Monday, Sept. 24, 2012 | 9:15 p.m.
Metro Police arrested a man in connection with a sophisticated marijuana grow house operation in the Las Vegas Country Club neighborhood Monday night.
Amos John Cavallo, 34, was arrested on charges of growing more than 200 marijuana plants inside a house located on the 800 block of Vegas Valley Drive. The street value of the plants is a little more than $700,000, according to Lt. Laz Chavez of Metro's narcotics unit.
Authorities had been looking for Cavallo since August 2011, when Nye County deputies discovered two marijuana grow houses in Pahrump containing nearly 2,000 plants worth about $5.7 million on the street. Cavallo — the alleged operator of the two grow houses — had fled the scene as deputies arrived at his residence.
Upon fleeing Pahrump, Cavallo eventually made his way to the posh neighborhood of the Las Vegas Country Club, a multimillion-dollar club that was briefly owned by mob boss Moe Dalitz.
A neighbor tipped police to the rental house, prompting narcotics officers to surveil the property for the past few days. When officials confirmed that Cavallo was inside the home, a SWAT team went in and apprehended him, Chavez said.
What police found inside was surprising.
Nearly every room in the 3,000-square-foot home was converted into a marijuana grow operation, Chavez said. Walls were torn down and rooms were retrofitted with electrical and drainage systems. Cavallo left just a 200-square-foot room for his living quarters.
"It was one of the most sophisticated grow operations I've seen in some time," Chavez said. "It was very sophisticated."
Pot busts have become more commonplace as marijuana growers have stepped up their business, Chavez said. Increasingly, they are moving into more affluent neighborhoods where they can "hide right under our noses," he said.
"Sometimes, these bad guys think if they're in a fancy neighborhood, it'll be harder for us to find them," said Metro spokesman Lt. Dan Zehnder. "There are no typical neighborhoods where (grow operations) happen anymore."
Cavallo was arrested and charged with multiple felony charges of possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana with the intent to sell, and the sale of marijuana. He was booked into the Clark County Detention Center.
For his alleged Pahrump grow houses, Cavallo faces charges of maintaining a place to sell/use/give away a controlled substance, trafficking marijuana, trafficking methamphetamine, possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia for manufacturing a controlled substance and theft of a public utility.