By Peter Hegarty
Article Launched: 10/09/2007 08:21:18 AM PDT
An elderly couple caught with more than 200 marijuana plants at their Alameda home mounted the pot-growing operation because they needed cash, according to police.
Paul Richard Martinetti, 73, and Suzanne Roberts, 68, were taken into custody on Thursday at their residence on Garfield Avenue.
The arrests follow police securing felony warrants that accuse the couple of cultivating marijuana and possessing marijuana for sale.
Along with the 230 plants, police allegedly found about three pounds of marijuana -- packaged and ready to smoke - when they initially visited the property in August after someone reported a strong smell of marijuana in the area.
Narcotics officers did not immediately arrest Martinetti and Roberts, however, because they said the case remained under investigation, and that they hoped to develop leads that would point them to other marijuana-growing operations.
Inside a detached garage, which was behind the single-family residence, police also said they found a heating and watering system for the plants.
The plants measured from a few inches to at least 4 feet tall.
A narcotics officer who asked that his name not be disclosed described it as a "well-organized operation," but not very sophisticated.
"He told me that he had run into financial difficulties and that they decided to begin growing marijuana as a way to make cash," the officer said about Martinetti.
Along with the marijuana, police said they seized about $9,000 in cash at the couple's home in the 3200 block of Garfield Avenue, plus a .22 caliber handgun
What will they waste our money and jail space on next? Seniors having sex parties? I shouldn't give them any ideas