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Italian Police Find Rare Python Guarding Cocaine Stash in Rome

  1. buseman
    Aug. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Italy’s finance police seized a rare, 3-meter (9.8-foot) albino python that a group of Rome drug dealers used to guard their stash of cocaine and intimidate customers who owed them money.

    The dangerous python was seated on top of 200 grams of cocaine, which has a street value of up to 50,000 euros ($65,340), Lieutenant Luca Gelormino, who took part into the operation, said in a phone interview.

    When we found it, we got scared and called a team of experts for help.

    Twelve people were arrested in the operation, he said.

    Wiretapping and surveillance videos show that some customers got very scared after going to pick up the cocaine, Gelormino added.

    The snake was used to threaten them to pay their debts, he said.

    The snake was transferred to the Rome zoo, police said.


    August 11, 2010
    By Lorenzo Totaro


  1. buseman
    Albino python on cocaine confronts police

    Police raiding a drug den in the Italian capital have been confronted by an aggressive albino python which was used to intimidate addicts.

    Police had been tipped off that they would find an animal during the raid on the apartment in the centre of Rome, and when they opened the door they saw a striped yellow and white snake curled up on a heat mat.

    The snake, which was three metres long and was kept hungry so that it would be more aggressive, was allowed to roam the apartment to scare addicts into paying for their drugs, police said.

    Animal services were called to capture the snake, which was tempted into captivity using a whole chicken and sent to a nearby zoo.

    The reptile had been resting on 200 grams of pure cocaine, and a further five kilograms were found in the apartment.

    Six people were arrested in the raid, on top of another six who were already in custody.

    The 12 were charged with conspiracy to traffic cocaine and illegal possession of a protected species.
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