Officials Seize More Than 3,000 Marijuana Plants

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Panhead, May 3, 2001.

  1. Three arrested after police find marijuana
    Plants at homes in Hesperia, Downey and south of Riverside are worth $3.5 million, officials say.


    Empty pots sit in the front yard of a Pick Place home just south of Riverside. Authorities removed about 2,000 marijuana plants from the home during a raid.

    State authorities seized what they estimated as $3.5 million worth of marijuana plants and arrested three Orange County men during early-morning raids Wednesday in San Bernardino, Riverside and Los Angeles counties.

    The bust, the largest this year in the Inland area, could make a substantial dent in area drug traffic if the suspects planned to distribute locally, said state Department of Justice spokeswoman Sally Fairchild.

    Investigators were looking into whether the suspects could be tied to a larger drug ring or cartel, but so far believed the operation to be autonomous, she said.

    "They're beach people," Fairchild said. "They're young businessmen who live at the beach and do this to make their money."

    Arrested were Gilbert Roy Scales, 40, of Dana Point, Joseph Edward McHale, 41, of Laguna Niguel and David Allen Thomas, 39, of Huntington Beach, said Fairchild. Investigators believe the operation had been in place for at least a few years, she said. Scales is the suspected ringleader, Fairchild said.

    The three were being booked into Riverside's Robert Presley Detention Center on Wednesday afternoon. They are scheduled to be arraigned on Friday, Fairchild said.

    More than 3,000 plants, some of which were being dried and prepared for sale, were removed from three homes in Hesperia, Downey and in an unincorporated area just south of Riverside city limits. The majority -- roughly 2,000 plants -- was taken from the Riverside-area home, in the 16300 block of Pick Place. The next-largest haul was discovered at the Hesperia home, in the 17200 block of Sycamore Street, where all five rooms of the house were used to grow marijuana, she said.

    "Nobody even lives there," said Fairchild. "The whole house was being used to grow the plants."

    The last batch, which had been dried and was being processed for future distribution, was found at the Downey location.

    The raids were organized and carried out by the state-run Inland Crackdown Allied Task Force, which had conducted a long-term investigation into the alleged drug ring. On Wednesday, the team was assisted by numerous law-enforcement agencies and drug task forces.

    Though the suspects could be charged federally because more than 1,000 plants were seized, officials planned to file state charges, said Fairchild.



    [ May 03, 2001: Message edited by: Panhead ]

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