MORENO VALLEY – Three Bakersfield men were arrested on Saturday for cultivating marijuana in a remote canyon.
On Saturday, July 11, the Moreno Valley Police Department dispatch received a call that there were two men stealing water from a fire hydrant near Locust and Herminia. Officers arrived at the scene and began to search for a vehicle matching the description of the one involved in the theft.
The officers were able to locate the vehicle and two suspects, 27-year-old Alvaro Julias, and 29-year-old Jose Jiminez. Further investigation led officers to a property located on Redlands Boulevard north of Locust Avenue, where they discovered a large marijuana cultivation site in the canyons surrounding the property. Another suspect, 52-year-old Jose Luis Torrez was also at the property.
The Moreno Valley Special Enforcement Team responded to the scene and assumed the investigation, serving a warrant for the property. The search netted over 500 marijuana plants that were being illegally grown. According to a Riverside Sheriff Department’s press release, the subjects were growing marijuana outside of the medical marijuana laws and were stealing water to irrigate the crop.
Reportedly, the suspects had been stealing water for several months resulting in approximately $24,000 in costs for water use and administrative fees.
All three suspects were arrested and booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center, located in the city of Riverside, for cultivating marijuana and theft of utilities. All three men live at the same address in Bakersfield.
The investigation is ongoing and may yield other arrests. According to the Sheriff’s Department individuals who allow marijuana cultivation on their property are also subject to arrest and prosecution. The department noted that drug traffickers will often approach homeowners or renters on large parcels and offer payment in exchange for allowing them to grow marijuana on the property. The traffickers then hire a third party to maintain the plants and harvest the marijuana.