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Police seize 229 pot plants growing in Manteca home
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Detective Sam Gallego stacks bagged marijuana plants against an SUV in the driveway of a Manteca home where they were discovered growing on the second floor. - photo by GLENN KAHL
Manteca Police found a pot garden on the second floor of a Chadwick Square home in northwest Manteca Tuesday afternoon that yielded 229 mature plants and 75 younger seedlings.

Anthony Montoya, 27, was arrested for cultivation of marijuana and grand theft from PG&E for as estimated $2,800 in electricity that was used each month.  Police said they believed he had lived there for just over a year.  

Detectives Sam Gallego and Steve Harris arrived at the address in the 1900 block of Zoe Lane to follow up on a tip. They planned to stake out the residence and wait for the occupants to leave.  They had just parked their unmarked unit when Montoya and a girl friend drove out the driveway.

The officers followed them to the Airport Way and Louise Avenue intersection where they made a traffic stop and brought them back to the residence.  The woman was released from custody and Montoya was taken to the Manteca jail for processing.  

Sergeant Louis Clark said the “grow” was taking place on the second floor with an elaborate charcoal filtering and lighted operation in place.  The lighting equipment, three independent filter units, fertilizers and grow beds took two pickup trucks to remove them from the home.  The growing equipment was estimated to be worth some $12,000 to $15,000.  Clark said the plants had signs that buds had already been cut back for sale.   With the plants under constant lighting the plants will produce buds and grow thicker year round, he said.

“This was a well set up house – one of the best I’ve seen,” Clark said.

Officers said the street value is currently set at some $400 per pound of marijuana with the total yield of those confiscated to be about four pounds – they had recently been harvested.  One plant can produce some $10,000 worth of salable product during its life, police said.

The electrical box had been compromised and bypass wiring could be seen in the garage through the open garage door.  The upstairs nursery made use of two bedrooms and a large walk-in closet.  Three rooms at the back of the lower floor had been walled in for possible future use in the operation, police suspected.