A week after being called to the Trails End neighborhood west of Cleveland for a mass killing of five people, the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office returned on Saturday, May 6, to bust a major marijuana growing operation on the 800 block of Butler Road.
The marijuana reportedly was first suspected by a narcotics K-9 deputy assigned to the Sheriff’s Special Operations Division at the property after authorities began investigating a 911 call at a residence next door. Around 6:30 a.m. Saturday, after obtaining a search warrant from the Honorable Judge John Wells of the 411 State District Court, the sheriff’s office raided the home.
During the search by deputies, investigators and Narcotics K-9 Officer Duna, they found a marijuana grow house that contained 159 marijuana plants, weighing approximately 320 pounds. Some of the plants were almost 7-9 feet tall.
Sheriff Greg Capers and Chief Deputy Tim Kean estimated that these plants have an estimated street value of more than $635,000.
Two residents at the house were placed into custody and transported to the San Jacinto County jail. They are Alejo Maykel Lopez, 39, and his uncle, Aledo Osvaldo, 60. They have been charged with the first-degree felony charge of Delivery of Marijuana.
In addition to the plants, the sheriff’s office also seized the indoor growing system, five vehicles, five central AC units, a gooseneck trailer and other items. Capers said his office will work toward seizing the two homes that were part of the alleged operation.
Hazmat was called to the scene to help with the disposal of the chemicals used in the indoor growing operation. Capers said it appears that Lopez and Osvaldo was disposing of chemicals in a pond behind the homes.
The suspects had reportedly illegally connected to the electrical lines running through the community and were using that power to operate the artificial lights being used to grow the marijuana.
The plants will be destroyed by either the sheriff’s office or the Drug Enforcement Administration.