House fire uncovers pot-growing operation; Two arrested - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

House fire uncovers pot-growing operation; Two arrested

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Two Clairemont Mesa men were arrested Monday after a fire erupted in their rental home, causing an estimated $600,000 worth of damage and uncovering a small marijuana-growing setup in the garage of the residence.

The blaze in the 3500 block of Mount Burnham Court began spreading about 9:45 a.m., according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

The flames originated in the house's garage, which had a cannabis-cultivation operation inside it, SDFRD spokesman Maurice Luque said. It took crews about 15 minutes to extinguish the blaze, which also moved into the attic of the residence and caused smoke damage throughout the structure.

Investigators determined that the fire was caused either by an overloaded extension cord or discarded smoking materials, according to Luque.

The monetary losses were set at $400,000 to the structure and $200,000 to contents.

Though one of the residents claimed he was licensed to grow cannabis for medicinal purposes, San Diego police determined otherwise and arrested him and a roommate, SDPD Lt. Andra Brown said.

The suspects, Jeremy Grant Lambert, 37, and Lionel Domingo Ortega III, 32, were booked into county jail on suspicion of cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale. One of them allegedly admitted to having had 40 plants prior to the fire, Brown said.


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