Planting season had arrived in the Verdugo Mountains just behind Crescenta Valley Park and Glendale police decided Thursday it would be a perfect time to take a hike.
What SWAT members and officers didn’t realize was their walk and training session would result in a drug bust of 150 marijuana plants and the arrest of two suspects.
The police had regular patrols in the area and had strong support from neighbors who report unusual activity. About two years ago the area was the scene of an illegal marijuana growing operation where Glendale police discovered over 5,000 cultivated plants with an estimated value of $10 million.
Because of that past discovery, knowing it was planting season and recent reports from witnesses that “people had been returning to the area,” Glendale police planned to investigate the mountainous location at the same time a SWAT training mission was scheduled, said Lt. Bruce Fox.
“We combined forces,” Fox said. “We have two people in custody already and another marijuana grow in the early stages is occurring up there.”
The two suspects, Hector Carrillo, 30, address unknown, and Isai Salazar, 21, of Los Angeles, allegedly had a full irrigation system from the natural springs already established, similar to one that was found two years ago. Fox said he thinks the suspects return to the area because of its natural springs. Ammunition was found, but no weapons were discovered as of press time.
While the police were continuing their investigation, a neighbor cooked them breakfast. “You don’t know how much this means to our officers,” Fox said.
“[The neighbor] was exceedingly gracious,” added Lt. Gary Montecullo. “We didn’t expect it she was so sincere, it was very humbling.”
The investigation into the marijuana cultivation operation is continuing.