Officer takes on Rancho Cordova’s illegal pot grows

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RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. (KTXL) -- Recreational marijuana has been legal in California for nearly two years now but illegal grows have not gone away.

The Rancho Cordova Police Department says it has taken a “personal” approach to help shut down illegal grow operations.

A gated industrial area in east Rancho Cordova is home to a handful of businesses, including a couple of tow truck companies and a portable toilet business. Up until a week and a half ago, Security Park was also home to a massive illegal marijuana grow.

In the recent raid, Rancho Cordova police say they seized and destroyed more than 3,000 pot plants while making multiple arrests.

Rancho Cordova Assistant Police Chief Jeff Schelldorf told FOX40 in the last two years, his department has busted around 20 different illegal grows. Most of them were in homes where people were growing more than the six plants allowed.

Some of the credit, Schelldorf said, goes to a single officer.

“So if we get a call, he’s literally working on it within the time that it takes to look into the address or the information. He’s right on top of it,” Schelldorf explained.

This past summer, the Rancho Cordova Police Department says it hired an officer whose sole responsibility it is to take citizen tips and look into suspected illegal pot grows.

Unlike other agencies who have drug task forces, Schelldorf said the officer, who works mostly undercover, is someone the public can hold personally responsible for investigating their illegal pot grow claims.

“The important thing is the follow-through, the fact that we are listening to them and making sure that their concerns are heard,” the assistant police chief said.

While the majority of illegal drug busts happen in residential areas, the city says illegal grows in industrial areas are highly problematic because less than 1% of industrial area buildings are vacant. That means any illegal grow in a commercial building is taking up space for a legitimate business to move in.

Those who live in Rancho Cordova and suspect an illegal grow can call 916-875-9600.

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