VICTORVILLE – A 28-year-old Monterey Park man was arrested for utility theft and the illegal cultivation of marijuana on Tuesday morning.
At around 10:05 a.m. a deputy from the Victorville station responded regarding possible illegal narcotic activity at the home located at 16278 Pepper Tree Drive. The deputy called the Sheriff’s Gangs and Narcotics Division- Marijuana Enforcement Team (MET) to assume the investigation. A search warrant was obtained and executed on the home where a large-scale indoor marijuana grow was found. Over 700 marijuana plants were found, all in various stages of growth, and over 20 pounds of processed marijuana was found. To maintain the best opportunity for growth, authorities said that the operation used advanced lighting systems, air conditioning systems, fans, exhaust blowers and a filtering system to control the climate inside the house as well as the odor outside of the residence.
Deputies made contact with the suspect, Hao Qu at the home and he was arrested without incident. The investigation revealed that Qu was not paying for the excessive electricity used to maintain his operation. Those who run marijuana grow operations bypass the electrical meter in order to avoid an electrical alert to the utility company and/or law enforcement. This bypass also keeps them from being charged for the excessive amount of electricity used. Modified wiring can be dangerous to those living in the general area of these homes, due to the high risk of an electrical short. The faulty wiring was all disconnected and the electrical bypass was removed. The theft of electricity at this residence is believed to be valued at approximately $15,000. The home was found to be uninhabitable at this time due to safety issues and was “red tagged” by Victorville Code Enforcement Officers.
“Illegal indoor marijuana grows will not become common in our neighborhoods, said Sheriff John McMahon. “The Marijuana Enforcement Team will continue to take down these grow houses, put the operators in jail and seek restitution for the massive theft of utilities.” Qu was booked into the High Desert Detention Center and is being held in lieu of $115,000. Qu is scheduled for an arraignment hearing at the Victorville Superior Court on Thursday.
Anyone with information regarding this investigation or is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Gangs/Narcotics Division at (909)890-4840. 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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