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Friday, December 8, 2023

Man charged with keeping endangered gopher tortoise in 5-gallon bucket

A Eustis man was arrested for keeping a gopher tortoise in a 5-gallon bucket in an apartment.  

Edrick Acres
Edrick Acres

Police received a call that a subject, later identified as 53-year-old Edrick Acres, was in possession of a gopher tortoise at an apartment on 1002 East McDonald Avenue at about 10:29 a.m. Saturday, according to an arrest report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.  

The officer arrived on scene and spoke with Acres, the report said. He told Acres that he received word of a gopher tortoise or another kind of turtle. Acres then showed the officer the tortoise in a 5-gallon bucket. The officer took possession of the tortoise to be returned to the wild. 

The officer instructed Acres to stay seated in the chair he was sitting in while he did paperwork in his truck. When he returned, Acres was no longer in the chair. His mother advised that he went down the street to the corner store located at 200 Palmetto Street, the report said. 

The officer requested assistance from the Eustis Police Department, and they went together to find Acres at 1128 East Clifford Ave. about a block away from his house. Acres was then placed under arrest, the report said. 

During a search incident to arrest, the officer found a small bag of green leafy substance. This later tested positive for marijuana, the report said. 

The Georgia native was ultimately charged with possession of a gopher tortoise, resisting without violence and possession of marijuana. He was transported to the Lake County Jail and released after posting $2,500 bond. 

Acres was also arrested in March 2021 for drug possession during a traffic stop.

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