Results 1 to 2 of 2

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

  1. #1
    Senior Member cvangel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    CA:Marijuana worth $23M found growing on state lands

    Marijuana worth $23M found growing on state lands in the Santa Cruz Mountains
    By Jennifer Squires - Sentinel Staff Writer
    Article Launched: 07/08/2008 06:54:24 PM PDT

    Click photo to enlargePolice officers from the Santa Cruz Sheriff's Office and Campaign... (Jennifer Squires/Sentinel)«1»SUMMIT - Sheriff's deputies working with the state Department of Justice removed almost 20,000 marijuana plants from public lands in the Santa Cruz Mountains this week.

    The plants, if allowed to mature, would be worth more than $23 million on the street, according to the Sheriff's Office.

    Five pot gardens, two of which were spotted by from the air by fire crews battling the Summit Fire in late May, were cut down Monday and Tuesday in Castle Rock State Park and Bureau of Land Management land adjacent to the Soquel Demonstration Forest on Summit Road.

    No arrests were made.

    "These guys knew we were coming," said Sgt. Steve Carney, who leads the Sheriff's Office Narcotics Enforcement Team.

    Deputies and officers assigned to the state Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, who were dropped into the gardens by helicopter, said it appeared the gardens had been abandoned. The two grows near Summit Road had already been harvested once. The plants had regenerated from short stalks and were already 2- to 3-feet tall.

    "You can see the mounds of shake up there," Carney said, talking about the plant debris left over after the bud is dried and picked.

    Neil Cuthbert, a Department of Justice special agent who leads the 11-member CAMP team, said the priority was removing the pot plants, not busting the growers.

    "All we care about right now, the only thing I care about right now, is getting that marijuana off that mountain," Cuthbert said, adding "we are disrupting the criminal organizations that are responsible."

    They cut down 19,471 plants in five gardens. Almost 8,000 plants that had bud growth were hauled out by helicopter to be disposed of, while the ones that had yet to produce marijuana were left to wilt on the chaparral-covered hillsides.

    Most times the Sheriff's Office sends deputies out after illegal marijuana grows, the crew hikes in on deer trails or up narrow drainages. But three gardens found in the natural preserve area of Castle Rock were planted on steep hillsides with no obvious trail. That, coupled with the 100-degree heat, would make hacking down the grows an impossible single-day project had the helicopter not been available.

    The chopper whipped up a storm of dead leaves and dust each time it lifted off a patch of dry grass on the top of the hill. A 100-foot orange line dangled from the white bird as the deputies and CAMP agents clipped onto the rope two at a time to be flown up to three miles to the pot gardens.

    They wore harnesses over their green fatigues, and carried CamelBaks of water and clippers along with the standard-issue law enforcement gear, like handguns and radios.

    From the low-flying chopper, the marijuana plants are bright green specks tucked under oak and knobcone pine trees, or sowed between manzanitas and tall stalks of poison oak. The clear cutting and terracing done before the plants put in the ground is evident, and the pilot and Cuthbert can spot the hoses used for drip irrigation running down the mountain.

    "I think one of the most important reasons why we're out here doing this is because so much of this is on public lands," Cuthbert said, running through a long list of problems the grows create, including safety concerns and environmental degradation. "The citizens have a right go out an enjoy the lands."

    The Castle Rock gardens were planted in the 1,500-acre preserve in the center of the park, an area that's closed to off-trail hiking. However, State Parks Ranger Miles Standish said some hikers violating that rule alerted rangers to the pot plants.

    He said "you would think that marijuana growers would be smart enough" to not plant in a state park.

    Contact Jennifer Squires at 429-2449 or

    Illegal Marijuana Grows

    Bureau of Land Management property near Summit Road; 7,923 plants in two gardens.

    Castle Rock State Park: 11,548 plants in three gardens.

    SOURCE: Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    That's really close to me.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts