(August 4, 2006) -- As first reported on LBReport.com's front page (www.lbreport.com) shortly after the news broke (we post developments as they break with details to follow), LB police officers served a search warrant on Thursday night, August 3 in 3400 block Bellflower Blvd. (west side of street between Wardlow and Monlaco Rds) and found an alleged marijuana-growing operation in a garage.
We were on scene about 9:00 p.m. after service of the warrant and watched from the sidewalk as LBPD officers operated in the quiet neighborhood just a short walk from St. Cornelius Church and Wardlow Park.
The garage door was open and part of the garage interior contained an illuminated area [came out as bright spot in our digital photos] which appeared from a distance to contain potted plants...and officers said the potted plants were pot.
LBPD Sgt. Jerry Gibbs, a veteran of LBPD's narcotics enforcement section, told us, "We were investigating an anonymous complaint and we arrived here and served a search warrant and found a marijuana-grow in the backyard." He added that LBPD had received a number of complaints of suspicious activity at the location.
Sgt. Gibbs said officers found approximately [rough count] 52 plants growing, some outside but mainly inside.
LBPD officer Greg Roberts on scene said it wasn't a hydroponic operation but still pretty sophisticated with an enclosure to provide a growing environment year-round, including a C02 cylinder to promote growing. (Telephoto lens shot from sidewalk shows officers alongside illuminated alleged growing area).
One man was taken into custody (identification not immediately released). We noticed that the officers wore bullet-proof vests. "Every warrant we serve is risky," Sgt. Gibbs said. "Most of the time we don't have problems because we're ready...We train for search warrant entries...You don't want to get into a routine, so we train and do all the things we do [to prepare] for this type of activity."
It was a surreal scene, with officers working in a quiet, methodical manner without the flashing red lights and other visible signs usually associated with police activity.
Also not visible but worthy of attention: the leveraging of LBPD resources. Sgt. Gibbs indicated that LBPD's East Division had loaned one of its patrol officers to narcotics enforcement...who has received special training in investigations and writing search warrants. He now focuses his efforts, through narcotics, primarily in the East Division...as well as bolstering resources for narcotics-related complaints/warrants in other Divisions. "It's a win-win situation for East Division and for us," Sgt. Gibbs said.
Sgt. Gibbs specifically credited East Division officer Shea Roberstson for that skilled work.
"He did a good job for us here," Sgt. Gibbs said as officers carried out the plants for evidence.