Francisco Franco was arrested after police served two search warrants in Tracy and one in Hayward looking for illegal marijuana grows, according to Sgt. Tony Sheneman.
Police found 573 marijuana plants growing in homes on the 1100 block of Montgomery Lane and the 1300 block of Gentry Lane in Tracy after conducting their searches around 10 a.m., Sheneman said.
No address was available for the location searched in Hayward.
Franco was placed under arrest on suspicion of cultivating marijuana and stealing utilities. As of 3 p.m. Friday, April 20, he was being held in San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp on $110,000 bail.
He is slated to be arraigned in Manteca court on Monday, April 23.
Police did not release further details of the case or the specific condition of the houses suspected of being used to grow marijuana illegally.
On March 28, police were alerted to another suspected marijuana grow house on Hickory Avenue after firefighters responded to a garage fire.
Tracy police said the resident of the Hickory Avenue house illegally tapped into the electrical box, which set the garage on fire. Police found two bedrooms full of marijuana plants, and a 36-year-old Tracy man was arrested on suspicion of cultivation and utility theft.
“There are probably more homes being used as grow homes than we’re aware of,” Sheneman said. “(It’s an) ongoing challenge.”
According to Sheneman, typical illegal marijuana grows can have effects beyond the pure illegal activity.
He said violators often rent houses and illegally tap into the electrical system, and often gut portions of the house to create grow spaces, creating repair headaches for the homeowners. It also strains code enforcement and the police force, who have to piece together information in order to track down and bust illegal grow operations.