Bust marks crack down on SF pot farms

October 5, 2009 11:34:13 PM PDT
San Francisco's new police chief made a promise to go after urban pot farms. Monday evening, he held to his word. Officers targeted yet another marijuana growing operation in the Sunset District, one right across from a school.

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In the house along busy Sunset Boulevard and across the street from Saint Ignatius High School police arrested two men and confiscated 100 plants, about 4 pounds of dried marijuana and $2,000 in cash.

Neighbors say the two men were quiet renters.

"The only thing I noticed is there always a humming sound coming from the garage, I thought it was a bad refrigerator," next door neighbor Chris Ong said.

READ MORE: San Francisco asks for public's help fighting marijuana growing operations

Ong says he also noticed lights were glowing through the tinted garage window around the clock.

Police described the operation as a small one.

"Yeah, this is the most in my recent history, I don't remember this many grow houses," San Francisco Police Lieutenant Mike Caplan said.

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In the past six months police have uncovered indoor pot farms in more than 30 Sunset District homes. They have seized more than 8,000 plants, 20 firearms and nearly $85,000 in cash.

"With pot comes money and with money comes other factors that you may not want around people, kids," neighbor Barry Jakob said.

Police say there are also signs of organized crime.

Most of the homes are rented, but not lived in and that poses a serious fire risk with intense heat coming from numerous grow lights.

So far this year, illegal pot farms have sparked four fires in San Francisco.

In this case, as in many of the cases, police say neighbors tipped them off to the growing operation.

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