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Police harvest bumper crop of marijuana
A total of 193 marijuana plants totaling 2,930 pounds with an estimated street value of $8.79 million were seized by Ceres police on Thursday during the execution of three search warrants.

No arrests were made as detectives work to identify those who were caring for the plants. Police are trying to determine if the owners of the properties were involved.

Police were tipped off by residents in the 1600 block of Don Pedro Road who observed suspicious people in and out of two homes in the neighborhood. The strong odor of marijuana confirmed their suspicions that the people were growing pot in the backyards.

The Ceres Street Crimes Unit began to canvas the neighborhood and observed a 12-foot-tall marijuana plant that had grown above the fence line of a home on the north side Don Pedro Road. Investigators gathered enough information to obtain three search warrants which were executed at 7:45 a.m. Thursday. Street Crimes Unit officers, detectives and the Ceres SWAT team showed up at the three homes. After they were secured, the investigators were amazed to see so many tall marijuana plants.

In the backyard of one Don Pedro residence, 78 plants stood at about 12 feet tall.

"These plants appeared to have been well taken care of and the unique marijuana mint odor of the plants was noticeable from the street," said Sgt. Jose Berber.

Another Don Pedro home yielded approximately 50 plants while a property on El Camino Avenue had plants that stood about three feet tall and appeared ready to be harvested.

On Monday, the Street Crimes Unit seized 80 marijuana plants in an area surrounded by a 15-foot tall plywood fence on a one-acre ranchette parcel in the 3800 block of Collins Road near Don Pedro School.

The seizure was made when a search warrant was executed at 3:45 p.m.

The strong smell of pot tipped off neighbors who then tipped off police.

Two teen children were home at the time of the bust but there parents were not at home. No arrests had been made as of press time.

Police made arrangements for Stanislaus County Animal Control to take two horses found to be malnourished and neglected on the property away.

Ceres investigators are asking anyone with information on either marijuana grows to contact Stanislaus Area Crime Stoppers at 1-866-60-CRIME or text tips to "274637" with TIP704 in the wording.