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Neighborhood goes to pot again
Police bust second grow house in Walnut Place within 67 days
Pot-House--Prim-DSC 3855a
Detective Armondo Garcia throws four marijuana plants into a city dumpster as officers cleared a two-story house on Primrose Avenue. - photo by GLENN KAHL

A pot-growing two-story home was busted by the Manteca Police Street Crimes Unit Thursday afternoon with a street value on the operation of $1.4 million.

Sergeant Chris Mraz said officers executed a search warrant on the house in the 400 block of Pioneer Avenue.  They first watched two occupants exit the residence and then they made a traffic stop a block away from the home.

SCU detectives arrested Tam Tran, 30, and Jose Uribe, 26, during the traffic stop.  They were charged with cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale and for the theft of electricity from PG&E.  Mraz said the operation had only had a two-month head start and he estimated the utility cost at about $10,000.

Police removed 356 marijuana plants from the house.

It was the second time in 66 days that Manteca Police have busted a marijuana grow house in the Walnut Place neighborhood bordered by Alameda Street on the north, Walnut Avenue on the west, Union Pacific Railroad tracks on the south and the Tidewater Bikeway on the east. The March 30 bust was within several blocks in the 300 block of Victory Avenue and involved 250 marijuana plants with a street value of $750,000. Both houses are within a half mile of the Manteca Police department. Both homes are rentals.

Sgt. Mraz said there were 10 separate rooms involved in the latest grow house. Some were active and others were in the process of being set up for a nursery production that included plans to fill the floors at least two feet deep with dirt and fertilizer.  Plastic had been placed on the floors with it running up about three feet on the walls that officers believed would have completely wrecked the house.

Growing lights were hung from the ceilings and fans and filters had already been installed.  Nearly a thousand feet of 24- to 30-inch ducting was installed to carry the smell of the plants to the filtration system.  The ducting hung horizontally down the hallway and up and down the inside stairway.

The windows had been blocked so neighbors wouldn’t see the high intensity lights.  However, lesser wattage lights were placed between the interior plywood covers and the windows and attached to timers to give the illusion that the lights were going on and off at the usual times.

The officers carried the high intensity lights out to dumpsters parked in the driveway after throwing marijuana pots into those same dumpsters from the second-story windows as neighbors watched the police operation.