Patterson Police Sgt. Paul Yotsuya confirmed that patrol deputies originally went to a house on the 500 block of Millwood Drive around 8:20 a.m. to check on the security of the home with an open front door, only to enter and discover the large grow house. Concerned neighbors alerted the deputies, he said.
“We did a security check, froze it and waited for a search warrant,” Sgt. Yotsuya said. Police usually check the buildings and wait for a judge to sign an order to actually search the house in such instances.
A temporary sheetrock wall was erected to separate the kitchen from the dining room, which was used for growing plants with high intensity lighting. An upstairs room contained younger plants and the garage was used for the most mature plants.
Detectives called it a three state grow house and counted more than 250 plants in various stages of growth at the house.
“They left the blinds up on the windows, put sheetrock behind it and covered them in plastic to disguise the odor and keep the windows dark,” Yotsuya said.
Electric bills left in the kitchen indicated a normal draw, but a Turlock Irrigation District worker, who wished to remain anonymous at the scene, confirmed that in most cases the bills for electricity, which is stolen to power the high intensity lamps that help the marijuana plants grow, can reach $20,000.
Electricity meters are usually bypassed and the electricity used to power the lamps and cooling systems are not measured.
Yotsuya stressed that the houses are a safety hazard because they can easily catch on fire. According to Yotsuya, the circuits in the house are not made for the electricity that is drawn to power the elaborate factory.
“Modesto City fire has had three or four houses like this catch on fire in the last week,” he said.
Yotsuya said that the houses are becoming more common and the rate at which they’re found is not expected to slow down anytime soon.
“I do think we’re going to see a lot more of these,” he said. “It is the wave of the future.”
Contact Nick Rappley at 892-6187, ext. 31 or firstname.lastname@example.org.