Sheriff: 500 pot plants seized in illegal growing operation

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PHOENIX (AP) — Authorities say 500 marijuana plants were found in an illegal growing operation run out of a storage building in south Phoenix.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio says his investigators have taken eight people into custody and are seeking the arrests of eight others after officers raided the building Wednesday.

One of those in custody is 32-year-old Long Phuc Hoang, who's the suspected ringleader of the marijuana operation.

He's being held on $750,000 bond on suspicion of more than 30 drug manufacturing and distribution charges and didn't have a lawyer at his initial court appearance Thursday.

About $100,000 of marijuana growing equipment also was seized in the seven-month investigation.

Officers wearing surgical masks carried marijuana plants out of the building.

The amount of marijuana produced by the growing operation wasn't available.

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