SAN BERNARDINO – Fourteen people were arrested and law enforcement agencies seized over 5,500 marijuana plants over a two-day raid last week that took place over a wide area of San Bernardino County. Search warrants were served to unincorporated areas throughout the county, including Helendale, Landers, Joshua Tree and Bloomington. Each of the locations were found to have large scale outdoor marijuana cultivations.
Those arrested were from all across California, including two from Mexico. On Monday, the county sheriff’s identified the suspects taken in the raids. Police arrested Carlos Gonzalez, 41, of Los Angeles; Angie Colindrez, 19, of L.A.; Manuel Perez, 48, of L.QA., and Andres Marques, 39, of L.A.; Jose Rascon, 60, of Bloomington, Thoneko Sounannavong, 55, of Fresno, Alex Apyayboun, 46, of Sacramento; Xayadeth Kayavong, 38, of Fresno; Athith Kayavong, 35, of Fresno; Phouthone Khaithianthong, 52, of Porterville; Lee Callan, 58, of Landers; Aquilino Villasenor, 50, of Mexico; Roberto Zavalla, 44, of Bakersfield; and Manuel Madrigal-Castillo, 21, of Mexico.
The investigation revealed that marijuana plants were growing in unsecured fenced-in areas, referred to as Plywood Grows. A total of 5,557 marijuana plants were seized, along with 171.5 pounds of processed marijuana, four firearms, including two sawed off shot guns, one in which the serial number had been removed. They also seized a large quantity of Hydrocodone pills. They were all deemed illegal grows, according to law enforcement officials, who also reported that many of the suspects were using fictitious medical marijuana recommendations in an effort to deceive investigators into believing operations were legitimate.
San Bernardino County’s ordinance, which prohibits outdoor marijuana cultivations, highlighted the illegal activity that was taking place. On Aug. 20, Gonzalez, Colindrez, Perez and Marquez were arrested at the 67000 block of Daisy Ln. and Joshua Tree where 779 marijuana plants and two pounds of processed marijuana were seized. That same day on the 18000 block of 8th St. in Bloomington, 40 marijuana plants were seized and Rascon was arrested. Investigators determined that the Daisy Ln. and 8th St. locations were related to each other.
In Landers, Sounannavong was arrested on the 500 block of Lambert Rd. where 95 marijuana plants were seized. That was just one of five separate locations in Landers that was raided. Aphayboun was arrested on the 100 block of Bowman Trail with 403 marijuana plants seized. The Kayavong’s were arrested on the 1000 block of Yucca Mesa Rd., where 1,579 marijuana plants were seized. On the 59000 block of Reche Rd., 566 marijuana plants were seized and Khaithianthong was arrested.
Callan was arrested on the 5700 block of Linn Rd., said investigators, taking 30 marijuana plants and 34 pounds of processed marijuana and 73 Hydrocodone pills. On Aug. 21, on an undeveloped property parcel on Wild Rd. in Helendale, 761 marijuana plants, 15.5 pounds of processed marijuana, one 45-caliber handgun and a sawed off shotgun with the serial number removed were seized by law enforcement. Villasenior, Zavala and Madrigual-Castillo were taken into custody.
The final location, at the 29000 block of Wild Rd. in Helendale, no suspects were arrested but 1,304 marijuana plants were seized, as well as 120 pounds of processed marijuana and a sawed off shotgun.