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911 Call Leads To SR Marijuana Operation

Herb Fellow

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A disconnected 911 call helped Sonoma County sheriff's deputies uncover a marijuana operation Thursday in a Larkfield home, and evidence there led them to a warehouse in Santa Rosa where they seized 350 plants.

"He probably had the grow located there," Sonoma County Sheriff's Sgt. Chris Bertoli said, referring to a warehouse in the junior college neighborhood. "He probably had the finished product at his house."

Bertoli said one man was detained but wasn't arrested. "We'll be seeking a complaint down the road," he said. Bertoli didn't identify the man who was detained.

He said investigators found 25 pounds of marijuana at a home on Lark Center Drive, a residential street near the Larkfield Shopping Center. They also found $10,000 in cash and a utility bill that led them to the warehouse on Slater Street.

Altogether, the marijuana had an estimated street value of $700,000.

Bertoli said the Santa Rosa warehouse was reached by a dirt driveway and was well ventilated, so there was no odor from the plants. He described it as a sophisticated operation that could have been in use for an extended time.
"It was a nice location," he said. "You couldn't see it from the street."

The warehouse, located off the street near Pacific Avenue, had three spaces, only one of which was tied to the growing operation. That space included rooms for making plant cuttings, growing plants, inducing the plants to flower and processing the pot.

Bertoli, who supervises the county drug task force, said a deputy was sent to the Lark Center Drive home Thursday morning after a dispatcher reported a 911 call from the home that was immediately disconnected. The dispatcher called back but got no answer, so the deputy was sent to check on the occupants.

No one answered the door, Bertoli said, so the deputy pulled up the garage door and found the space inside was being used to dry marijuana.

Drug task force detectives were brought in and a search warrant was obtained to examine the garage and house, Bertoli said.

Inside they found a utility bill for the Slater Street warehouse. The detectives obtained a second search warrant and discovered the growing operation.

About four deputies and eight drug task force officers took part in the searches, Bertoli said.

Source: The Press Democrat
Copyright: 2008, The Press Democrat
Contact:Staff Writer Robert Digitale
Website: 911 call leads to SR marijuana operation | Santa Rosa Press Democrat // News for California's North Bay and Redwood Empire
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