March 30, 2011

An Orlando man accused Tuesday of illegally cutting off a 50-inch alligator tail told deputies he hacked it with a knife kept in his Taco Bell pants.

Jason Arnold Brewer told an Orange County sheriff’s deputy he knocked out the gator with a piece of wood and tossed the rest of the reptile’s body in the weeds along the St. Johns River.

The 30-year-old man now faces felony charges of killing an American Alligator without authority and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

The report from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office shows Dep. Kris Brooks spotted Brewer’s truck speeding westbound on State Road 50, near Tanner Road, sometime around 3:29 p.m.

Brooks also noticed he had a broken brake light and stopped him at S.R. 50 and Sherman Road.

While checking Brewer’s license, the deputy noticed the alligator tail on the floorboard and bags of ice, the report shows.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission records show alligator hunting season runs from Aug. 15 to Nov. 1.

Brooks knew it was not alligator hunting season and didn’t see the required tags that trappers pin on the animals when they are legally captured.

The deputy asked Brewer if he was a licensed trapper and he said no. The deputy also asked if he carried a weapon and he said there was a pistol under the center console.

After reading Brewer his Miranda rights, he told the deputy he had earlier parked at the St. Johns River near State Road 50, according to his arrest report. Brewer spotted a gator along the river bank and struck it in the head with a large piece of wood.

The blow stunned the gator, allowing Brewer to pull it from the water and cut off its tail. Brewer said he tossed the gator’s body in the weeds. He told Brooks the knife he used was “in my Taco Bell pants,” the report shows. It’s unclear if Brewer works for the fast-food restaurant.

Brewer said he went to a nearby convenience store and bought bags of ice to keep the alligator tail fresh.

The deputy recovered the knife from Brewer’s pants.

Brooks confiscated the alligator tail and firearm. The report shows the tail was taken to the Sheriff’s Office evidence building, where it was documented and frozen.


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