Pot bust nets thousands of plants with estimated street value
of $40 million
By Erica Holt, Bay City News Service
July 25, 2006
Law enforcement agents seized marijuana plants growing in Santa
Clara County's Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve Monday afternoon
that would have been worth at least $40 million when mature, sheriff's
Deputy Serg Palanov said today.
The remote mountain growing site south of San Jose, where authorities
cut down some 12,000 immature pot plants, was near an area where
a state Department of Fish and Game warden was shot by a grower
during a marijuana raid in August, Palanov said.
The matured plants would have been worth $40 million to $50 million,
Working for some 12 hours in sweltering heat starting at 5 p.m.,
agents from the sheriff's office's operations unit, the federal
Campaign Against Marijuana Planting and the California Department
of Fish and Game tore down the plants.
Authorities have no suspects in custody, Palanov said.
Palanov said the sheriff's office has already collected 25,000
marijuana plants in the county this year.
"It's a wet year, we're finding more grows out there,''
The growers probably hiked all their gear in, Palanov said, as
there were no encampments immediately found nearby.
"It's amazing what they do,'' he said, to get to such a
Palanov has a warning for hikers who see a marijuana plant.
"Leave it alone and leave,'' he said.
Growers could be armed and dangerous and authorities are best
suited to handle the situation, he said.
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