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Plants seized during pot bust

Warehouse in Burbank was being used to cultivate marijuana, police say.

April 23, 2011|By Gretchen Meier, gretchen.meier@latimes.com

Wednesday's unofficial pot smoking holiday, 4/20, was a bust for five people allegedly running a marijuana growing facility out of a warehouse in Burbank.

Three men and two women were arrested by Burbank Police Department detectives conducting a multi-city sweep — including Glendale and Arcadia — that indicated the facility was being used as part of a marijuana cultivation operation.

One-hundred marijuana plants and several pounds of pot were seized during the sting, in addition to four guns, said Burbank Officer Cindy Guillen.

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Two Glendale men — Akop Petrosyan, 30, and Victor Yepiskoposyan, 29 — were among those arrested on suspicion of transport and cultivation of marijuana, according to Burbank police.

Previous charges against Petrosyan between 2006 and 2008 for possession of marijuana while driving and possessing a large amount of cannabis were dismissed by the court, although he was convicted of driving without a license in July 2008.

Similar charges against Yepiskoposyan within the past four years were also dismissed.

Levon Ayrapetov, 31, of Arcadia, Bianca Bauza, 24, of North Hollywood, and Jane Israyelian, 21, of Los Angeles were also arrested.

All individuals were released on $30,000 bonds following the arrests, said Guillen.

The California Department of Justice's Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force conducted raids on marijuana dispensaries in Venice Beach on Wednesday, but were not involved with the Burbank arrests, according to police officials.

The number of indoor marijuana plants seized by law enforcement officials in the United States more than doubled between 2004 and 2008 — from 203,896 to 450,986 plants — according to the National Drug Threat Assessment released by the federal Department of Justice for 2010.

Marijuana possession arrests in Burbank dropped more than 50% during the first two months of 2011, down to 63 compared with 145 during the same period last year.

A court hearing for the suspects has not been set.

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