Man arrested in massive pot-growing operation

LAKE FOREST, Calif. Authorities arrested 40-year-old Derrick Frisco in connection with this case.

Undercover sheriff's deputies went into the home around 8 p.m. on Thursday and found a significant /*marijuana*/-growing operation.

Throughout the evening, officers removed equipment and plants from the house. Authorities said that several hundred plants were found inside the home. The plants were very mature, which indicates that the operation had been going on for quite some time.

Hazmat crews were brought in because agents found mold inside the home, which could have been a health hazard.

A growing operation such as this takes a lot of electricity, and authorities said Frisco figured out a way to bypass the system and was stealing electricity to power his operation.

"It was wired to bypass the meter, which obviously doesn't register how much electricity is being used," said Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Amormino, who explained that Frisco tricked the system not only for the free electricity but also not to draw any unnecessary attention to himself.

Residents of the expensive, upscale neighborhood were caught off guard by the drug bust.

"I never could have seen it coming. I have lived here for six years and I've walked by the house plenty of times and I've never seen the people out and I never would've expected it," said Seth Martin, a neighbor.

"It's just unbelievable. We see him coming out and watering the plants on a daily basis, never would have thought," said Susan Nahjob, another neighbor.

Not everyone was surprised by the raid. Neighbor Kathy Zechmeister said she's had her suspicions for a while.

"I've been teasing my neighbor saying it looks like a pot house because it's kind of quiet and they put their trash out in black, plastic bags. And I noticed that no one was there and there's always a fan on up in the garage," said Zechmeister.

Authorities said it was an anonymous tip that led them to the home. In addition to the marijuana operation, they also found steroids inside the home.

Frisco, who was renting the property, faces charges for possession of steroids, cultivation charges as well as charges for stealing electricity.

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