100+ pot plants found in major marijuana ring bust in the West Valley

Posted at 11:03 AM, Aug 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-18 22:10:54-04

Deputies have served search warrants at three West Valley homes believed to be involved in a large pot-growing operation, Maricopa County Sheriff's officials said Thursday.

MCSO says investigators raided three homes -- one in Surprise and two in Peoria -- finding 107 pot plants and 33 pounds of harvested marijuana.  They also reportedly found $44,000 worth of marijuana growing equipment, $20,000 in cash, and a handgun taken from a prohibited possessor.

MCSO deputies have arrested 46-year-old Cynthia Drey and 49-year-old Randy Dominguez.  They are both facing a variety of drug charges.

The main grow house, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, was near 163rd Avenue and Bell Road.

When ABC15 visited that house, a man calling himself Jeff identified himself as the grow house security guard.  He claimed the grow operation was legal under Arizona’s medical marijuana law.

“Well, [the owner] had all his papers and stuff,” said Jeff, who also said he was hired by his nephew to guard the house and its drugs.

MCSO deputies, however, beg to differ.  Investigators say the grow operation has only been pretending to follow the medical marijuana laws.  In reality, deputies said the illegal business, operating since 2012, was issuing caregiver and patient cards based on fraudulent addresses.

“Their clients would call them for what they needed and they would deliver it to them,” said Jeff.

According to investigators, a grow operation of this size could produce $1 million worth of pot per year.