Last night, Santa Ana police and Orange County sheriff's deputies raided a warehouse in southeast Santa Ana, where they discovered a 6,000-square-foot marijuana-growing operation. While officials haven't said how many plants they found, they estimated the grow could produce “$120,000 worth of marijuana every six weeks,” according to a story today in the Orange County Register. The raid apparently came a week after the cops received an anonymous tip that marijuana was being grown in the warehouse.
During the week between the tip and the raid, police presumably tried to figure out who was running the industrial-size grow, which they claim is the largest “high-end” marijuana cultivation facility they've busted yet in Santa Ana.
“Composed of four rooms, each with dozens of marijuana plants at various stages of maturity, as well as a fifth under construction, the warehouse was equipped with an elaborate air-filtration system capable of minimizing the operation's odor, as well as a high-tech hydroponic system that allowed growers to mix water and fertilizer,” the Register reported. “Narcotics officers described the operation as being six to seven times larger than the ones they usually discover in apartments or homes.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, given that Santa Ana's city code specifically prohibits such facilities,
police could find no records pertaining to the grow, and no business license had been pulled for the building in question since 2009. Cops arrested no suspects but immediately set to work confiscating the crop and the growing equipment.
All of this, of course, strongly suggests that whoever is behind the operation isn't likely to surface anytime soon demanding their plants back. Black-market growing operations typically use such warehouses for short-term marijuana production, and often will pop up in tandem with advertisements for marijuana collectives that only distribute “medicine” to card-carrying cannabis smokers until their newly produced supply runs out.