Local News

Friday, Aug 19 2011 09:10 PM

Stash of pot discovered in kids' room

BY JASON KOTOWSKI, Californian staff writer jkotowski@bakersfield.com

This time the pot was found in a kids' room, deputies said.

A bust in Delano this week came up with marijuana seeds in a sock sewn into a stuffed animal and a bag of marijuana plus two scales under the children's bed, deputies reported.

A total of 149 pounds of packaged marijuana bud was stored in the bedroom, deputies reported. A second stuffed animal with marijuana seeds inside it was found in the living room.

It all was found during the service of a warrant Thursday in the 1100 block of Belmont Street, deputies reported.

Deputies assigned to the Kern County Sheriff's Department's Major Violators Unit have been getting quite a workout the past few weeks. The group, sometimes with assistance from other agencies, has been serving search warrants at marijuana grows and residences where marijuana is being stored several times a week, netting thousands of plants, processed marijuana, weapons and citing numerous people under the county's new ordinance limiting the growth of medical marijuana.

The Delano bust resulted in three arrests, including the parents accused of storing the marijuana in their children's bedroom, deputies reported. The children, a 3-year-old and a 5-month-old, are now in protective custody.

The parents, Maria Reyna and Ignacio Jurado, were booked on suspicion of numerous drug offenses and felony child endangerment, deputies reported. Jurado, 24, was also booked on suspicion of possession of a concealed gun.

In addition to the pot, a loaded .45-caliber semi-automatic gun was beneath a mattress in the living room, authorities said.

A third person, Martin Lopez, 25, was arrested on suspicion of carrying a concealed gun, deputies reported. Lopez was a passenger in a car Jurado drove by the residence while the warrant was being served.

All three suspects are in the country illegally, and immigration detainers have been placed on them, according to deputies.

A sheriff's spokesman could not be reached for comment Friday.

In a separate incident, a search warrant served early Wednesday in a remote forest area near Highway 155 and Shirley Creek resulted in deputies seizing more than 3,000 pot plants.

The suspects had apparently just left the area, as deputies discovered a campsite with food still cooking on a stove, deputies said.

Some plants had already been harvested, and deputies harvested the remaining 3,102 plants, deputies reported. They also seized six pounds of processed marijuana and a loaded, stolen gun that was reported taken from a victim of an armed robbery in South Carolina in 2006.

Other recent operations have discovered marijuana grows not far from local schools. Sheriff's officials have said the cultivation of marijuana is a public safety issue, and they've come across instances where even people with medical marijuana recommendations have been growing pot illegally.

The issue of medical marijuana has been hotly debated since the county board of supervisors passed an emergency ordinance earlier this month banning cultivation of more than 12 plants on one legal parcel of land, even by people who have a recommendation for medical marijuana. A lawsuit filed Tuesday by two men and their medical marijuana cooperatives seeks a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction and permanent injunction against implementation of the law.

The lawsuits says the ordinance is an "improper amendment" to the state's Health and Safety Code that pre-empts it, is "unconstitutionally vague" and the 12-plant limit is "arbitrary."

Sheriff Donny Youngblood has said he can't comment on pending litigation.

Medical marijuana advocates have also said they will fight a separate ordinance that would ban storefront cooperatives. Opponents of the ban have until 5 p.m. Sept. 8 to collect 17,350 signatures from registered Kern County voters.

Supervisors would then have to decide whether to rescind the ordinance or suspend it and call an election to put the issue before voters about whether the law will be enacted.

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