Pennsylvania Police Find Alligator 'Living in Kitchen' of Suspected Drug Dealer's Home During Raid

American Alligator Drug Bust
The juvenile American alligator, which will now find a new home in a local zoo, was discovered inside a Chester County home being rented by suspect Irvin “Gotti” Hawkins, 31, police said. Chester County District Attorney’s Office

Police conducting a search of a suspected drug dealer's Pennsylvania home last week said they found a 3-foot long alligator had been living in the kitchen.

The juvenile American alligator, which will now find a new home in the local zoo, was discovered in a Chester County home being rented by suspect Irvin "Gotti" Hawkins, 31. The search of the residence was executed in South Coatesville last Friday, authorities said yesterday.

Alongside Hawkins, law enforcement announced the arrest of Aki Gathright, 35, and Tyrone Jackson, 40. The trio are now facing charges including drug trafficking. There will not be any separate charge for having the alligator, the Chester County District Attorney's Office said.

During the warranted search of the South Coatesville home, officials said they seized suspected fentanyl, heroin, crack cocaine, drug materials, marijuana and more than $5,000 cash.

"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. But at the end of the day, the police seized their drugs and money, and the alligator is headed to the zoo," district attorney Tom Hogan said in a release this week.

The suspects initially claimed the animal was a caiman but it was positively identified as an American alligator. Adults in the species can grow to 10 feet in length, authorities noted.

The alligator and its former housemates have now went their separate ways. The alligator was taken to the Brandywine Zoo. The three defendants were sent to Chester County Prison.

"We will provide care for the alligator and ensure it is healthy during its stay with the zoo," said Brint Spencer, director of the Chester County animal facility. "The Brandywine Zoo is glad we could be of assistance to Chester County law enforcement in placing the alligator in a healthy environment," Spencer added.

The zoo will house the alligator as an educational animal this summer, after which time it will be taken to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Park, the attorney's office said.

DA Hogan added: "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. As usual, Chester County law enforcement dealt with the situation professionally, efficiently, and humanely. We are lucky to have such strong [police]."