Pot Ring Busted With 50 Grow Homes

Bay Area criminals indicted for mortgage fraud, marijuana cultivation in the Central Valley

By Jackson West
|  Friday, Oct 23, 2009  |  Updated 3:15 PM PDT
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Pot Ring Busted With 50 Grow Homes

Houseplants are nice, but try fitting 24,500 in 50 houses.

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While there have been no shortage of pot busts in San Francisco's Sunset neighborhood of late, federal prosecutors allege that a criminal syndicate went looking for real-estate bargains in the Central Valley.

A federal grand jury indicted 18 people, alleging mortgage fraud after seizing 24,500 plants from 50 homes scattered across Sacramento, Elk Grove, Stockton, Lathrop, Tracy and Modesto.

The operation is estimated to have been able to produce an estimated $96 million in marijuana a year.

Each house was fitted with hydroponic growing tools, and the suspects allegedly stole electricity, too.

Yet another sign of the possible unintended benefits of legalization -- fewer residents converted into illegal pot farms means more housing stock and lower prices for homes!

Jackson West wonders if the defendants were inspired by Showtime's series Weeds.

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