If there was ever a crime that I thought could get you lumped with life in prison, I didn’t think that it was going to be stealing a whole bunch of Venus flytraps, but this is exactly the situation that 41 year old Archie Williams finds himself in.
Williams has been charged with 73 counts of taking the plant from the only spot in the world where it grows naturally near Wilmington in North Carolina (I didn’t actually believe this but I looked it up and it’s actually true) and is now looking at a possible 152 years in prison. That’s because each charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 months and so when you add them all up you reach 152 years.
You might think that this sounds pretty ridiculous – and it does – but apparently poaching Venus flytraps is a pretty serious crime in North Carolina due to their rare nature. Indeed, in 2014 stealing the plants was upgraded from a misdemeanour to a Class H felony.
Williams was caught after Officer JD White set up a motion activated camera at the Pinch Nut game reserve after a month long investigation into catching the poachers. He was subsequently caught at the scene with a bunch of tools and 216 Venus flytraps in his bag. He admitted to digging up the plants and then selling them to a pal who sold them on, and is now being held on a $750,000 bond. Again, that’s ridiculous but I guess it shows how much these Carolinians value their Venus Fly Traps.
For more of the same, check out this supercut of venus fly traps trapping and killing insects. Gotcha.