Another McMansion in Manteca has gone to pot.
Manteca Police filled a huge dumpster to the brim with some $2 million worth of marijuana plants after executing a search warrant at a home midway between Woodward Park and South Main Street
Sgt. Chris Mraz, heading up the four-member Street Crimes Unit (SCU), said the search of the 4,000-square-foot, two-story rental home in the 1800 block of Arlington Court contained the largest marijuana grow he has ever seen within the city of Manteca.
Elaborate marijuana growing operations have been found in other Manteca neighborhoods in the so-called McMansions due to their massive square footage. The last such large operation was found off Pestana Avenue near Joshua Cowell School.
State Parole Office Paul Richison assisted in the search and in the arrests.
Two men in their 20s were arrested at the house in the early evening and transported to the Manteca City Jail. They were later taken to the San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp charged with cultivation of marijuana. They had reportedly lived in the house for two years.
Mraz said the men initially refused the officers’ entry after a Manteca police canine “Hoss,” with his handler Officer Bob Anderson, were alerted on the smell of marijuana coming from the residence giving officers cause to obtain a search warrant.
The men reportedly delayed officers some 30 minutes after they obtained the warrant giving them time to stash any weapons they might have had on the premises, although the SCU team did find an undisclosed amount of cash.
The detectives said once the house was emptied they would conduct a complete search to look for hidden weapons that would have been used for protection or for additional cash on the property. A six-yard dumpster was used to collect the plants and a 20-cubic-yard dumpster was filled with growing lights, ballasts, filters and other equipment.
The in-house nursery was highly sophisticated with growing operations underway in every room of the house, Mraz said, except for one bedroom that was used by one of the two men in a caretaker role. He noted that the plants found in the grow operation went from seedlings to fully mature plants. The Street Crimes Unit lead detective said the grow made the one found last year in a vacant building in the Manteca Industrial Park look insignificant in comparison.
The PG&E service to the house had been rewired and bypassed, he said. That allowed the men to pay as little as $70 a month for electricity while they had used about $105,000 a year to operate the growing operation over a two year period of time.
Some 1,300 cubic feet in city water had been used to supply the plants on both floors of the home in just the last two days, the sergeant explained.
There were 52 one-thousand-watt-high-intensity lights mounted near the ceilings throughout the house with every room used for some form of marijuana grow. Twenty-five-foot-tall industrial carbon filters and an irrigation system was plumbed to supply water inside the one-time residential home.
Sgt. Mraz said he and the entire Crime Scene Unit were spending the night cleaning out the pot nursery saying they would probably be there until nearly dawn.
After the clearing of the house was completed, the investigation promised to continue and officers are expected to locate the owner of the house as soon as possible with questions for him as well.
The Crime Stoppers program reportedly led officers to the house with the police canine providing cause for the search warrant for the large house.