Aerial photo of illegal marijuana grow
Aerial photo of the illegal marijuana grow. Courtesy Riverside Police

Officers found about 40,000 marijuana plants in an illegal grow operation that was comparable in size to a city block, and one of the largest ever discovered in Riverside, police said Friday.

Officers obtained a warrant and entered the property on Thursday after a caller complained of a strong marijuana odor coming from a home in the 2500 block of McAllister Street that appeared to have a private garden nursery, according to Riverside City police Officer Ryan Railsback.

Many of the marijuana plants they found inside were at the maturity level for cultivation and the operation had the potential to make about 20,000 pounds of marijuana at an estimated street value of $20 million, Railsback said.

Police did not arrest anyone because it appeared the property was abandoned before officers entered.

Three and a half tons of marijuana were seized and the rest was destroyed, Railsback said.

It took nearly 24 hours for officers to collect evidence from the site, including thousands of pounds of fertilizer and hundreds of gallons of pesticides.

Officers also seized several vehicles that were at the home, including a tractor and forklift used in the cultivation process.

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