CREATED Jun 19, 2012
Reporter: Kevin Keen
RIO RICO, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - It's not on the menu, but Santa Cruz County officials say they found it on the property of a Rio Rico restaurant. A pot bust went down last week and left the sushi bar with its doors closed and put two men behind bars. Neighbors are especially upset because of what's next door.
Someone in the neighborhood noticed something especially fishy June 12 at Masaru Sushi on Circulo Mercado. He or she tipped off law enforcement, who rolled on in.
“That's what got us to the location,” said Lt. Gerardo Castillo of the Santa Cruz County Metro Task Force. “It was highly important for us to have received that information, alerting law enforcement.”
A deputy saw a man climbing a wall and spotted bundles of marijuana on the property, Castillo said. Back up from Border Patrol and the county attorney’s office arrived and found seven bundles--nearly 100 pounds--of pot.
Officers soon arrested 32-year-old German Rodarte and 21-year-old Deny Santos-Galarza for possession, among other charges.
Neighbors don't know the men but are surprised at what happened.
“It's a really quiet neighborhood,” said neighbor Chastity Hennessey.
But not everyone is in disbelief.
9 On Your Side reporter Kevin Keen asked neighbor Gary Lucke, “Does it surprise you to hear that happened at this restaurant next door?” “Actually, no,” he answered, explaining he’s a retired corrections officer. He said he's seen plenty of people risk it all for a quick buck.
What's most troubling to some neighbors is that right next door to the restaurant is a daycare.
“The kids are innocent and they don't need to be around it,” Hennessey said. “They don't need it brought up in their backyard.”
But there is relief two criminals are out of that backyard and behind bars.
Castillo said neither of the men arrested owned the restaurant, but one was leasing the property. The restaurant’s phone number is disconnected.
Detectives wouldn't give out more information--like where the marijuana was stored--because the investigation is ongoing. The county attorney’s office declined to comment on the status of the case.