The sheriff’s deputies in Alameda County had stopped at the house of 32-year-old Assif Mayar to check that he was complying with his probation orders.
Inside the house they discovered a stash of about 16 kilograms of marijuana, guarded by what appeared to be a five-foot long alligator.
A police spokesman said Mayar had bought the animal – which he named “Mr. Teeth” – in 1996, to “commemorate the death of rapper Tupac Shakur.”
Mayer kept the beast in a plexiglass tank beside his stash, to act as a deterrent for “would-be marijuana thieves,” the spokesman said.
“As soon as you get near it – the plexiglass area – the alligator gets agitated,” said the spokesman.
Police valued the marijuana at over $US100,000 (B3 million.)
Mayar was found guilty of possessing and selling drugs, and may face charges for not having the proper permit to keep an exotic pet.
Mr Teeth was taken to a zoo hospital, suffering from stress. He died the next day.