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Old August 18th, 2009, 12:15 AM
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BigT67 BigT67 is offline

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Arrow Choppers assist in big pot busts

An unidentified state narcotics officer, 6 feet 2 inches tall, stands next to marijuana plants found in a garden near Gasquet on Aug. 6. Courtesy of Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office

More than 12,500 marijuana plants were pulled this week during joint operations of the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office, the California Department of Justice and the U.S. Forest Service.

That brings the total number of plants pulled in Del Norte County since operations began Aug. 1 to more than 13,000, and foreign cartels are suspected in some of the latest cases.

Authorities located eight gardens in Del Norte County during three days of flyovers Monday through Wednesday by a helicopter from the Department of Justice’s Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) initiative, said sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Morris.

Last week, three gardens were located, 473 plants were pulled and two arrests of local residents were made in the Gasquet and Crescent City areas.

No suspects were located at any of the eight gardens, but evidence, including food, clothing and camping gear, was left behind.

On Monday, three gardens containing a total of 7,320 plants were pulled near the Oregon border on Six Rivers National Forest land.

Deputies reported that one of the sprawling gardens of about 2,000 plants had mesh all the way around it to keep pests out.

The garden also contained a watering system made by damming a nearby creek and diverting the water to a barrel, which had pipes that ran from it to the plants.

The “pot field” was so large, officers were flown from one end to the other by helicopter instead of waling.
During the Monday operations, Morris said officers wanted to get into the gardens undetected to possibly catch a “farmer” in the act.

“The idea was to go in to see if they could catch anyone in the gardens and they almost got the chance,” said the sergeant. “The guys were going in to raid them and they saw a cloud of dust go up, just as they arrived.”

On Tuesday, 1,535 plants were pulled in two gardens in the Patrick Creek drainage area off of U.S. Highway 199 in eastern Del Norte County.

By the end of Wednesday, authorities pulled three more gardens containing 3,682 plants near the middle fork of the Smith River, the Little Jones Creek area and the Kelley Creek area.

Authorities suspect the gardens were grown by Mexican and Asian drug cartels, due to the ethnicity of the food and the written notes found at the sites.

Morris said cartel pot growers count on at least one of their gardens being found, which is why they always have more than one.

“They would have four to five gardens, and you can just about guarantee one’s going to be found — and the others will be used to pay the defense attorney,” said the sergeant.


Big T

Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.


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