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Foreclosures creating spike in marijuana grow houses

FruityBud

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Police are reporting a spike in the presence of marijuana grow houses since the economic downturn. The Las Vegas Metro Police Department busted 119 operations last year. So far this year, that number is already at 108.

"We're busting almost three to four marijuana labs a week," says Metro narcotics Lieutenant Lazaro Chavez. "The majority of them are rental properties, some of them are abandoned houses that have been sitting abandoned for months."

Metro officers raided two grow houses Monday night, seizing about 400 marijuana plants. Both were rental properties.

The first house was near Rainbow and Gowan in the Northwest part of the valley, where they found about 150 plants.

A tip from a neighbor led narcotics agents to another home near Cactus and Jones in the southwest part of the Valley. Investigators say the rental was packed with about 200 plants worth $700,000, along with chemicals and equipment for growing.

"These are not small gardens in someone's backyard. These are full blown marijuana labs," says Lt. Chavez.

Metro says the danger goes beyond the operations themselves. They say the growers are criminals who choose rentals and foreclosures in quiet neighborhoods, and they're heavily armed.

Search warrants at three houses last week turned up 17 firearms.

"I believe that the reasons for that is that it's such a competitive market within the drug trafficking group themselves that they're robbing each other, so they defend themselves," says Lt. Chavez.

With more of these criminals taking advantage of cheap rentals and bank-owned properties in nicer neighborhoods, Metro is relying on community tips to find them and shut them down.

"We're trying to do the best we can. We're staying on top of this and with the help of the community we'll actually be very successful," says Lt. Chavez.

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BlueNose

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"marijuana labs" sounds a bit extreme for a little green plant that grows in a pot like every plant in the house or yard.
 

SPEARCHUCKER

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More bad people giving the good a bad name along with them.

Though I do like the sound of that "Marijuana Lab" phrase. Kinda gives things that "Breaking Bad" tv show feel.
 

Mauitraveler

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Damn syndicates. You can really be amazed how they adapt with the times.
 

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