Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Update: Man charged with 73 counts of poaching Venus Flytrap, bond at $750,000

It's been a few years since someone's been charged with dozens of counts of "felony taking" of a Venus Flytrap.

Archie Williams is being held in Brunswick County after being charged with 73 counts of felony taking of a Venus Flytrap. (Port City Daily Courtesy/Johanna Ferebee)

Update Monday 8 p.m. — The Wildlife Resources Commission responded to questions from earlier in the morning.

BRUNSWICK COUNTY — A Brunswick County man was arrested Saturday on 73 counts of the felonious taking of the Venus Flytrap, a vulnerable species in North Carolina.

Archie Lee Williams Jr., 41, is being held on a $750,000 secured bond in the Brunswick County jail.

Related: Venus Flytraps are being poached from Carolina Beach State Park

According to Emily Flax, spokesperson for the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, the case is being handled by the Wildlife Resources Commission, not the county.

Williams’ arrest is the first large-scale case of Venus Flytrap stealing in years.

Venus flytraps, found only in this part of North Carolina. This photo was taken by Will Stuart, photographer for the 'Weird Native Plants' book and a guest speaker at the third annual Native Plant Festival this weekend.
Venus flytraps are found only in this part of North Carolina. This photo was taken by Will Stuart, photographer for the ‘Weird Native Plants’ book and a guest speaker at the third annual Native Plant Festival.

In 2014, flytrap poaching shifted from a misdemeanor to a felony. Stealing the plant, indigenous to a 60-to-70 mile radius of Wilmington, is now punishable by up to 25 months in prison.

The tiny carnivorous plant is listed as a “vulnerable” species on the state’s protected plants list. Environmentalists and officers tasked with protecting the plant from poachers cited difficulty in the past with identifying whether the plants were grown or poached.

According to the Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC), Williams was caught on camera. He was later apprehended with over 200 plants and digging tools. Williams admitted to a WRC officer that he habitually poaches Venus Flytraps from multiple locations around the area.

According to the WRC, poaching of Venus Flytraps is relatively common, though catching a poacher is rather rare.


Send tips and comments to Johanna Ferebee at johanna@localvoicemedia.com

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