Manteca Police busted two marijuana grows valued at $2.85 million.
The grows — one in Manteca and the other in Merced — were located by the Manteca Street Crimes Unit (SCU) using the Manteca Police SWAT team serving search warrants at 7 a.m. Wednesday in both cities.
During the warrant service a processing operation was discovered along with the grows totaling 392 plants that were seized at the two locations representing 1,869 pounds of marijuana. Evidence of sales and packaging was also discovered, police said.
Seven men and one woman were arrested in the action and charged with criminal conspiracy, cultivation of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale, according to Manteca Police spokesperson Sgt. Jodie Estarziau.
SCU had conducted an investigation into the large scale marijuana growing operation. The Manteca plot was found in the 12000 block of Union Road between Lovelace and Coelho roads north of Manteca where plants ranged in size from six inch seedlings to others six feet in height.
Six adults and two children were found by the SWAT team at the rural Manteca residence. Two other adults were located at a residence in the 2100 block of McSwain in Merced. The adults were taken into custody without incident and the children were readied for school and transported to their classes by a Manteca school resource officer.
Six suspects from Manteca included Florentino Gutierrez, 49, Maria Villafan, 40, Tobias Gutierrez, 20, Isaac Gutierrez, 19, Doroteo Gonzalez, 41, and Juan Salvador, 34. Two suspects from Merced were Lorenzo Sanches, 48 and Edgar Chavez, 25.
None of the suspects were listed on the Sheriff’s Who’s in Custody website at press time Wednesday night. They reportedly received only citations and were not transported to county jail.