Leak Leads Landlord to Indoor Marijuana Forest

A Glendale landlord broke into one of his apartments this week, expecting to find a leaky pipe. Instead, he found a miniature marijuana forest, authorities said Wednesday.

The greenery was growing in a homemade greenhouse, complete with high-voltage lighting and a hydroponic feeding system, Glendale police said.

Shortly after the discovery, officers arrested the tenant, Charles Hemplemen, 38, an X-ray repair technician, when he arrived home from work. He was scheduled to be arraigned today on charges of cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale, said Sgt. Matt Wojnarowski.

According to police reports, Alan Brimmer, 55, who owns an apartment complex in the 1000 block of Linden Avenue, was searching Tuesday afternoon for the source of water dripping into a carport. Fearing an indoor flood, Brimmer tried to enter an apartment above the carport, but discovered the lock had been changed.

The landlord tried to contact the tenant at his workplace, but learned the man no longer worked there. Brimmer climbed through the tenant's bedroom window, pushed aside a reflective window covering, spotted the illegal growing system and called police, officers said.

Narcotics investigators found 147 marijuana plants growing in a soil-free hydroponic system running through one of the two bedrooms, a bathroom and closet. The system was held together by wood framing, and it used 500 feet of plastic tubing to carry water to the plants, reflective sheets to hold the light in and carbon dioxide to mature the plants at a low height, according to the police report.

In the kitchen, officers found a distillation system for producing a concentrated intoxicant, hash oil, from the plants, police said. Firefighters were summoned to remove hazardous chemicals. Hemplemen was being held Wednesday at Glendale City Jail in lieu of $2,500 bail.

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