Officers find drugs, make arrest

Task force leader says 2 houses were filled with pot plants.

February 25, 2009 

LOS BANOS -- A 28-year-old man is in jail on suspicion of growing marijuana, after agents with the Merced Multi-Agency Narcotic Task Force reported finding 511 marijuana plants Monday outside Los Banos.

Brandon Brundage, of Los Banos, was taken into custody following a two-week investigation by the task force into alleged marijuana cultivation at a residence located at 23660 Ingomar Grade, where the plants were found, according to Cmdr. Neil Compston.

Compston said the total amount of marijuana seized during the operation was worth about $900,000.

The agents served a search warrant at the Ingomar Grade residence and another location at 677 Stonewood Drive in Los Banos. Compston said the interior of the Ingomar Grade location had been modified with indoor lighting and ventilation systems to cultivate the plants.

At the Stonewood Drive house, Compston said, agents recovered two handguns, two shotguns and five pounds of processed marijuana. Compston said two large illegal fireworks and a small amount of methamphetamine was also found at the house.

Los Banos police arrested Brundage during a traffic stop Monday at Willmott Avenue and Johnson Road. During the stop, police found a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun and a small amount of marijuana, Compston said. Both houses were connected to Brundage, Compston said.

Brundage was booked into the Merced County Jail on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine, cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, possession of a prohibited weapon and possession of a loaded firearm.

He's being held in lieu of $150,000 bail.

Merced Sun-Star reporter Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@mercedsun-star.com.

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