3:01pm | Long Beach Police last week made two arrests in connection with an illegal marijuana grow operation in a vacant storefront located next door to the main office of an alternative high school in Bixby Knolls.

Long Beach Police Department Narcotics detectives arrested Robert DeWeese, 64, of Seal Beach, and David Benalt, 25, of Manhattan Beach, on Thursday, July 21, in connection with the illegal marijuana grow operation at 4352 Atlantic Ave., LBPD spokesman Sgt. Rico Fernandez said.

The storefront is the former location of dance shoe retailer John March Shoes.

The operation was discovered after detectives received a complaint about a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vacant storefront, which is situated next door to Education Partnership High School’s main office, Fernandez said.

“According to investigators, the odor of marijuana was so strong it could be smelled from the school,” he said.

A search warrant was served at the location last Thursday, at which time detectives seized approximately 200 marijuana plants and took the two suspects into custody, Fernandez said.

Investigators do not believe at this time that the illegal operation is tied to any of the city’s medial marijuana dispensaries, he said.

EPHS is an alternative school that specializes in independent study for high school students ages 14 to 18 who are at risk of dropping out. It is run by a teaming of the Long Beach Unified School District and Ultimate Resources Inc.