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Police Battle Marijuana Grow House Problem | Crime

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Police Battle Marijuana Grow House Problem

LAS VEGAS -- Las Vegas police are investigating a marijuana grow site where a mother and her two sons were arrested over the weekend. Two small children were also in the in the house.

The incident happened at a house on Rancho Palms Drive in northwest Las Vegas. Police say they have responded to the home at least five times in the last 60 days. But they say the valley's marijuana problem is much bigger than one house.

"The problem with marijuana grows has eclipsed that of methamphetamine labs. In 2010, we only had six methamphetamine labs as compared to 118 marijuana grows," said Metro Lt. Laz Chavez.

Since 2007, Metro says the valley has seen more than a 100 percent increase of marijuana grows and plants, a 43 percent increase of people arrested and the investigations have cost the department more than $500,000 since 2007.

Police responded to the home because 23-year-old Daniel Ballard and his brother, 22-year-old William Ballard, got into a fight. When they arrived, they found a 100 plant hydroponic marijuana grow, two small children and the mother of the home, Frederica Ballard.

The children were taken into protective custody while the mother and her two oldest sons were arrested. Police say their biggest concern are the two children.

"We'll be working backwards to find out how long they've been exposed. It's common that marijuana grows have spores that grow, vegetation, water indoors. The black mold that is grown is something you can't control," said Chavez.

Metro says marijuana grows usually are in rental properties or foreclosed homes. They say the homes usually end up being condemned until the mold is removed.

If you think something suspicious is going on in your neighborhood, Metro says call their narcotics division at 828-3461.