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Lathrop Police seize upwards of 800 plants
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Lathrop Police deputy Armando Sapata stands in one of five pot growing rooms in the two-story house. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

Upwards of 800 marijuana plants were discovered in a two-story Lathrop home after a neighbor spotted three masked men kicking in the front door of a corner residence in the 1100 block of Rabbit Way shortly before 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Three rooms downstairs and another three on the second floor were outfitted with growing lights and ceiling fans to control the smell of pot that permeated the entire house including a small room near the front door that contained two makeshift beds.

The neighbor said the three men – two black and one Filipino – were standing in the entryway when she drove by with masks over the lower half of their faces. When they saw her, they hurriedly left the neighborhood in their vehicle that had been backed into the driveway of the corner house.

Just off the second-floor hallway was an electric control panel that had its wiring bypassed to keep high power use required for marijuana growing from being noted on the PG&E electric bill as well as to avoid paying for electricity.

Neighbors said they knew the original owners – a young couple with two small children – but did not get to know anyone who had been living there at the present time.  The blinds on the windows had been kept lowered and the front lawn allowed to die away. 

Detectives from the Metro Narcotics Unit arrived at the scene shortly after 1 p.m. to take over the investigation and removed the plants from the home.  

In past years more than half a dozen new homes in Lathrop had been purchased for the specific purpose of setting up marijuana grow houses that were difficult for the nearby residents or police to identify.  In the current case there had been no installation of security cameras that had been used previously to allow growers to watch out for approaching police officers.

While it is legal for residents to grow marijuana in or around their homes, it is limited to 12 mature and 12 immature plants per person.  Larger grows require appropriate licenses and permits, police said. The going market rate for sales of marijuana fluctuates around $500 a pound.

To contact Glenn Kahl, email