Police seize marijuana plants worth $180,000 from central Fresno backyard

Two men were arrested and an estimated $180,000 worth of marijuana seized in central Fresno Tuesday night, police reported.

Police Sgt. Brian Valles said officers Kham Xiong and Vilai Douangmala of the department’s Violent Crime Impact Team were arresting a wanted suspect near the 700 block of East Thomas Avenue when the officers smelled the strong odor of marijuana.

They talked to neighbors, who allowed them into their home. From a window, the officers saw a greenhouse with mature plants in a backyard, Valles said.

Khampha Sakda, 57, confirmed he was cultivating the plants and said he had a medical marijuana card. The officers, however, believed he was growing the drug for profit and took him into custody, Valles said.

Officers also arrested Torn Thevanh, who was believed to be part of the pot-growing operation.

A total of 712 plants were seized.