Los Altos police confiscated as many as 60 marijuana plants from the back yard of a home near Covington School Thursday after a patrol officer caught a scent of the stuff while writing a speeding citation to an unrelated motorist in front of the house.
"The winds must have been blowing just the right direction," said Officer Scott McCrossin, who discovered the plants.
Last week's arrest was one of the biggest drug busts in Los Altos over the past few years, in terms of the volume of plants, police said.
By the time police had assembled all of the evidence in the driveway, the Giffin Road home looked like a commercial nursery. The plants, ranging from 2 to 8 feet in height, were the equivalent of 45 pounds of the drug sold on the street, police estimated.
Randall Taylor, 56, is facing felony charges for cultivating the plants on his property.
He also could be charged with possession of illegal fireworks and prescription drugs not prescribed in his name.
McCrossin and Officer Scott Bunch had pulled over a motorist for speeding, when a strong scent hit their noses.
After writing a citation, the two went to the home and discovered that the resident was growing marijuana in the yard.
About a half dozen police, including investigators from the Santa Clara County narcotics task force, were on hand to package the evidence.
The aroma of the plants was so prevalent, it stopped people passing by on the street in their tracks. Some returned with cameras to capture the event.