when narcotics officers from the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department raided a reported marijuana growing operation on the 11700 block of West Larch Road.
Working off a tip, officers of the Metro Narcotics Task Force found 205 mature marijuana plants in a fenced area behind a Larch Road house, according to sheriff’s Lt. Todd Wright.
He said officers went in at about 11 a.m. and found that the alleged growing area was disguised as a cornfield, with cornstalks around the perimeter of the field.
Also uncovered at the house, Wright said, were a setup that would allegedly allow drying of harvested marijuana and about 80 pounds of processed pot.
According to a media release from sheriff’s spokesman Les Garcia, several suspects tried to flee the scene on foot. It was not clear whether all nine people were arrested at the scene.
The people arrested in connection to the raid were Gabriel Ochoa Valdavinos, 30; Jose Ochoa Valdavinos, 31; Antonio Diaz, 22; Jose Magallon, 35; Juan Ochoa, 25; Miguel Ochoa, 27; Jaime Alvarez-Magallon, 24; Zeferino Valencia, 49; and Alfredo Zavala, 48.
They were charged with planting and cultivating marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale and conspiracy to commit a crime.
All except Valencia and Zavala were also charged with resisting arrest, according to Garcia.
According to the sheriff’s website, still in custody in the San Joaquin County Jail on Thursday were Alvarez, Diaz, Magallon, Gabriel Ochoa Valdovinos and Jose Valdovinos. All of them were being held without bail, except for Jose Valdovinos, who was listed with $132,000 bail.
All defendants are scheduled for arraignment in San Joaquin County Superior Court in Stockton at 1:30 p.m. in Department 35 on Friday, Sept. 28.
Wright said the investigation is ongoing. He did not disclose the nature of the tip that alerted law enforcement to the alleged grow house.
Sheriff’s officials did not confirm whether the address where the marijuana was reportedly discovered growing was the same place three people were shot during a Sweet 16 birthday party on Sept. 8, but that house was also on the 11700 block of West Larch Road, and a fenced-in cornfield was visible behind the main residence.