Sacto 9-1-1
July 1, 2010
DEA: Elk Grove, Sacramento pot-growing houses raided

By Cathy Locke
clocke@sacbee.com

Residences in Elk Grove and the Sacramento area were among those searched by federal agents and police Wednesday in the culmination of a large-scale indoor marijuana grow investigation.

The investigation began in the Elk Grove area and led law enforcement to the San Francisco Bay Area, according to a federal Drug Enforcement Administration news release.

The enforcement operation resulted in the service of 15 federal search warrants, the arrest of nine individuals and seizure of seven indoor marijuana growing operations and nearly 2,500 marijuana plants.

Officials said the indoor grows had the capacity to produce more than one ton of marijuana annually with an estimated street value of nearly $10 million.

The Elk Grove Police Department began the investigation and requested assistance from the DEA Sacramento District Office, Immigration Customs Enforcement and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division.

On Wednesday, search warrants were served at residences in Elk Grove, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and Milpitas.

In Elk Grove, authorities seized 1,097 marijuana plants at a residence in the 9200 block of Balboa Park Way and 298 plants at a residence in the 9200 block of Starfish Way.

In addition, 98 marijuana plants were seized at a residence in the 7100 block of Lawnwood Drive in South Sacramento and 109 plants at a residence in the 8600 block of German Drive in the Florin area.

Agents also concluded that power theft was occurring at the residences.

Arrested Wednesday were Hung Ngoc Pham, 28, Cuong Thoi Long, 54, and Phuong Pham, 35, all of Sacramento; Nhung Thi Vu, 51, of San Francisco; Diep Hoang Vu, 38, Chien Minh Le, 41, and Thuy Thi Tran, 51, all of Oakland; Quoc Bui Long, 44, of San Jose; and Tuan Chu, 28, whose city of residence was not known, the release states.

All made their initial appearance in federal court in Sacramento today.

All the individuals face charges of conspiracy to manufacture at least 1,000 marijuana plants, manufacturing marijuana and knowingly maintaining a place for manufacturing.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

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