOVED TO DO SOMETHING TO STOP SUCH STUPID AND BARBARIC THINGS. TRAGICALLY THIS ARTICLE DOCUMENTS THAT, AT LEAST IN TEXAS, ENFORCING THE LAWS PROTECTING THE SALE OF ALCOHOL IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN PROTECTING WILDLIFE, ESPECIALLY WILDLIFE WHICH HAS BEEN ON OUR EARTH 20-30 MILLION YEARS…

Rancher arrested for selling snake vodka

 

A rattlesnake rancher who calls himself Bayou Bob found a new way to make money: Stick a rattler inside a bottle of vodka and market the concoction as an “ancient Asian elixir.” But Bayou Bob Popplewell’s bright idea appears to have landed him on the wrong side of the law, because he has no liquor license.

Popplewell, who has raised rattlesnakes and turtles at Bayou Bob’s Brazos River Rattlesnake Ranch for more than two decades, surrendered to authorities Monday. He spent about 10 minutes in jail after the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission obtained arrest warrants on misdemeanor charges of selling alcohol without a license and possessing alcohol with intent to sell.

If convicted, he faces up to a year in jail and $1,000 in fines.

Popplewell said he will fight the charges. His intent, he said, is not to sell an alcoholic beverage but a healing tonic. He said he has customers of Asian descent who believe the concoction has medicinal properties.

“It’s almost a spiritual thing,” said Popplewell, 63.

But alcohol commission agent Scott Jones pointed out that investigators confiscated 429 bottles of snake vodka and one bottle of snake tequila. At $23 a bottle, that’s almost $10,000 worth of reptilian booze.

Even if Popplewell intended his drink be used as a healing tonic — an assertion the alcohol commission disputes — his use of vodka requires a state permit, authorities said.

“It’s sold for beverage purposes, and he knows what he’s doing,” commission Sgt. Charlie Cloud said.

Popplewell said he uses the cheapest vodka he can find as a preservative for the snakes. The end result is a super sweet mixed drink that Popplewell compared to cough syrup.

“I’ve honestly never seen a person drink it,” he said.

An Asian studies lecturer at the University of Texas said there is some merit to Popplewell’s claim that snake vodka could be seen as a tonic.

There’s a street nicknamed “Snake Alley” in Taipei, Taiwan, where street vendors put the gall bladder of a freshly killed snake into a glass of strong liquor. The drink, sold to the highest bidder, is supposed to improve eyesight and sexual performance, said lecturer Camilla Hsieh.

“It’s like the ancient version of Viagra,” Hsieh said.

Santo is located 60 miles west of Fort Worth.

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Information from Fort Worth Star-Telegram, http://www.star-telegram.com

 

 

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