For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Ed Galvin, Public Information Officer, (510) 981-5652


Berkeley, California (Friday, March 17, 2006) - On Wednesday, March 15, the Berkeley Police Department Special Enforcement Unit (SEU) successfully shut down a very sophisticated marijuana growing operation in Berkeley, with ties to locations in Oakland, Brentwood and Castro Valley. In the early morning hours, BPD officers descended on 809 Allston Way in West Berkeley to execute a narcotics search warrant. In the converted warehouse space, they discovered over 2,500 marijuana plants in various stages of growth. The space also included an extensive processing operation, where an estimated 100 lbs. of harvested plants were being dried in preparation for packaging. Five suspects were arrested when they attempted to flee out of the rear of the building as officers made their entry, and one was caught inside.

The investigation included 6 other locations in Brentwood, Oakland, and Castro Valley, where detectives also served search warrants and arrested one other suspect. Sophisticated growing operations similar to the Berkeley location were found at 2 locations in Oakland, where officers seized another 2,500 plants in the early stages of growth, bundles of cash, and an assault rifle. Locations in Brentwood and Castro Valley yielded bundles of cash and an assortment of weapons.

SEU members were assisted by officers from the Bicycle Detail and Detective Division of BPD and served search warrants at 7 locations in 4 cities, seizing over 5,000 live plants and 120 pounds of dried marijuana. Also seized in the investigation were several handguns, rifles, and approximately $120,000 dollars in cash from the various locations and individuals.

Berkeley PD Lead Detective, Brian Wilson praised all of the officers for their help and assistance in the culmination of the 5 month long investigation, and stated that further details of the case will be offered at a later time as the investigation continues to evolve.