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Pastor pleads not guilty in snake case

By news admin

LAFOLLETTE, Tenn. (AP) - An East Tennessee pastor who appears on a reality television show about snake handling in church has pleaded not guilty to possessing venomous snakes.

Campbell County pastor Andrew Hamblin of Tabernacle Church of God in LaFollette (luh-FAH'-lut) was cited Nov. 7. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said the 22-year-old Hamblin took officers to his church, and news outlets reported more than 50 snakes were seized.

The Knoxville News Sentinel (http://bit.ly/17w8pg9 ) said Hamblin told reporters and onlookers before appearing in Campbell County General Sessions Court on Friday that the case isn't about snake handling but freedom of religion.

Hamblin appears on the National Geographic show "Snake Salvation."

He's charged with possession of Class 1 wildlife, a species inherently dangerous to humans.
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