Police said Fernando Caignet Aguilera, 64, brought the 4-foot alligator in a cardboard box to the Santa Ana Market in Miami's Allapattah neighborhood Dec. 10 and asked clerk Javier Herrera to accept the reptile in exchange for a 12-pack of beer, CNN reported Wednesday.
Herrera told WFOR-TV, Miami, he told Aguilera to leave, and the man attempted to make the same trade with a customer.
Aguilera said he found the alligator shortly before the incident and didn't know it was illegal to trap the animal.
"I just picked it up here," Aguilera said. "I seen it here in the grass and I tied it up."
He said he wasn't going to accept just any beer in exchange for the gator.
"I wanted a Corona, because if he brings me a Natural Light or something like that I don't want it. I want a Corona, because the alligator is so beautiful," he said.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission cited Aguilera for three charges related to the illegal capture of the alligator. He faces as much as six months in jail or a $500 fine if convicted.
The FWC said the alligator was released into the wild.