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Man Arrested After Fire at Hesperia Home Where Marijuana Was Being Cultivated

A man was arrested on suspicion of arson and other charges after apparently trying to run away from a fire at a home in Hesperia where marijuana was being cultivated, officials said.

San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department officials shared this photo of the aftermath of a fire in Hesperia where a marijuana growth was discovered on Jan. 26, 2019.

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department officials shared this photo of the aftermath of a fire in Hesperia where a marijuana growth was discovered on Jan. 26, 2019.

The fire was reported about 9 p.m. Jan. 26, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.

A large indoor marijuana cultivation operation was discovered and Kong Zhang Ni, 45, was apprehended as he was trying to run away with his belongings.

About 1,175 marijuana plants were seized and authorities discovered the operation was using lighting, air conditioning, fans, exhaust blowers and air filtering systems.

In addition, electricity used in the grow was being stolen, and Southern California Edison investigators were notified to determine how much electricity was being used illegally. Authorities estimate the suspect used several thousand dollars worth of electricity.

Investigators believe the fire might have been sparked by an electrical short caused by the electrical wiring.

Ni did not have a business license in Hesperia or a license to cultivate marijuana from California, officials said.

He was booked on suspicion of utility theft, cultivation of cannabis over six plants and arson.

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