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Police seize big cannabis crop in Roxbury

Boston police removed more than 100 cannabis plants, worth $750,000 to $1 million, after a fire in the house.

Essdras M Suarez/Globe Staff

Boston police removed more than 100 cannabis plants, worth $750,000 to $1 million, after a fire in the house.

After knocking down a two-alarm fire that tore through a Roxbury home Friday night, firefighters went to the basement to cut the electrical power and found more than 100 cannabis plants, with a street value of $750,000 to $1 million, police said.

“This is one of the largest operations I’ve come across here in Boston,” said Lieutenant Detective Robert M. Merner, who has been on the force for 27 years.

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Police, entering the house at 10 Wyoming St. with a warrant after the fire was extinguished, found what Merner called a sophisticated growing operation with lights, heating, and irrigation systems hooked up to timers.

Firefighters who swept the house after the 911 call Friday did not find anyone inside. Police are investigating whether the owner of the house knew about the cannabis. As of Saturday afternoon, no arrests had been made, police said.

Fire officials were looking into what started the fire, which caused about $500,000 in damage, fire Lieutenant Mike Walsh said. An initial investigation seemed to point to an electrical fire. Three firefighters were injured as they battled the fire, though none seriously.

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Saturday afternoon, police officials carried the cannabis plants to the curb in front of the charred house, lining them up in orderly rows.

The plants found were fully developed, most between 3 and 4 feet tall.

According to Merner, the house was not on the city’s problem properties list, and had not caught police attention in the past.

“No calls for service at all,” Merner said. “All the neighbors that we’ve talked to, in the investigation by [District] B-2, seemed as surprised as the police and fire departments.”

Curtis Harris, who lives diagonally from the house, said his brother lived in the 2½ story home for many years. His brother’s wife sold the house in February, when she moved to Arizona shortly before her death.

Harris said he never met the couple who bought the house, and did not see them around much. That lack of interaction was a bit unusual, said Harris, who added, “We’re a pretty close-knit community around here.”

But nothing about the new owners seemed too strange, he said. There was no increased traffic on the residential street, no noise, no fighting.

“I’d have never know a thing like this was going on,” Harris said.

Globe correspondent Alyssa Creamer contributed to this report. Gal Tziperman Lotan can be reached at gal.lotan@globe.com.
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