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Electrical fire in Richmond sparks marijuana cultivation investigation

Posted on in Drug Crimes

Firefighters in Richmond, California, say that they found a large marijuana growing operation inside a warehouse that caught on fire early Wednesday morning. The fire department responded to a call reporting an electrical fire in the structure, and the crew found what they claim is a marijuana cultivation operation as they worked to control the blaze. The fire department called in law enforcement to investigate.

Police claim that the woman who reported the fire may have been a "lookout" for the marijuana cultivation site. Authorities have made no arrests, but police say that the woman has been questioned. Details of what authorities may have found inside the warehouse remain sketchy. Law enforcement officials say that they are working on obtaining a search warrant for the location.

The details that authorities have revealed suggest that police believe the marijuana grow includes a sophisticated setup, with separate rooms within the building devoted to different phases of the marijuana cultivation operation.

The fire department claims that possibly as many as 1,000 marijuana plants were found in the warehouse. The plants reportedly were in various stages of growth-authorities believe the value of the pot may be in the neighborhood of several thousand dollars.

Law enforcement says that they are looking to find the person or persons who may be responsible for the alleged cultivation operation. The woman who has already faced police questioning is described as a woman in her late 20s. No arrests have been made.

The fire at the two-story warehouse in Richmond was reported around 3:30 Wednesday morning.

Source: San Jose Mercury News, "Electrical fire reveals warehouse-sized pot grow in Richmond," Robert Salonga, May 16, 2012

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