Tuesday, Apr 26 2011 04:33 PM Bakersfield Ca / Tuesday morning, deputies assigned to the Kern County Sheriff's Office S.W.A.T. (Special Weapons and Tactics) team and Kern County Sheriff's Office Major Violators Unit served a search warrant on a marijuana garden located in a remote forest area near Erskine Creek, approximately five miles south of Lake Isabella. Two U.S. Forest Service agents assisted.

Deputies encountered an armed suspect in the marijuana garden. The suspect was dressed in a military-style, camouflage uniform and was carrying a loaded semi-automatic .22 caliber rifle. The suspect was wearing a black hood, commonly referred to as a balaclava. Upon seeing the deputies, the suspect turned and began running into the forest. The suspect threw the rifle as he was running. Deputies pursued the suspect and captured him approximately 100 feet from where he threw the rifle.

Deputies discovered several hundred holes, which had been dug and were being used for cultivating marijuana. Many of the holes contained small marijuana plants. Deputies found several hundred marijuana seedling plants in starter cups within the garden.

The suspect(s) had clear-cut a large section of the forest to plant the marijuana. The deputies located the campsite near the garden. There was already a large amount of trash strewn about the campsite. Deputies believe that several other suspects in the garden may have fled into the forest and escaped while the pursuit of the first suspect was taking place.

Deputies seized 3,120 marijuana plants and seedlings.

The suspect, Lizardo Sandoval, 22, of Lamont, was arrested on suspicion of cultivation of marijuana, conspiracy, resisting arrest and commission of a felony while armed. Sandoval was booked into the Kern County Jail.

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