More venomous snakes found in Town of Newburgh

Gregory Rodriguez, 22, of the Town of Newburgh, Gregory Rodriguez, 22, of the Town of Newburgh, was arrested and charged with unlawfully possessing and handling a venomous snake as police found a black-necked spitting cobra in his bedroom while arresting Rodriguez on a charge of assault unrelated to the snake. (March 11, 2013) Photo Credit: Newburgh Police Department

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Cops said they found another stash of venomous snakes kept by a Town of Newburgh man who was caught with an African spitting cobra Sunday.

The first snake was discovered when cops were called to the Hill Street home of 22-year-old Gregory Rodriguez on Sunday morning for a domestic violence incident. Rodriguez kept the dangerous pet in a glass tank in his bedroom, cops said.

Town of Newburgh police charged Rodriguez with misdemeanor assault for allegedly striking a woman in the face. They also confiscated the African cobra and handed the animal to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

On Monday night, police searched another house on Hill Street and found "several other venomous reptiles" belonging to Rodriguez, DEC spokeswoman Wendy Rosenbach told News12.

It wasn't clear how police knew of the second home and the additional snakes, but Town of Newburgh cops said Monday that Rodriguez "has a history with snakes" and previously suffered a snake bite.

Cobras like the one confiscated Sunday can propel their venom more than 6 feet toward a target, and Rosenbach noted the venom "can either kill living tissue or adversely impact the nervous system" of a potential victim.

The snakes were handed over "to a facility that routinely handles and cares for such animals," Rosenbach told News12.

Rodriguez was free after posting $500 bail Monday. It wasn't immediately clear whether police lodged additional criminal charges against the Town of Newburgh man after Monday night's raid.

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