How the Los Banos police chief helped discover a large illegal marijuana operation

Two men were arrested Tuesday in connection with a large marijuana grow in Los Banos.

According to the Los Banos Police Department, 39-year-old Hai Minh Nguyen, and 45-year-old Phuc Van Tran, both of San Jose, were arrested when the illegal grow was found inside a building in the 200 block of Commerce Way.

Chief Gary Brizzee was driving in the area when he observed a man standing outside a vacant business. Brizzee checked for warrants and discovered Nguyen was wanted on a warrant for possession of marijuana for sales and maintaining a place to sell a controlled substance.

Police said they observed signs of a potential illegal grow. Los Banos officers and the Merced Area Gang and Narcotics Task Force served a search warrant at 246 Commerce Way.

Los Banos Police said two suspects were arrested after authorities located a large-scale marijuana grow operation in the 200 block of Commerced Way in Los Banos, on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. According to police, more than 800 plants were removed from the building.

Investigators discovered a sophisticated indoor marijuana growing operation in the converted warehouse. More than 800 marijuana plants with an estimated street value of over $250,000 were removed from the building, according to authorities.

Police said Tran was spotted hiding on the rooftop of the building by the police department’s drone. He went back into the building and was later found hiding under a false wall near the ceiling.

Tran faces charges of conspiracy, cultivating marijuana and resisting or delaying a peace officer. Nguyen faces charges of conspiracy and cultivating marijuana.

No shots were fired and no injuries were reported.

Police said speculation on social media of shots fired and the possibility of a dead body were false and caused unnecessary alarm and disruption to nearby businesses.