2 suspected of running illegal marijuana grow in Menifee

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Sheriff's deputies believe two New York residents were growing more than 1,000 marijuana plants out of a Menifee home. Valley News/Riverside County Sheriff's Department courtesy photo

MENIFEE – Two New York residents were arrested for allegedly running an illicit marijuana grow operation out of a Menifee home and stealing utilities, sheriff’s deputies said Friday.

According to Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. Aaron Avila, Perris station deputies received complaints in early January of a possible illegal marijuana grow in Menifee.

On Wednesday, Jan. 22, deputies and Menifee city code enforcement served a warrant at a residence on Sewalt Court, in a neighborhood northwest of Haun and Garbani roads.

“As a result of the search warrant, 1602 marijuana plants were eradicated,” Avila said in a statement. “In addition, the electrical system within the residence was illegally altered, causing a severe fire hazard.”

Southern California Edison employees were called to the home and were able to neutralize the fire hazard posed by the electrical system. The utility workers estimated a total of $39,000 worth of utilities had been stolen through the power system tampering.

Zhi Lin, 49, and Biguang Lin, 50, both of Elmhurst, New York, were arrested and taken to the Cois M. Byrd Detention Center in French Valley on suspicion of illegal marijuana cultivation and

Zhi Lin was released on $40,000 bail the day after his arrest, while Biguang Lin remained in custody in lieu of $100,000 bail. Both are facing charges of misdemeanor illegal marijuana cultivation and felony utility theft.

Will Fritz can be reached at email at wfritz@reedermedia.com.