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Another marijuana grow bust
Police seize 180 pounds of pot, 16 guns
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Manteca Police seized 180 pounds of marijuana and a small arsenal of 16 weapons that included three illegal assault rifles during a raid Thursday morning in the Raymus Village neighborhood.

The Street Crimes Unit detectives assisted by the Manteca Police SWAT team met no résistance serving the warrant in the 5700 block of Comanche Drive where they found the marijuana grow and processing operation. Also seized were 54 marijuana plants in various ages of maturity, almost a half pound of hashish as well as marijuana sales paraphernalia.

William Reed, 37, of Manteca was arrested and booked on charges that included cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, possession of concentrated cannabis, possession of an assault rifle, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

It was the second major marijuana grow bust by Manteca Police in three weeks underscoring the seriousness of the community’s pot problem.

Police on Sept. 25 seized 2,340 marijuana plants from a grow operation at 23000 South Manteca Road. That raid included plants as high as six to 10 feet prompting officers to compare them to Christmas trees.

Manteca Police Chief Nick Obligacion noted that “the large majority” of property crimes in Manteca that run the gamut from auto and residential burglaries to petty theft and forgery are the result of people trying to feed their drug habit whether it is meth, heroin, cocaine, pot, or other illegal substance.

Last year there was $4.8 million worth of property stolen in Manteca. Police were able to recover property with a combined value of $1.9 million. Through Sept. 30 of this year, property valued at $3.1 million has been stolen.

“They (drug addicts) will break your car window to grab a quarter they see on your console because that brings them 25 cents closer to their next fix,” Manteca Police Officer Marnix Lub said.

Lub who worked narcotics for Manteca Police for eight years before returning to patrol duty spoke Thursday at the Manteca Rotary Club meeting at The Rendezvous Room, less than six hours after the 7 a.m. raid on the marijuana grow operation.

Lub was part of the team involved in one of the biggest marijuana grow busts in recent memory, the February 2011 seizure of 2,300 marijuana plants from a professional level grow operation in an abandoned building in the Manteca Industrial Park in the 500 block of Industrial Park Drive. That grow was a quarter mile east of Wal-Mart and almost directly across the street from the former Qualex building the city had bought with the intent of converting it into a new police station.

“I’d say almost all of the stolen property (taken from Manteca residents and businesses) each year is tied to drug use,” Lub said. “It is expensive to support a drug habit.”

The officer noted legalizing marijuana for medical uses hasn’t stemmed crime. It may actually have increased it.

Lub said it is not unusual for police to come across grows where people are raising pot for medicinal purposes that have plants well in excess of the legal limit. Lub noted that the excess pot is often illegally sold.

Also the police have raided homes that had been rented and gutted to accommodate marijuana grows in various neighborhoods in Manteca. Officers also continue to bust smaller growers as well.

Lub said as an officer he is coming across more individuals that are schizophrenic.

“It seems to have doubled in recent years,” Lub said.

Studies such as ones noted by the Schizophrenia Bulletin indicate the heavy use of marijuana by teens and young adults during the time the brain is still developing. The negative impacts were still detected even after two years after the subjects studied discontinued heavy pot use.

Lub pointed out abuse of pot creates many of the same issues that abuse of alcohol does.

But unlike alcohol, there isn’t a test to exact quantitative impairment such as with alcohol. That said. traces of marijuana stay in your blood for up to five days and in your urine for up to 45 days.