A 31-year-old Moreno Valley man suspected of operating an indoor marijuana grow and stealing thousands of dollars worth of electricity to sustain it was free on bond Friday.
Ricky Khamphoung was arrested Thursday and booked into the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside on suspicion of felony theft of utilities, illegal cultivation of marijuana and receiving stolen property. He posted $7,500 bail and was released from jail a few hours later.
According to Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. Robert Martinez, neighbors in the 11000 block of Vista De Cerros Drive, near Mountain Ranch Road, complained to deputies earlier this month about suspected drug activity at the residence occupied by Khamphoung.
Martinez said an investigation was conducted, and sufficient evidence was gathered to obtain a search warrant, which was served on the property about 9 a.m. Thursday.
“Deputies discovered portions of the residence had been converted into marijuana cultivation rooms,” the sergeant alleged. “Deputies collected 56 plants in various stages of growth. In addition, deputies located an electrical circuit bypass and an additional un-permitted electrical panel within the garage, which posed a significant fire hazard to the community.”
Khamphoung was taken into custody without incident.
Detectives conferred with Southern California Edison and determined roughly $37,000 in electrical supplies had allegedly been stolen to support the grow, according to Martinez.
He said a Moreno Valley Department of Code Enforcement officer examined the house and red-tagged it, declaring it unsafe for occupancy because of the damage to electrical panels and exposed wiring.