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Rancho Palos Verdes Couple Accused Of Running $1M Pot Operation

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A Rancho Palos Verdes couple was busted for running this marijuana grow. (credit: LA County Sheriff's Dept.)

A Rancho Palos Verdes couple was busted for running this marijuana grow. (credit: LA County Sheriff’s Dept.)

RANCHO PALOS VERDES (CBSLA.com) — A Rancho Palos Verdes couple is accused of running a $1 million marijuana operation out of their home.

Tom Kim, 37, and his common-law wife, Molly Hwang, 45, were arrested on Thursday.

They were charged with illegally cultivating marijuana, possession of marijuana and hashish for sale, child endangerment and conducting a business in the city of Rancho Palos Verdes without a license.

Lomita Station patrol units and detectives had been responding to a burglary investigation in the 27800 block of Altafora Drive.

Officials said a suspect matching the burglary suspect inside a parked car in the 2000 block of Noble View Drive made them surround the suspect’s house.

A male, later identified as Kim, emerged from the house and was met by deputies.

While clearing the home from the burglary investigation, officials said they “stumbled” upon the elaborate and extensive pot operation.

Detectives reportedly located numerous marijuana plants in the backyard and throughout the house. In one room, detectives found numerous glass jars filled with marijuana buds, packaging and scales. Another room was used as a dry room where deputies found hundreds of plants hanging from a clothesline.

Detectives said they also found evidence of hashish manufacturing, concentrated cannabis, and packaging for sales. A washing machine in the backyard was located and believed to be used to make hashish from the marijuana plants. The suspects were possibly supplying marijuana to dispensaries, but had no documentation indicating they were operating a legit business.

Authorities seized nearly 100 pounds of marijuana and approximately $10,000 cash. Based upon quantity of the drug and moneys seized, detectives believe this was a $1 million dollar a year operation.

Hwang turned herself in to authorities at Lomita Station. The couple’s minor child, who was at school during the search, was taken into protective custody by deputies.

Kim and Hwang were released on a $100,000 bond. An arraignment date is scheduled for Kim on Friday, June 14  in Torrance Superior Court. Hwang’s arraignment date was set for Thursday, June 6, also at Torrance Superior Court.

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