Modesto, CA- On March 28, 2013, agents from the Modesto Police Department’s Narcotics Enforcement Team, MNET, served a search warrant in the 700 block of Codington Way.
Agents’ booked Fabian Ballesteros-Mendoza, 25 years-old, of Modesto for cultivation of marijuana and theft of power. Inside the house, agents found 663 plants with a street value of $1,989,000. Supervisor of MNET, Sergeant Kelly Rea said,
This grow was brought to our attention by neighbors who were noticing strange behavior at this house. We conducted a drug investigation into the house and served a search warrant. Fabian said he was brought to this house to tend to the grow. He said he did not know the owners of the house or who he was working for. It appears he may have been working off a debt for being brought into the United States. This is a very common practice, where subjects pay coyotes (smugglers) to bring illegal immigrants across the border. When the subjects can’t pay the coyote, they are basically sold into slavery to harvest the grows in exchange for their debts.
This house had the ability to grow four harvests a year which would gross nearly 8 million dollars. The subjects were stealing electricity so they were not paying the large cost of operating an indoor grow.