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The Boston Globe

Metro

Suspect sought after fire exposes $1m in marijuana plants

Dat Trong Nguyen is being sought after a fire uncovered thriving marijuana plants -- worth as much as $ 1million.

Boston Police

Dat Trong Nguyen is being sought after a fire uncovered thriving marijuana plants -- worth as much as $ 1million.

Boston police have issued an arrest warrant for a 44-year-old man for trafficking marijuana after a Roxbury fire exposed a house full of the plants, with an estimated street value of as much as $1 million.

Dat Trong Nguyen, who lives in Roxbury, was identified by police Nov. 26, four days after firefighters responded to a house on Wyoming Street fully engulfed in flames. Police did not immediately say whether they had found Nguyen.

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The house was empty at the time, but there were 176 marijuana plants in the basement and on the second floor, authorities said. Fire department spokesman Steve MacDonald said the fire was deliberately set and the cause is under investigation.

Firefighters called detectives in the B-2 district of the city, which covers Roxbury, and told them about the plants. The plants’ street value was estimated at between $750,000 and $1 million.

Detectives in the drug unit said they discovered a sophisticated growing operation with lights, heating, and irrigation systems hooked up to timers.

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

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

It was not immediately clear how the fire started. Fire officials said the blaze caused $500,000 worth of damage.

Maria Cramer can be reached at mcramer@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeMCramer.

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