By LeaAnne Klentzman
US Attorney Kenneth Magidson said that 27 people have been indicted and 24 of them are in custody for their participation in hydroponic marijuana grow houses that were scattered across Fort Bend, Harris and Montgomery counties. After a lengthy investigation by federal, state, and local law enforcement over 1,000 marijuana plants and the necessary growing accruements were seized during the simultaneous execution of search warrants at over 60 locations across the three county area in late August.
The properties used by this group reported to be an organized crime operation were rental properties in which the owner had no idea what was going on inside. The cost to repair the damage caused by the grow operation may run as much as $50k said one insider. According to reports, when the upscale homes were leased a year’s payment was made and the homes looked neighborhood appropriate from the outside. False walls were built and by electrical lines were run. According to federal reports, each of the homes contained at least 100 marijuana plants and some more than 850 plants.
The federal criminal indictment charges the 27 defendants with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, conspiracy to maintain a place for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing, and using controlled substances. Magidson said, “The indictment also gives notice of forfeiture of several vehicles, U.S. currency, and assorted hydroponic equipment from the store front and warehouse.”
Only one those indicted reportedly lives in Fort Bend County and he has been identified as Yen Thi Do, 42, Richmond.
The group of reported conspirators will work their way through the federal court system over the next few years having left many homeowners with an upscale rental property with expensive repairs.