Nineteen people were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of growing marijuana plants in 20 homes in Elk Grove and Sacramento, as part of a large-scale bust headed by the Elk Grove Police’s Street Crime Unit.
“The investigation is ongoing,” said Officer Christopher Trim, Elk Grove police spokesman. “Typically, these types of operations would lead to other homes that may not have been discovered initially.”
Wednesday morning, about 150 to 170 law enforcement officials from Elk Grove, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, Central Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, Yolo Narcotics Enforcement Task Force, Yuba-Sutter Narcotic Enforcement Team and the Department of Justice served search warrants at 20 sites.
About 6,000 marijuana plants were seized, along with more than 180 pounds of processed marijuana, and more than $70,000.
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Trim declined to give the street value of the plants, but said that on the West Coast, pot has been selling for between $1,000 to $2,000 per pound.
Child Protective Services also took custody of nine children, between the ages of 1 and 15, who were living in several of the homes that had been converted into marijuana growing operations.
“Child Protective Services took custody of the children due to the fact that they were being raised in a hazardous environment,” Trim said.
Seven homes in Elk Grove were also red-tagged by city code enforcement officials as being unfit for habitation.
“It’s because of the use of pesticides and fertilizers, there is a higher level of mold spores that could lead to health hazards,” Trim said.
Sacramento Municipal Utility District officials were also on hand to turn off power at all the homes.
“In addition to electrical wiring modifications and the diversion of electricity, these homes are often characterized by exposed live wires, high-intensity light bulbs and overheated electrical ballasts used to operate fluorescent lamps, which are all significant fire hazards,” Trim said.
The raids were the result of a several months-long investigation by the Elk Grove Police Department Street Crimes Unit into a group of people who were responsible for large-scale indoor marijuana growing and cultivation operations.
All the people arrested were part of several families that had relationships with each other, but are not believed to have ties to organized crime, Trim said
“There is nothing to indicate there is any tie to gang activity,” he said.
Although Wednesday’s bust was a significant operation, it wasn’t the largest that was found in Elk Grove, according to Trim. Those occurred in 2006 and 2007.
“We’ve had grow operations that were discovered in Elk Grove in the past, but they were turned over to the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) because they were tied to organized crime in their investigations,” he said.
Between Aug 3 and Sept 1, 2006, federal and local agents raided 15 homes in Elk Grove and six in Natomas, seizing more than 13,000 marijuana plants, with the street value estimated at $50 million at the time. Hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment was also found. In that operation, the suspects had ties to a Bay Area drug ring.
On Sept. 17, 2007, Elk Grove police raided 21 homes in Elk Grove, Sacramento and Galt that were part of an indoor marijuana growing operations.
In that case, 6,855 marijuana plants, 36 pounds of processed marijuana, more than $200,000 in cash and 10 vehicles were seized. Fifteen people were arrested, but they were not linked to the group behind the grow operation the previous year.
Earlier this year, on May 11, a house fire in Elk Grove led to the discovery of another marijuana grow operation. In that case, five were arrested, three homes were searched, and more than 550 marijuana plants and about 6 pounds of processed marijuana were recovered. More than $1,400 in cash and a sawed off 12-gauge shotgun were also seized.
Trim encouraged residents to provide information to Elk Grove police regarding narcotic activity.
“If there is a grow operation taking place, we have the resources to conduct an investigation,’ he said. “They’re like dominoes – hit one and they all fall down.”
List of the suspects arrested Wednesday. All have been arrested and booked into the Sacramento County jail on suspicion of cultivation of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale. The names are listed in alphabetical order:
1. Chuong Kin Dip, 41
2. Kenneth Kin Dip, 38
3. Loc Trinh Dip, 81
4. Nhoc Kin Dip, 45
5. Simon Kin Dip, 37
6. Bao Nhit Duong, 53
7. Shi Lian Hoang, 56
8. Wendy Kwun Kong, 36
9. Eva Yong Xing Li, 42
10. Shizhen Li, 28
11. Chen Liang, 24
12. Guo Hong Tang, 34
13. Shang Gui Tang, 55
14. Tam Tong, 51
15. Pat Voong, 81
16. Jiarui Yang, 62
17. Qiong Mao Ye, 53
18. Qiong Rui Ye, 47
19. Ryan Liang Ye, 26
List of neighborhoods of the homes that were raided Wednesday:
In Elk Grove:
1. 8600 block of Tegea Way
2. 8500 block of Madeira Court
3. 8600 block of Golden Sage Drive
4. 8600 block of Mystras Circle
5. 8500 block of Zinnia Way
6. 8700 block of Owlet Court
7. 8600 block of Jenrose Way
8. 8100 block of Moorhaven Way
9. 7700 block of 40th Avenue
10. 8200 block of Summer Falls Circle
11. 7800 block of Western Port Way
12. 7200 block of Hayward Drive
13. 5700 block of Wilkinson Street
14. 8000 block of Maybelline Way
15. 7600 block of McFergus Court
16. 8500 block of Traynor Way
17. 8200 block of Aden Way
18. 8100 block of Orange Cove Court
19. 7700 block of McMullen Way
20. 8200 block of White Sands Way