Hunt for weed trimmer unearths cache of marijuana

mnorth@mercedsunstar.comMay 4, 2013 

ATWATER -- A man who accused his neighbor of stealing his weed trimmer unknowingly triggered another weed-related investigation, yielding a large stash of marijuana.

Officer Scott Duncan was dispatched to a mobile home park in the 5200 block of Crest Road on Monday afternoon after the man notified police of the alleged equipment theft, said Lt. Sam Joseph of the Atwater Police Department.

Duncan contacted the 49-year-old woman, who took him to the shed where her neighbor thought his weed trimmer was located, Joseph said.

When the woman opened the shed, Duncan didn't see the weed trimmer but did smell marijuana and noticed bags full of the drug.

The woman signed a search warrant waiver, and Duncan entered the shed, Joseph said. The officer found three grocery bags, one small blue bag and two large garbage bags full of marijuana, Joseph said.

Duncan and Cpl. Armando Echevarria found that the woman's 17-year-old son is a documented gang member and is on probation, Joseph said. Because the suspect is a juvenile, his name isn't being released.

Echevarria went into the residence with officer Juan Sufuentes and Duncan.

They could smell marijuana coming from a room that was locked, Joseph said. The woman told officers it was her son's room.

She said she didn't have a key to the room, so officers forced open the door, Joseph said.

Inside the room, officers found the teenager as well as a clear plastic bag and a large tub full of marijuana.

The marijuana, which totaled 26.3 pounds, was seized, Joseph said. The suspect and his mother were arrested.

The location of the weed trimmer is still unknown, according to police.

Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or mnorth@mercedsunstar.com.

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