1,400 Marijuana Plants Seized from Ceres House in Massive Drug Bust

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CERES — In full tactical gear with guns drawn, Ceres police and the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office raided a suspected drug house Monday morning.

“I could see that there was police lights and there was the SWAT team,” said a neighbor who did not want to be identified. “There was someone, just one person, standing on top of a SWAT vehicle with a rifle pointed towards the grow houses.”

The neighbor said she had been complaining to police and the city about the house for months.

“Because we’re two-story homes, we can see everything that’s going on back there,” she told FOX40.

Investigators searched the Richland Avenue home near Giddings Street and found what they called an “extensive,” illegal marijuana grow.

“It doesn’t really surprise me because every time we pass by here you can smell it real bad,” said neighbor Israel Garza.

Investigators said they recovered 1,400 marijuana plants in different growth phases, along with processed weed that was found inside the home.

“The inside of the property and outside of the property was very sophisticated,” said Ceres Police Sgt. Jason Coley. “They had any irrigation equipment that you would find at a local ranch, they had. “

Sgt. Coley said the raid was the culmination of a monthslong investigation.

“We don’t even go in our own backyard because it just smells like marijuana. Like, I don’t let my kids back there.”

Police detained 12 people and later arrested 45-year-old Hector Vega Duarte and 25-year-old Luis Armondo Garibay-Acevedo.

Crews worked into the afternoon digging up the illegal operation.

Investigators said the grow operation was not just illegal, it was inconsiderate to the people living nearby.

“There are brand new homes to the south of here and those people had the expectation that it was going to be a nice neighborhood,” Coley said. “The people growing the marijuana grow had no care for any of that and they, basically, ruined the neighborhood because of that. But today, hopefully, we can make it a little better to the neighborhood to know that we will not be putting up with this type of behavior in Ceres.”

Police told FOX40 they had raided the house in the past for another illegal grow operation. Neighbors said this time, they hope it’s gone for good.


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