Code enforcement, law enforcement seize, destroy 1,400 marijuana plants at nine locations
IVANHOE – An ongoing civil action to take back the streets of Ivanhoe from gangs and drug lords got a huge win for law-abiding residents and property owners last week. On Sept. 27, a coalition of law enforcement and code enforcement officers shut down large scale marijuana gardens totaling more than 1,400 plants at nine locations in Ivanhoe and Exeter.
Beginning at 6:30 a.m., the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office Tulare Area Gang and Narcotics Enforcement Team (TAGNET) and the Sheriff’s County Apprehension Team Tracking Criminals in Hiding (CATTCH) units met with members of the Tulare County Resource Management Code Compliance Unit to serve six civil abatement search warrants in the Ivanhoe area.
In the 15900 block of Beechwood Avenue in Ivanhoe, deputies seized 281 marijuana plants, 5 pounds of processed marijuana and a handgun. Arrested at that location was 37-year-old Jose Antonio Espinoza on charges of cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to sell and maintaining a home for the sale of drugs. At another location in the same block, police removed and destroyed 160 plants.
In the 32900 block of Road 157 in Ivanhoe, deputies civilly abated 55 marijuana plants, removed and destroyed 88 plants, seized 10 pounds of processed marijuana and a shotgun with ammunition. Arrested was 30-year-old Roberto Garcia on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, unlawful possession of a firearm, and violating a court order.
At another home on the same block, an additional 82 marijuana plants were civilly abated, two more people were arrested and a child was turned over to Child Welfare Services. Arrested were 29-year-old Elizabeth Myra Lopez and 27-year-old Gerardo Megana on charges of child abandonment and neglect, child endangerment and negligent storage of a firearm. A young boy, just 2 and a half years old, was taken from the home and into the care of child welfare services.
Eighty-eight more marijuana plants were removed and destroyed in the 15800 block of Edmiston in Ivanhoe.
Code Compliance Officers with the assistance of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office are planning similar large-scale operations in the future and anyone with information regarding illegal marijuana grows are encouraged to call the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office at 559-733-6218 or they can call toll free 1-800-808-0488. Anonymous information can be sent by a text or email to TCSO@tipnow.com or call 559-725-4194.