Deputies on overnight traffic duty in Punta Gorda, Florida, got more than they bargained for when they stopped a man and woman who had run a stop sign

By KC Baker
May 07, 2019 01:07 PM
Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office

Good thing it didn’t bite.

A Florida deputy got quite a surprise when he asked a woman if she had anything else on her during a routine traffic stop early Monday.

A 25-year-old woman “proceeded to pull an alligator out of her yoga pants (about one foot in length) and placed it into the bed of the truck,” a Charlotte County Sheriff’s deputy wrote in an incident report obtained by PEOPLE.

The bizarre encounter unfolded when Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office deputies stopped a man and woman in a pick-up truck at 3:15 a.m. in Punta Gorda for running a stop sign, the report says.

The driver, Michael Cody Clemons, 22, said he and the woman with him, Ariel Michelle Marchan-Le Quire, 25, had been trying to collect frogs and snakes from under a nearby overpass, the incident report says.

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After asking for their license and registration, one of the deputies asked the pair if they’d be willing to open their bags, the report says.

They said yes. Clemons opened his bag for the deputies, which contained clothing and personal items. Then it was Marchan-Le Quire’s turn.

“Ariel opened the backpack that was on the passenger’s floorboard that revealed 41 small turtles,” the deputy wrote in the report.

The 41 three-striped turtles that were allegedly hidden in a backpack on the floor of a truck.
Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office

The deputy asked her if she had “anything else,” the report says.

That’s when she pulled the tiny gator out of her pants.

The sheriff’s office shared the discovery on Facebook and Twitter.

“Not to be outdone by the #FloridaMan, a #FloridaWoman pulled this alligator out of her pants Monday morning during a traffic stop after being asked the standard, ‘Do you have anything else?'”

NBC Miami called the incident an “only in Florida” moment.

The Florida Fish Wildlife and Conservation Commission arrived at the scene to continue the investigation.

The turtles and the American alligator are native to Florida but are also regulated — so Clemons and Ariel Machan-Le Quire were cited for having them and for violating bag limits, local station NBC 2 reports.

The critters — 42 striped mud turtles, one softshell turtle and one small American alligator — were seized and released.

The deputy gave the driver a warning for the stop-sign violation, the Miami Herald reports.

CCSO PIO Katie Heck usually posts about serious matters.

But in this case, she tells PEOPLE, “Sometimes the deputies just give me good material.”

The FWC did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

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