Search warrants served at 20 homes across Elk Grove and Sacramento County led to the arrests of 19 people after law enforcement found thousands of marijuana plants at the residences Wednesday.
Elk Grove Police Officer Chris Trim said the department's street crimes unit has been investigating suspects for the past several months. He said they are responsible for a large scale indoor pot grow and cultivation operation.
During the search of the homes, law enforcement found about 6,000 marijuana plants, more than 180 pounds of processed marijuana and more than $70,000 in cash.
"It ranks up there with some of the larger ones we had several years ago that ended up going federal, as far as the DEA involvement," Trim said.
Trim said nine children, between the ages of one and 15, were living at some of the homes that were converted into marijuana grows; they were taken into custody by Child Protective Services because they were being raised in a hazardous environment.
Elk Grove police worked with Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, Yolo Narcotics Enforcement Task Force, Yuba-Sutter Narcotic Enforcement Team and Department of Justice during the investigation, home searches and arrests.
The following people were arrested and booked into Sacramento County Jail for growing marijuana and possessing marijuana with the intent to sell:
- Chuong Kin Dip, 41
- Kenneth Kin Dip, 38
- Loc Trinh Dip, 81
- Nhoc Kin Dip, 45
- Simon Kin Dip, 37
- Bao Nhit Duong, 53
- Shi Lian Hoang, 56
- Wendy Kwun Kong, 36
- Eva Yong Xing Li, 42
- Shizhen Li, 28
- Chen Liang, 24
- Guo Hong Tang, 34
- Shang Gui Tang, 55
- Tam Tong, 51
- Pat Voong, 81
- Jiarui Yang, 62
- Qiong Mao Ye, 53
- Qiong Rui Ye, 47
- Ryan Liang Ye, 26
On Wednesday night, residents on Mystras Circle in Elk Grove still can't believe what happened on their street.
"When I look out the window this morning and saw police officers out front, I just thought, 'Oh my gosh. What the heck?'" Elk Grove resident Judy Cornick said.
As for her neighbor's arrest and the suspected pot grow house Cornick said, "I'm not surprised because it always happens. Just surprised that I never noticed anything going on."
"We didn't know anything about it," next-door neighbor Thanh Vo said.
"The house was in foreclosure. And so they bought it very cheap," Cornick said. "Whether someone came in buying these homes very cheap and then turning them into grow houses."
Just a street over on Tegea Way, another home was searched and another arrest made. Less than a mile away on Madeira Court in Elk Grove, families are just surprised by another house suspected of being part of the pot growing ring. In this case, neighbors said the family had small children.
"I'm really shocked actually because all of our kids, they play together," neighbor Tina Nguyen said.
"It's a family of five with three small boys," Elk Grove resident Neil Hutchison said. "Very quiet family. Never heard any comings or goings that were suspicious."
He's surprised that his neighbors are suspected in the pot house ring. But, not surprised that it's happening in Elk Grove.
"Seems part for the course for Elk Grove," Hutchison said. "We watch it on the news every six months."