Arrests made, guns seized at marijuana growing sites in Fresno County

The Fresno BeeFebruary 20, 2014 

Three marijuana growing sites were cleared out Thursday in Fresno County -- raids that led to the arrests of a father and son, and seizure of guns by detectives.

Chris Curtice, spokesman for the Fresno County Sheriff's Office, provided the following details about the marijuana raids:

As detectives served a search warrant Thursday morning in Sanger in the area of Butler and Del Rey avenues, a suspect ran out of the rear of the house but was quickly detained.

Arrested at the home were Keo Bounkhong, 55, and his son, Southisack Phavorachith, 29. They were booked into Fresno County Jail on charges of marijuana cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale.

During the search, detectives discovered a hothouse next to the residence with more than 200 mature marijuana plants. Detectives also found another 100 starter plants, over 600 pounds of cut and processed marijuana, and 69 pounds of marijuana packaged for sale in two other buildings on the property.

Three guns were seized, including a sawed-off shotgun. The growers had built a tower structure in a tree behind the home that was being used by an armed guard as a lookout. Detectives found a rifle case and set of binoculars in the tower.

A short time later, detectives arrived at a residence in Del Rey on the 8500 block of East Central Avenue. Detectives contacted a resident there who voluntarily turned over 43 marijuana plants. The resident was cited for violation of the county's new marijuana ordinance prohibiting marijuana growing.

The third growing operation was found in Kerman on the 18000 block of West Belmont Avenue.

A resident there voluntarily turned over 30 marijuana plants and was cited for violating the county marijuana ordinance.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6386, or @CarmenGeorge on Twitter.

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