NOBLE, Louisiana — A former star of the reality show “Swamp People” has been arrested on charges of illegally catching and selling alligators and other animals.
The Sabine Parish Sheriff’s office said Roger Rivers, Jr., 42, and four others who worked for him, were busted after a year-long investigation by wildlife officials into allegations that they were illegally hunting gators, according to KTBS-TV.
Rivers, who appeared in the fifth season of the History Channel show which follows a group of gator hunters around Louisiana, is well known locally for living off the land.
According to his bio for the show:
“Roger Rivers spends every day on the hunt for food for his family of five. Whether it’s hogs, turtles or gators, Roger hunts them and never comes home empty-handed.
“However, Roger has one problem: an addiction to hunting big gators. Every year is a quest for him to capture the biggest gators in the swamp. Last year, he was able to come home with a 14-foot monster that nearly took his life when it pulled him overboard.”
Police say Rivers was booked into the Sabine Parish Detention Center on eight charges, including selling alligator snapping turtles, taking alligators and selling them without a license, selling alligator meat illegally and marijuana possession.
He was released on $10,000 bond.
Also arrested were Joseph Wilson Meshell, 66, and his three sons, Joseph Wilson Meshell Jr., Jessie Lee Meshell, and Michael Meshell, who all allegedly worked for Rivers.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agents launched the investigation after receiving a tip about out-of-season hunting and the sale of animals harvested from those hunts.