SAN BERNARDINO – Ten people were arrested by state and federal agents on Wednesday after raids recovered huge stashes of marijuana over three counties in Southern California.
Authorities seized more than $250,000 in cash, along with seven guns and more than $15,000 marijuana plants in a raid that comes after a two-year investigation. Search warrants were served at 26 locations, including 15 residential homes, according to a release by the United States Attorney’s office.
There is an 11th suspect, Andy Tran, 39, of Monterey Park, being sought, described as a fugitive. Investigators believe that the 11 defendants purchased or leased single family homes in order to convert them to marijuana-growing units. Authorities recovered an average of between 1,000 and 2,000 marijuana plants from each house.
Authorities recovered the thousands of marijuana plants, plus about 1,000 pounds of marijuana that had already been harvested. It was sold throughout California and beyond, according to the U.S. Attorney.
Raymond A. Lam, 42, of Arcadia, was identified by investigators as the ringleader. Government investigators said he was responsible for the acquisition of the homes used for growing marijuana. The remaining defendants are reported to be Simon Lam, 32 of Arcadia; Steven Huytu Lam, 52, of Walnut; Ken Ho, 33 of Arcadia; San S. Voong, 35 of Arcadia; Phieu Tran, 35 of El Monte; Augustine Bazan Camacho, 41 of Pomona; Thanh Van Phu, 33 of El Monte; Luc Kai Phoung, 50 of Rosemead; and Li Ya Si, 42, of Temple City.
All of the defendants, except Phieu Tranh, were held without bond. There will be further bail hearings on Friday and Monday. A possible maximum life sentence is possible, along with a mandatory minimum of 10 years in federal prison, is the penalty for conviction.
Part of the investigation uncovered the use of a bypass system to scale down the monthly power bills to Southern California Edison. The raids took place in the San Bernardino County areas of Eastvale and Fontana, Riverside County communities Corona and Riverside, along with Arcadia in Los Angeles County. Investigating agencies included the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, along with sheriff’s departments from both Riverside and San Bernardino County.
Daily Bulletin: 8,000 marijuana plants seized in three counties, 10 people arrested
KESQ: Ten people arrested after Inland Empire drug ring uncovered