Federal agents bust marijuana house in Northeast Fresno

Federal agents raided an indoor marijuana growing operation at a home in Northeast Fresno. They say five rooms in the house were full of pot, and two people were arrested.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Federal drug enforcement agents swarmed into a house in the 2900 block of East Cromwell on Monday, surprising neighbor Sandra Lucero, who lives across the street.

"I see PG&E trucks, DEA people with rifles, and I didn't know what was going on. Next thing I know they are kicking that window open, and they're throwing plants out of their top-story window," said Lucero.

Agents tossed more than 400 marijuana plants out of the house.

PG&E and Fresno Code enforcement officers were called in when it was discovered the home's electrical system had been modified to accommodate the grow operation.

Code Enforcement Director Del Estabrook described what he saw inside: "They cut a hole in the garage floor and bypassed the meter panels, so they had additional free power."

Estabrook said it looked like it took a lot of electricity to power the operation. He said, "Every bedroom in the house, and I believe there were three bedrooms upstairs and one bedroom on the main floor and the bathroom, so there was at least five rooms that were nothing but marijuana grow. They had lighting, air filter systems, probably 60 to 70 thousand dollars worth of electrical equipment to help this stuff grow."

Two people were arrested at the house.

Lucero said she'd seen people come and go, but didn't know the residents. She said, "I don't know anything about them; they kept to themselves."

Estabrook says that's why growing operations are sometimes set up in neighborhoods like this. He said, "We are hearing that they are moving to this area because there is not a lot of bother, you don't know, there are a lot of people in business that live up there, maybe they are gone Monday through Friday, so you don't even know who your neighbors are anymore."

Lucero says it's not something she would have expected around here. She said, "I am very surprised at this happening in this type of neighborhood. I almost feel it's an episode of 'Weeds,' you know, in our own neighborhood."

The DEA won't say why they were alerted to this house. There are unconfirmed reports someone complained to police that the air conditioner had been running 24 hours a day. The names of the two in custody have not been released.

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