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Cops didn’t know about the mushroom stash — until his cobra bit him, Kansas police say

Ari Hooley, 25, of Great Bend.
Ari Hooley, 25, of Great Bend. Great Bend Police Department

Before animal control could take his exotic and venomous snake away, a Kansas man decapitated and buried it, police said in a statement posted to Facebook.

That didn’t stop police from finding that Coral Cobra, though — or the man’s “large quantity” of hallucinogenic mushrooms, according to the post.

Officers began investigating after 25-year-old Ari Hooley, of Great Bend, got medical attention for a venomous snake bite, police said. It was reported that a snake bit Hooley on Dec. 3.

Police then went to Hooley’s home to “investigate the complaint,” the statement says, and Hooley admitted that he owned the snake. It has since been identified as a Coral Cobra.

Coral snakes have the second-most deadly venom of all snakes, but they are “generally considered less dangerous than rattlesnakes because coral snakes have a less effective poison-delivery system,” according to LiveScience. The snakes usually only bite humans if they are “handled or stepped on,” National Geographic reports, and there have been no coral snake bite deaths reported in the United States since the 1967 anitvenom release.

Owning an exotic and venomous snake violates city ordinance, the Great Bend Police Department said, but Hooley refused to cooperate with officers or let animal control take the snake.

The department then got a search warrant, and police found the snake at the home. The snake had been decapitated and buried before the search, according to the statement.

That’s not all police found, though. During that first search, police found narcotics inside the home.

Then, after officers received a second search warrant, police found “evidence of cultivation and distribution of a large quantity of hallucinogenic mushrooms,” the post says. Marijuana and drug paraphernalia were also found. Hooley was arrested and booked into the Barton County Detention Center on a $300,000 bond. That was on Dec. 4, one day after the bite.

He now faces several charges, including unlawful cultivation or distribution of controlled substances within 1000 feet of a school, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and no drug tax stamp.

Anyone with additional information is asked to call the police department at 620-793-4120 or Crime Stoppers at 620-792-1300.

Ali Iyoob was bitten by his pet king cobra and received an anti-venom for treatment. Animal Control officers and snake rehabilitation specialists later removed 34 snakes, many of them venomous from his Orange County, North Carolina home. In all, 6

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