The Stephens Street residence looked just like all the other brand-new homes in the small subdivision recently added to the old farm town of Esparto in rural Yolo County, west of Woodland. It did from the outside, that is.
On the morning of Saturday, October 16, Yolo County narcotics agents searching the five-bedroom Esparto house discovered it had been converted into a marijuana greenhouse. This discovery culminated a six month investigation. Back in April, citizens complained to members of the Yolo Narcotic Enforcement Team (YONET, which is supervised by Davis Police Department personnel) about the possibility that marijuana was being grown on a commercial scale in the Esparto residence.
Davis Police Department spokesman Lieutenant Paul Doroshov stated that the subsequent investigation ranged far beyond Esparto. Ultimately YONET officers served search warrants at two residences in south Sacramento and another in Daly City (south of San Francisco) in addition to the one in Esparto.
YONET seized 50 pounds of processed marijuana ready for sale and 422 mature marijuana plants still growing on the premises. Evidently, many hundred more plants were recently harvested and taken from the properties. Doroshov explained that since processed marijuana is currently valued at about $1,400 a pound on the street, and a mature marijuana plant typically yields about a pound of salable pot, YONET’s seizures were worth about $600,000.
In addition, the growers had rigged an electrical bypass circuit to steal energy from the local utility for their illegal horticultural project. Doroshov said YONET called a fire crew to come inspect the residence for hazards the rewiring may have created.
In Sacramento officers detained and later, after questioning, arrested Jian Zhu, 32, and Norris Chan, 45, on suspicion of cultivating marijuana for sale, theft of utility service and conspiracy, Doroshov said. Both were lodged at the Yolo County Jail.
Davis Enterprise: Esparto home targeted in three-city pot bust
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