Fire Breaks Out at Home Where Police Found Scorpions, Tarantulas, Drugs

Authorities said a fire broke out after a raid uncovered drugs and exotic pets in the 1900 block of Caspian Avenue

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Police arrested three men and seized marijuana, magic mushrooms and several exotic pets from a home in Long Beach, Calif., on Friday, March 30, 2012. After police left, a fire broke out at the house and arson investigators were probing the cause. KNBC4's Toni Guinyard talks to shocked neighbors and Long Beach Police Lt. Paul LeBaron about the unusual find. (Published Friday, Mar 30, 2012)

    Arson investigators were trying to figure out what caused a fire to break out at a home that was the subject of a police raid about an hour earlier that uncovered a drug farm and exotic pets.

    The fire broke out at a house in Long Beach early Friday, hours after sheriff’s deputies served a warrant there.

    The raid happened at 10:30 p.m. Thursday in the 1900 block of Caspian Avenue. Three men were arrested and police confiscated marijuana plants, magic mushrooms and a peyote cactus.

    "There was certainly a marijuana cultivation operation going on," said Lt. Paul LeBaron with the Long Beach Police Department. "The suspects were also cultivating different types of mushrooms that we believe were hallucinagenic."

    They also discovered exotic pets crawling all over the house. Animal control officials were called and they found boa constrictors, tarantulas and a scorpion. Authorities were working to determine the exact species of the animals to determine whether any importation laws were broken.

    About an hour after police left, a fire broke out.

    No one was inside and authorities had cleared out all the animals.

    But investigators found evidence that an accelerant was used to set the fire, police said.

    A search warrant was served at the house after gang officers chasing a suspect earlier in the day spotted what they determined was a marijuana growing operation in the rear of the house, police said.

    Police seized 22 marijuana plants, nine that were in a shed and 13 in the house.

    They also found suspected psilocybin mushrooms and peyote cactus, another hallucinogen, and some dried marijuana, police said.

    All of it appeared to be for personal use.

    Police called in a hazmat crew to determine the house was safe to enter and firefighters again called in hazmat crews after the fire broke out.

    The suspects' names were not immediately released. They were facing various drug-related charges.

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