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Torrence Police Raid Indoor Grow

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
An intricate in-home marijuana growing operation in Carson was shut down Thursday by Torrance police.

Officers serving a search warrant on the two-story house found rooms outfitted with special lights, a crude ventilation system and plants growing in a solution of water and nutrients, according to Torrance police officer Dave Crespin.

"It was a pretty elaborate system for growing marijuana," Crespin said. He noted that officers from Torrance had never seen an operation that came remotely close to this degree of sophistication.

No one was arrested and officers were doing further investigation to see who owned the home in the 21300 block of Alameda Street, where Crespin said no one was actually living.

Crespin said a patrol officer received a tip about the location, and officers went to the house and discovered suspicious circumstances -- including the "strong smell of marijuana" and lights peeking through cracks in the walls and windows late at night.

They obtained a search warrant, and served it at 7 a.m. Nobody was at the home when they arrived.

Throughout the day, officers were removing the plants and growing tools. They estimated 100 to 125 plants, valued at approximately $100,000, were at the home, Crespin said.

In the main room downstairs, they found approximately 40 to 50 mature marijuana plants. Leaves hung drying from the ceiling of another downstairs room.

One room upstairs was filled with baby marijuana plants, while others contained growing equipment, Crespin added.

The plants were under sodium vapor lights attached to pulleys, allowing the operator to raise the lights as the plants grew, Crespin said.

The plants were not in soil, but in a special foam that keeps them hydrated and allows nutrients to be pumped directly to the stem.

The walls were covered with a shiny, reflective material that kept the room bright with the artificial sunlight, Crespin said.

In addition, ducts ran through foot-wide holes in the ceiling to the upstairs, where windows were left open for ventilation, he said. Fans were everywhere.

The growing system is known as hydroponics, and is estimated to grow plants three times faster than a plant in soil receiving routine daily sunlight, Crespin said. In a system like this, plants can grow from baby to mature in 60 to 90 days, Crespin added.

A growing number of marijuana cultivators have turned to the indoor hydroponics system -- many in residential areas -- to quickly grow marijuana in a more cloaked setting, compared with remote hillsides where marijuana farms are easily discovered.

Crespin said it is important that anyone who sees -- or smells -- suspicious activity to notify law enforcement.

Officers also discovered that the operators were using stolen electricity, Crespin said. They ran wiring from an outside line to an electrical box inside, bypassing the meter. Cords led from the homemade box.

A Southern California Edison worker told Crespin that, during the raid, the house was using five times the electricity an average house would.

Crespin said the operation was relatively self-sufficient and automated, and probably could run with someone checking on it once a week or so.

News Hawk- User 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: Daily Breeze
Author: Denise Nix
Contact: The Daily Breeze - Contact Us
Copyright: Los Angeles Newspaper Group
Website: Torrance police raid indoor marijuana farm in Carson
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