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McGruff the Crime Dog Sentenced to Lengthy Stint in Prison

Actor John R. Morales had crime take a 16-year bite out of him after pleading guilty to drug and weapons charges.

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McGruff shortly before sentencing. Photo via

By Shawn Dwyer

02/07/14

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Looks like even McGruff the Crime Dog had to learn the hard way that crime doesn’t pay.

John R. Morales, 41, a former actor who used to play the famous crime-fighting dog, was sentenced to 16 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges stemming from a September 2011 arrest. Morales was pulled over by police in Galveston, TX for driving 50 mph in a 35 mph zone. A drug-sniffing dog detected the smell of marijuana, which led the officer to search his vehicle and find diagrams of two indoor pot-growing operations as well as a variety of marijuana seeds.

A subsequent search of Morales’ home turned up a grow operation featuring 1,000 plants, as well as 27 weapons that included grenade launchers, sawed-off shotguns, military-style rifles, and over 9,000 rounds of ammunition.

"Everything I read about you makes you seem like a scary person," said U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore after Morales tried to convince her that he was a non-violent person who grew pot for his leukemia-stricken mother.

But after three years, Morales finally pleaded guilty on Monday. Before sentencing, he tried once more to explain his actions to the judge. "I have admitted to my guilt and my actions, whatever they were, I never really benefited," he said. "I have spent most of my life trying to help other people."

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