Man Whose Snake Killed Girl Arrested on Drug Charges

Allegedly sold coke to investigators on two occasions

A few weeks after his 8-foot Burmese python escaped from its cage and strangled a 2-year-old girl in central Florida, Charles Darnell was arrested on drug charges.

Sumter County deputies said undercover agents purchased cocaine off the 32-year-old man at his home on two occasions within the last week.

Although he had not been charged with anything related to the July 1st death of Shaianna Hare, the daughter of his live-in girlfriend, he is still under investigation for that incident.

Investigators say he did not have a permit for the snake although he is required to have one. Darnell said he owned the snake since 2000, before a license was required to own one.

A law passed on January 1, 2008 gave snake owners six months to acquire the permit.

A snake expert told the Orlando Sentinel that it is likely the snake was "malnourished" due to its weight and age, which may have contributed to the snake escaping from its cage.

In the wake of the child's death, Darnell said he was overcome with grief and remorse and that he was viewed as a "monster" 'in his town.

He previously lost a son to illness and his girlfriend, Jaren Hare, is pregnant with their child.

On Friday, he was charged with several drug charges as well as two counts of unlawful use of a two-way communication device.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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