Authorities say a 21-year-old Tampa man was the person who dug up a turtle nest on Casey Key last month and have accused him of keeping a sea turtle as a pet in his Channelside apartment.
Kim Raymond Feaste, of the 400 block of 12th St., Tampa, is charged with possession of a sea turtle, which he was keeping in an aquarium in his apartment, according to Baryl Martin, of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Martin said the turtle that was found in the aquarium was not from the nest on Casey Key. “This is not the first time he has disturbed a turtle nest,” he said.
The agency had circulated photos taken by a photographer Aug. 13 who saw a man digging up a turtle nest on Casey Key. The agency received multiple tips that the man was Feaste, who told the photographer he had permits to handle the nest and eggs, said Martin, who added there are no such permits.
Fish and Wildlife officials went to Feaste’s apartment on Saturday and found the turtle, Martin said. Feaste turned himself in on Sunday and was released on $2,000 bail.
Charges in the Casey Key case are under consideration by the state attorney in Sarasota, Martin said. Feaste faces both state and federal charges that, if he is convicted, could result in five years in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Martin said it is easy for people to realize they should not bother turtle nests because the nests are surrounded by yellow tape and signs warning it is a violation of state and federal law to disturb the area.
Martin said that Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota assisted in the case.