POLICE FIND MARIJUANA OPERATION: A strong odor led narcotics investigators to northeast Modesto home where they discovered a large indoor marijuana growing operation that had produced about $160,000 worth of dope, Modesto police reported Thursday. Police arrested Emerson Drake, 55, at the home on the 3200 block of Canopy Court. He was booked on suspicion of cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sales and theft of electricity, Lt. Chris Fuzie said. The Modesto police Narcotics Enforcement Team and the Stanislaus Drug Enforcement Agency received information about the strong marijuana odor in the area of Kee Lane and Canopy Court, just east of Roselle Avenue and south of Sylvan Avenue. Fuzie said the investigators checked and could smell the odor for about two blocks in all directions. Police served a search warrant Tuesday with assistance from the Stanislaus County sheriff's Special Team Investigating Narcotics and Gangs. Fuzie said the investigators found the marijuana growing in three bedrooms that contained 97 budding plants with an estimated street value of $100,000 along with about 18 pounds of packaged pot with an estimated street value of $60,000. He said authorities seized the marijuana and the growing equipment worth approximately $20,000. The rental property had been converted into a growing operation. Fuzie said the house contained little more than a bed. The property owner told police he had no idea what was going on in the house and said a property management company was renting the house for him, Fuzie said.
GETTING READY FOR FIRE SEASON: More than 100 firefighters from 17 agencies will be preparing for fire season with an all-day training Saturday at several locations throughout Stanislaus County. The training will include firefighters from agencies in the county along with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's Tuolumne/Calaveras and Santa Clara Ranger Units, the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, according to a news release. The refresher training on fighting and managing wild fires will include classroom and hands-on work, which includes wild fire hose lays, firefighter safety, wild fire weather and structure protection during wildfires. "Each year Stanislaus County gets called upon to send fire resources to help fight wildland fires throughout the state as part of the states mutual-aid system," said Chief Gary Hinshaw of the Stanislaus County Office of Emergency Services. "The purpose of this training is to enhance our firefighters wildland firefighting knowledge so they can do their job safely."