- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 13, 2007

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — An exotic animal with a long snout, bearlike claws and a tail like a raccoon scared some narcotics investigators searching a home for drugs.

Riverside County sheriff’s investigators said the “strange looking” and “slothlike” animal emerged from its hiding place in the Lakeland Village home on Saturday.

It eventually was identified as a coatimundi, usually found in the forests of Central and South America.

Possessing a coatimundi is illegal in California without a license, and Kyle Chang of the Department of Fish and Game said the animal’s owner, Norman James Vollan, 29, will have to give it to a zoo or to someone with an exotic-animal license. In the meantime, the animal was taken to an undisclosed animal sanctuary.

Mr. Vollan was arrested after deputies discovered methamphetamine in his home, the investigators said.

He “was pretty much crying in jail” when he learned that he would lose his coatimundi, Mr. Chang said. He added that Mr. Vollan bought the animal for about $1,000 three years ago and had it imported from Texas to Nevada, where he was working at the time.

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