For a town where you can legally get marijuana in many, many neighborhoods, we sure do have a lot of illegal grow houses.
Maybe the problem is that while it's often legit to sell medical cannabis, it's a crime to grow it in mass quantities. And the retail business is voracious for weed. The latest grow-house bust was a big one, the L.A. County Sheriff's Department Announced over the weekend:
Cops took 417 plants worth an estimated $1.5 million, not to mention $100,000 worth of "hydroponic equipment," according to a sheriff's statement.
It happened Thursday (the department released the info over the weekend) with surveillance of a home in the 16400 block of Quarter Horse Road in Moreno Valley, deputies said.
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Investigators already had an idea that an L.A. parolee at large was allegedly cultivating weed for sale, they said. They just needed to catch him red-handed. For that they went to scenic Moreno Valley near Lake Perris in Riverside County. The U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force joined in.
Sure enough, sheriff's officials claim, 43-year-old Luc An was seen coming out of the residence with two other suspects.
That's when they pounced and discovered "the home concealed a large marijuana grow operation," according to the sheriff's statement:
During the search of the home and their investigation, deputies recovered 417 marijuana plants as well as numerous ultra violet lights and water pumps used during the indoor grow operation. Deputies also developed information which led to the arrest of two additional suspects; Eddie Tran, 21, and Johnny Yuen, 22, both from the San Gabriel Valley.
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An was arrested for allegedly violating his parole and growing pot, cops said. He was being held without bail.
The other two men, Tran and Yuen, were booked in lieu of $50,000 bail, according to the sheriff's department.
The story suggests that marijuana is still a risky business, even in the medical cannabis capital of America.