DATE/TIME: Wednesday, September 17, 2014
INCIDENT: Search Warrants - Outdoor Marijuana Cultivation
LOCATIONS: 34609 Troy Road, Newberry Springs & 35075 Fort Cady Road, Newberry Springs
SUSPECTS: Ginger Phathaphone - age 51 of Newberry Springs, Santi Keomorokot -
age 48 of Riverside, Ian Keomorokot - age 45 of Riverside, Frederic Thongsythavong -
age 34 of Lyon, France
On Tuesday, September, 16, 2014, Deputy Brandon Clancy of the Barstow
Sheriff's Station initiated an investigation of the illegal distribution and sales of
marijuana. Clancy's investigation revealed suspects from the community of Newberry
Springs were shipping packages containing large quantities of marijuana through parcel
service to various states to include Rhode Island, Ohio, Texas, Illinois and Wisconsin.
On the afternoon of Wednesday, September, 17, 2014, members of the San Bernardino
County Sheriff's Department Marijuana Enforcement Team joined the investigation,
serving two search warrants at residential properties on Troy Road and Fort Cady Road
in Newberry Springs. Investigators discovered both locations were being utilized
by an organized group to cultivate, process and distribute large quantities of marijuana.
The investigation revealed the suspects were all part of an illicit
marijuana trafficking organization operating for the sole purpose of financial gain.
The suspects were utilizing medical marijuana recommendations in an effort to deceive law
enforcement into believing this was a legitimate marijuana growing operation that was in
compliance with California medical marijuana laws. Numerous documents of evidence were
discovered between both residences outlining the for profit distribution network out of
the state of California. A total of 422 live marijuana plants, 132 pounds of
processed marijuana and 1 firearm were seized.
All four suspects were arrested at the Troy Road residence, where
investigators seized 46 pounds of processed marijuana, 299 live marijuana plants and
a semi-automatic handgun. The search warrant at the Fort Cady Road residence
resulted in the seizure of 86 pounds of processed marijuana and 123 live marijuana plants.
The suspects were booked into the Sheriff's Barstow Jail for conspiracy, cultivation and
sales of marijuana charges.
Investigations such as this one conducted by the Marijuana Enforcement
Team throughout San Bernardino County continue to reveal sophisticated criminal organizations
cultivating and distributing marijuana while attempting to utilize medical marijuana
recommendations in an effort to conceal their illicit operation. Investigators
regularly find the marijuana is being distributed throughout California without any
effort to comply with state laws. Additionally, state and federal laws do not
permit the transportation or distribution of marijuana outside of California.
The County of San Bernardino has an ordinance prohibiting outdoor
marijuana cultivations. The Sheriff's Narcotics Division will continue to enforce
California marijuana laws as well as the San Bernardino County Ordinances regarding
marijuana cultivation and distribution. Persons found to be violating state
marijuana laws and county ordinances or utilizing medical marijuana recommendations
under false pretenses are subject to fines, prosecution and seizure of property.
Anyone with information regarding the above investigations or other
illegal cultivation locations is urged to contact the Sheriff's Narcotics Division at
(909) 890-4840. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-tip
Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or you may leave information on the We-Tip Hotline
Credit: Report and pictures provided by the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department.