Sgt. Alex Neicu of the Tracy Police Department said officers searched a 4,300-square-foot rental property at 1845 Kagehiro Drive around 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 11.
At the scene, Neicu said the Special Investigations Unit received a tip about the grow operation, and officers raided the home following an investigation that lasted “a couple of weeks.”
“The plants were full grown and the house was absolutely gutted, because it’s set up exclusively for growing,” he said.
Large ventilation tubing, air filters and lighting mounted to the ceiling were seen
during a walk-through of the downstairs portion of the home Tuesday.
Neicu said officers cut down 475 mature plants from at least 11 different growing areas within the house.
“The windows were
covered, so you can’t see anything from the outside,” he said. “These guys are amateurs, and it’s pretty standard for them to come occasionally for one or two hours a day at night.”
If processed and sold on the streets, the marijuana would be worth about $240,000, Neicu said.
Hai Tuong Nguyen is wanted on charges of cultivation of marijuana and power theft for his alleged role in the operation. He has known connections in Tracy and the San Jose area.
The growers also bypassed the power meter, which cost Pacific Gas & Electric Co. more than $30,000 in lost power use, according to Neicu.
Later in the day Tuesday, Tracy police officers discovered a larger growing operation while responding to a burglary call at 1630 Smokey Lane.
Jimmy Zhaoming Tang, 21, Yueyang Liang, 22, and Xi Hong Chen, 28, all from San Francisco, were arrested at the residence with two pounds of processed marijuana.
They are charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to sell and transportation of marijuana and taken to San Joaquin County Jail. They were not listed as inmates on the jail website Thursday, June 13.
Police were called by a resident who claimed to have seen the men climb into the house through a window, according to the Tracy police log.
“They had no keys and no way to legitimately get inside the house,” Neicu said Wednesday, June 12.
When officers checked the home, they found around 800 plants in “various stages of growth,” Neicu said. The street value of the plants is about $400,000.
Neicu described the operation as “highly sophisticated” and noted that the illegal setup bypassed the power meter, which caused a loss of about $20,000 for PG&E.
On Wednesday, the Special Investigations Unit also searched a residence at 3741 Norfolk Drive, where they discovered 85 plants at a grow operation that was only “partially set up,” Neicu said.
There were two growing spots in the house already in use, and officers found equipment to convert the entire residence into a growing operation, Neicu said.
Hieu Cong Nguyen. 19, and Ahn The Ngo, 29, are wanted on charges of cultivating marijuana and utilities theft for their alleged involvement in the operation, Neicu said. They have known connections in the San Jose area.
While the two searches are unrelated, Neicu said Thursday that the police department “wants to be proactive” when trying to shut down such operations.
“We did these two this week, and sometimes that just how it happens when the tips come in,” he said, “but we are always trying to stay ahead of things, so it’s always an ongoing operation.”
• Contact Joel Danoy at 830-4229 or email@example.com.