Man arrested on charges of purchasing 500 illegal exotic roaches online

This info. might might be old news to forums, but thought I should post.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The online purchase of 500 illegal exotic roaches, coveted as gourmet reptile food because of their soft shells and high protein content, sent a Florida man to jail on felony charges.

Agents with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said Derek Alan Rader of Orlando forged a permit to make it appear as if he could legally purchase the creepy crawlers, known as Blaptica dubia, a native of South and Central America.

While the roaches are a tasty and nutritious treat for many reptile pets, state entomologists consider them an invasive insect in Florida.

Entomologists said the state already has the largest number of roach species in the United States and one-third of them were introduced into the state by humans.

The banned bugs, also called the Guyana Orange Spotted Cockroach, is a species "capable of causing harm to Florida's delicate ecological system," said Greg Hodges, bureau chief of entomology at the state's Division of Plant Industry.

Officials on Wednesday detained Rader on an arrest warrant and booked him into the Orange County Jail.

He is charged with forgery of a public record certificate, fraud and introduction of pests affecting plant life.

He left jail after paying $2,500 bail.

Rader did not immediately return calls to The Orlando Sentinel.

Court records show that in October, Rader contacted an insect and reptile enthusiast in California by e-mail, requesting 500 of the banned insects.

The person agreed to sell the insects but waited until Rader forwarded a copy of his permit.

Rader sent the seller a receipt for the payment and a copy of his permit, which showed he was allowed to purchase the insects. The seller tried to confirm the accuracy of the permit with state officials in Florida but sent the insects before getting a response.

The seller mailed Rader the bugs to a post office box in Orlando.

Investigators said Rader altered his expired permit to show he could buy the banned bugs in Florida.

Most states do not allow importation of these roaches. State agriculture administrator Michael Thomas said some researchers, such as those in zoos who can keep invasive species in a locked container, a restricted facility or under quarantine, might be allowed to purchase the bugs.

An online search of insect vendors shows 500 roaches sell for about $100.

It is unclear why Rader purchased the bugs. However, when detectives rummaged through his garbage looking for evidence, they found 1,500 fliers showing he ran a website named

That website is no longer active.
I think that I seen something about this a few weeks back. people should really start to read their state laws and make sure that can legally obtain something.
I know that is crazy, I was blown away when I heard that story!

Good thing for us FL residents is that Discoid roaches are legal to have here...

So even tho you get thrown in the slammer for having Dubia you can still give your cham some sort of roach

Glad to see tax dollars are being put to good use and justice is being served...jk Pft a felony for bugs... What has this world come too where u need detectives to find ppl trying to provide food for animals. It's not like he bought them with intent to release into the wild.
Ah, yes I saw this. But it wasn't just because of the was the fraud and forgery too lol
interesting, steve.

I know they will flourish in FL, but are dubia already found in the area?
Yeah I think I read about it. He used fraudulent documents saying he had a permit to buy them or something to that affect.

1 female roach could but the word would is too strong I think u mean could one female dubia escaping and surviving long enough to give birth, than all of her bbys surviving till maturity is probably difficult and then when they do survive they have to go find another of those 30 or so nymphs to mate with....sounds like a very low probability that 1 roach will start and infestation in Florida hell I give my dubias free range to breed and there still isn't that many lol the problem is if everyone did this infestations might occur but seems harsh punishing individuals so harshly. It should be a fine not somethin to be put in jail for.
Obviously an evil plot for world domination by entomological terrorism, today Florida, tomorrow the world!!! Mwwwaaaaaaahhhh! Flog him in public, decapitate him and impale his head at the city gates! Lets all go burn down the old mill so it never happens again! :D
Is there a Springfeild in Florida?

Whats wrong with legislators and authorities in Fla.? I would've thought 20 ft reticulated pythons might be a slightly more serious issue!
Lol, Blabtica dubia is a very common roach to feed here and it sure doesn't belong to our country. Weird how US has sometimes ridiculous rules and every state has different ones. I once saw on Animal Planet a man in some state having pitbull's. He could either bring them to someone in another state where they were legal or the police would take them away...
it's possible the reason they are so uptight about invasive species is because of that whole python problem.
yes I do understand that, that post was 99% sarcasm directed at the stupidity of the penalty associated with the 'crime'. By all means intercept and seize and destroy the roaches, but punishing folk, making them felons for such a thing is pointless and a waste of taxpayers money, and will further clog up a very clogged court system.
The judge or magistrate or whatever could better serve the community spending his/her time in court on cases of greater import, there are plenty of more serious crimes to deal with.
Cost of busting and charging such a person might be better spent on insuring they cannot be imported in the first place and advertising to reptile/bird community that it is indeed illegal. This particular person did know that, but how many more will not, and innocently import/buy online or elsewhere, and pay the price for it.
A felony and a record could be disasterous for a young person not yet in the workforce
(hard to get employed when your a criminal, even if its only because a new law made you one) and equally for anyone else who may lose their job and livelihood for a mistake.
i'm suprised people here are taking this so lightly. Introducing foreign species can result in extinction of native species. The fact that there's so many bugs that are legal that can be used as food makes this seem stupid as well as illegal.
They're not uptight. They figure you have to be really STUPID to bring in a Dubia roach with those penalties. Yes 1 Dubia female would wreak havoc in a short period of time with few if any predators and preying on endanger fauna.
Ok, I've got to ask you guys claiming ecological destruction by dubia- what kind of destruction do you imagine this species is capable of?

I think left to it's own devices in the wild, it would disappear into the mulch and feed on dead and decaying matter. Maybe I'm wrong?

I just kind of think it's ironic comparing the ecological impact of this species vs the zillions of miles of acres of alien cityscape in florida. The guys who passed the law against them probably drive home to upper-middle class nieghborhoods consisting of miles and miles of McMansions, shopping centers, and alien landscape with miles and miles of alien invasive plantings- bushes, trees, lawns, etc.

Maybe I'm wrong though- maybe dubia would swarm and start eating alien orange groves and alien kitties. But I doubt it. Most likely they would live in leaf litter and around foundations and never be seen again or hurt anything unless someone is working in their alien garden moving mulch around their alien plants.

The fact that there's so many bugs that are legal that can be used as food makes this seem stupid

I've gotta agree with that wholeheartedly.

In spite of my sarcasm above, I do believe in being careful with alien species and not allowing anything into the environment that doesn't belong there- even dogs and cats.

If I lived in florida I'd just use the nice native and legal species available.

I just find it ironic when you compare this species with stuff humans are doing on a massive scale already.
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Well Harry I guess a harsher penalty for forgery 'covers' the roach crime aswell. 2 birds one stone. But did he get a separate sentence for the roaches, included in that?

Yes 1 Dubia female would wreak havoc in a short period of time with few if any predators and preying on endanger fauna.

Few if any predators? Did you really think before you posted mate? Are you kidding?
Its a bloody cockroach for crying out loud, any bird, any lizard, and probably plenty of insects and spiders would eat them soon as spotted.

Just when you think you've heard the height of stupidity, you find somebody with a ladder!

As for preying on endangered fauna, which endangered fauna exactly, do tell?
How many endangered micro-organisms or insect species are there in sunny florida?
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