Why did Glendale Police Bust a Pot-Growing Operation—a Block from the Northeast Station?

Thursday’s raid on a Glassell Park warehouse growing 1,000 plants raises some curious questions.

The Glendale Police busted a major marijuana-growing operation in Glassell Park Thursday that has left many people puzzling over this question: How could such an elaborate set-up in a former furniture warehouse, involving some 1,000 pot plants worth $1.5 million, have survived just a block away from the Northeast Community Station—in territory that’s under the LAPD’s jurisdiction?

Patch contacted both the Glendale Police Department and the Northeast Station to find out about the bust—first reported by the Glendale News Press—and to ask why, as some the neighbors in the area have alleged, the LAPD did nothing when informed about the pot-growing operation, which attracted suspicion because of the smell of marijuana in the vicinity. ("We thought it was skunks," the owner of Haute House, a nearby furniture business, told Patch.)

Sgt. Sanford Rosenberg, the watch commander at the Northeast Station on Saturday, said that while he was not aware of the bust on the edge of the Glendale-L.A. border, it was certainly possible that some member of the public gave a “generalized statement” to the LAPD about a pot-growing venture in the neighborhood. “But did they call Narcotics, Downtown, Communications, did they talk to the Northeast Division?”

If somebody gives the Northeast Station a tip on narcotics—which, said Sanford, “we get all the time”—the information is passed straight to the Narcotics unit. “These guys are really good at following up.” But “if you’re going to call a patrol car, they’re not going to call the Narcotics unit—and they’re going to drive by the building.”

The officer in charge of the Northeast Division Narcotics unit is Lt. David Kowalski. Some readers will remember that he headed the May 2 raid that shut down American Eagle Collective, Eagle Rock’s most popular marijuana dispensary, under orders from the District Attorney's office, for allegedly illegal narcotics-related activities. Kowalski was unavailable for a comment over the weekend—and Patch is hoping to speak to him Monday.

Meanwhile, according to a Glendale Police dispatcher who was on duty on the morning the June 7 bust occurred, the raid was a “group effort” involving “lots of intelligence tips” collected over months.

And the story doesn’t end with the warehouse on the 3400 block of San Fernando Road and Tyburn Street—with its reportedly air-conditioned interiors that still had enough moisture to dampen parchment paper covering windows. "There are multiple locations—in L.A. maybe—different collectives and storefronts," Cox said.

“It’s possible the LAPD got the info and gave it to us,” said the dispatcher, Jason Cox. “If they don’t have the resources and manpower, we’ll take it on—that happens quite a lot.”

Whether the LAPD cooperated or partnered in any way with the Glendale Police in a deliberate operation that evidently had months of preparation behind it, is a significant question that Patch intends to pursue.

Stay tuned for details.

Local June 14, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Nelson, I'm not here to argue the medical benefits or people's rights etc. I am inclined to agree. The problem is this, and you and any other advocate should address this: There are nefarious characters hanging on my block, smoking medical marijuana (they leave their prescription bottles along with garbage and condoms in the gutter) and when asked, politely, "why don't you smoke that at home?" The response has been outright hostile, threatening me with violence "I know where you live motherf*(#Y you better watch out!" That makes people like me, that support people like you, not WANT to have any dispensaries in my neighborhood. Why? Because jerks like that get their MJ from the said dispensaries. If proponents don't address THAT issue, then you will never have my vote. Until its regulated and doctors stop prescribing to absolutely everyone .. then you simply don't have my support
Local June 14, 2012 at 11:12 PM
and as to the stumblers coming out of a bar or drunks drinking on the street or the traffic coming out of a 711 ... IF a bar or liquor store near my house was causing people to stumble in my yard, leaving bottles, garbage and condoms ... I would do anything in my power to close that establishment which has nothing to do with any leanings to prohibition. I keep my bottle of scotch nearby. I just don't drink it in front of anyone's house.
STARCHY June 15, 2012 at 05:03 PM
"they are still impaired drivers and should not be driving at all"-- nonsense everything is relative. can you drive safely after drinking one beer or one glass of wine? people should be responsible for their actions and the consequences of their actions (and their decisions). The gubment is not the answer to everything
STARCHY June 15, 2012 at 05:11 PM
that article (it's not a "study") is complete nonsense. they do not quote a single source or even mention ANY study by name. Its like some housewife sat down and wrote a bunch of bologna to scare her kids... but even so- the "article" itself says: "marijuana is not a narcotic" !!
STARCHY June 15, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Local - I agree. Jose Huizar has failed miserably in addressing the issue of littering and loitering (not to mention his support of huge giveaways of scarce taxpayer money to rich developers). How he get re-elected STILL confounds me. But the people to prosecute in these instances are the people causing these problems - the kids loitering and littering, the Glendale thugs parked in their cars, the phone book garbage droppers and the stumbling bums from the ALMA LODGE.


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