He may not be a high flight risk. But he might be high.
A local bounty hunter was caught on the wrong side of the law Thursday night after police found a possible marijuana growing operation in his garage.
Alex Mazzola, who owns Fugitive Recovery Center on Las Vegas Boulevard near Bonneville Avenue, was arrested Thursday night on drug trafficking charges.
Las Vegas police said Mazzola, 42, had 66 plants growing in his garage and a half-pound of freshly harvested marijuana at his rental home at 7445 Ute Meadows Circle, near Lone Mountain Road and Buffalo Drive.
Police also confiscated two handguns and arrested his girlfriend, Brandi Alexandre , 42, on trafficking charges.
“At least he can bail himself out,” said a police official involved in the case.
Mazzola, reached by phone Friday, said he was released from the Clark County jail Friday afternoon.
He disputed the arrest and said he had a license for medical marijuana. An unnamed person burned him, he said.
“This is stemming from someone who’s been stalking me for years,” Mazzola said, declining to elaborate.
But police said Mazzola’s reasoning won’t fly in court. His medical marijuana permit allowed him to grow seven plants, an official said.
“Those waivers only mean that he needs to admit he was over the limit and then hope to God that the doctor he used will show up in court and prove his medical condition is so bad he needs to smoke over 60 plants,” the official said.
The Nevada State Health Division runs the medical marijuana program. A spokesperson said the registry is not public and could not confirm details of Mazzola’s license.
According to Mazzola’s business website, he has lived in Las Vegas for more than 30 years, working as a bounty hunter, private investigator and vehicle repossession agent. He has been featured in several media stories on bounty hunters and bail bondsmen.
“Even though he may be dealing with hard criminals from time to time he always shows them respect and treats them the way he would want to be treated,” Mazzola wrote on LVhunters.com.
Four of the captured suspects on his site were wanted on marijuana charges.
Chelle Yarbrough co-owns the house with her husband. They had been renting to Mazzola for about three years, she said.
Mazzola was a model tenant who often made house repairs on his own, paid his rent and never caused trouble, she said.
“They were great people until this little hiccup,” she said.
Yarbrough said she had no idea about the possible growing operation or medical marijuana license until Mazzola’s arrest.
There was no visible damage to the main part of the house, but Mazzola significantly altered the garage, creating three separate rooms and adding a ventilation system to the wall.
“We’re concerned about mold issues,” Yarbrough said.
She said detectives advised her to edit any future leases to allow for 48-hour notice to check vents and smoke alarms.
Police also suggested she add a clause to her lease that allows the homeowner to cancel it if a renter is arrested for a felony or alters the home.
“They (police) said this is becoming such a prevalent problem,” Yarbrough said.
Contact reporter Mike Blasky at email@example.com or 702-383-0283.