Pot bust at Canyon Country plaza nets one arrest, 2,000 plants seized

Photo courtesy of Alex Grady
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A pot bust made at a Canyon Country shopping plaza Wednesday morning netted about 2,000 marijuana plants and one man arrested, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and eye witnesses.

Acting on a search warrant, heavily-armed members of the LASD’s Marijuana Dispensary Task Force of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department raided a store front operation at the Sierra Canyon Plaza on Sierra Highway just south of Jakes Way shortly after 8 a.m. Wednesday.

“The windows of the building were busted out,” said the owner of one business operating at the plaza.

The businessman, who did not want to be identified, said between six and eight bureau officers descended on the building, detaining two men and removing several plastic bags and loose marijuana plants from the building.

“They put one suspect in a van and another suspect was on the curb in handcuffs,” he said.

LASD officials said later that three men were detained – two were later released, one arrested.

Deputies with the specialized unit were seen removing material from “upstairs and downstairs” of the targeted store front.

“There was some (marijuana) in bags and some just dried out,” the eye witness to the raid said.

The deputies also were seen removing industrial-looking lights from the same location.

The owners of several of the businesses operating at the plaza complained to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, the witness said, over the past year about the smell originating from the store front operation singled out by deputies Wednesday.

“It smelled so strong,” he said. “But, it didn’t smell like the burning, smoking weed, it smelled skunky.”

Details of the raid were expected to be released sometime soon, LASD spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said.

Through a citizen informant that called to report the suspicion of illegal narcotics activity and the subsequent investigation which led investigators to additional information, an elaborate indoor marijuana grow system was discovered in several of the strip mall units, Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez, said in a news release.

An undetermined amount of U.S. currency and 2,484 marijuana plants at various stages of growth were seized.  An additional 200 pounds of finished product (dried marijuana buds) and 50 pounds of edible THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) infused products, such as cookies, were seized.  Carbon filters and elaborate air conditioning systems were among the equipment located in the indoor grow used to produce the marijuana and prevent the odor from filtering out.

Although three male adults were detained at the scene, two were subsequently released pending further investigation, Navarro-Suarez said.

The third male, George Tunis, a 28 year-old male Black and resident of Los Angeles, was arrested for possession of marijuana for sales.  He was transported and booked at Santa Clarita Valley Station.  He has since bonded out.

The combined street value of the marijuana plants is estimated at approximately $6,210,000.

The dried marijuana buds and edible THC infused cookies and other products have a combined street value of $500,000

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on Twitter @jamesarthurholt


on Twitter @jamesarthurholt

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