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Large pet reptile found guarding Bay Area pot stash

  • In this photo released by the Alameda County Sheriffs office, an alligator named "Mr. Teeth" is seen after it was discovered in a home in Castro Valley, Calif., on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013. Authorities say the alligator, apparently used to protect a stash of marijuana inside the home, has been taken to a zoo. When deputies entered Assif Mayar's home on Wednesday for a probation check, they found 34 pounds of marijuana and the five-foot alligator in a tank in the bedroom. (AP Photo/Alameda County Sheriffs)

SAN FRANCISCO — Authorities in Northern California made a snappy discovery during a routine probation check: An alligator-like reptile named "Mr. Teeth," who was apparently protecting a stash of marijuana.

When Alameda County Sheriff's deputies entered the Castro Valley home on Tuesday, they not only found 34 pounds of marijuana valued at an estimated $100,000, but also the 5-foot-long caiman inside a Plexiglas tank guarding it in a bedroom.

Caimans are usually found in the wetland regions of Central and South America. They're considered close relatives of alligators.

"We get guard dogs all the time when we search for grow houses and people stashing away all types of dope. But alligators? You just don't see that every day," Sgt. J.D. Nelson said Thursday.

The reptile's owner, Assif Mayar, was arrested Tuesday and later charged with one count of possessing marijuana for sale. Mayar, 32, did not enter a plea during his arraignment in Alameda County Superior Court. He is being held in jail on $20,000 bail and is due back in court on Jan. 15.


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