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Calif. busts marijuana grow ring; 10 arrested

Authorities served a search warrant at a house on Kassel Road in Eastvale and found a marijuana-cultivation operation containing 1,464 marijuana plants on Thursday, March 21, 2013. The grow house is one of more than 26 locations connected to a wide-ranging drug conspiracy linked to 15 different growing houses throughout Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties. (Drug Enforcement Administration)

March 21, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Ten people were arrested and thousands of marijuana plants uprooted after investigators uncovered a network of grow houses.

The illegal multi-state operation was shut down by federal and California authorities Thursday and reportedly spanned across Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties.

The suspects are accused of participating in a wide-ranging drug conspiracy linked to 15 different grow houses in several locations including Eastvale, Arcadia, Corona, Fontana, Riverside and El Monte.

Authorities executed search warrants at 26 different locations Thursday and seized more than $250,000 in cash, seven guns, and more than 8,000 marijuana plants.

According to officials, each house contained, on average, 1,000 to 2,000 marijuana plants.

Raymond Lam, of Arcadia, was named as the alleged coordinator. Lam reportedly led the trafficking and oversaw the purchase or lease of single-family residences which were then converted into indoor farms with the sole purpose of growing marijuana.

The remaining defendants were identified as:

  • Simon Lam, 32, of Arcadia
  • Ken Ho, 33, of Arcadia
  • San S. Voong, 35, of Arcadia
  • Phieu Tran, 35, of El Monte
  • Augustine Bazan Camacho, 41, of Pomona
  • Thanh Van Phu, 33, of El Monte
  • Luc Kai Phoung, 50, of Rosemead
  • Steven Huytu Lam, 52, of Walnut
  • Li Ya Si, 42, of Temple City

An eleventh suspect, identified as Andy Tran, 39, of Monterey Park, remains a fugitive and is being sought by authorities.

The suspects are charged with conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana. The charges carry a statutory maximum penalty of life and mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.

Officials said the arrests and seizures are the result of a two-year-long investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department and the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.