Monday, December 19, 2011

Santa Clarita Patrol Deputy Discovers Substantial Illegal Marijuana Grow in Residential Neighborhood From Bail Bondsman In Santa Clarita

A patrol deputy checking an apparent vacant house in the 20400 block of Delight Street, Canyon Country, discovered a substantial illegal indoor residential marijuana grow earlier this week. While outside the house the deputy smelled the strong odor of marijuana coming from inside the house. The deputy also heard a number of air conditioning units running, despite the fact it was cold outside. The deputy also noticed the windows all around the home appeared to be covered or blacked out.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Department's Headquarters Narcotics Bureau, assigned to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station area, joined Santa Clarita Deputies from the Juvenile Intervention Team (J-Team) and deputies from the Crime Prevention Unit to serve a search warrant at the location just after 12:00 p.m. yesterday. Once inside, deputies found the entire house had been converted into a sophisticated and substantial Hydroponics marijuana cultivation operation. Four rooms were equipped with irrigation systems, fans and ventilation systems, elaborate lighting systems running throughout the day and night, and altered electrical systems which presented a substantial fire hazard.

Despite the fact the house was only estimated to be about 1,300 square feet, the perpetrators had installed multiple air conditioning and heating systems including one 7 ton air conditioning unit designed for a 10,000 square foot structure. Based on previous cases of this type, deputies estimate that the power bill alone for this grow would have been thousands of dollars each month. Deputies also discovered an apparent cultivation schedule where several different individuals had logged down visiting the house, tending to and cultivating the plants, and indicating on the list how much pay they were due to receive.

Deputies spent hours at the location dismantling the systems and confiscating the illegal marijuana plants. Deputies estimate the original cost of the cultivation equipment they recovered to be in excess of $75,000. More than 200 plants, estimated at 200-300 pounds in total weight, were taken as evidence. Narcotics experts estimate the street value of the marijuana to be between $1,500 to $5,000 per pound. The Southern California Gas Company and Southern California Edison officials responded to the location to address substantial utility concerns.

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