The owner of a Madera County home heavily damaged by renters who turned the house into an indoor marijuana plantation said Thursday she is still trying to wrap her head around the devastation they left behind.
“It’s all so overwhelming, I get flustered,” said Holiday Manly, who learned Wednesday that the apparently model renters who always paid on time had been using the home near Road 27 and Avenue 18 1/2 to grow between 400 and 600 marijuana plants.
She found out after she got a call from narcotics detectives when a warrant was served at the address. When she arrived at the home, she learned the renters had used the house to put pots of the plants throughout the home. The drywall was heavily damaged, along with paint and even ductwork in the attic, said Manly, who doesn’t know if she’s covered for the damage.
“If insurance doesn’t pay,” I don’t know what I’m going to do,” she said. Manly was on her way to an attorney to help her plan options.
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She said investigators took one person into custody at the scene who may have been acting as a tender for the growing operation, but the renters are still at large and she has no idea where they are.
Ryan Pontecorvo, a special agent supervisor for the California Department of Justice, and the Madera narcotics task force, identified the tender as Jose Leon Ramirez, 63, a Mexican national. Pontecorvo said it isn’t known who actually rented the home and set up the operation. He added that “houses like this are popping up all over California.” Pontecorvo said the job of workers such as Ramirez is simply to stay in the home and grow the marijuana plants.
Compounding the crime, Manly said someone returned to the home Wednesday night and broke in, apparently to remove marijuana growing equipment left behind. They also left a door and a gate open and two small dogs that were living at the house were abandoned.
“They’re cute little dogs,” said Manly, who said she may be asking community members to help her with home repairs. Anyone who wants more information can email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.