Power overload leads police to hundreds of pot plants

LOS ANGELES — Sparking electrical wires and a burning transformer box in a Pomona, Calif., alley led police to a nearby business late Wednesday, where they discovered hundreds of pot plants in a marijuana grow operation, authorities said.

Pomona police and Los Angeles County firefighters responded to an alley in the 500 block of West Holt Avenue shortly before 11 p.m. after someone called to report that a transformer box was on fire and electrical lines had fallen in the area.

A Southern California Edison worker who was called to handle the downed wires told officers the incident appeared to have resulted from a power overload coming from a nearby business.

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Electrical overloads often occur when a customer plugs too many appliances into one outlet or runs multiple appliances that draw high amps at the same time. Such overloads at businesses and homes are often the result of marijuana grow operations, according to utility and fire officials.

When officers approached the business, they noticed a back sliding door had been left open. They conducted a sweep to determine whether anyone inside had been the victim of a crime. During their search, police said they found evidence of a “sophisticated marijuana grow” operation inside the building.

Authorities secured a search warrant and later found more than 500 marijuana plants weighing more than 120 pounds inside the business, police said.

No one was in the building at the time, and no arrests have been made. Authorities seized the plants, and the electric company cut power to the business to prevent a fire, police said.

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