MARTINEZ -- Two Martinez men who watched their living quarters go up in flames when an electrical transformer blew last week were arrested after a marijuana grow operation was discovered in the aftermath, police said.
Detectives arrested 40-year-old John Bowe after finding 643 marijuana plants weighing approximately 5 pounds in a home on Truitt Avenue near Nancy Boyd Park, according to Investigations Sgt. Glenn Walkup of the Martinez police. Julian Tays, 30, who police said rented out the property and fled immediately after the fire, turned himself in Monday, Walkup said.
Officers went to the location after the fire, and Bowe acknowledged that he rented a room there, Walkup said. Bowe was on probation, which allowed police to search part of the residence, Walkup said, and Bowe was arrested on suspicion of several unspecified felonies related to the grow, Walkup said. The charges against Tays also were unspecified.
The fire, which authorities said stemmed from an overloaded transformer that exploded, started about 9:42 p.m. June 9. Among the evidence found by investigators were a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol, a loaded shotgun and multiple cans of butane fuel, which is part of a manufacturing process to make hashish oil from marijuana.
Police said Bowe and Tays were using equipment worth $30,000 to grow the marijuana, and that PG&E's electrical power was diverted. The total cost of the diverted power is still being investigated by
Rick Hurd covers crime. Contact him at 925-945-4780 and follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/3rdERH.