John R. Morales, an actor who played McGruff the Crime Dog, apparently didn’t learn some of the lessons the character taught. Morales pleaded guilty to drug- and weapons-related charges last week and was given a 16-year federal prison sentence.
The 41-year-old Houston man admitted to storing 1,000 marijuana plants at two indoor growing facilities and possessing 27 weapons, including a grenade launcher. His attorney, Ken Fesler II, told the Associated Press that Morales sold drugs to help sick relatives.
Morales wore a McGruff the Crime Dog costume for the Harris County Sheriff’s Association in the late 1990s, according to the AP. McGruff, who was developed by an advertising firm for the National Crime Prevention Council, was popular in the 1990s. The animated character appeared in commercials to teach children about crime awareness and used the catchphrase “Take a bite out of crime.”
Morales’ guilty plea and sentencing comes about four years after his 2011 arrest in Galveston, when police assisted by drug-sniffing dogs found marijuana seeds inside his car. Police also discovered plans for indoor marijuana-growing operations, which is what led authorities to search his home. Among the weapons authorities discovered in Morales’ home were a shotgun, rifles, pistols and a grenade launcher, according to NBC News.