On February 12, police responded to the scene of a suspected burglary after receiving a call reporting the incident from a neighbor in the 100 block of Stillman Street in South of Market. Upon their arrival, police found that it was in fact not a burglary, but a “secret operation” in which at least four men were involved in a marijuana growing operation.
Stillman Street runs parallel to Interstate 80 and is located between Second and Fourth Streets; several businesses are located in the narrow strip. According to The Examiner, when police arrived early on the morning of February 12 they stopped a vehicle in which there were four people; the car allegedly reeked of marijuana, which led to a search of the vehicle. The names of the four suspects were not released in media reports at the time.
Captain Michael Redmond of the Southern Police Station stated that upon searching the vehicle it was discovered the suspects were “hiding marijuana and weapons” inside it. Redmond also determined that the suspects were not burglars, given the fact that one of the occupants of the car had a key that fit the warehouse lock.
Upon entering the warehouse, officers found that the suspects were maintaining a marijuana grow house; large bags of processed marijuana and over 500 plants were found inside, along with sales, distribution, and packaging paraphernalia. Ammunition and another firearm were located in the warehouse as well, according to Redmond.
While neighbors suspected that marijuana was being grown in the warehouse, the head of the operation attempted to keep neighbors quiet by offering Starbucks gift cards according to one neighbor, who also said that the man wore a “cheap” suit and drove an Audi. The suspects face numerous felony charges and were booked into the county jail.
San Francisco drug crimes attorneys know that the criminal penalties for those convicted for cultivating marijuana are severe. In fact, growing even a single marijuana plant can leave the accused individual facing up to 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
There are numerous defense strategies that may be effective in protecting an individual charged with marijuana cultivation. If you are under investigation or have been charged with maintaining a grow house, consult with an experienced San Francisco criminal defense lawyer immediately for legal support and guidance.