Mountain View Voice

News - April 23, 2010

Mountain View police bust nets $100,000 in pot plants

Authorities say grower not in compliance with Prop. 215

by Andrea Gemmet

Mountain View police say they seized more than $100,000 worth of marijuana plants growing in a house near Aptos after a local dealer arrested by officers led them to the operation.

Mountain View police Sgt. Pete De La Ossa said the case began when a patrol officer arrested a suspected drug dealer.

The investigation stemming from that initial arrest, which is still ongoing, led police to Campbell resident Anthony Contento, 29, so police set up a meeting, De La Ossa said. Contento was arrested April 2 in Sunnyvale on charges of possessing marijuana for sale, and was booked into county jail.

"He's got a substantial amount of marijuana on him, and there's also evidence in his vehicle that he has a grow (pot growing operation) someplace," he said.

According to De La Ossa, the "grow" turned out to be an indoor marijuana nursery in a house in a rural part of unincorporated Aptos in Santa Cruz County. Officers who searched the house April 14 and found fertilizer, grow lights, marijuana plants and a "large amount of currency," he said.

Police aren't releasing the name of the first suspected drug dealer because they believe his safety is in jeopardy.

De La Ossa said he didn't believe the operation is part of any legitimate medicinal marijuana dispensary as allowed under California's Proposition 215. He declined to give the location of the dispensary it supplied, but said it is in Santa Clara County and has a connection to Mountain View.

"What got him into trouble — although he may allege in court that it was all for medicinal use under Prop. 215 — is he made errors, based on our investigation, that shows he is not compliant with the laws," De La Ossa said. "Some folks are trying to hide behind the Compassionate Use Act."

De La Ossa said Mountain View police do not go after legitimate medicinal marijuana dispensaries that operate within the law: "If they're compliant, we leave them alone."

The bust is in no way connected to the recently opened medical marijuana dispensary on Bayshore Parkway, according to pot club operator Matt Lucero.

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