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Jan 2, 2013 7:11 PM by Lorraine Rivera

Police seize marijuana plants from grow operation

TUCSON - Police arrested three men after one of them called police claiming to have been robbed at a home near Monte Vista Drive and Laurel Avenue in midtown.

Tucson Police say just after 10 a.m. a man called police to report that he and his roommate were in their home when two men wearing masks and a hooded forced their way into the house with a gun. One of the men managed to escape and call police but the other roommate was bound with tape. The suspects reportedly ransacked the home and took some property.

By the time police arrived the suspects had taken off but police found evidence of a marijuana grow operation. One of the men who lived at the home had a card for growing marijuana but had more than his allowed 12 plants. Sgt. Chris Widmer said the men had in excess of 20 plants inside the home.

According to Sgt. Widmer detectives are seeing at least two cases like this one every week, "most of it stems from people with legitimate marijuana cards and not following the stipulations of the law."

News of the grow operation was surprising to neighbors in the area, "would have never thought that or suspected that that was going on anywhere is this area at all," said William Hicks.

Police say the crime is bold, "there are people that are going to grow marijuana, that are going to talk about themselves growing marijuana and thats where people get the idea to commit this kind of crime is knowing where marijuana is being grown and taking advantage of it or committing crimes associated to it."

The three men arrested have been identified as Gil Rafford, 28, Brandon Clemens, 30 and Ethan Bollinger, 25. All three are facing felony drug charges.

Meanwhile the search for the suspects continues. Police say the suspects are a black and a hispanic male, both in their 20s, who were wearing black hooded sweatshirts and a green bandanas over their faces.

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