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Owner of boa constrictor, piranhas found by firefighters is indicted

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The alleged owner of a boa constrictor and four piranhas found by firefighters in a home on Alewa Heights last year is facing charges that could send him to prison for five years.

An Oahu grand jury returned an indictment Thursday charging Ricardo S. Newcomb Jr. with possessing the 5-foot-long snake and possessing with intent to propagate the 5-inch-long fishes. Boa constrictors and piranhas are on the state Department of Agriculture’s list of animals banned in Hawaii.

The charge involving the boa is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and mandatory of up to $10,000. The charge involving the piranha is a class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison and fine between $50,000 and $200,000.

Honolulu firefighters found the animals in a home Feb. 24, 2011, while responding to fires at four homes near Lolena and Iholena streets. The animals were not harmed.

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