JESSUP, Md. - When the TAC team moved in on the mobile home in Jessup's Holiday Estates, neighbors knew something was up, but they didn't know the half of it.
"We did see the Animal Control up there and nobody really knew what was going on because there was a lot of undercover police," said Stephanie Metz, "Then, all of the sudden, they're coming out with some big bag and it's moving so we were under the impression that that was probably the alligator."
While police suspected 32-year old Michael Golden may have been dabbling in drugs, in addition to discovering less than half a pound of marijuana buds, they discovered a reptile that could make a meal out of a man when it's full grown.
Fortunately, it didn't have the munchies.
"It was a little bit unusual in the sense that there was a three-foot American alligator in the residence," said Justin Mulcahy of the Anne Arundel County Police Department, "I would call that uncommon. They don't usually encounter exotic animals such as that, but it is illegal to have these kinds of exotic animals as domesticated pets."
Police say Golden is an associate of the Dead Man Incorporated street gang, and he has a violent criminal history with assault and gun charges, but it was the gator that caught them off guard.
Even neighbors who had caught glimpses of the pet in the past had no idea it had grown… well, like a weed, in recent months.
"When he had first gotten it, it was a baby. It was probably about yeah big," said Metz, holding her hands about a foot apart, "He had told a couple of people, the kids in the neighborhood, that there was a baby alligator, but nobody ever knew it would get that big."
While baby alligators are only six inches long, at full growth, they can reach 15 feet and weigh as much as a thousand pounds.
Animal Control has since transported the reptile to an exotic animal zoo in western Maryland.