Alligators Replace Pitbulls As Number One Pet For Drug Dealers

By McCarton Ackerman 12/26/13

All across the country, police are increasingly finding gators keeping a watchful eye over illegal drug stashes.

They also make a nice pair of shoes.
Photo via Shutterstock

According to new reports, pitbulls are no longer the favorite pet of drug dealers. Instead, it appears that alligators have become the preferred animal of choice as a means of protecting their illegal businesses.

A recent raid by police in Maryland revealed a three-foot American alligator named “Little G” in the walk-in closet of suspected drug dealer Michael Golden, right next to five ounces of marijuana. Similar incidents have also been reported in other cities including Oakland and Philadelphia. “The predominate way people think of alligators is as this fierce man-eating predator,” said Mark Barrow, the chairman of Virginia Tech’s history department. "There is a rich history of intimidation, which is I think part of what’s going on with that." St. Joseph’s University professor Jeffrey Hyson echoed Barrow's sentiment in stating that “by keeping it in your control, you are saying something about yourself as an individual.”

Other recent instances of pet alligators guarding drugs include two five-foot alligators protecting 15 marijuana plants at an Olympia, WA home in November 2012, as well as a five-foot caiman named “Mr. Teeth” guarding 34 pounds of marijuana last January in Castro Valley, CA. Unfortunately, the alligators that have been purchased to protect drugs are often neglected by their owners; Mr. Teeth died from malnutrition and pneumonia the day after he was transported to the Oakland Zoo.

But Golden, who ultimately pleaded guilty to possession charges and served 10 days in jail, denied having Little G solely as a drug guard. “That’s crazy. You can’t train them,” he said. “They are not very wise animals. The only time they will listen to you or follow you is if they are hungry and you are holding food.”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.