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Warehouse Water Leak Reveals Marijuana Grow

Warehouse Water Leak Reveals Marijuana Grow

Vincent Rivera was arrested for felony cultivation of marijuana after a grow operation was discovered by police in a warehouse he rented. OAKDALE POLICE PHOTO


POSTED June 5, 2015 12:54 p.m.
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Water flowing from beneath a roll-up door of a warehouse on Ackley Circle led police to the discovery of 136 marijuana plants and a sophisticated grow operation. The tenant, an Oakdale resident, was arrested for marijuana cultivation while police also investigate additional building code violations.

On Wednesday, June 3, around 8 p.m., Oakdale police units were sent to a report of a water leak at a warehouse unit at 1872 Ackley Circle.  When he arrived, Officer Blake Ebbert observed water running from unit 11 into the parking lot from under the closed roll up. 

Staff at Crossfit Oakdale in the adjoining unit informed Officer Ebbert that water was also coming under the common wall on the south side of their business. They also reported a strong odor of marijuana coming from unit 11.

While Officer Ebbert was investigating the smell, two men, identified as Vincent Patrick Rivera, 34, of Oakdale and Alexander Xavier Willform, 20, of Modesto, arrived in a pick-up truck, stating they were there to fix a broken toilet in the unit. Rivera informed Officer Ebbert he was the tenant of unit 11.

When Officer Ebbert asked Rivera if he could enter the unit to ascertain the damage and severity of the leak due to the massive amount of water being wasted, Rivera refused and demanded a search warrant.

Police stated Rivera and Willform then left the scene in their vehicle without any attempt to enter the building or fix the leak.

Officer Ebbert continued to check the area and heard what sounded like fans running inside the warehouse and confirmed the odor of marijuana coming from inside. He deployed his K9 partner, Cruze, to check for an odor of narcotics. 

K9 Cruze alerted to an odor of narcotics and police units conducted a surveillance of the building to ascertain if anyone else came back.

Police observed Rivera and Willform return and remain at the unit for approximately a half-hour. When they left the area, Officer Andy Stever conducted a traffic stop. Rivera and Willform returned to unit 11 with police after Rivera signed a search warrant waiver for the unit.

According to police, Rivera presented a doctor's recommendation for “medical marijuana” allowing him 75 plants for personal use. 

A search of the warehouse revealed 136 marijuana plants, all approximately 18 inches tall. Additionally, the warehouse was rigged with grow lights, a watering system, cooling fans and an exhaust system.

The marijuana plants, with a street value over $5,000, were confiscated and Rivera was arrested for felony cultivation of marijuana. He was later booked at Stanislaus County Jail and has since bailed out on the charge.

City of Oakdale Public Works was summoned to the scene and shut off the water to the unit.

Public Works representatives stated the leak was coming from an overflowing water drum used for irrigation.

Police stated that the city is also looking into additional building code violations against Rivera at this time due to non-permitted modifications.

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