OAKHURST, Calif. (KFSN) --Sheriff's deputies said they discovered a hazardous indoor marijuana grow in Oakhurst. They also said a 56-year-old man was growing nearly 2,400 plants inside two faulty wired homes.
There were marijuana plants growing from wall to wall-- thousands of them, in different stages, and many were ready to harvest.
"It was unsafe for us to even walk through it, let alone for someone to inhabit it," said Commander Tyson Pogue, Madera County Sheriff's Office.
Commander Pogue said this was just part of the operation. There were more plants inside a similar home next door, a large garage, and a pump house. All of it, he said, was being tended by one person-- a 56-year-old man named Wei Jian Xu.
"There was very little living space, as a matter of fact, it looked like the guy was sleeping in the closet," said Commander Pogue.
Xu was arrested, and code enforcement was called in to make sure it was safe for investigators. Commander Pogue said it wasn't, by any means.
"There was lots of exposed wires, illegal ducting, and other illegal modifications to the residence."
He said there was also black mold spreading throughout the ceiling, and the chemicals to grow the pot were being dumped in a creek. On top of that, Commander Pogue said, the faulty wiring was putting neighbors at risk.
"If some of that illegal wiring was to catch on fire, it could easily spark up and light some of these extremely dead trees on fire causing a huge forest fire."
Dana Pullins lives nearby and she didn't know what was happening just down the road from her. But she did get suspicious when a fence popped up in front of one of the homes.
"I don't like it, honestly and truly. Because a lot of times, bad things happen."
Investigators said Xu didn't own the property, he had moved in from Oakland.
As for the homes that were being used, Commander Pogue said both were deemed unsafe to live in and whoever owns them will have to bring them back up to code.
Investigators also have questions for the property owner. If that person was involved or knew what was happening, he or she could also face criminal charges.