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Estimated $10M in pot seized in Rancho Dominguez bust

May 24, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Los Angeles Sheriff's Department narcotics investigators spent hours bagging up hundreds of marijuana plants and dismantling the equipment used for growing the weed. Police raided the 30,000 square foot warehouse on the 18800 block of Susana Road Thursday morning.

"We found an excess of 2,000 marijuana plants in various stages of growth and in a very sophisticated grow operation," said Lt. Joseph Dempsey with the sheriff's department. "They had different rooms with plants in various stages of growth, you had mature plants that were ready to be harvested, brand new plants, they has their own ventilation system, lighting, irrigation."

Workers at neighboring businesses say they noticed suspicious activity in recent months at the formerly vacant warehouse.

"It wasn't really a surprise, we'd been smelling it quite often. My guys have been coming in here telling me, 'I smell weed around here,'" said Gene Grabast, who manages a nearby business.

Investigators say this is one of the biggest indoor pot growing operations they've ever found.

"We estimate the marijuana that we took was worth approximately $10 million," said Dempsey. "But the operation itself is capable of producing $30 million to $40 million a year."

Authorities have already arrested five men in connection with the operation. The investigation is ongoing.