Smell of pot smoked out marijuana farm next to LAPD station
In the end, despite a sophisticated filtration system, it was the smell that smoked out the marijuana-growing operation located just 25 feet from the Los Angeles Police Department's Topanga station in Canoga Park.
LAPD officials said officers began noticing the smell of pot Tuesday morning, investigated, got warrants and closed down the indoor farm within eight hours.
Three men were taken into custody earlier Wednesday after officers served a search warrant on the warehouse in the 8400 block of Canoga Avenue.
Growers had built three rooms in the building -- one for seedlings, another for medium-sized plants and one where harvesting was apparently conducted, police said. The lights were controlled so they wouldn't overheat, watering systems were automated and oxygen levels were supplemented by carbon dioxide tanks, according to police.
"It was very sophisticated," said LAPD Officer Karen Raynor.
She said the growers used insulation material to seal cracks in the building. But about a week ago, officers in the station's parking lot noticed something out of the ordinary.
"They happened to catch a whiff of it," Raynor said.
A surveillance operation was launched, and officers obtained the warrant. The names of the three men, who appeared to be in their 30s, were not released because they had not been booked.
-- Robert J. Lopez
Photo: Interior growing room of marijuana warehouse. Credit: KTLA