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Marijuana crop was target of Fresno County home invasion robbery

Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Marijuana crop was target of Fresno County home invasion robbery 2 of 5 suspects arrested in Fresno County home invasion

Just before 2 a.m. Tuesday, Fresno County Sheriff Deputies foiled a home invasion robbery, as the suspects tried to get away.

It happened in a neighborhood near Jensen Avenue and Valentine Avenue. Investigators said the suspects brought a U-Haul truck to fill with marijuana.

Deputies discovered garbage bags full of marijuana valued at more than $1 million on the streets. But now, the home invasion victims are also facing questions for cultivating so much pot.

Detectives say the two people who live here had a very rude awakening early Tuesday morning. Fresno County Sheriff's Deputies said five armed men busted into the home, wearing ski masks, camo gear and bullet proof vests. Investigators believe they were after a huge cash crop -- 500 pounds of processed marijuana.

"Not sure how it was they discovered there was this much marijuana in the home, but obviously they found out and they came prepared. They tied these people up. They are very fortunate they didn't lose their lives. Both the victims of the home invasion and the suspects," said Joe Smith, Fresno County Sheriff's Office.

Even though the victims hands and feet were both zip tied, deputies say one of them got away to call for help. Investigators say the armed thieves brought a U-Haul truck they parked nearby to carry the large stash. As they prepared to leave, deputies were pulling up. Two suspects were caught, including one who did go to some length to hide from a hovering helicopter.

"He had stripped off all the camouflage gear. He was found in a T-shirt and shorts actually buried in the dirt," said Rich Garringer, Fresno County Sheriff's Office.

All morning, canine dogs searched a vineyard row by row for the remaining suspects. Investigators won't say if the suspects under arrest and they are not revealing the identities of their accomplices who got away.

In addition to an outdoor grow, deputies found 500 plants growing indoors.

Even though the victims had two marijuana prescriptions, deputies say the amount they had far exceeds the amount allowed by law. Right now deputies are still deciding whether the victims will be charged with any crimes.

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fresno county, fresno southwest, marijuana, home invasion, local, sontaya rose
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