Illegal marijuana farms were reportedly found in rental apartments in OKC, Edmond

A call from a landscaper to a landlord in Edmond has led local authorities to a ring of illegal commercial marijuana spreading across the metropolitan area, police say.

Roland Alejandro Ruiz, 43, and John Arencibia Morales Jr., 31, face charges of growing marijuana and owning a gun while they committed a crime after they were found to be turning a garage in Edmond into an illegal grower to have .

The investigation began after a landscaper called the landlord of the house on Ricks Trail on March 15 after smelling a strong scent of marijuana from the garage, which had holes drilled through the brick wall for ventilation.

A week later, the landlord informed Ruiz that a house inspection was scheduled for the next day to assess the damage violating the rental agreement. Upon arrival the following afternoon, accompanied by Edmond Police, the inspection discovered a large commercial extension in the converted garage, according to the affidavit.

Police confirmed with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs that there was no cultivation license attached to the address.

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Marijuana is pictured at a grow facility in Hollis, Oklahoma on Wednesday, September 25, 2019. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]

According to an affidavit, 42 marijuana plants, marijuana jars, a semi-automatic pistol and attachments were found during the police search. Ruiz and Morales were not present during the search.

The investigation led to three other houses connected to Ruiz.

Police carried out a warrant to search a house on Black Forest Road near Interstate 35 in Edmond and another on Rockwell Avenue in Oklahoma City. Both houses were home to illegal growers, police say.

Morales was found in the house on Rockwell Avenue. He told officials he was recruited from Florida to work and grow for Ruiz and that it appears they are operating legally.

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When searching another house connected to Ruiz on Post Road in Arcadia, police found a large black plastic container containing nearly 11 pounds of marijuana, 134 pre-rolled marijuana cigarettes, three jars of cannabis wax, and various weighing and packing instruments. According to a likely affidavit, police also discovered 1,230 additional pre-rolled marijuana cigarettes, 479 juvenile marijuana plants, 37 mature plants, a loaded rifle and identification documents during the March 25 search.

During a call to Edmond Police Department on March 26 to inquire about his dog’s placement in an animal shelter, Ruiz confirmed that he lived on Post Road. When Ruiz found out about the search, he said he had a medical marijuana card.

The official told Ruiz that the card does not allow a person to own the amount of marijuana discovered in the home. Ruiz then said that further questions could be directed to his lawyer.

On July 2, Ruiz was charged with growing marijuana and owning a firearm, in addition to attempting to circulate the charges for his involvement in the other homes.

Arrest warrants were issued for both Ruiz and Morales on July 6th.

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