Crime

Arrest in indoor marijuana grow

Merced County sheriff's officials discovered an indoor marijuana garden at a Merced home Wednesday afternoon during a parole search. The Sheriff's Tactical and Reconnaissance team conducted a parole search about 3 p.m. at a home in the 2000 block of Fern Avenue in Merced. Deputies found 50 marijuana plants about 1 to 2 feet high in the home, said deputy Tom MacKenzie, a sheriff's spokesman.

Sheriff's Sgt. Steve Sziraki said the plants were budding. "It was a sophisticated operation with ceiling lights on a track system, ventilation through the attic ducts and plants in foam cartons," Sziraki said. The marijuana had an estimated street value of $85,000, he said.

MacKenzie said Kenneth Queen, 54, of Merced, was staying at the home and was arrested on suspicion of violating his parole. MacKenzie said the homeowner, Dennis White, 68, could not be booked at the jail for medical reasons. Sheriff's officials said they plan to file charges of marijuana cultivation against White through the district attorney's office. White told sheriff's officials he was growing the marijuana for medicinal use.

MacKenzie said White did not have any prescriptions or medical marijuana cards.

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