After Venezuelan police broke up a prison riot at the notorious Sabaneta prison in the city of Maracaibo, which left 16 inmates dead, they found assault rifles, grenade, a stash of plastic explosives and several caiman crocodiles.
It turns out that along with deadly weapons, some of the prisoners were also keeping some interesting pets, including several endangered species. Besides a slew of dogs, authorities found the crocs, a couple of macaws, raccoons and an ocelot – the pint-sized leopard found throughout South America.
The deadly creatures, however, weren’t the only strange type of pet that the convicts kept behind bars with them. Authorities also discovered more than a dozen farm animals, including turkeys, pigs and cows, as well as an unspecified number of purebred dogs, such as pit bulls, Neapolitan mastiffs, Siberian huskies and Yorkshire terriers.
Venezuela’s minister for penitentiary affairs Iris Varela had the prison cleared so authorities could continue the search in safety and uncover any hidden contraband … or wild animals.
The interiors of Venezuela's prisons are run by rival bands of inmates, with corrupt guards selling the prisoners weapons and drugs. The prison was built to house only 700 people, but currently is home to 3,700 inmates and more than 192 children living alongside their imprisoned parents.
The nongovernmental Venezuelan Prison Observatory says that last year was the system's worst in 14 years, with 591 inmates killed and 1,132 injured.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.