A patrol deputy discovered Thursday afternoon that an apparently vacant house in the North Oaks area of Canyon Country was really the life of the party, when the house in the 20400 block of Delight Street was found to contain a substantial illegal indoor residential marijuana grow.
While outside the house, the deputy smelled the strong odor of marijuana coming from inside the house and heard a number of air conditioning units running, despite the fact it was cold outside. The deputy also noticed the windows all around the home appeared to be covered or blacked out.
Don’t miss a thing. Get breaking news alerts delivered right to your inbox
Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Headquarters Narcotics Bureau, assigned to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station area, joined Santa Clarita Deputies from the Juvenile Intervention Team (J-Team) and deputies from the Crime Prevention Unit to serve a search warrant at the location just after 12:00 p.m. yesterday.
Once inside, deputies found the entire house had been converted into a sophisticated and substantial hydroponics marijuana cultivation operation. Four rooms were equipped with irrigation systems, fans and ventilation systems, elaborate lighting systems running throughout the day and night, and altered electrical systems which presented a substantial fire hazard.
Despite the fact the house was only estimated to be about 1,300 square feet, the perpetrators had installed multiple air conditioning and heating systems including one 7 ton air conditioning unit designed for a 10,000 square foot structure.
Based on previous cases of this type, deputies estimate that the power bill alone for this grow would have been thousands of dollars each month. Deputies also discovered an apparent cultivation schedule where several different individuals had logged down visiting the house, tending to and cultivating the plants, and indicating on the list how much pay they were due to receive.
Deputies spent hours at the location dismantling the systems and confiscating the illegal marijuana plants. Deputies estimate the original cost of the cultivation equipment they recovered to be in excess of $75,000.
More than 200 plants, estimated at 200-300 pounds in total weight, were taken as evidence. Narcotics experts estimate the street value of the marijuana to be between $1,500 to $5,000 per pound. The Southern California Gas Company and Southern California Edison officials responded to the location to address substantial utility concerns.
HOW TO KNOW IF A GROW HOUSE IS IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
Deputies believe there is a strong likelihood that other substantial marijuana cultivation operations exist in other apparent vacant homes in Santa Clarita and would like to provide residents with some tips on how they can recognize and report them to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
The following factors MAY be indications of an illegal marijuana cultivation operations:
• If a house appears vacant and run down on the outside and individuals are showing up with new construction equipment, such as wood, pvc piping, etc., and are doing substantial work on the inside but are still neglecting the outside.
• If the house appears vacant or foreclosed and there are a number of different individuals visiting the home, spending substantial time there, and arriving and leaving at all hours.
• All the windows appear to be covered with dark materials and are never open.
• If the main vehicle garage door is never used or opened.
• Trucks visit the property and items are loaded into them at odd hours.
• Large items loaded into trucks or vehicles without using the garage to access the vehicle.
• Air conditioning units running at all hours of the day and night even when it is cold outside.
• Power lines running along rooftops or exposed on the exterior of a dwelling.
• Strong odor of marijuana that is persistent over days.
• Either no lighting showing from within the house or substantial amounts of lighting seen during daylight hours.
• Odd constructions supplies, lighting ballasts, or fans, being brought into the house.
WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT
Residents who suspect this type of illegal activity is occurring in their neighborhood can do the following:
• Safely make note of descriptions and license plate numbers of cars visiting the house
• Safely make note of descriptions of individuals visiting the house
• Look for lighting glow when the door is opened to enter the house
Report any suspicious activity to the SCV Sheriff’s Department at 661 255-1121.