Alameda County police in California arrested 32 year-old Assif Mayer after they discovered a five foot-long Dwarf Caiman crocodile protecting 34 pounds of marijuana inside his home during a routine probation check.
Mayer purchased the croc, known as Mr. Teeth, in 1996 “to commemorate the death of rapper Tupac Shakur,” according to NBC San Diego and kept it and his stockpile of pot in a Plexiglas tank in his bedroom. He reportedly also shared the house with his wife and young son.
“We come across guard dogs like pit bulls quite frequently, but a guard alligator [sic] is very very unusual,” Sgt. J.D. Nelson told The San Francisco Chronicle, adding that Mr. Teeth was the largest one that Animal Control had ever picked up.
Mayer is being held in Santa Rita jail in lieu of a $160,000 bond and he will make his first court appearance later this week. The 16 year-old crocodile was taken to Oakland Zoo, where it will remain under quarantine for 30 days. Zoo officials described Mr. Teeth’s condition as “very sick.”
Mr. Teeth has died at the Oakland Zoo’s Veterinary Hospital, according to a report from the San Francisco Chronicle.
The dwarf caiman, previously misidentified by authorities as an alligator, died overnight at the Oakland Zoo’s Veterinary Hospital, a day after Alameda County sheriff’s deputies found it at a home in Castro Valley along with 34 pounds of dried marijuana.
The creature arrived at the zoo “critically ill and non-responsive,” said zoo spokeswoman Nicky Mora. Staff examined the caiman, took blood samples and determined that his “prognosis was poor,” Mora said.