Investigation into infant’s injuries reveals pot operation at Modesto home

11/12/2013 11:24 AM

11/13/2013 4:13 PM

Police investigating a child-abuse case after a 2-month-old was brought to a local hospital with critical injuries uncovered a large indoor marijuana-growing operation in a Modesto house occupied by 11 people.

On Saturday, Modesto police officers were called to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto for a report of a critically injured infant, police said Tuesday. The baby had suffered internal injuries, was taken to the emergency room by relatives and later was transferred to Children’s Hospital Oakland, said Sgt. Rick Applegate, a Modesto police spokesman. He said the 2-month-old remains in critical condition and it is not clear whether the infant will live.

The follow-up investigation revealed the infant had been living with relatives at the home in the 1000 block of Boulder Avenue, which included four adults and six other children.

“That’s just disturbing because I have never seen any kids out there,” said neighbor Donna Dudley.

In fact, about a half dozen neighbors Tuesday afternoon reported never seeing any children coming or going from the house.

Dudley said she thought two people lived there.

Applegate said all three bedrooms in the south Modesto home had been converted into an illegal marijuana-growing operation, using stolen electricity to grow 200 plants.

“They had the power bypassed, which in itself is dangerous,” Applegate said.

He said the family was living in the family room and a converted closet. Investigators seized the marijuana plants and several items of evidence found at the home. Applegate said the seizures included growing equipment and other items, but not weapons or cash.

Child Protective Services officials took custody of the remaining children, ranging in age from 5 to 12. Four adults were arrested on suspicion of child endangerment, causing injury to a child, cultivating marijuana and possessing marijuana for sale: Elizabeth Aguilar, 18; Daniel Villasenor, 19; Raul Aguilar, 26; and Maria Hernandez, 30.

Elizabeth Aguilar, Villasenor and Raul Aguilar were arrested Nov. 9 in Oakland. Hernandez was arrested Nov. 10 at the Modesto Police Department, Applegate said.

Applegate said he could not release the gender of the 2-month-old child, nor to whom the baby belonged. Elizabeth Aguilar and Raul Aguilar are siblings; Villasenor and Hernandez are their significant others, he said.

Investigators ask anyone with information about this case to call Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636. Tipsters can email through the Crime Stoppers website, www.stancrimetips.org, or text tips to CRIMES (274637) by typing “Tip704” plus a message. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and are eligible for a cash reward.

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