Madera County sheriff’s deputies say they have seized thousands of marijuana plants that consumed an estimated 14,000 gallons of water per day.
Lt. Bill Ward said deputies and other law enforcement officers from the county’s MADNET narcotics team this month raided several locations.
One location was a home in the 19000 block of Avenue 22 1/2 near Chowchilla, where they arrested Lorenzo Tabullo and seized 744 plants. Authorities said electricity was being stolen to power the growing operation. Ward said Tabullo was hired as a caretaker for the plants.
Agents learned the operation was connected to another in the 23000 of Road 18 3/4 near Chowchilla. Another 152 plants were confiscated there. Once again, electricity was stolen for the operation, Ward said.
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More plants were found at the following locations:
— The 22000 block of Fairmead Boulevard, where 208 plants were seized and Luis Gabriel Sanchez was arrested. Pacific Gas & Electric estimated about $2,000 of power was stolen per month there.
— The 12000 block of Palisades Place in Chowchilla, where 875 plants were seized on May 11 and an estimated $16000 of power was stolen.
— The 15000 block of Torrey Pines Circle in Chowchilla, were 815 plants were seized and another electrical bypass enabled the theft of power.
— Agents also arrested Arthur Salazar of Los Angeles Ricardo Villasenor in connection with several of the operations. The were booked on charges of conspiracy, marijuana cultivation, possession of marijuana for sale and utility theft.
Ward said that anyone with information about marijuana growing operations should call MADNET at (559) 675-7776.