Narcotics officers then hiked up into the hills and confirmed that a sophisticated marijuana-growing operation was set up in a ravine, he said. The growers were irrigating the plants with water lines running from a hole drilled in a water tank on city land that is in the hills in case of a brush fire emergency, he said.
Though the tanks, which collect rainwater are available for Glendale firefighters to use, they are not part of the city’s water supply system, said Peter Kavounas, a water services administrator for Glendale Water & Power.
Given the stages of growth in the ravine, the cultivation was likely ongoing and may have already been supplying the streets, Adams said.
“I’m happy to say that this is the end of a million-dollar operation,” he said.
Three teams were at work Thursday removing the crop and loading it into helicopter nets to be taken to a disposal site, Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.
The Police Department will now launch an extensive investigation to find the growers, Adams said.
The hillside near where the plants were found has not burned since 1964, making it a dangerous area for brush fires, Glendale Fire Department Capt. Thomas Propst said
That poses hazards not only for residents living near the hills, but for the people who were running the marijuana grove, he said. The plants also provided more fuel for potential brush fires, he said.
The tanks that police say were used to irrigate the grove were built about 30 years ago, Propst said. Some have been abandoned, but others still collect rainwater that fire fighters can tap in case of an emergency, he said.
Passersby watched from behind police lines Thursday as helicopters ferried the illegal plants from the hills to a parking lot in Crescenta Valley Park.
“It’s surprising,” said Andre Gharibian,who said he goes to Crescenta Valley Park a few times a week. “I know Glendale is a safe area and the police are pretty good. So it’s good that they found it.”