Italian drug dealer guarded stash with 'mini alligator'

ROME -- An Italian drug dealer was arrested after police raided his Rome home and discovered a caiman -- a small crocodilian with sharp, snappy jaws -- guarding his stash of narcotics, the ANSA news agency reported Friday.

The caiman, which was described as "undernourished," was guarding a variety of drugs including cannabis.

"The young animal, almost a meter [three feet] long, was a dangerous species, capable of biting off a man's hand with a single bite," police were quoted as saying.

The caiman was taken to an animal shelter. The owner was being held on drug-trafficking charges, as well as animal mistreatment.