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Manteca police shut down marijuana grow house
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More than 300 marijuana plants were seized Tuesday morning by the Manteca Police Street Crimes Unit.

But it was the location of the growing operation – 150 feet away from an elementary school – that had officers scratching their heads and wondering how the house didn’t burn down.

According to Manteca Police Department Lt. Tony Souza, the detectives served a search warrant Tuesday morning on the 1800 block of Crom Street, within throwing distance of Stella Brockman Elementary School. 

They discovered two men – 27-year-old Trieu Vo and 38-year-old Vinny Tran, both of San Jose – waiting inside and found 328 marijuana plants and an extensive growing operation set-up throughout the house.

They also found a rigged wiring job that bypassed the PG&E meter to avoid power spike detection, and quickly determined that the exposed hot wiring posed a safety hazard. Manteca’s code enforcement division and PG&E were called to secure the scene before the investigation proceeded.

Souza said that drug enhancement charges only go into effect when somebody is on a campus, but noted that the combination of stolen power – detectives estimate upwards of $20,000 worth was used and not catalogued – and physical evidence provides its own series of legal hoops.

“There was definitely a potential for a fire hazard that could have jeopardized that house and other houses in the area,” Souza said. “There’s an extremely high yield on these plants when it comes to money because they can have multiple grow seasons in a single year when they’re indoors.

“But what concerned us was the proximity. The location was alarming.”