Truckee business owners implicated in Marijuana grow operation |

Truckee business owners implicated in Marijuana grow operation

Roman Gokhman, Sun News Service and Renee Shadforth, Sierra Sun
Pico van Houtryve/Sun News ServiceNevada County Sheriff's Detective Bill Smethers handles marijuana found at a site in Grass Valley on Wednesday.

It was prime harvesting time for towering marijuana plants in the Sierra foothills Wednesday, but unfortunately for five alleged growers, it was sheriff’s officers doing the harvesting.

In two simultaneous raids of homes on Old Pond Road and Kentucky Flat Road on Wednesday, the Nevada County Sheriff’s Narcotics Task Force seized 50 large marijuana plants and arrested the six, who ranged in age from 19 to 50.

Included in the arrests were Truckee business owners Nye Petros, 26, his brother Tyler, 20, both of Rough and Ready. Their mother, Elisabeth Petros, 50, was also arrested. All have since posted $10,000 bail at the Wayne Brown Correctional Facility in Grass Valley.

The brothers own a hydroponics store, All Hydro, on Donner Pass Road along with Ross Haley, 24, who was not implicated in the investigation. They opened the business in early August.

“[The arrests] have nothing do to with the store,” Haley told Sierra Sun on Thursday.

Haley had no further comment. Nye Petros, who was also at the store on Thursday, also declined comment.

The sheriff’s office is investigating the legitimacy of the business, said Sheriff’s Sgt. Bill Evans.

“Many people will open a business to launder illegal drug sales,” he said. “I’m not saying that’s what necessarily happened here, but it wouldn’t be uncommon. You gotta hide your money somewhere.”

Although the plants were grown in the dirt outside, Evans said the makings of a hydroponic marijuana grow were found in the garage. He quantified the amount of confiscated plants as “truckloads.”

“We had one plant alone that filled the back of a pickup truck,” he said.

“These plants were real big, and they seemed to be really good at what they were doing.”

Anthony Will, 19, of Grass Valley was arrested in the bust on drug and weapons charges and posted $25,000 bail. Nehemiah Elliott, 21, of Dobbins, was arrested on suspicion of driving on a suspended driver’s license and was released on his own recognizance, according to an official at the correctional facility.

Truckee police arrested Nye Petros with Mark Kuhn, age unknown, at All Hydro at the request of the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office representatives said they hope to see drug charges against a seventh person who is already in jail in Yuba County. Evan Yager, 19, is being held on charges of making a terrorist threat and growing marijuana in Yuba County, Evans said.

The investigation began two months ago when a resident reported a marijuana garden at a house on Old Pond Road in Grass Valley. Authorities located several prescriptions for the medicinal use of the drug, but realized the same suspects also had prescriptions for a house on Kentucky Flat Road in Rough and Ready.

“The people who had prescriptions here lived at the other address,” Evans said. “The people claim they live here and attempt to get the prescriptions valid.”

Two eight-person teams initiated the busts at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, and the arrests were made without incident.

“Both of the houses were secure within five minutes,” Evans said.

Those arrested face a variety of charges, including driving with a suspended license, cultivation of marijuana, possession with the intention to sell, sale of marijuana, possession of hashish, manufacturing of hashish, conspiracy and being armed while committing a felony.

The Kentucky Flat Road residence, a gray house with green trim, housed a fenced-in yard, but the marijuana plants reached several feet over the fence. About 20 plants around 8 feet tall were confiscated.

A neighbor of the Kentucky Flat road, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the house has been occupied by the Petros family for about two years and that she was not surprised to hear they were growing marijuana. In May 2002, Tyler and Nye Petros were arrested on suspicion of cultivating marijuana, as well as possessing several ecstasy pills. That case is still pending prosecution.

Another neighbor, who also asked not to be named, agreed.

“I would have assumed (authorities) would have taken care of it last time,” said the woman, who described those arrested as antisocial.

“I don’t think anybody in this neighborhood really knows them,” she said.

At the Old Pond Road residence, 30 plants ranging from 5 to 12 feet tall and from 5 to 8 feet wide were seized. A strong musky mint smell permeated the back yard and garage.

In addition to the plants, other confiscated items included hashish, materials used to make the drug, and a Browning semi-automatic .22-caliber rifle was found next to a mattress in the garden.

It will take several days to measure the total weight of the 50 plants. Marijuana buds sell for about $4,000 a pound, Evans said.

Until the marijuana can be properly disposed of, it will be held – and guarded – in an outside fenced area in the Sheriff’s Property Unit on Highway 49.

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