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Marijuana-Guarding Caiman 'Mr. Teeth' Dies After Castro Valley Bust

CASTRO VALLEY (CBS/AP) -- A caiman named "Mr. Teeth" that was apparently protecting a stash of marijuana has died after being taken to Oakland Zoo, according to authorities.

The five-foot long dwarf caiman, which resembles an alligator, arrived at the zoo Wednesday critically ill and non-responsive, according to a statement from the Oakland Zoo.

A zoo veterinarian confirmed the caiman died overnight, according to the zoo.

The caiman was found after Alameda County Sheriff's investigators entered 32-year-old Assif Mayar's home on Wednesday afternoon for a probation check. They found not only 34 pounds of marijuana valued at an estimated $100,000 but also the caiman inside a tank in a bedroom.

"We get guard dogs all of 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.

Mr. Teeth was likely used to deter marijuana thieves, Nelson said. Mayar, 32, told deputies he got the gator to commemorate rapper Tupac Shakur's 1996 death.

"We have come across alligators before, but nobody can remember one this big and situated in such close proximity to act sort of as a sentry to the marijuana," Nelson said.

Mayar, who is on probation after pleading guilty last year to disturbing the peace, was arrested and was taken to Santa Rita Jail in Dublin on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale.

He could also face citations from the California Fish and Game Commission, including possession of an exotic animal without a permit.

Mayar was scheduled to appear in court to be arraigned Thursday afternoon.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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