Police raided a suspected marijuana network in Fremont, Union City, and Hayward in June. They arrested four people and seized hundreds of plants, cash, and other drugs, authorities said.
The investigation lasted almost a month, and police confiscated nearly 700 plants, processed weed, cocaine, cash, and a car, according to the Southern Alameda County Major Crimes Task Force.
The operation was launched after police in Union City were tipped off to a large marijuana ring in town, they said. The task force then took over the case. That group is made of officers from the California Department of Justice, the California Highway Patrol, Alameda County probation, and the police departments of Fremont, Newark, and Union City.
On June 11, after about a month of investigation, authorities raided five locations in Hayward, Fremont, and Union City. They arrested four men: Pang Chan, 31, of San Leandro; and Tung Low, 39, Hui Zhu Zhao, 33, and Justin Chen, 37, all of Fremont.
Raids Target Sites in Three Cities
Three search warrants were served in Union City, while one was served in each Hayward and Fremont. At the Fremont address, police found about 3 ounces of weed, 5 grams of cocaine, $1,300 in cash, two computers, a money counter, three cell phones, and drug paraphernalia.
Authorities said the owners of the house were converting it for use as a grow operation, with ballasts, lights, and other cultivation supplies found on the property. Chen was arrested at the home and charged with cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, utility theft, and cocaine possession, police said. Low was arrested and charged with cocaine possession.
In Hayward, meanwhile, police destroyed 492 plants and found 2 pounds of pot, $660 in cash, two cell phones, and paraphernalia. They said the house contained 56 ballasts paired with 56 grow lights, and other equipment used in cultivation. As at the Fremont property, authorities said they found the owners had illegally jury-rigged the electrical system to avoid paying massive bills.
Police arrested Zhao at the Hayword home and charged him with cultivation of marijuana and possession for sale.
In Union City, officers seized 199 plants, $20,000 in cash, a cell phone, a car, and paraphernalia. They found 23 ballasts and lights, along with other equipment. Police arrested Chan at the property and charged him with cultivation of marijuana and possession for sale.
At another address in Union City, authorities seized paraphernalia. There was no information available about the fifth raid, also in Union City.
Law Enforcement in Alameda County Goes After Marijuana Industry
The raid is just one of many plaguing the marijuana industry in California. Local police and federal agents have long teamed up to bring down medical marijuana dispensaries in the state.
As weed becomes even more pervasive, and the state heads toward the likely legalization of recreational pot, law enforcement agencies have stepped up their attacks on cannabis growers, legal and otherwise.
Authorities are especially aggressive in Alameda County, where the U.S. attorney for Northern California has launched criminal prosecutions and civil lawsuits against some of the area’s most well-established, law-abiding pot shops and their landlords.