US Attorney – Federal Authorities Dismantle Lucrative Inland Empire-Based Marijuana Grow Operations

LAWFUEL – Legal Announcements – Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Timothy J. Landrum and United States Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien announced that four individuals were arrested today and 5,600 marijuana plants were seized from five homes in San Bernardino, Riverside and Los Angeles counties as part of an investigation into clandestine indoor marijuana grow operations. Today’s arrests and seizures are the result of a year-long investigation that has led to the discovery and dismantling of 33 clandestine indoor marijuana grow operations and the seizure of more than 19,000 marijuana plants.
Law enforcement officers from the Riverside Police Department, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and the DEA served search warrants this morning at eight single-family residences, resulting in the seizure of five indoor grows and 5,600 marijuana plants. Each of the indoor grows was similar in construction and was bypassing local utility meters and stealing electricity to support growing operations. Entire houses were converted into marijuana grow operations. As part of the grows, carpets throughout the houses were pulled up and stored in walk-in closets; holes were cut through floors, ceilings, walls, and doors to accommodate electrical wires, water lines, and ventilation duct work; every room contained either growing marijuana plants or, in the case of closets and bathrooms, light ballasts, extra chemical supplies, and fertilizer; windows had drywall covering them on the inside, as did any sliding glass doors. Most of the homes identified in this investigation were located in new construction areas and were purchased for $500,000-$800,000.
“Drug traffickers are using sophisticated equipment and measures to transform their seemingly quiet suburban homes into illicit marijuana grow operations,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Timothy J. Landrum. “These lucrative illegal operations can function with little scrutiny which makes them attractive to the criminal element, but put our communities in harm’s way. As these drug trafficking organizations develop more complex methods of concealing their activities, we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to seek them out and dismantle their operations.”
United States Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien stated: “These sophisticated growing operations pose extreme hazards to our neighborhoods with their dangerous electrical wiring and other changes made to houses’ infrastructures. In addition, any large narcotics operation poses a potential for violence, which would further endanger families in these suburban communities. This case also illustrates the extremely lucrative nature of large-scale marijuana-growing operations, which require a substantial investment, but can yield millions of dollars in profits.”
Each grow house was capable of generating, based on average plant counts found during the execution of search warrants, approximately $3 million a year. Based upon the number of clandestine indoor grows identified in this investigation, it is estimated these growing operations had the potential to generate more than $60 million annually in illegal drug proceeds.
Search warrants were conducted at the following residences today:
• 14015 Seven Hills Drive, Riverside, California (grow operation)
• 7422 Cobble Creek Drive, Corona, California (grow operation)
• 20460 Tam O’ Shanter Drive, Walnut, California (grow operation)
• 10084 Klingerman Street, South El Monte, California
• 4916 Glickman Ave, Unit B, Temple City, California
• 1766 Mozart Street, Los Angeles, California
• 14271 Larkspur Street, Hesperia, California (grow operation)
• 1743 Cross Gateway Street, Hemet, California (grow operation)
Those arrested today are:
• Jennifer Zhang, 44, of Temple City
• Sehn Nguyen, 41, of Los Angeles
• Quan Vi To, 51, of El Monte
• Sang Vong Din, 47, of Temple City
The defendants are charged in a criminal complaint with conspiracy to manufacture 1000 or more marijuana plants, a charge that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a maximum possible penalty of life without parole.
A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The Drug Enforcement Administration conducted this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation in close coordination with counterparts from the West County Narcotics Task Force, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, the Riverside Police Department and U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.
Those arrested today are expected to make their initial court appearances this afternoon in United States District Court in Los Angeles.
CONTACT: DEA Public Information Officer Sarah Pullen
(213) 621-6827
[email protected]
U.S. Attorney Office spokesman Thom Mrozek
(213) 894-6947
[email protected]

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