Two older men were arrested when the Santa Cruz County Anti Crime Team raided what investigators are calling the largest commercial marijuana operation seizure ever in the county Tuesday, authorities reported.
Marijuana worth an esitmated $220,000 was seized from the rural Watsonville pot grow that drug agents estimated would yield $800,000 to $1,000,000 worth of marijuana annually.
Cecil Doug Tanner, 67, and Mark Boutwell, 63, were among six people detained when drug agent served a search warrant on the property at 20 Hecker Pass Rd.
Inside, drug agents reported finding 120 pounds of processed marijuana buds in three rooms, 3,600 live marijuana plants and grow equipment worth tens of thousands of dollars.
"This is the largest in-door marijuana grow operation that has been seized in Santa Cruz County," Sgt. Eric Montablo said in a prepared statement.
The former Ariel Mushrooms facility had been closed down for several years and Tanner owned the property, according to investigators. It had been the subject of an Anti-Crime Team investigation for eight months.
From there, investigators went to homes at 70 Magnolia Dr. in Watsonville and 24730 Foothill Dr in Monterey County, Boutwell's home, where Boutwell lives, as well as Tanner Development, Inc., a business at 930 Freedom Blvd. in Watsonville, to serve warrants.
Agents reporting seizing another 10 pounds of processed marijuana at Boutwell's house and documents indicating Tanner had paid more than $100,000 in PG&E bills for the alleged grow operation in the past two years.
Tanner and Boutwell were arrested on suspicion of cultivation of marijuana and possession for sales of marijuana. Charles Lettunich, a third man detained at the defunct mushroom farm, was released at the scene and charges will be requested on him through the District Attorney’s Office, Montablo reported.
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