CHESTER COUNTY, Pa. (WZTV) — Investigators had quite the surprise during a drug sting in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Officers executing a search warrant in South Coatesville on Feb. 8 say they recovered (wait for it) heroin, crack cocaine, suspected fentanyl, cash, drug packaging materials and an alligator.
The alligator, nicknamed "El Chompo" by a number of media outlets, was living in the kitchen of the drug house, according to authorities.
“When we execute a drug search warrant, we never know what we will find. Sometimes it is an armed drug dealer. Sometimes it is the drug dealer’s terrified family. On this day, it was an alligator," Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said.
Irvin “Gotti” Hawkins, Aki Gathright, and Tyrone Jackson have been charged with drug trafficking and related offenses in connection to the bust.
Prosecutors say Hawkins, Gathright and Jackson told authorities the alligator was a caiman, but it has since been identified as an American alligator. The young alligator was approximately three feet long, but has the potential to grow to eight to 10 feet in length.
“Drug dealers will do just about anything to project an image of danger in order to protect their drugs and cash. Some drug dealers use pit bulls or snakes. These drug traffickers kept an alligator in the house," Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said. "But at the end of the day, the police seized their drugs and money, and the alligator is headed to the zoo.”
The alligator will now call the Brandywine Zoo home, while the three defendants were sent to Chester County Prison.