Agents seize over 2,000 pot plants

Warrant reveals marijuana cloning room and greenhouses
By: Staff Report
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A Rough and Ready area man was arrested for allegedly operating a large-scale marijuana-growing operation out of his home over the past two years. John Gross II, 68, was arrested after a two-year investigation uncovered 2,804 marijuana plants, a large cloning room, two large greenhouses full of marijuana under cultivation, about $5,000 in cash and more, according to information released from the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday. A federal search warrant served at Gross II’s home on the 11000 block of Glenn Loop also revealed about 200 pounds of untrimmed and processed marijuana inside six large gun safes, several plastic totes and large plastic bags. “A sophisticated enclosed cargo trailer was being used as a drying room for the marijuana,” said Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal. Law enforcement officers also found two backhoes, a bulldozer, a Bobcat, two quads and a 2000 Ford F-350, all of which where were being used to cultivate marijuana, Royal said. Royal said Gross II became the center of an investigation starting in 2008 after aerial observations revealed a large marijuana grow on his property. Law enforcement officers arrested several other Rough and Ready residents on scene including Kenneth Gross, 42, Jack Lions, 58, and Salvador Ryes, 53. Officers also called several employees of the grow operation and arrested Travis Hronis, 21, of Grass Valley, Matthew Maya, 19, of Penn Valley and Brandon Maya, 22, of Penn Valley. A 37-year-old Colfax woman was questioned and released at the scene. Before officers and agents left the scene, John Gross III, 46, arrived. Gross III is affiliated with the P Street Cannabis Club based in Sacramento and reportedly admitted to agents that the marijuana was being grown and sold to several patients from the club, Royal said. Gross III was also arrested, Royal said. “It appears a substantial profit has been made from this marijuana cultivation via the dispensary,” Royal said. Royal added that Gross II had been convicted in 2005 in Oregon on charges of marijuana cultivation and distribution. All of the suspects were booked into the Sacramento County Jail on charges of illegal cultivation and distribution of marijuana. The agencies that helped in the investigation include the Nevada County Narcotics Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Agency, Mountain and Valley Marijuana Investigation Team and the IRS.