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(Searcy) (AP) – A roadside tamale stand that was shut down for illegally using deer meat is back open after passing an Arkansas health department inspection.

Tamale stand owner Fred Atkins says he didn’t realize he was breaking the law when he prepared venison tamales as requested by customers at his tamale stand along Arkansas 16 near Pangburn.

Atkins tells The Daily Citizen that some customers brought him venison from their homes and he used the meat to make special-order tamales. He says he didn’t realize it was illegal until his arrest last month.

Atkins and his wife, Betty Atkins, face misdemeanor charges of buying, selling or trading wildlife. They’re due in court April 8.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission says it began a six-week investigation after receiving tips from residents.

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