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Florida man busted over roaches

  |   Jan. 30, 2011 at 11:12 AM
ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 30 (UPI) -- A Florida man was arrested after he allegedly purchased 500 illegal cockroaches through the Internet, officials said.

Derek Alan Rader allegedly forged a permit giving him permission to purchase the roaches, although it was unclear what he intended to do with them, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported.

Blaptica dubia are a native of South and Central America, and are considered an invasive species in Florida, which officials said has the largest number of roach species in the United States.

The roaches, also called the Guyana Orange Spotted Cockroach, are considered a gourmet reptile food because of their soft shells and high protein content.

Greg Hodges, bureau chief of entomology at Florida's Division of Plant Industry, said the roaches are "capable of causing harm to Florida's delicate ecological system."

Rader was booked into the Orange County Jail on Wednesday, charged with forgery of a public record certificate, fraud and the introduction of pests affecting plant life. He was released after paying $2,500 bail.

Importation of the insects is banned by most states, although organizations such as zoos, which can keep them in a locked container or under quarantine, can legally purchase them.

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