Authorities seized more than 1,200 plants and over 65 pounds of processed marijuana during the service of three search warrants throughout the city Friday.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Gangs/Narcotics Division’s Marijuana Enforcement Team (MET) served all three search warrants after learning about illegal narcotic activity at the locations.
The first search warrant was served in the 11300 block of Salem Road at approximately 9:20 a.m.
“Investigators found an outdoor marijuana grow in the rear yard with over 200 marijuana plants and over 30 pounds of processed marijuana,” sheriff’s officials said. “Evidence found suggests the grow was operating for several months. A short-barreled shotgun was also found on the property. Investigators are following up on suspect leads to identify those responsible for the grow operation.”
The second search warrant was served at approximately 1:30 p.m. at a residence in the 12300 block of Balsam Road.
Nearly 600 plants, in various stages of growth, were found at the grow operation, which authorities said “used high-powered lighting, air conditioning, fans and exhaust blowers to control the climate inside the residence, as well as an air-filtering system to control the odor of marijuana.”
A suspect, identified as Gregory Lee Helke, 59, of Victorville, was found in the home and was arrested on suspicion of cultivation of cannabis of more than six plants and theft of utilities.
“Investigators found the electricity at the location was being stolen to facilitate the grow operation. Personnel from Southern California Edison assisted in the electrical theft investigation,” sheriff’s officials stated.
“Suspects who grow marijuana illegally will commonly bypass the electrical meter because of the high amount of electricity used to operate the marijuana growing equipment. The loss from the theft of electricity at this location will be several thousands of dollars.”
Finally, a third search warrants was served as a residence in the 15000 block of Avon Court at approximately 3:45 p.m.
Over 400 plants and 35 pounds of processed marijuana was found in an indoor grow that appeared to have been operating for several months, authorities said.
Vu T Bui, 40, of Ontario, was located at the residence and arrested on suspicion of cultivation of cannabis if more than six plants and illegal sales/transportation of cannabis.
California’s newest form of marijuana laws, known as MAUCRSA, went into full effect on Jan. 1 and the city of Victorville has an ordinance prohibiting commercial cannabis activity, including growing more than six marijuana plants at a residence.