HELENDALE • A report of gunfire led deputies to an abandoned Helendale property where they found an assault rifle and other weapons along with hundreds of marijuana plants that had been grown using stolen electricity.
Three men ran from the property and deputies are still searching for them, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s officials said Monday.
A deputy from the Victor Valley station was investigating a 911 call about shots fired near a home in the 15400 block of Crouch Road at 11:52 a.m. Sunday. The deputy believed the dilapidated home was vacant, but when he looked in through an open sliding door, he saw a fully automatic assault rifle, two handguns and freshly harvested marijuana inside.
As the deputy called for back-up, he saw three men run from the home and into the nearby desert. Additional deputies responded to the scene and a helicopter aided in the search, but the suspects weren’t found.
Along with the assault rifle, deputies found a .25-caliber handgun, .357 Magnum and 9 mm handgun plus numerous rounds of ammunition. The firearms were all loaded.
Detectives from the Marijuana Eradication Team prepared a search warrant and investigators found two separate cultivations on the property with a total of 135 marijuana plants, all mature and budding. The site where the plants were growing was surrounded by plywood fencing and covered with nursery netting.
At least 100 additional plants had previously been harvested, sheriff’s officials said, with roughly 25 pounds of processed marijuana in the home.
The culprits were using water from a natural well on the property. They had illegally obtained electricity from a nearby Southern California Edison power pole to supply electricity for water pumps, light and other equipment. Edison officials responded to disconnect the bypassed wiring.
The property owner didn’t know the men were living there, using camping equipment and bedding to make themselves at home.
The suspects were described only as three Hispanic adult males.
The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Narcotics Division at (909) 890-4840 or remain anonymous and contact WeTip at (800) 78-CRIME
October 01, 2012 3:59 PM