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Raid at pot house yields marijuana, alligator

Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary in Phelan Calif. owner Joel Almquist, 41, holds the more than 4 foot american alligator that was seized from a pot house Monday night March 7, 2011 in Hemet, Calif,. (AP PHOTO/Terry Pierson/The Press-Enterprise) 

Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary in Phelan Calif. owner Joel Almquist, 41, holds the more than 4 foot american alligator that was seized from a pot house Monday night March 7, 2011 in Hemet, Calif,. (AP PHOTO/Terry Pierson/The Press-Enterprise) 

HEMET, Calif. — A raid at a Southern California house has turned up nearly 2,300 marijuana plants and a 50-pound alligator.

Brian Link, a commander with a state narcotics task force, said Tuesday that agents found the 4-foot-long gator in a back room of the indoor grow house surrounded by pot plants.

He said the house was a front for an unlicensed medical marijuana dispensary.

An animal rescuer who picked up the alligator said it wasn't aggressive. Joel Almquist of Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary in Phelan described it as "very, very mellow." He didn't know whether the gator was used to guard the marijuana.

The home's resident, John Donna, was arrested on suspicion of drug possession and cultivating marijuana for sale. The alligator's owner was cited for possessing an illegal species.