Authorities conduct large raid on Mich. marijuana grow operation

Authorities conduct large raid on SE Mich. marijuana grow operation

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Police raided this warehouse on Epworth in Detroit. Police raided this warehouse on Epworth in Detroit.
DETROIT (WJBK) -

A debris field was left behind after a house blew up on the 1300 block of Gattegno in Ypsilanti Township on Sunday with three people inside. A man is hospitalized with burns, and a woman and a child escaped. Police said the house was suspected as part of a marijuana growing operation.

"We had probable cause to believe that there was some marijuana processing going into that house," said Lieutenant Michael Shaw with Michigan State Police.

"Witnessed the narco squad come in and remove all kinds of stuff from the garage," said Tim Taritas, the landlord from Star Properties.

He said he never had a problem with his tenants Larry Weddinton, Lena Black and their baby daughter.

Fire officials continue to investigate the cause of the blast and whether butane, which is used in marijuana production, played a role.

Ypsilanti Township Fire Chief Eric Copeland said they also plan to examine the gas regulator on the water heater. Weddinton claimed he tried to light it moments before the blast.

"He went to light the water heater, and after he thought he had cleared the air in the house from whatever kind of operation he was doing, that could've possible set it off," Taritas said.

We don't know whether anyone who survived that explosion will be arrested, but at least two people were taken into custody during a separate raid on Epworth near Tireman where investigators found a thriving weed warehouse. A source said there were rows and rows of thriving marijuana plants inside, including some as big as trees.

"There [are] four warehouses where they actually grew the marijuana in the City of Detroit, and then they went to these other houses and buildings to actually process it and sell the marijuana," Shaw said.

"They're very large grow operations, each one of them that we found so far. We're also executing other search warrants," the lieutenant added. "So the investigation is very ongoing."

In all, police, the FBI and other agencies have executed 22 search warrants in Wayne, Oakland, Washtenaw and Jackson counties, including one at a warehouse on Six Mile and Van Dyke in Detroit. They have seized more than 500 marijuana plants, processed marijuana and several weapons.

We're told several people will face charges following the seven month investigation. The attorney general's office is handling the case.

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