MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It sounds like the beginning of a joke, but a guy walked into a Miami-area convenience store with quite a surprise in the box.
A clerk at the Santa Ana Market in Allapattah was approached by customer Fernando Caignet Aguilera, 64, to buy some beer recently.
“I just picked it up here,” Aguilera said of the alligator. “I seen it here in the grass and I tied it up.”
When the subject of payment was brought up, the customer offered up a live alligator.
“I went into the store to try to exchange it for a beer,” Aguilera told CBS4′s Marybel Rodriguez.
Aguilera continued, “In my mind, I was trying to get some beer because I didn’t have no money. So I said, let me try the alligator.”
Yes, a live alligator in a cardboard box.
“I was surprised. I said what is that? That’s when I tell him to get out of here,” store clerk Javier Herrera told CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana. “He tried to offer to the customer, I sell this alligator for this beer.”
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the man saw the alligator at a local park and when he caught it; he thought maybe someone would trade him some beer for his gator.
Aguilera said it was the first alligator he ever caught in his life and said he didn’t know it was illegal.
“I’m not scared (of the alligator),” Aguilera said. “I took it.”
Aguilera was cited by FWC officers for three different charges related to illegally capturing the alligator.
“I’m just as surprised as you. I’ve been a cop for 25 years and I’ve never seen anything like this before,” FWC Spokesman Jorge Pino said.
FWC officers eventually released the alligator back into the wild.
Aguilera told CBS4 that, “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 he’s learned his lesson and won’t be trapping or selling any gators in the future.
Pino said Aguilera faces up to 6 months in jail or could have to pay a $500 fine.
Only in Miami!