Gator rescued during Castro Valley pot bust dies

(KGO)
January 10, 2013 6:07:33 PM PST
The caiman that was guarding a marijuana stash in the East Bay was apparently quite ill and died shortly after being rescued Wednesday. The suspect appeared in court in Hayward Thursday to hear the charges he faces.

Alameda County sheriff's deputies train for every kind of situation and they have seen a lot, but they say nothing could have prepared them for "Mr. Teeth," the "alligator-like reptile" being kept by 32-year old Assif Mayar as a guard for his stash of marijuana.

Mayar made his first court appearance Thursday to face charges that he possessed marijuana with intent to sell. On Tuesday, he was arrested in the home he rented on Mt. Jasper Drive in Castro Valley. Officials conducting a probation check found Mayar, the dried and processed marijuana, and a live 5 foot-long reptile.

"It was situated near where the product was stored and initially, they thought it was fake until it started moving and getting agitated, then they got out of there very quickly," Sgt. J.D. Nelson said.

Officials with the Oakland Zoo say Mr. Teeth is a caiman and not an alligator as law enforcement officials once described. On Thursday, official reported that Mr. Teeth had died. Zoo officials say the caiman was sick when it arrived and was most likely stressed by the events of the last few days.

Mayar, for his part, has been in Santa Rita Jail in Dublin since his arrest. On Thursday, his attorney successfully argued for bail reduction and a court date for next week so that his client could enter a plea.


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