ST. LANDRY PARISH, La. (KLFY) — The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited an Opelousas man for alleged illegal possession and release of exotic apple snails into a community pond.

The incident happened Oct. 6 inside the Townsouth Neighborhood community pond in St. Landry Parish.

Photo: LDWF

Apple snails are an invasive species known to host rat lungworm, a parasite that can infect humans through the consumption of raw or undercooked snail meat or contaminated produce, the LDWF says. Most cases are mild and people fully recover, but severe cases can cause chronic nerve damage or even death.

LDWF agents say they questioned Peter Son Nguyen, 73, after a concerned homeowner contacted them about a man she believed released apple snails into the pond. 

Agents said when questioned, Nguyen admitted to possessing and releasing the snails.

Illegal possession is punishable by a $50 fine and illegal release carries a $400-$950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.