Budding Crime Wave in Castro Valley - NBC Bay Area

Budding Crime Wave in Castro Valley

Murder of hydroponics entrepreneur and medical pot theft coincide in sleepy suburb



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    Even when legal, growing pot can prove a risky business.

    Castro Valley police didn't get to relax this weekend after a pair of pot-related crimes.

    After an argument with two men at Alameda County Hydroponics, owner Christopher Bolton, 31, was shot in the head and killed.

    While advertised as a great way to grow tomatoes indoors, the real market for hydroponic systems is marijuana cultivation.

    Later that afternoon, three armed men assaulted two growers in their home on Reamer Road, tying them up before stealing their Hummer to drive off with weed and cash.

    The growers were licensed to sell their crop to medical marijuana dispensaries, so had nothing to fear in calling the police to report the crime.

    Two of the suspects were soon spotted in the stolen getaway car and apprehended.

    "We found it a little ironic that there were two such violent incidents within a couple hours of each other in Castro Valley, which is pretty quiet," Alameda County Sherriff's Sergeant Ray Kelly told the San Francisco Chronicle.

    Jackson West is just surprised that meth isn't implicated as well.