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Officers shocked by what they found in raid on marijuana grow house

Updated Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013 | 12:50 a.m.

A raid on a 3,600-square-foot home brimming with marijuana sent SWAT officers reeling Wednesday as they encountered an overpowering, lung-burning stench.

SWAT and narcotics officers arrived at the 3300 block of Trickling Stream Circle around 5:30 p.m. As they approached the home, Metro Police Officer Laura Meltzer said, two suspects were outside the home and tried to run away. The man and woman, each believed to be in their late 40s, were arrested.

It was unclear if the two owned the western valley home, located near Desert Inn and Fort Apache roads.

Once SWAT personnel breached the home, they were immediately overcome with a “respiratory irritant,” and were forced to retreat and suit up in hazmat-like suits, Meltzer said. Upon their return to the home, officers discovered around 1,000 marijuana plants.

In early October, Metro Police seized 109 marijuana plants worth an estimated $381,000. Several weeks later, Henderson Police seized more than 100 plants in a raid, valued at around $321,000.

Meltzer said Lt. Laz Chavez, the officer in charge of the investigation, was “shocked” by the amount of pot in the home.

“Almost every usable space is being utilized for marijuana,” she said.

Narcotics officers were just beginning their investigation around 11 p.m. and had not discovered any firearms but did find evidence of power theft, Meltzer said.

The machinery used in the growing of the plants will be destroyed, Meltzer said, and the marijuana impounded as evidence.

Meltzer said the two suspects will be charged once the investigation of the home is completed.

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