'McGruff the Crime Dog' Actor Gets 16 Years for Drugs, Weapons

By Aditi Mukherji, JD on February 07, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A a twist of tragic irony, police and prosecutors have "taken a bite out of crime" by getting McGruff the Crime Dog sentenced to 16 years in prison for a massive pot operation and weapons cache, including a grenade launcher.

John R. Morales, 41, a former actor who played the crime-fighting canine, was pulled over for speeding in Galveston, Texas, in 2011. A real-life dog (this one of the drug-sniffing variety) ratted him out for pot.

What police uncovered next was certainly stranger than fiction.

Pot Enterprise, Grenade Launcher

After a drug-sniffing dog tipped cops off to Morales' weed stash, they searched his car and discovered blueprints for indoor marijuana-growing facilities along with marjuana seeds, Houston's KHOU-TV reports.

But it was what authorities discovered during a raid on Morales' home that really put him in the dog house.

During the raid, authorities found more than 1,000 pot plants and an arsenal of weapons, including a grenade launcher.

Even if you're trying to take a bite out of crime "Rambo"-style, you can face federal weapons charges for possessing unregistered grenades or grenade launchers.

Though a grenade launcher is surprisingly easy to obtain, according to the Justice Department, it is considered a "destructive device" and therefore falls under the National Firearms Act and requires transfer approval from the ATF.

Add that to drug trafficking charges for a 1,000-plant marijuana-growing enterprise, and you've got some hefty penalties racked up. Ruh-roh.

16 Years in the Dog Pound

Morales was sentenced to 16 years in people-prison after accepting a plea deal. That should give him plenty of time to pen "Pound Puppies II: The Demise of McGruff."

As we learned from the uniquely entrepreneurial Suburban Pot Mom, elaborate pot-growing operations can lead to lengthy imprisonment. A number of factors go into sentencing, but rubbing the judge the wrong way never helps.

As U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore told Morales before sentencing, "Everything I read about you makes you seem like a scary person."

To be fair, McGruff was always looked a little creepy in his trenchcoat, so it's hard to tell where Morales ends and McGruff begins.

Who knows what D.A.R.E.'s Daren the Lion is up to?...

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