Sheriff’s deputies arrested two people and dismantled two indoor marijuana growing operations valued at $2.5 million Thursday in Alhambra and San Gabriel, authorities said.
A month-long investigation led to the arrest of Joseph Hsu, 30, of San Gabriel and Pauline McDonnell, 22, of Redlands on suspicion of growing the pot, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Capt. Michael Parker said in a written statement.
Hsu is a suspected member of the Wah Ching street gang, Sgt. Steve Kim of the sheriff’s Asian Gang Team.
Officials had been looking into reports of suspicious activity reported lately at an industrial building in the 800 block of South Date Avenue in Alhambra and developed evidence that an illegal marijuana grow was being housed there, Parker said.
About 4 p.m. Thursday, sheriff’s deputies carried out search warrant on the commercial building, which was posing as some type of consultant’s office, as well as the home of Hsu in the 9100 block of Huntington Drive in San Gabriel, officials said.
“Inside the South Date Avenue location, deputies discovered a fully-operational indoor marijuana grow,” Parker said.
Deputies seized about 400 plants in varying stages of growth from the building, along with about 100 pounds of dried marijuana and numerous pieces of lighting and hydroponic equipment.
At Hsu’s condominium on Huntington Drive, Parker said, “A search revealed a smaller indoor marijuana grow with about 40 plants and 40-50 pounds of dried marijuana.”
Two handguns and a shotgun were also found in the condominium, officials added. Hsu, a convicted felon, is legally barred from possessing firearms.
McDonnell was also at the condominium when deputies arrived and was also arrested in connection with the marijuana grow.
The commercial building was listed as a consulting firm on lease paperwork, however it displayed no sign, Kim said.
The marijuana growing operations appeared to be stealing their electricity from the Southern California Edison grid by bypassing electrical meters, he added.
The relationship between Hsu and McDonnell was not clear Friday.
According to sheriff’s booking records, Hsu and McDonnell were both released from jail Thursday afternoon after posting bail. Hsu’s bail was set at $50,000, while McDonnell’s was set at $20,000.
Both were scheduled for arraignment Monday in Alhambra Superior Court.
PHOTO courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department