A Los Angeles police captain is on paid leave as the department investigates whether he is involved with an alleged marijuana warehouse in Sun Valley.
The warehouse came to the LAPD’s attention on Oct. 31 after someone called to report a burglary there.
Phillip A. Smith, a captain in Rampart Division, told The Los Angeles Times on Thursday that he was the caller.
Smith, who was off-duty at the time, said he did not know there was a marijuana business at the location.
“I can only say that a burglary came to my attention and I notified LAPD of the crime,” Smith said in an email. “They investigated and it led to an illegal marijuana grow.”
Smith said he discovered the burglary while next door to the warehouse, which recently had been a granite countertop business, in the 8800 block of Bradley Avenue.
He would not say what he was doing there and referred further questions to his attorney, Muna Busailah, who could not be reached for comment.
According to an LAPD source familiar with the investigation, the department is looking into whether Smith provided security for the business.
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The suspects entered the marijuana business through a rear door about 4 a.m. They left with a safe, cigarettes, cigars and marijuana plants, according to an LAPD news release.
Investigators from the Gang and Narcotics Division began looking into the illegal marijuana business and discovered that an LAPD employee was “affiliated with the location,” according to the news release, which did not identify Smith by name.
Smith is on paid leave until an internal investigation is completed. He has not been arrested or charged with a crime.
Smith joined the LAPD in 1988 after pitching for the USC baseball team. He spent six years in the elite Metropolitan Division and nine years as the assistant commanding officer of Air Support.
He was promoted to captain in August 2016, working first in Northeast Division before moving to Rampart. He grew up in Santa Clarita and still lives there.
© 2017 the Los Angeles Times. Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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