PHELAN, CA:(VVNG.com)- Members of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department – Marijuana Enforcement Team (MET), law enforcement officers from the Burlington Northern Sante Fe (BNSF), Union Pacific Railroad, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) collaborated to serve a search warrant at a property located at 4678 Struveling Street, Phelan (West Cajon).
Over the past several years, organized burglary crews have been burglarizing cargo trains throughout Southern California, Central California, Arizona, and New Mexico. Electronic equipment, clothing, power tools, and other household items estimated to be worth thousands of dollars were stolen during these thefts. Several trains carrying these retail items have been burglarized within San Bernardino County. Most of the thefts occur while the trains are in rural areas between their destinations points. This presents an opportune time for the suspects to commit the thefts.
Investigators from BNSF are actively conducting an investigation into identifying the suspects responsible for the thefts. These suspects will be arrested and prosecuted for their involvement in the crimes. Their current investigation led them to the property on Struveling Street. BNSF investigators contacted MET after they determined there was marijuana plants growing on the property. MET investigators confirmed that the marijuana plants being grown on the property was in violation of state and local laws.
When law enforcement officers and deputies arrived at the property to serve the search warrant, they encountered five suspects. The suspects were later identified as Luis Torres-Uribe, age 29, Victor Zamora-Flores, age 34, Juan Carlos Moralez, age 24, Usiel Estrada Ochoa, age 26, Phelan residents, Omar Trejo, age 22, San Bernardino resident.
Three of the five were detained at the scene without incident. Two suspects, Luis Torres-Uribe and Omar Trejo, attempted to flee on foot. With the assistance of the Sheriff’s helicopter, they were taken into custody after a brief foot pursuit.
The investigation resulted in the seizure of over 450 marijuana plants, one handgun, and several items of stolen property including flat panel televisions, air condition units, and designer clothing and footwear. The large amount of marijuana found and other evidence seized at the location suggests the suspects had no intention of abiding by California’s medical marijuana laws or local ordinances relating to growing marijuana for medical purposes. Investigators determined the marijuana cultivation operation was illegal and not in compliance with California medical marijuana laws and the County’s ordinance prohibiting outdoor marijuana cultivation.
The suspects were arrested and booked into the West Valley Detention Center. They will be charged with Cultivation of Marijuana. Their bail amounts are set $225,000. Additional charges of Possession of Stolen Property will be sent to the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office at a later date. The case may be sent to the United States Attorney’s Office at the conclusion of the investigation for a review of criminal charges against the suspects.
The County of San Bernardino has an ordinance prohibiting outdoor marijuana cultivations. The Sheriff’s Gangs/Narcotics Division will continue to enforce California marijuana laws as well as the San Bernardino County Ordinances regarding marijuana cultivation and distribution. Persons found to be violating state marijuana laws and/or county ordinances are subject to fines, prosecution and seizure of property.
Anyone with information regarding the above investigation is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Gangs/Narcotics Division at (909)890-4840. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or you may leave information on the We-Tip Hotline at www.wetip.com.
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