Mantua fire leads to million-dollar marijuana operation bust
MANTUA - May 17, 2012 (WPVI) -- A major drug operation on a quiet Mantua street was uncovered when police say part of the system within a wall sparked a fire.
It was around 3:45 Wednesday afternoon when someone spotted smoke coming from a second floor bedroom of a house on the 4000 block of Poplar Street, prompting the call to firefighters.
Firefighters say when they were rushing into the house, a man was running out.
Crews put out the fire, but stumbled onto the grow house where drug officers found 60 plants with a street value of about $10,000 each.
Philadelphia police were called to the scene and one by one, officers brought out large bags of marijuana, plants, lamps, fertilizer and other hi-tech equipment for this operation.
Investigators say the grow house was so sophisticated they believe the operation is worth nearly $1-million.
Fire investigators say an illegal electrical hookup behind one of the walls is what sparked the fire.
Stunned neighbors watched the scene unfold throughout the evening. One neighbor, Annie Avery, told Action News, "I'm very, very upset. It was right across the street from my house."
Police are now looking for the man that fled the burning house, as this million dollar marijuana operation is still under investigation.
philadelphia, marijuana, fire, local/state
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