Caiman in water
Caiman in water

Many criminals use large dogs to guard their illicit booty, but one California drug dealer decided to go a step further - and bought a caiman to guard his marijuana stash.

Police raiding a drugs hideout in Castro Valley found the £60,000 stash being protected by the five-foot reptile, which is a member of the alligator family, in a plexiglass tank.

The creatures are usually found in south America, and are renowned for their willingness to attack humans who stray too close.

Unfortunately, the caiman guard, which was called Mr Teeth, was far away from its natural wetland habitat and died soon after being relocated to Oakland Zoo.

Police Sgt Nelson said: "We get guard dogs all 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."

The owner, Assif Mayar, could now face prosecution for keeping an exotic pet without a permit, according to local media.

He was also charged with possessing marijuana for sale.

Mayar claimed he purchased the caiman to commemorate the shooting of rapper Tupac Shakur back in 1996.

Nelson continued: "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,"