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Fire in Hesperia Leads to Discovery of Illegal Marijuana Cultivation

Fire in Hesperia Leads to Discovery of Illegal Marijuana Cultivation

HESPERIA – A fire in the front yard of a Hesperia home led to the discovery of an illegal indoor marijuana grow on Sunday afternoon. At around 12:50 p.m. deputies from the Hesperia Station and the San Bernardino County Fire Department responded to the 8500 block of 11th Avenue in the City of Hesperia for the report of a downed power line at the home. The fire department began working on extinguishing a small fire in the front yard of the home that was caused by a power line failure.

Fire Department personnel entered the home to check for indoor damage and to clear the structure of any occupants. When inside the home, marijuana plants were found growing inside several rooms of the home. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Marijuana Enforcement Team (M.E.T.) responded to the home and served a search warrant. Over 1200 marijuana plants in various stages of growth were found in the home. The large-scale indoor marijuana grow was found to be using advanced lighting, air conditioning, fans, exhaust blowers, and air-filtering system to control the indoor climate and odor.

Due to the high use of power needed to run a marijuana grow, those running them oftentimes bypass the electrical meter to avoid bringing attention to the cultivation and/or to avoid the high costs. Suspects at this location were stealing electrical power to facilitate the grow operation. The suspects, Qiao Wen Zhao, age 48, and Xian Lin Zhao, age 51, both residents of New York were contacted several blocks from the home.

They were arrested without incident and were later booked at the High Desert Detention Center for theft of utilities. Their bail is set at $25,000. Additional charges against the suspects will include cultivating marijuana.

 

Anyone with information regarding this investigation or is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Gangs/Narcotics Division at (909)387-8400. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or you may leave information on the We-Tip Hotline at www.wetip.com.

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