Crime Trackers

Mar 18, 2013 9:46 PM by Lupita Murillo

South Tucson Police uncover sophisticated marijuana growing operation

SOUTH TUCSON - A huge pot growing operation has been shut down by South Tucson Police.

The bust happened last Thursday in the one square mile city. So far no arrests have been made but police say the evidence reveals it had been in operation for some time. Officers seized 356 marijuana plants in various stages and $18,000 in cash.

Officer Paul South discovered the operation while he was patrolling the area with the windows rolled down.

"There had to be a large amount of marijuana for the type of odor I smelled. I got out of the car and started walking around I detected a real strong odor of the marijuana coming from warehouse," he said.

Officer South called Tucson Police, who contacted the Counter Narcotics Alliance. They served a search warrant.

South Tucson Police Lt. Jeff Iinorio says, "It's not just one grow light that you buy at Spencer's and put up in the room. They had protection on the walls to radiate the heat they knew what they were doing. There's no doubt about it." He adds, "We've seen the fans inside trying to regulate the temperature so once the building was getting really hot their concern was that the plants were going to wilt . So they may have been working on the cooler which allowed some of the odor to escape."

Also in the warehouse, an apartment or office area where police say a man, woman and a 5-year-old child were living. They weren't home when it was raided. Kristen Marshall works nearby at a catering company she says "I am very shocked to hear they were living there, and that they had a 5 year old with them. But I'm glad they got busted and they are no longer neighbors."

Adan Delgado owns the catering company he says his concern is for the 5 year old child, "We deal with a lot of kids here in South Tucson and we work with a lot of children in charter school. So we're always looking out for that."

Marshall told News 4, she saw people at the business occasionally. She also says the gates were always locked and they had guard dogs. Police say the owner of the property is from California and had no idea of the marijuana growing operation.

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