Detectives executing a search warrant for drugs found an alligator in the kitchen of a Chester County home last week.
Detectives found heroin, suspected fentanyl, crack cocaine, marijuana, cash and drug packaging in the South Coatesville home on Feb. 8, Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said. Investigators also found the 2-foot-long American gator living in the kitchen.
“Drug dealers will do just about anything to project an image of danger in order to protect their drugs and cash,” Hogan said in a news release Thursday. “Some drug dealers use pit bulls or snakes. These drug traffickers kept an alligator in the house.”
Irvin “Gotti” Hawkins, 31, who rents the Gibbons Avenue home; Aki Gathright, 35, of Philadelphia; and Tyrone Jackson, 40, of Columbia, Pennsylvania, were charged with drug dealing counts.
Investigators zeroed in on the men after a series of undercover drug buys before the bust, according to criminal complaints filled out by county detectives.
Once inside the home, besides the gator, detectives found marijuana on a table and in two bedrooms, suspected crack cocaine in a bathroom tub, bulk and black tar heroin in a bedroom, more than $5,000 in cash and drug packaging materials.
During the drug bust, Jackson tried to throw marijuana out the window, according to criminal complaints. Gathright had marijuana and unknown white pills on him at the time of the bust, detectives said. Hawkins had controlled substances with him.
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The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Brandywine Zoo took in the gator. The Wilmington zoo plans to use the gator as an educational tool for visitors over the summer. After that, the gator will be moved to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Park in Florida.
“We will provide care for the alligator and ensure it is healthy during its stay with the zoo,” Brandywine Zoo director Brint Spencer said.
All three suspects were being held in county jail Thursday, unable to post bail, according to court records. NBC10 left messages for Gathright’s and Jackson’s attorneys. Online court record don’t list an attorney who could comment on Hawkins’ behalf.