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Santa Rosa police seize $330,000 worth of pot

October 20, 2010 1:37:06 PM PDT
Santa Rosa police confiscated 225 pounds of processed marijuana worth $330,000 at what they described as a "sophisticated growing, drying and processing operation" at a west Santa Rosa home on Tuesday.

Police arrested Blanca Estella Muniz-Avina, 41, one of the home's owners, on suspicion of cultivating marijuana and possessing marijuana for sale, and are searching for her 53-year-old husband, Gerardo Espinoza Canchola, police Sgt. Eric Litchfield said.

Litchfield said Muniz-Avina and her husband were growing plants more than 7 feet tall in the backyard of their Cree Court home. The plants had recently been cut down for drying and processing, he said.

The backyard had been converted to a large growing operation with extensive fencing, irrigation and growing equipment, Litchfield said.

The operation included security motion lights around the perimeter of the yard and both an outer wooden fence and inner metal fence between 6 and 8 feet high to deter intruders, Litchfield said.

The garage had been converted to a sophisticated drying and processing room that contained large fans, two large filters to clean the air and eliminate the odor of drying marijuana, and two rows of floor-to-ceiling drying racks to accelerate the drying process, Litchfield said.

Narcotics detectives found 101 pounds of dried, processed marijuana hidden in a crawl space under the house and another 124 pounds in the garage, Litchfield said.

Canchola is 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighs 161 pounds and has black hair and brown eyes, Litchfield said. He is wanted on suspicion of cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale.


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