Updated: 12:01 p.m.
By Bay City News Service
A caiman that was found guarding 34 pounds of marijuana at a Castro Valley home on Tuesday died early this morning, zoo officials said.
The caiman was found by Alameda County sheriff's deputies near the stash of dry, processed marijuana at a home in the 19000 block of Mt. Jasper Drive on Tuesday afternoon, sheriff's Sgt. J.D. Nelson said.
The discovery was made during a probation compliance check.
The 5-foot-long caiman, known as Mr. Teeth, was in a Plexiglas tank, Nelson said.
The suspect, 32-year-old Assif Mayar, was booked into the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin on drug possession and sales charges, according to the sheriff's office.
Nelson said Mayar apparently acquired Mr. Teeth in 1996 to commemorate the death of rapper Tupac Shakur. It appears the animal was being used as a deterrent to scare away would-be marijuana thieves, he said.
Mr. Teeth was taken to the Oakland Zoo, where zoo staff examined him and determined that he was in poor health, zoo officials said.
Staff put Mr. Teeth in quarantine after the examination, and he died early this morning, according to the zoo.
Mayar is scheduled to appear in court to be arraigned this afternoon.
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