When most people get a pet to guard their homes, it’s usually a large dog like a pitbull or a German Shepherd. Not so when you run a drug-dealing ring, apparently.
When law enforcement raided a home belonging to suspected drug dealers in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, they discovered not only the standard stash of crack cocaine, heroin, suspected fentanyl, and a pile of cash, but also that the entire collection was being guarded by an alligator.
According to The Wichita Eagle, Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan explained that the drug dealers were likely using the three-foot reptile to “protect their drugs and cash.”
“Some drug dealers use pit bulls or snakes,” Hogan said in a news release. “These drug traffickers kept an alligator in the house.”
After making the discovery, the police have given the alligator a rather appropriate nickname: El Chompo, named after the Mexican drug lord El Chapo who has just recently been handed down a lengthy prison sentence after being tried on multiple counts of operating a criminal enterprise, use of firearms, and charges of conspiracy to import and distribute cocaine, heroin, and marijuana, in a New York court room.
— Miami Herald (@MiamiHerald) February 18, 2019
Hogan also made a not-so-subtle dig at the drug dealers that were arrested in the raid.
“Quite frankly, as far as we can tell with these drug dealers, the alligator may have been the brains of the operation.”
El Chompo has been relocated to a zoo after he was found in the South Coatesville home’s kitchen, and is currently in the Brandywine Zoo in Wilmington, Delaware, where he is being kept under quarantine at the moment. According to prosecutors, El Chompo won’t be staying there permanently.
“The zoo will house the alligator as an educational animal this summer, after which time it will be taken to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Park… in Florida from which the Brandywine Zoo borrows alligators,” they explained.
Wildlife conservationists have praised law enforcement officers for looking out for the safety and wellbeing of the animal by placing it in an appropriate facility where it will be cared for properly.
The three drug dealers who were arrested on the scene have all been taken to the Chester County Prison, and are facing drug trafficking charges over the discovery in the house.
“There is no separate charge for possession of an alligator under Pennsylvania criminal law,” prosecutors said.