UNION CITY -- A bucket full of freshly cut marijuana leaves in a van recently led police to an illegal pot grow at a city home and landed an Oakland man in jail on felony drug charges.

Officers had been conducting surveillance on a Union City home on the 4500 block of Delores Drive for several months before Saturday morning's arrest of 31-year-old Vu Nguyen, said Cmdr. Ben Horner.

About 8:45 a.m., Horner said, an officer watched a van leave the home and conducted a traffic stop.

As she approached the van, the officer smelled marijuana and noticed marijuana remnants on the driver's clothing, Horner said.

A search of the van yielded a bucket full of freshly cut marijuana leaves. Shortly thereafter, a judge issued a warrant for police to search the home.

Inside the home officers found nearly 400 marijuana plants.

Nguyen was arrested on suspicion of cultivating, transporting and possession marijuana for sale and transported to the Santa Rita Jail.

Jail records show that as of Thursday he had posted bail.

Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund.