In another case of illegal marijuana cultivation on public lands, Mono Narcotic Task Force agents report the seizure of 4600 mature plants, worth an estimated $29 million, from a remote area of the Glass Mountains. Officers report that on September 5th, agents from MONET and the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement eradicated what officers describe as a large and sophisticated cultivation operation on Forest Service land.
During the raid, a male juvenile subject was arrested while trying to evade officers. As a minor his name wont be released, but Sheriff officials did confirm that the arrested juvenile was a Mexican National. In past raids, law enforcement officers have noted a recent trend of drug cartels from Mexico using remote areas of public land to plant large marijuana farms.
Officers report that evidence at the scene indicated that there were likely several other subjects who were tending to the large gardens who were able to evade agents.
Agents eradicated the more than 4,600 mature marijuana plants at this site in the Glass Mountains east of Crowley. BNE agents stated that this has not been the largest marijuana grow in the state so far in terms of numbers, but the plants in the Mono County grow were far more productive and larger in size resulting in higher yield per plant.
Officers estimate the potential street value of the marijuana would have been in the area of $29,000,000 (million).
The U.S. Forest Service will go into the area for extensive clean up and restoration of the forest that was damaged by the cultivators.
In Inyo County, flyovers yielded an illegal grow site in the Lone Pine Area. Inyo Sheriff Sergeant Jeff Hollowell reports that last week local and state officers eradicated over 200 plants in one farm. No arrests were made, so its possible that this smaller farm was not connected to the drug cartels.