DIAMOND BAR — Deputies have discovered four indoor marijuana growing operations in Diamond Bar and Hacienda Heights in the past 10 days — all believed to be run by the run by the same two men.
The latest, containing nearly 1,000 plants valued at $2 million — was discovered in Diamond Bar Wednesday evening, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
Investigators believe that operation, on the 21000 block of Malad Court, was operated by the same two men who were arrested last week after indoor marijuana farms were discovered at three homes in Diamond Bar and Hacienda Heights.
The four homes were linked by “a common name that they were using to rent the houses,” Sgt. Kim McGee of the Sheriff’s Narcotics Bureau said.
Investigators do not believe the person whose name was used knew what was going on and was potentially a victim of identity theft, the sergeant said.
The owners of the homes were also not believed to be involved in the illicit farming operations, he added.
About 2000 marijuana plants were seized from the original three homes, along with about 20 pounds of already-harvested pot.
The total value of the marijuana collected during the four raids is estimated at about $8 million.
Also Wednesday, deputies searched a fifth house in the 23300 block of Gold Rush Drive in Diamond bar that had been rented by the men in the past month under the same false name as the other four homes, McGee said.
The home was empty and had no marijuana growing inside, however, investigators “believe they rented it for this purpose,” McGee said.
Binh Ly, 43, of Rosemead and Thanh Chiem, 45, of San Jose, were jailed Oct. 3 after deputies raided homes in the 23200 block of Forest Canyon Drive in Diamond Bar, the 20900 block of Running Branch Road in Diamond Bar and the 17000 block of Glenfold Drive in Hacienda Heights, sheriff’s officials said. No additional suspects were being sought Thursday.
All four homes had been wired to steal their electricity directly from Southern California Edison to power the elaborate light and irrigation systems used to grow the pot, officials added.
The sophisticated grow houses indicated experienced growers, McGee said.
Though none of the homeowners were suspected of knowing what their tenants were up to, McGee advised homeowners to “double-check and triple-check who they’re renting to.”
“You can be a victim of an expensive rental agreement,” he said.
Growers generally cause extensive damage to a home when using it as a marijuana grow operation, and the illegal electrical modifications that often accompany the grow operations create a major fire hazard, the sergeant said.
Ly posted $170,000 bail the day after he was arrested, according to jail officials. He is scheduled to appear in Pomona Superior Court Dec. 5.
A case had not yet been filed against Chiem Thursday, as he was being held in federal custody without bail due to a hold placed on him by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, McGee said. Charges are expected to be filed against him next week, according to Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.