Thursday, April 24, 2008
UDJ UHS teacher arrested after marijuana raid
A tip from a neighbor led to the discovery by Ukiah Police Department officers of a 150-plant commercial marijuana growing operation in a facility leased by a Ukiah High School teacher, according to police reports. Ukiah police officers raided the grow rooms at around 3:30 p.m. Monday at a storage facility in the 700 block of North State Street. Police said more arrests may follow.
Chris Dewey, UPD chief, said a search warrant was obtained by officers for the storage facility after a nearby resident called and filed a complaint about the smell.
Dewey said the investigation led to the arrest of UHS teacher Jeff Duane Burrell, of Calpella.
When officers arrived on scene only a series of dim green lights were illuminated in the grow rooms. UPD Capt. Justin Wyatt said the reason the high-voltage, high-heat grow lights situated directly above the plants were off at the time of the raid was because they had been set by a series of timers that were attached the operation's homemade electrical system.
"They do their best to duplicate the growing cycle," he said, motioning towards the fixtures above. "I think right now this is supposed to simulate night."
In the small space between the two doors was an automated trimming appliance called a TrimPro which officers said utilized a series of whirling blades to clip leaves away from the buds. The device was named Best Trimming Product in 2005 by "High Times."
Dewey said the loose wiring and high voltage involved was the most dangerous part of the operation.
"This is typical of illegal growing operations," he said. "The amount of electricity being used didn't fit the building. They were using four to five times as many kilowatt hours as the average household. This is just an accident waiting to happen."
PD Ukiah teacher faces pot charges
...Burrell and Laino's arrests are the latest in a string of high-profile marijuana cases that local authorities say underscore how pervasive pot growing has become in the county.
In January, a veteran Ukiah fire captain was arrested at her home for marijuana cultivation, along with her son and another man. Sheriff deputies last November seized 39 pounds of dried pot from the Redwood Valley home of the former budget and finance officer in the county's District Attorney's Office.
at 12:37 PM