Gator Used to Guard Pot Growing Operation - NBC Southern California

Gator Used to Guard Pot Growing Operation

Wally the Guard Gator isn't the only exotic animal encountered by Riverside County authorities



    The marijuana wasn't really the most immediate danger narcotics officers encountered in a Hemet home.

    Authorities said the growers used an alligator to guard the $1.5 million stash.

    A Riverside County drug task force team entered the home Monday night. They seized 2,285 pot plants.

    Then they found Wally, a four-foot, 55-pound "watchgator." It was in a cement pond in the garage.

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    The healthy alligator was turned over to the Phelan-based Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary.

    A 29-year-old man who lives in the home was arrested and booked for investigation of marijuana cultivation and possession. He was released Tuesday on $100,000 bail.

    Reminder: Alligators are illegal in California.

    Joel Almquist, a reptile expert, said people buy the alligators online and have them shipped to their homes.

    "It's about $50 for a small baby alligator," said Almquist.

    Wally has company when it comes to exotic animals in Riverside County. Last month, a Monitor lizard was found roaming a Riverside apartment complex. The owner said someone left the cage open.

    During the summer, Riverside County Animal Services said an 11-foot python slithered into someone's back yard.

    A serval, native to Africa, was found in a Norco back yard.