Police on Monday raided an Atwater house where almost 100 cannabis plants were found growing, authorities reported.
Officers served a search warrant about 3 p.m. in the 1600 block of Drakeley Avenue, according to interim Chief Sam Joseph.
Joseph said officers will seek a criminal complaint through the Merced County District Attorney’s Office for charges against Richard and Lori Johnson, whom police identified as the property owners. The husband and wife were not arrested Monday.
Lori Johnson said the marijuana found in her backyard does not belong to her.
“We rented that to someone and they’re growing the marijuana,” she told the Sun-Star on Tuesday. “We needed the money because we’ve been having a hard time. We had a rental agreement and (the renter) had a permit to grow.”
She said she does not believe she and her husband should be held responsible for the marijuana on their property, but acknowledged never researching local and state laws and ordinances.
“We don’t know all the laws. We don’t know anything about it,” she said. “They (the renter) told us they were responsible for it. We weren’t making money off it. We’re just getting money for the mortgage. We’re doing something to try to get out of the hole. We were desperate.”
Police said outdoor cultivation is not allowed in Atwater.
“And even if it had been (indoor), the number of plants they had exceeded any medical use,” Joseph said. “We believe it was for commercial growing.”
The outdoor cultivation tallied 95 plants, police said. Atwater does not allow marijuana cultivation of any kind within city limits.
Police identified the site through aerial patrols. Joseph said 95 plants is an unusually large amount of plants to find within Atwater city limits.