More than 1,000 marijuana plants were discovered this week in a home on the 1600 block of Settler Trail – roughly one mile from the City of Lathrop’s new police department building in River Islands across the Bradshaw’s Crossing Bridge.
The discovery was made by the Fairfield Police Department after they trailed a suspect in a number of grow operations in the Bay Area community to the Lathrop home where a search warrant was eventually carried out and the discovery was made.
According to the Fairfield Police Department, five homes were raided including the one in Lathrop, and nearly 4,500 marijuana plants were discovered along with an assault rifle.
The doors to each of the homes was heavily fortified with metal bars and doors.
Two men from San Francisco and two men from New York were arrested and charged with the illegal cultivation of marijuana for sale – something that Lathrop Police Chief Ryan Biedermann said remains an issue even after the State of California approved recreational use and cultivation for personal use.
“It’s still something that we come across and is something that is a concern – some of these houses are bought just for this purpose and they are destroyed in order to install the grow operation,” Biedermann said. “Most the time the way that these people are caught is the PG&E bill leads to a tip to law enforcement, and that’s how we find out.”
In order to prevent law enforcement from being tipped off by power companies – the lights required to grow marijuana indoors are extremely energy inefficient – many of the grow houses that are discovered are wired to illegally bypass the power meters which can create serious safety hazards not just for the people working in the house, but the neighborhood as well. A number of fires have been linked specifically to illegally-wired marijuana grow houses.
An indoor grow house in Lathrop was raided back in December along with several others in Manteca after a similar operation was discovered. The relatively affordable price of homes compared to Bay Area real estate prices have made the Northern San Joaquin Valley an attractive alternative to Bay Area groups that are looking for places to conduct their illegal business – which can at times be linked to organized crime groups.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.