Cops: Arches Drive drug house stole electricity, faked an infant resident

By: Roger Phelps, The Telegraph
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Piracy of electricity at a suspected El Dorado Hills drug-factory house and a spooky subterfuge to suggest a young family lived there marked a marijuana operation busted Tuesday on Arches Drive. “They bypassed the electric meter box and created their own electric line, to evade detection by the utility (for abnormally high residential use),” said Special Agent Gordon Taylor, in charge of the Sacramento office of the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration. “They ran wires through a child’s room, so whoever stays there, that kid is exposed to injury or electrocution.” However, two neighbors encountered at the house directly next door to the north said they had eyewitness proof the infant-resident motif at 349 Arches was a ruse. “The guest bedroom here (at 337) is right near their wall,” said Cheryl Bushman. “One time we were looking out the window and we saw a lady in there, washing a fake baby.” “She looked at us and scurried off,” said Bushman’s friend Shelby Carr, who resides at 337 Arches. “I think she was trying to make it look like someone lived there.” Agents arrested Cuong The Le, 39, of Sacramento Monday at the suspected pot house on suspicion of cultivating marijuana for sale, using a basement-level indoor garden space. Taylor said a new method of operation in black-market marijuana growing for Asian organized-crime figures includes branching from urban areas and buying and using high-end homes in the more-affluent suburbs. A Cameron Park house and a Placerville house also were raided by the DEA Monday. “This is an Asian organization out of San Francisco,” Taylor said. “They’re moving into your community to house their drug factories.” The three El Dorado County grow houses are probably linked to an Asian-American gang that owned houses raided last summer in Auburn and in Foresthill, Taylor said. Taylor said he believed the group is not linked to a string of Elk Grove pot houses raided in late 2006, operated by Asian-Americans. However, Taylor would not comment on possible links of the El Dorado County cases to arrests July 16 in Sacramento County, San Francisco and Denver of dozens of members of the Hop Sing Boys gang on suspicion of drug dealing. “I’ll not be able to elaborate on further connections they might have,” Taylor said. The Hop Sing Boys street gang is affiliated with Hong Kong-based secret society engaged in crime, known as a triad, called Wo Hop To, one of the “Four Major Gangs” of Hong Kong, which in the early 90’s expanded into San Francisco, according to Wikipedia. In 2006, former Hop Sing leaders won a certificate of honor arranged by San Francisco Supervisor Fiona Ma, according to the publication SF Gate.