Grand Prairie missing cobra's owner arrested

The owner of a venomous cobra that went missing in Grand Prairie is now facing charges.

Grand Prairie police said 23-year-old Lawrence Matl was taken into custody without incident Friday morning.

He’s accused of violating the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s "Release from Captivity" code, which is a Class A misdemeanor.

When asked about the timing of the arrest, Grand Prairie police said it came after the result of their investigation. They also consulted with the Dallas County District Attorney's Office and Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Police issued a warning in August after Matl’s West African Banded Cobra escaped from its unlocked enclosure.

RELATED: Venomous Cobra snake missing in Grand Prairie, search underway

He told FOX 4 he was in the process of constructing an in-home enclosure for the female enclosure when the mishap happened.

"If we would have just had a lock on the cage… There wasn't a lock," he said. "And it could have simply been handled." 

Grand Prairie police said he did have a Parks and Wildlife permit for the snake.

People in the area were warned people not to approach it, calling it "extremely dangerous."

The missing cobra was never located. Randall Kennedy, with Dallas Fort Worth Wildlife, said there were no updates on the cobra's location and whether it was still alive after the winter weather and months on the loose.

Kennedy added that he wasn't surprised the cobra hasn't been found yet because of the lack of resources put into finding it.

Former Tarrant County Prosecutor Richard Alpert has no role in this case but says that’s a large bond amount for this kind of charge.

"It’s a class A misdemeanor. There are people charged with felonies that don’t have $10,000 bonds," he said.

Alpert says the amount may have been impacted by Matl’s previous assault charge and six misdemeanors as well as the overall interest in the case.

"Bonds sometimes are put high because when a case has national attention and bonds are low, people complain about it," he said.

Matl is currently being held in the Grand Prairie jail. His bond was set at $10,000.

If convicted of the misdemeanor charge of allowing his snake to escape, Matl could lose that license for five years, serve up to a year in jail and pay a $4,000 fine.

Matl is currently being held in the Grand Prairie jail. His bond was set at $10,000.

RELATED: Still no sightings reported as search continues for venomous cobra missing in Grand Prairie