Four men are facing charges after wildlife officers say they killed and cut up a four-foot alligator in Onslow County.
North Topsail Beach officers say the men and the alligator were in the area of Bermuda Landing Place off Highway 210, also known as Island Drive.
The officers reported when they arrived, they found the four men processing the alligator meat, apparently for consumption.
The men were detained, and the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission Division of Law Enforcement took over the investigation.
Officials report one of the men is a Camp Lejeune Marine. Officials identified him as First Lieutenant Daniel Putnam and say he is assigned to the II Marine Expeditionary Force at the Jacksonville base.
Donald Denton Lowe, age 27 of Chapel Hill, was also charged, as was 54-year-old Ruben Maldonado of North Topsail and 33-year-old Wesley Riddle of North Topsail.
Officials say the four men are fishing buddies, who killed the alligator with a knife and then cut it up.
The American alligator is listed as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Under North Carolina law, it is illegal to feed them, harass them or kill them.
"People tend to think its legal, but the activity you see on Swamp People (the television show) is very regulated by the state of Louisiana," said North Carolina Wildlife Sergeant Charles Smith.