MARIJUANA PLANTS in various stages of growth and related equipment were seized by detectives at 2907 Pasada Court in Cameron Park Thursday morning. Photo courtesy El Dorado County Sheriff's Department.

Cameron Park Life

Cameron Park indoor pot garden seized

By August 18, 2011

The relative tranquility of a quiet Cameron Park suburb was disturbed Aug. 18  by the long arm of the law, but locals were more than happy to forgive the ruckus.

The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department, led by five of its detectives, raided a home on Pasada Court, putting to rest an elaborate indoor marijuana grow.

“The house has been under investigation for a little while now,” said Sheriff’s Lt. Bryan Golmitz. “There’s definitely been a little bit of homework on this.”

Although no arrests were made, authorities did not leave the residence empty-handed.

Golmitz said the Cameron Park house had seven total rooms, five of which housed what appeared to be hundreds of marijuana plants in various stages of growth.

The house also featured one drying room, where the cut plants are hung to dry, and one room dedicated to soil, Golmitz said.

Golmitz could not give an estimated number of marijuana plants, but quipped, “There’s a lot.”

The sophistication of the operation was not lost on authorities, who noticed that each room was equipped with at least one swamp cooler to help facilitate a humid climate.

“They knew what they were doing,” said Golmitz.

The home was condemned by county officials, who said the growers rerouted electricity and built their own ventilation system.

At the same time detectives began their raid on the Pasada Court home, another team of county investigators swarmed on another home in Elk Grove thought to be associated with the Cameron Park grow.

No arrests were made in that bust, either.

Golmitz said deputies expected to find nobody home at either residence but that authorities know exactly who they’re looking for.

As detectives began emptying the contents of the house onto the driveway, curious passersby started celebrating in the street.

“We smell it, we see the people, we’ve called the cops,” said neighbor Phyllis Bachilla.

Bachilla and her husband Dan said they suspected something was amiss inside of the house shortly after the new residents moved in several years ago.

“The first thing these people did when they moved in was board up the windows,” said Dan.

“We knew it from the day they bought the house,” said his wife.

Richard Green, who was walking his dog in the area, said there was always something “odd” about the house.

“There were lights on all during the day,” he said.

But Green, the Bachillas and other residents were happy to have the operation shut down.

“When they started boarding up (the house), I thought, ‘Wait a minute. This is suspicious,’” said Dan.

But the early morning bust was bittersweet for his wife, Phyllis, who said she still stays in touch with the former owners of the Pasada Court home.

“They’re going to be heartbroken,” she lamented. “They wanted a nice family to move in.”

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Jim Ratajczak


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