The alleged theft of $100,000 in electricity used in separate homes in Lathrop and Tracy for growing marijuana led to an arrest by the San Joaquin County narcotics task force agents and sheriff’s deputies.
They also uncovered more than $100,000 worth of marijuana.
Search warrants were served by the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s SWAT team in the 900 block of Ferry Launch Avenue in Lathrop and in the 3200 block of Antonio Loop in Tracy.
Jesse Diep was later arrested by deputies during the investigation and charged with two counts of cultivation of marijuana, two counts of possession of marijuana for sale, two counts of felony utility theft and one count of conspiracy to commit a felony.
Officers discovered active marijuana grows at both locations. They seized 470 two- to three-foot-high plants in Lathrop along with 560 starter plants in addition to 48 pounds of processed marijuana. A digital scale with residue, packaging materials and indicia were also found at the site. PG&E representatives also confirmed the presence of an electrical bypass and rendered it safe.
In Tracy agents found 46 marijuana plants between three and five feet high with 201 pots with stems, indicia and packaging materials. An electrical bypass was reportedly used in the theft of the electrical company’s electricity.
Based on the investigation, it is believed that the cut and harvested plants were moved to Ferry Launch Avenue in Tracy where they were drying and being processed and that the 48 pounds of processed marijuana was the yield from Antonio Loop in Tracy.
The utility thefts are commonly dangerous and unsafe, reportedly causing house fires such as one in Lathrop several weeks ago, according to a sheriff’s spokesman. As of press time Diep was no longer in custody at the county jail.