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Alligator Found Guarding Southern California Pot Farm

Mar 9, 2011 – 1:50 PM
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Tori Richards

Tori Richards Contributor

HEMET, Calif. -- When police raided a pot farm in this Southern California desert community, they found an unusual watchdog -- a 4-foot alligator named Wally.

The 55-pound American alligator was found lounging Monday night in a black cement mixing tub located in the back area of a house where 2,285 plants were growing, police said. One man was arrested, and Wally was taken to an animal sanctuary, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported.

The marijuana was valued at $1.5 million.

The raid happened after anonymous tips were given to police about a possible drug-dealing operation at this suburban tract home. Police visited the house and discovered the marijuana, then returned with a search warrant.

Resident John Nathan Donna, 29, was arrested on suspicion of possession of concentrated cannabis and cultivation of marijuana for sale, the Press-Enterprise reported.

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As for Wally, he was turned over to the California Department of Fish and Game, which found a good foster home -- Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary, which rescues captive-bred animals such as big cats, reptiles and birds. It is illegal to own alligators in California.

Wally is the same type of alligator found in the Florida Everglades.

"He was extremely healthy -- a little too well taken care of," said Joel Almquist, who runs the sanctuary. "It's still an alligator; some are pretty mellow, but if you get bit by a 3-footer, you're going to remember it for a long time. It's kind of like being bit by a vise with teeth. It's not a pleasant experience."
Filed under: Nation, Weird News, Crime
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