The whole block filled with the scent of marijuana Tuesday afternoon when Piedmont Police lifted the door on the garage of 50 Nova Dr where they had discovered a pot growing operation.
Neighbors watched as police pulled out piles of dried marijuana, plants, pots of soil, fans, specialized lighting, and other materials used for cultivation and stuffed much of the evidence into a trailer normally used by Animal Control.
One resident, who wished to remain anonymous because of the proximity of her house to the site of the raid, said her suspicions had been confirmed.
"Two SUVs would come by once or twice a week," she said. "It seemed like the house lights were on a timer. We saw two young men coming and going sometimes. Why would two guys live in Piedmont with no children?"
Rebecca Erdiakoff, who lives on another street nearby, reported that two weeks ago a man had knocked on her door and made an unexpected request to purchase marijuana.
"It makes a little more sense now–a random man arriving at my door to buy pot," she said, noting the proximity of her home to the apparent grow house.
At 7 a.m. Monday morning police served a search warrant at 50 Nova Dr, arresting a 19-year-old man at the scene and confiscating 120 marijuana plants and approximately four packaged pounds of the drug, according to a department press release. A loaded Beretta semi-automatic shotgun was also said to be found inside what police described as a "sparsely furnished" single-family home.
Evidence found at the Nova Drive house led detectives to a second grow house at 15 Crest Rd, Piedmont Police Chief John Hunt said in an e-mail to members of the media Tuesday afternoon. After obtaining an additional search warrant, police reportedly discovered two rooms in that single-family residence set up for growing and several pounds of marijuana, though no live plants were found. Police detained four adult suspects during the second search who were released later after questioning.
Piedmont detectives had been investigating a group of individuals thought to be responsible for the alleged growing operations over the past week following a tip from the community. The police were able to secure the original warrant to search 50 Nova Dr from Alameda Superior Court Judge Eric Labowitz based on their research and observations during several hours of surveillance.
The investigation is ongoing and Piedmont Police are asking anyone with more information to contact Detective George Phifer or Detective John Florance 510-420-3013.
Police have not yet identified the suspects in the case. Piedmont Patch will be updating this story as more details become available.