GILROY, Calif. — At “Gilroy Furniture & More,” it turns out only the second offering was true.
The downtown storefront on Monterey Road was never an operating business but rather a well-disguised indoor marijuana grow housing with more than 1,000 pot plants valued at upward of $2 million, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.
The agency’s Marijuana Enforcement Team raided the building in the 7500 of Monterey Road on Thursday following an investigation with Gilroy police. They soon found out that despite window signs reading “All Display Inventory Must Sell” and “No Reasonable Offer Refuse (sic),” the store was never open to customers.
Furniture visible from the street was literal window dressing, investigators said, concealing a huge back room packed wall-to-wall with pot plants, with overhead air ducts and heating lamps. Police also recovered 50 pounds of processed marijuana, and determined that the electric meter had been bypassed to the tune of $80,000 worth of stolen electricity from PG&E.
Gilroy resident, Phuc Nguyen, 39, was arrested in connection with the grow, the Sheriff’s Office said. He was booked into the Santa Clara County Jail on suspicion of illegal cultivation of marijuana for sales and theft of utilities and is being held on $200,000 bail.
The raid was preceded by an earlier grow-house bust on Tomkins Court in Gilroy that yielded 300 plants and 25 pounds of processed marijuana, Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Kurtis Stenderup said.
Community tips led to that location, and evidence gathered there led to the furniture store. Stenderup stressed that his agency does not investigate medicinal marijuana possession that is in line with California law.
Anyone with information about illegal marijuana operations can contact the Sheriff’s Marijuana Enforcement Team at 408-808-4420.
Contact Robert Salonga at 408-920-5002. Follow him at Twitter.com/robertsalonga.