A SWAT team made quite a statement when it made its entrance, knocking a gate down and using flashbang grenades. Police say the people inside simply came out and surrendered. 11 people were arrested. They had been running a smart operation inside the normal-looking warehouse.
The bust came as a shock to some of the people who work next to the warehouse on 89th Street. They say they never saw any suspicious activity going on, but police say they have been doing surveillance on the place for several weeks. Overnight, a SWAT team went in and discovered more than 1,000 marijuana plants. Officers called it a very sophisticated grow operation.
Sergio Serrato works next door and says he never suspected anything, but Bob Floyd, across the street, had his suspicions, not because he saw anything, but because of something else he sensed. "You knew. You knew because you could smell it now and then," he said. So, he wasn't surprised to hear about the marijuana plants, but he was a but shocked to hear about the arrest. "Yeah, the 11 people is a big thing. I never saw 11 people go in and out of there. You would think you would see more groceries or something going in and out of there. I don't know when they did it, but they didn't do it during the day."
Well, they somehow managed to get groceries in there. A source who was part of the bust says there was a break room for the workers complete with snacks, video games, and a place to take a nap. Police say those who were arrested did not put up a fight. Officers also confiscated several weapons and two pit bulls.
Neighbors didn't seem too concerned about the arrest. "9:00 here, you can hear gunshots. So, it's Oakland," Floyd said.
For a time, the warehouse was unmanned Thursday morning and some people broke in and tried to take whatever might have been left behind. Officers say they took some trash bags full of "shake," the dead leaves that fall off marijuana, essentially trash. An officer will remain on scene until the warehouse is boarded up.
A source close to the investigation says it looks like the DEA will be taking over the case because it was such a large operation.