Sheriff’s deputies seize marijuana in Anza, San Jacinto in two separate Halloween operations

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Deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Hemet Station seized marijuana suspected of being illegally cultivated in two separate enforcement operations on Thursday – the first as a result of a planned warrant search, and the second stemming from trick-or-treaters’ discovery of an apparent grow operation inside a home they visited.

Early in the day on Halloween, around 6 a.m., deputies served warrants at three sites in Anza to search for illicitly-grown marijuana, according to sheriff’s Sgt. James Burton. They seized 408 plants and 420 pounds of processed marijuana – for a total of five tons of marijuana – along with an AR-15 rifle.

Three suspects, identified as 28-year-old Aaron Cruz, 29-year-old Alejandro Peraza-Duran and 55-year-old Bonnie Warch, all of Anza, were “contacted and determined to be culpable in the marijuana cultivation occurring on their respective properties,” Burton said, though jail records showed none were in custody.

Charges will be filed with the Riverside County District Attorney’s office, Burton said.

Around 7 p.m. on Halloween night, a family that had taken their children trick-or-treating arrived at a home on Crooked Branch Way near Wamblee Lane in San Jacinto, according to sheriff’s Sgt. S.C. Burden. One of the parents, upon approaching the home, discovered the front door was wide open with marijuana growing inside.

Sheriff’s deputies were contacted and arrived to conduct a search of the home, which was unoccupied, according to Burden.

The residence was “heavily modified for the illicit cultivation of marijuana,” Burden said. Deputies were able to get a warrant for that location as well and seized 759 marijuana plants “in various stages of growth.”

They also discovered an electrical bypass in the home’s garage and contacted Southern California Edison to assist in investigating, while San Jacinto Code Enforcement found the home unsafe and uninhabitable, and red-tagged the home, according to Burden.  A dog at the residence “was turned over to the Ramona Humane Society for safekeeping.”

All contraband was seized, but no arrests were made, Burden said.