5/18/12 Multiple search warrants were served in the community of Allensworth.
TCSO Case #12-60728
8200 blk of Ave. 32, Allensworth
S-1 Sandoval, Francisco 47 yoa, Pixley, Ca. - HS 11358, PC 12022.53
S-2 Ocampo, Rigoberto Montes 62 yoa, Pixley Ca., - HS 11358, PC 12022.53
S-3 Peguero, Wilson 21 yoa, Sylmar, Ca., - HS 11358, PC 12022.53, ICE hold
Upon service of the warrant the subsequent investigation revealed that the suspects had valid medical recommendations; however they were growing over the number of plants needed for their legitimate medical needs. The investigation also found the suspects were selling their excess marijuana to various dispensaries and on the street.
Case number 12-60744
8500 blk of Ave 36., Allensworth
S-1 Jose Cruz Sanchez Chaides 47 yoa, Mexico, - 11358 H&S, ICE hold.
Upon arrival at this location the above listed suspect was found tending the grow site. Subsequent investigation revealed that the suspects had valid medical recommendations; however they were growing over the number of plants needed for their legitimate medical needs. This case is still under investigation
Case # 12-60746
3200 blk of Young Rd. Allensworth,
S-1 Sylvia Macedo, 42 yoa, Allensworth, Ca – 11358 H&S, 135 PC
Upon service of the warrant the subsequent investigation revealed that the suspects had valid medical recommendations; however they were growing over the number of plants needed for their legitimate medical needs. It was also discovered that the above listed suspect had attempted to destroy the excess marijuana plants when she observed detectives in her neighborhood serving another marijuana search warrant. She had her minor child assist her in this evidence destruction. The pulled plants were discovered hidden in her vehicle. (543) marijuana plants were eradicated from this location. If allowed to mature each plant could produce product with a street value in excess of $2,172,000. Several suspects are still outstanding. This case is still under investigation
Case # 12-60756
8100 blk of Ave. 39, Allensworth, Ca.
S1 Gerardo Peralta 35 yoa, Mexico 11358 H&S, ICE Hold
This location was checked as part of a routine compliance check in the Allensworth area. The above listed suspect was contacted at an earlier grow site, found to be undocumented and had been detained by Immigration officers for immediate deportation. Grows on this property were separated into several blocks. 250 marijuana plants were eradicated from this location; some were left as the property owner was in compliance with state laws. If allowed to mature each plant could produce product with a street value in excess of $1,000,000. Tulare County Code compliance officers issued a 10 day cease and desist notice of compliance due to zoning and county ordinance issues. This location is still under investigation.
22400 Blk of Ave. 192, Strathmore
S-1 Etevina Acosta, 43 yoa, 11358/11359 H&S
On the above date STEP detectives were called to the above listed location for a reported Indoor marijuana grow. Patrol officer were at the location on an unrelated call when they observed the indoor grow. Patrol officers called detectives to conduct a compliance check. Upon arrival detectives found that the above listed suspect had attempted to destroy and hide over a hundred small marijuana plants due to being significantly over her allowed amount for medical purposes. Further investigation showed S-Acosta was out of compliance with state law and had attempted to destroy evidence. She was arrested on the above listed charges. 275 marijuana plants were eradicated from the location. If allowed to mature each plant could produce product with a street value in excess of $ 1,100,000. This case is still under investigation
Case # 12-60720
5900 Blk of Rd. 30 Alpaugh
S1-Saul Morales, 47 yoa, Alpaugh Ca 11358/11359 H&S, 182 PC, 273a PC
S2-Freddy Moralss, 21 yoa, Alpaugh Ca. 11358/11359 H&S, 182 PC, 148 PC
S3-Juliana Garcia, 51 yoa, Alpaugh, Ca. 11358/11359 H&S, 182 PC, 273a PC
S4 - Antonio Becerra 48 yoa, Morgan Hill, Ca 11358/11359 H&S, 182 PC
S5 - Gerardo Morales 19 yoa Alpaugh Ca. 11358/11359 H&S, 182 PC
S6 – Angel Piedra 39 yoa Bakersfield, Ca 11358/11359 H&S, 182 PC, INS Hold
S7 – Isidro Hurtado 37 yoa Alpaugh, Ca 11358/11359 H&S, 182 PC, INS Hold
S8 – Elezar Castellanos 26 yoa Farmersville, Ca 11358/11359 H&S, 182 PC, INS Hold
S9 – Ernistina Guerrero, 33 yoa Alpaugh, Ca 11358/11359/11378 H&S, 182 PC,
S10 – Bonifacio Cano 18 yoa Farmersville 11358/11359 H&S, 182 PC, INS Hold
S11- Male Juvenile 17 yoa Alpaugh, Ca 11358/11359 H&S, 182 PC
On 5/31/12 Detectives from the S.T.E.P. served a search warrant at the above location. This location came to detectives attention after complaints from local residents and the school. A routine overflight and investigation was conducted to confirm the presence of marijuana plants and suspicious activity. Upon service of the warrant the above suspects, excepting S1 and S2 were contacted and detained. S1 and S2 were detained later when they were observed in the area. Subsequent investigation found that this 20 acre parcel contained (20) separate grow enclosures, run by the same group, containing a total of 4,011 marijuana plants in various stages of growth from seedlings to partially budded. Each enclosure had one to fifty recommends present. The investigation found that the suspects present and the individual grow sites were out of compliance with state laws. S4, contacted in the single largest enclosure, claimed to be part of a collective from the San Jose area and unaffiliated with the other grower/sites present. This site was also found to be out of compliance with state law.
It is believed that a single criminal organization is responsible for all the grow sites. Additionally it was found that suspects 1&3 were allowing their underage child to participate in the cultivating, processing and sales of the marijuana. Suspects 6, 7, 8 & 10 were found to be in the country illegally and had Holds placed on them for deportation after their criminal cases are completed.
The above operations point out the ongoing problem of persons obtaining medical marijuana recommends from doctors who allow them to grow plants well in excess of their medical needs and encourage them to sell the excess to a dispensary. Much of the excess marijuana also goes to street sales in California or is shipped to other states where it can be sold for up to $12,000 per pound on the street. The above suspects are believed to be part of a criminal conspiracy; they were arrested and charged with cultivation of marijuana, possession for sales and conspiracy.
Additionally we are finding that it has become common for Drug Trafficking Organizations to hide behind California’s poorly written medical marijuana laws by using friends, family members or undocumented persons to get medical recommends to cover their large scale marijuana grows. Most times these front people do not use marijuana and have no knowledge of where the marijuana is being grown. They were simple paid to get the recommend.