SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Fairfield police issued two fines totaling $790,000 to illegal grow houses last weekend.
According to the Fairfield Police Department, its officers, along with other local agencies, discovered several safety violations in both buildings.
Police said the department imposed those fines at each illegal grow site because they say unregulated cultivation sites bring “immediate risks to public health and safety and to the natural environment.”
“Unlawful cannabis cultivation is also potentially lucrative enough to incentivize unlawful activity at cannabis cultivation sites for as long as possible pending harvest,” Fairfield police said in a Facebook post. “Cannabis cultivation also creates increased nuisance impacts to neighboring properties because of the hazardous wastes and solvents used in illegal cultivation while comprising the health and safety of nearby residents.”
On March 11, police said officers were dispatched to a commercial building on Bell Avenue after receiving a call reporting a possible burglary. When officers arrived, police said they noticed damage to a rollup garage door and the front door was ajar.
No one was inside the building, but when officers searched the place, they discovered multiple rooms filled with more than 900 marijuana plants, police said. Grow lights, illegal and exposed electrical wiring, modified plumbing, ventilation systems and unknown chemicals were also found, according to police.
On March 12, police said officers responded to a burglary and reports of gunfire at a home on Dover Avenue. When officers arrived at the scene, police said they found the front door was pried open and bullet holes were in the door.
While investigating the robbery, officers found an illegal indoor grow with more than 600 marijuana plants, police said. Officers also found guns, carbon dioxide tanks, grow lights, illegal and exposed electrical wiring, ventilation systems and unknown chemicals, according to police.
“Indoor cultivation of marijuana, often unattended, has potential to cause harm to persons and property in that the use of high wattage grow lights and excessive use of electricity increases the risk of fire which presents a distinct risk of harm to the building and its occupants,” the police said in the social media post. “Buildings where marijuana is cultivated are often illegally wired and have overloaded electrical systems that result in fires.”
“Unregulated cultivation of a large number of cannabis plants on any property substantially increases the risk of violent criminal activity,” the agency continued. “The 3000 block of Dover Avenue is a prime example, as the suspects exchanged gunfire indiscriminately through the front door with no regards to our community’s safety.”
Police said the city of Fairfield currently regulates the cultivation of marijuana in a private home. In February, the Fairfield City Council amended the regulation to impose penalties for indoor cultivation that violates the city’s code.
Police said city regulations don’t interfere with any person’s recreational use of marijuana, as authorized under state law, nor do they criminalize possession of cannabis.