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Alleged Pot Farmer Released on Bail

Posted: January 31, 2008 5:34 a.m.
Updated: April 2, 2008 2:02 a.m.
Jace Edwards Jace Edwards
Jace Edwards
A 32-year-old suspected pot farmer was released on bail Wednesday as Sheriff's investigators continued cutting up and bagging hundreds of pot plants discovered inside an upscale home in the north Santa Clarita Valley.
Sgt. Phil Morris, a narcotics detective with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station, said detectives spent a considerable portion of Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning packaging the marijuana to be shipped to Whittier for storage. The plants were found at the house in the 29300 block of Via Estancia on Tuesday after a neighbor walking his dog reported a strong odor coming from the residence.
Though it was originally thought that 1,000 plants were growing on the premises, Morris said the number is now estimated at 300 or 400 plants. About 120 of those were fully mature. Morris said each mature plant had been pruned to have three large "trunks," which made each single plant appear to be three.
The dollar value was estimated Wednesday at $1 million on the street. Morris said seven bags weighing a total of 147 pounds were confiscated from the house. Most of the weed was high-dollar, exotic strains that were worth between $2,500 and $6,000 per pound.
The marijuana was bound for an evidence locker in Whittier, after which it was due to be destroyed in an incinerator.
Jace Edwards, who works as a grip in the film industry, made $30,000 bail Wednesday and was released from custody.
During an interview with detectives, Edwards reportedly confessed to cultivating the weed, but told detectives that this was his first "grow" and that he had not sold any product. However, he allegedly said he was about to close an $80,000 deal when he was busted.
But investigators doubt his story because of the amount of mold found on the walls of the house and garage, which indicate that the operation may have been going on for substantially longer, Morris said. A typical grow cycle lasts about two months.
Neighbors also reportedly noticed Edwards remodeling his garage about one year ago. The three-car garage was the central part of the operation.
Morris said Edwards has no prior arrests or convictions for cultivation but has three prior felony convictions on other charges: one for assault with a deadly weapon with great bodily injury in 1997; one for prostitution in 2007; and one for receipt of stolen property, also in 2007.
Cultivation does not carry a statutory minimum or maximum sentence, Morris said.


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