BREA – Police, fire and hazardous materials personnel raided a building suspected of being an illegal marijuana growing operation Wednesday.
“Our police department started receiving calls about funny smells coming from a business at a building in the 400 block of West Lambert Road about a week ago,” Brea Police Department Sgt. Phil Rodriguez said.
Undercover officers spent a week investigating the 1,200 square foot industrial location and determined that it was likely an illegal marijuana growing operation.
“Our officers executed a search warrant at 10 a.m., discovered several hundred plants inside, and took two male suspects into custody.” Rodriguez said. Their names were not released.
Investigating officers reported smelling some kind of noxious odor shortly after entering the building and requested a hazardous materials unit.
“We temporarily evacuated the entire strip center and are continuing to investigate the source of a noxious odor,” said Adam Loeser, Deputy Chief of Operations for Fullerton/Brea Fire Department. Initial findings indicate that the odor might be the result of fertilizer and other chemicals used in marijuana growing operations, Loeser said.
William Rineara, who runs a neighboring business, Open Apps Inc., said he sent his six employees home for the day after they were evacuated. He said he was happy to give police and fire crews time to clear out the growers.
“The thing is that these guys don’t pay attention to fire codes and the kind of high-intensity lamps used in growing have been responsible for a lot of fires,” Rineara said. “My business is right next door. We’re talking about my livelihood. They could burn down my business. Those fire codes exist for a reason.”
More to come.