San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department
DATE/TIME: Wednesday, February 23, 20168:30 a.m.
INCIDENT: Indoor Marijuana Grow & Theft of Utilities
LOCATION: 13779 Gobi Ct., Victorville
SUSPECT: Ung A Ta, 48 years old, El Monte resident
Last week, Deputy F. Arreola, assigned to the Victorville Police Department, responded to a call for service involving a trespassing by juveniles at a residence. He determined there was possible narcotic activity at the above residence. He began an investigation looking into a possible indoor marijuana cultivation at the location. He contacted the Sheriff’s Gangs/Narcotics Division – Marijuana Eradication Team (MET) with the information.MET investigators assumed the investigation and obtained a search warrant for the residence.
MET investigators served a search warrant at the residence. Investigators found a large-scale marijuana grow operation inside the house. Over 1,800 marijuana plants in various stages of growth were found inside the residence. The grow operation used advanced lighting systems, air conditioning systems, fans, exhaust blowers and a filter system to control the climate and odor inside the residence. The suspect was located inside the residence when investigators served the search warrant.He was arrested without incident.
The suspect was also stealing electricity to facilitate the growing operation. Investigators from Southern California Edison (SCE) assisted in the electrical theft investigation. Suspects who grow marijuana illicitly will commonly bypass the electrical meter installed by the electrical company. This is so the high amounts of electrical usage doesn’t send a red flag the utility company or law enforcement. Additionally, they do not get charged for the use of the high amounts of electricity. The extreme measures taken to avoid being caught not only risks the lives of the suspects but also endangers the public living in close proximity of the residence. At this location, the main power lines supplying power to the residence were severely overloaded drawing much more electricity than a normal residential meter can handle.An electrical short caused by the modified wiring most likely would have resulted in an explosion or fire in the residential community causing possible injuries to bystanders near the residence.Crews from SCE responded to the scene and disconnected the faulty wiring and removed the electrical bypass. The theft of electricity at this location is estimated to be in excess of $25,000.The residence was “red tagged” by officers from the City of Victorville Code Enforcement Division after determining it was unsafe to occupy.
“Illegal indoor marijuana grows will not become common in our neighborhoods, said Sheriff John McMahon. “The Marijuana Eradication Team will continue to take down these grow houses, put the operators in jail and seek restitution for the massive theft of utilities.”
The suspect was arrested and booked into the High Desert Detention Center for Cultivation of Marijuana and Theft of Utilities.
Anyone with information regarding this investigation or is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Gangs/Narcotics Division at (909)890-4840.Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or you may leave information on the We-Tip Hotline at www.wetip.com.
Photos available at:
Refer: Sheriff’s Public Affairs
DR #: 621600091
Phone No. (909)387-3700
John McMahon, Sheriff-Coroner
San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department
Sheriff’s Public Affairs Division
655 E. Third Street
San Bernardino, California 92415-0061
Telephone: (909) 387-3700