General Crime

* Fifteen people were arrested during a raid on backyard marijuana gardens in Santa Rosa

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Fifteen people were arrested during a raid on backyard marijuana gardens in the Roseland area of southwest Santa Rosa Wednesday, a Sonoma County sheriff’s lieutenant said. Armed with 33 search warrants, law enforcement officers from several agencies, including the FBI and California Highway Patrol, entered and secured several homes, vacated the residents and uprooted 1,150 plants in the backyards, sheriff’s Lt. Dennis O’Leary said.

The homes are in four blocks around the Bellevue and Moorland avenues area south of the Corby Avenue automobile showrooms, O’Leary said. The raid also netted 96 pounds of processed marijuana, six guns, — including a short-barrel rifle with a silencer — a half-pound of cocaine, five grams of methamphetamine and $25,000 in cash. The street value of the marijuana is in excess of $2 million, O’Leary said. A complaint about the presence of backyard marijuana gardens led to the raid, authorities said.

“This area is known for being a high crime area involving gang activity,” O’Leary said. “The purpose of these search warrants is to rid the neighborhood of illegal marijuana operations that may be financially benefiting gangs and that illegal grow operations often lead to further crimes against law abiding residents of the neighborhood,” O’Leary said. Santa Rosa police and the Department of Homeland Security also participated with the sheriff’s office in the raid that started around 9 a.m.

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