Police officers found something a little unusual during a drug bust Aug. 7.
When the Junction City-Geary County Drug Operations Group served a search warrant at 311 West Eighth St. Apt. 3 as part of an investigation into drug distribution and person crimes related to drug distribution, the found heroin, crack cocaine, marijuana, drug paraphernalia and two firearms.
They also found a baby alligator, which was removed from the residence and transported to the Milford Nature Center. According to the Junction City Police Department’s Facebook page, the officer who discovered the baby alligator nicknamed it Flash-Bang.
According to Assistant Director of the Milford Nature Center Vanessa Avara, the alligator is safe but is not on display at the nature center, nor will it ever be displayed.
The alligator is being held at the nature center in cooperation with the JCPD as evidence in a legal case, because the police department and animal shelter lack the facilities necessary to care for an alligator.
“He is an animal being held in a legal situation and we will take care of him and find an appropriate place for him if that becomes the next step,” Avara said. “At this point in time, I don’t know what the next step is.”
According to JCPD Capt. Trish Giordano, it is illegal to keep exotic animals within the city limits, by city ordinance.
Two people were arrested during the course of the drug bust.
Lauren Vanarsdale Jackson, age 37, of Junction City was arrested. He was charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin within 1000’ of a school, possession with intent to distribute cocaine within 1000’ of a school, possession with intent to distribute marijuana within 1000’ of a school, felony possession of drug paraphernalia, felon in possession of a firearm, aggravated assault and criminal threat.
A juvenile was also arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana within 1000’ of a school, felony possession of drug paraphernalia and illegal possession of a firearm.
The Junction City-Geary County Drug Operations Group is a joint task force composed of members of the Junction City Police Department, the Geary County Sheriff’s Department, and the Grandview Plaza Police Department.
As for keeping exotic pets, Avara advises people to know the laws within their cities, because each of them has different ordinances concerning pets that can be kept within city limits.
Whether it’s legal or not, Avara advises people not to keep exotic animals.
“Just don’t ... You always have to do your homework and know the needs of the animal and be able to meet those needs,” she said. “Most people can’t.”
The recently-confiscated alligator, for example, is only about 18 inches long now, but when it grows up could be closer to 12 feet — hard to house and hard to control.
“Go to the zoo, appreciate the things there,” Avara said. “Those people have the resources and the ability and the knowledge to take care of those animals properly.”