Gilroy Police Raid Pot Grow Operation, Seize 550 Marijuana Plants Worth More Than $1 Million

Gilroy police detectives raided a warehouse on Wednesday containing a suspected gang-run illegal marijuana grow operation and seized 550 plants valued at more than $1 million, a police spokesman said.

The indoor growing business had lights and automatic watering equipment allowing it to be tended without supervision, Gilroy police Sgt. Pedro Espinoza said.

"Some of these grows are so sophisticated they can be self-sufficient for weeks at a time," Espinoza said.

At about 2 p.m. Wednesday, detectives from the Gilroy Police Department's Anti-Crime Team executed a search warrant at the warehouse in the 8500 block of Monterey Street in the far northern end of Gilroy, Espinoza said.

The detectives had obtained the warrant from a judge in Santa Clara County Superior Court after receiving information from local residents concerned that marijuana was being cultivated within the building on Monterey Street, police said.

Investigators entered the 5,000-square-foot warehouse and found more than 550 cannabis plants in various stages of processing for sale. The plants were estimated to be worth about $1 million if sold illegally on the street, according to Espinoza.

No suspects were present at the time of the raid and no one was arrested, but police are following leads and believe the growers have ties to street gang members in San Jose, he said.

Gilroy narcotics and gang detectives are working with the San Jose Police Department to locate suspects, Espinoza said.

Police contacted the owner of the warehouse, who had rented the structure out and had no idea his property was being used for the clandestine marijuana crop, according to Espinoza.

Gilroy police are urging anyone with information concerning the illegal operation to notify Detective Dawn Delfino of the Anti-Crime Team at (408) 846-0350, or call the anonymous tip line at (800) 782-7465.

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