San Leandro police on Wednesday arrested five people suspected of illegally cultivating marijuana for sale and recovered more than 2,000 plants.
In the culmination of a three-month undercover investigation, more than 30 officers and detectives served search warrants at six homes in the Broadmoor, Bay-O-Vista, and Washington Manor neighborhoods on Wednesday, San Leandro police Lt. Robert McManus said.
Officers found that four of the residences had "elaborate, indoor marijuana operations occurring inside that were found to be illegal," McManus said in a news release.
When officers knocked on the front door of one home, a man inside peeked out the window and immediately ran, according to McManus. Police entered the residence and found that the man had crawled through a hatch in the floor and hid in a tight crawl space under the house, he said.
Officers tried to communicate with the man for more than 45 minutes, but he didn't respond so police used a dog to apprehend him, McManus said.
The man was treated for minor injuries and later transported to jail, police said.
The other four people, who were found at other residences where warrants were served, were arrested on suspicion of committing the same crimes, McManus said.
Police discovered more than 2,000 marijuana plants that were being grown inside the four homes that are scattered throughout various residential areas of the city and estimate that they had an estimated street value of $400,000, McManus said.
Investigators said they think the four operations are capable of producing $1.6 million worth of marijuana annually.
Detectives seized more than $40,000 in cash, which they believe are proceeds from the illegal marijuana grow operation, McManus said.
Each residence had indoor ventilation systems, hydroponics systems with lights and irrigation systems attached to timers, according to McManus. The suspects may have been paying PG&E bills of $6,000 to $10,000 per month at each location, totaling between $288,000 and $480,000 annually, he said.
"Detectives are working to determine whether or not this is connected to a larger operation in the area," McManus said.
He said, "As they continue investigating, they have been in contact with other Bay Area law enforcement agencies. The unique thing about this is that the homes didn't stand out -- they looked like any house in a quiet neighborhood."
McManus said police aren't releasing the names of those arrested or the addresses of the locations where the search warrants were served because they're continuing their investigation and don't want to jeopardize their case.
Police ask that anyone with information about the illegal marijuana growing operations call them at (510) 577-3230. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling (510) 577-3278 or texting "TipSLPolice" to 888-777.