Two indoor marijuana growing operations, illegal weapons and 2,000 rounds of ammunition were seized from homes in west and east Modesto this week thanks to one anonymous tip, police said.
The tip to Crime Stoppers led Modesto police officers from the Crime Reduction Team to the 1100 block of Courtney Way on Monday morning, according to Lt. Rick Armendariz.
During a search of the home, officers found an indoor growing operation with 364 pot plants of various sizes and stages of maturity. One mature pot plant typically yields 1 pound of processed marijuana, Armendariz said.
Also in the home were five handguns, two rifles and ammunition. Two of the handguns were stolen and one of the guns was an illegal Mac-11 semi-automatic sub-machine gun with a 30-round magazine and a silencer, Armendariz said.
Larry Escobedo, 47, was arrested on suspicion of cultivation, possession and sale of marijuana, possession of stolen property and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
After searching Escobedo's home, officers obtained additional information that led them to a home in the 2600 block of El Pasado Drive in east Modesto, Armendariz said.
On Wednesday morning, officers searched that house and found an indoor marijuana growing setup, with 100 plants as well as 18 pounds of processed marijuana and a rifle, Armendariz said. The 18 pounds of processed marijuana has a street value of $45,000 to $54,000, according to Armendariz.
Escobedo also is suspected of stealing power from the Modesto Irrigation District to run the operation, which amounted to about $3,000 a month.
Also arrested was Gerardo Montoya, 32, on suspicion of cultivation, possession and sale of marijuana, felony power theft and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
"Anonymous tips by concerned citizens have been very beneficial in helping law enforcement identify and arrest suspected drug dealers," said Sgt. Robert Stewart, supervisor for the Crime Reduction Team.
"We are very fortunate to have a community with citizens willing to support the police in maintaining a safe city," Stewart said.
If you would like to report suspicious drug activity and wish to remain anonymous, please call Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636. Callers to Crime Stoppers are eligible for cash rewards. Tipsters also can text information to Crime Stoppers by sending a message to 274637. Type "TIP704" along with a message.