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Probation search yields $50K in pot
Deputy Cha Her takes an inventory inside a Lathrop garage of part of a $50,000 home marijuana grow in the 1700 block of Cobble Creek Way that police discovered in a Wednesday afternoon probation search. - photo by GLENN KAHL

Some $50,000 in small to half-grown marijuana plants were discovered in a Lathrop home Wednesday by police.

Demarco Anthony Travillian, 20, was arrested on three felony counts: planting, cultivating marijuana, and possessing marijuana for sale, and the alleged theft of power from a utility company. He was transported to San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp with a court date set for Manteca at 1:25 p.m. Friday.

Travillian was released from San Joaquin County Jail just three months ago, records show.

Six Lathrop deputies, with one sergeant, were initially assigned to visit the homes of inmates recently released from the county jail to check on their probation status after returning to their home neighborhoods.

One senior deputy said it wasn’t a total loss when the probationers didn’t answer their front doors as the operation was meant to be a “show of force.” They know we are checking on them and the neighbors do as well, neighbors are often a big help, he added.

None answered as deputies pounded on front doors and surrounded their houses – except for one – that drove up while police were at the front of his house in the 1700 block of Cobble Creek Way.

The owner of the house, Demarco Anthony Travillian, 47, and his son a junior with the same name, 20, got out of their car with a small bag of groceries. The senior Travillian greeted deputies on the sidewalk while on crutches as he got out from behind the wheel and offered his keys so deputies could search his home.

The team of officers quickly discovered a marijuana grow in the man’s double car garage with 12 grow lights along with a ventilating system that prevented the smell of pot from going into the house. In all there were about 160 infant to half-grown plants in wooden nursery beds at the home, police said.

Pacific Gas & Electric investigators were called out to the scene to inspect what police felt was an electrical bypass that serviced the garage grow operation. Sheriff’s narcotics officers were also called to the scene and estimated the value of the find. 

Deputies added that code enforcement officers were planning to “red tag” the home because of the grow that made it unhealthy for anyone to live in the premises. “What is really dangerous is the bypassing of the electrical circuitry,” one deputy said. 

That can cause a fire like one that erupted in front of investigating deputies at a grow house to the north in Lathrop some four weeks ago. 

Officers said they planned to ask DMV for a medical reexamination of the man’s driving privileges. It’s unlikely a motorist could be growing that much pot for his own use and be safe behind the wheel, they added. 

The Lathrop deputies were also operating a bicycle “bait” sting at the same time as the probation effort. They were placing expensive bicycles in areas of the community that had suffered a large number of bike thefts in recent weeks expecting them to be stolen while they were parked nearby. No offenders took the bait, however.