Two fires hit Raleigh house where police had seized drugs

From staff reportsNovember 11, 2013 

— A second fire in two days on Monday heavily damaged a vacant house on Patriot Ridge Court where police had seized more than 200 pounds of marijuana in mid-September.

The Monday fire was reported at 1:36 a.m.

Firefighters had been to the same house Saturday night.

Kendall Hocutt, Raleigh assistant fire chief and fire marshal, said investigators consider Monday’s fire suspicious. It was “very unlikely” that the Monday fire rekindled from the Saturday fire.

On Sept. 15, a Sunday, a police officer had gone to the house looking for Jorge Luis Velasquez to serve an arrest warrant issued after he missed a court appearance on a charge of driving with a revoked license.

The officer had got no answer at the front door and was looking around outside the house when he detected the smell of marijuana plants and noticed some windows had been covered over on the inside.

With a search warrant, police went into the house and found 215 pounds of marijuana plants growing, they said.

Velasquez was charged with marijuana trafficking and maintaining a dwelling for drugs after police spotted him on Wake Forest Road and stopped his car.

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