PHELAN – A search warrant for numerous BNSF, Union Pacific Railroad thefts led law enforcement to a large outdoor marijuana cultivation on Wednesday morning. At around 8:00 a.m. San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department – Marijuana Enforcement Team (MET), law enforcement officers from the Burlington Northern Sante Fe (BNSF), Union Pacific Railroad, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrived at 4678 Struveling Street in Phelan to serve a search warrant.
Investigations into ongoing organized burglaries of cargo trains throughout Southern California, Central California, Arizona, and New Mexico. These thefts have been going on for the past several years and included theft of electronics, clothing, power tools and other household items worth thousands of dollars. Many of the trains were burglarized when traveling through rural areas of San Bernardino County.
Through the ongoing investigations by BNSF, authorities were led to the Struveling Street address. MET was contacted after the BNSF investigators determined the presence of the marijuana plants on the property. Through MET investigation it was verified that the plants growing on the property was a violation of both state and local laws.
When law enforcement officers arrived at the property they found five suspects; Luis Torres-Uribe, age 29, Victor Zamora-Flores, age 34, Juan Carlos Moralez, age 24, Usiel Estrada Ochoa, age 26, Phelan residents, and Omar Trejo, age 22, San Bernardino resident. Three of the suspects were detained without incident but Torres-Uribe and Trejo fled on foot. Torres-Uribe and Trejo were located and taken into custody after a brief pursuit.
Over 450 marijuana plants, one handgun, and several stolen items were located during the search. Stolen items included flat panel televisions, air condition units, and designer clothing and footwear. The evidence obtained suggested to authorities that the suspects had no intention of abiding by the laws for the growth of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
All suspects were booked into the West Valley Detention Center and will be charged for the Cultivation of Marijuana. Each of the five suspects are being held in lieu of $225,000 bail. The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office will be sent the information regarding the possession of stolen property. Officials with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said that the case may be sent to the United States Attorney’s Office at the conclusion of the investigation for a review of criminal charges against the suspects.
Anyone with information regarding the above investigation 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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