San Francisco police uproot palace of pot in Inner Parkside neighborhood 

click to enlarge Scented: Marijuana could be smelled several houses away from this Inner Parkside home, which held a pot-growing operation, cops say. - MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner
  • Scented: Marijuana could be smelled several houses away from this Inner Parkside home, which held a pot-growing operation, cops say.

Tripping on marijuana would be easy to do in this house.

Officers responding to a call about a burglary in the Inner Parkside neighborhood early Sunday arrested three suspects and uncovered a large illegal marijuana growing operation that took up most of the home, including a bathroom and hallway, police said.

A resident of the 2400 block of 17th Avenue called police about 4:45 a.m. after seeing three men breaking into a home, police Sgt. Michael Andraychak said Monday.

The cops knocked, but no one responded, so they entered in order to hunt down potential burglars, Andraychak said. Evidence of an illegal growing operation was everywhere.

“It appears every room, or close to every room — even the hallway — had growing and storing taking place,” Andraychak said.

In one room, 100 recently harvested plants were found. In another, there were 95 plants. Two more rooms had 46 and 47 plants, respectively. And another bedroom, the front hallway and the bathroom contained bags and bins filled with marijuana, police said.

Lamps, ballasts and ventilation fans, among other equipment, also were found.

Once inside, police heard noise coming from upstairs, Andraychak said.

“They investigated and detained two people who were placing marijuana into black garbage bags,” the sergeant said, adding that a third suspect was eventually arrested as well.

The suspects, all of whom claim the grow operation was not theirs, have been identified as San Mateo residents Darrin Saunders, 48; and Charles Calleja, 35; and Ernest Lovett, 27, of San Jose. Police as of Monday were still working to determine who was operating the pot factory.

Police said they believe the trio entered the home by breaking the rollup garage doors.

All three men were booked on charges of burglary, possession of stolen property, possession of burglary tools and conspiracy, Andraychak said.

Lovett is no stranger to police. While on probation in 2007, he was arrested in connection with a massive copper heist in San Carlos.

PG&E crews called to the scene determined that the electrical circuit had been bypassed.

maldax@sfexaminer.com


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