30,000 marijuana plants eradicated, two arrested

(PRESS RELEASE FROM MONO SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT)

From: Ralph Obenberger, Undersheriff

Date: August 16, 2012

RE: Marijuana Eradication in the Inyo National Forest

As part of the campaign of the Mono Narcotic Enforcement Team (MONET) to combat the cultivation of marijuana within Mono County, MONET agents, with the assistance of the Inyo Narcotics Enforcement Team, Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, Mammoth Lakes Police Department, Mono County Paramedics, Mono County Public Works, California Highway Patrol, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, California Department of Justice (CAMP), and the U.S. Customs Service, eradicated a large marijuana operation located on Forest Service lands in the Inyo National Forest. The Undersheriff said the exact location of the operation will not be released.

The eradication took place on Wednesday August 15th and Thursday August 16th 2012.  Over two days, with the assistance of two helicopters and one fixed wing aircraft, law enforcement eradicated approximately 30,000 marijuana plants from a large grow site, which was approximately 1 ½ miles in length, with a potential street value of approximately $108 million dollars.

During the eradication, two suspects were taken into custody within the grow site.  The suspects were identified as Edilio Navarro age 34 of Lake Elsinore Ca. and Nemessis Venegas age 22 of Perris Ca.  During the arrest five handguns and one rifle were also seized.  There are still several outstanding suspects, who are believed to be armed.  The suspects arrested have been booked in the Mono County Jail with bail set at $50,000 each, and they could be ultimately charged in Federal Court.

With these types of illegal marijuana grow sites, public lands are routinely desecrated with garbage, piping material, etc. The U.S. Forest Service will return to the affected area and complete an extensive cleanup and restoration operation due to the destruction of public lands by these cultivators.  The cleanup and restoration is not only time consuming, but labor intensive and is done at a high cost to the taxpayers.

MONET agents would like to warn outdoor enthusiasts of the dangers of locating one of these grow sites. If you see anything that looks out of place such as cleared areas of forest that should not be cleared, fertilizer bags, black plastic pipes, large camps that seem out of place, or actively growing marijuana plants, please immediately leave the area and note the location, if possible, and notify the appropriate law enforcement agency. These large scale marijuana cultivators are routinely armed and are known to protect the gardens in any way they can.

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46 Comments
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ILovetoFish
ILovetoFish
9 years ago

If your against legalization you support the Mexican Cartel, weather you smoke pot or not.

Dee
Dee
9 years ago

Prohibition ever works and never has……ending prohibitions aways stifles or does away with black markets associated with said prohibition. Two fact that cannot be refuted regarding prohibitions without just flat out lying. As others have stated in comments above, legalize pot and this problem goes away. Allow people to grow… Read more »

Dee
Dee
9 years ago
Reply to  Dee

Never works…oops!

esfotoguy
esfotoguy
9 years ago

Id rather control the mostly ILLEGALS that man these camps…If pot was legal, there would still be people growing higher grade than what Uncle Sam would provide. Id seriously doubt that the cartels would cease because of a US law.. Last time I checked moonshine is still illegal and alcohol… Read more »

MJA
MJA
9 years ago

Pot sucks!

=

Jeremiah's Alter Ego
Jeremiah's Alter Ego
9 years ago
Reply to  MJA

MJA “pot sucks” if that is all you have to say and that is your only argument to a issue, I would ask somebody like you to get out of the way for the people that have a more informative stance. You know what else sucks? A speed limit that… Read more »

esfotoguy
esfotoguy
9 years ago

2 yrs ago i was doing a photo assignment for the county and I went out to the crooked meadow area. As I was shooting pics i kept noticing trucks going toward the backside of Bald Mt on a certain road to a spring area. One of my assignments was… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
9 years ago
Reply to  esfotoguy

esfotoguy- I’m sure that experience was scary, but I have to ask you if you think that would have happen if it was legal?

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

I think trouble, it might still happen .. because even .. if it was legalized .. the people who would grow it .. would still do thins like that .. might not be because it is illegal to grow .. but because as with anything else, the govt. will to… Read more »

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago
Reply to  Big AL

They can’t just legalize it and let it be .. they will have to regulate it to get their cut, with every regulation the Govt. will get some coin out of it. Cha ching!

Mark
Mark
9 years ago

JOB SECURITY FOR ALL THOSE EMPLOYED BY THE AGENCIES BELOW Mono Narcotic Enforcement Team (MONET) to combat the cultivation of marijuana within Mono County, MONET agents, with the assistance of the Inyo Narcotics Enforcement Team, Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, Mammoth Lakes Police Department, Mono County Paramedics, Mono County Public Works,… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
9 years ago
Reply to  Mark

I heard the cops have been eating a lot of brownies lately.

Trouble
Trouble
9 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

I see my jokes get real negative responses from many, but the truth is that the war on drugs is a complete waste of our time and money. Ever since Reagan declared war on drugs more of our youth have died or been put in prison than ever. Now, more… Read more »

Eastern Sierra local
Eastern Sierra local
9 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

Actually the “official” start of the war on drugs was under Nixon a great report just came out on this matter and how the US Taxpayers have spent $5 Trillion over 50 years and the arrests continue upwards, use is upwards, and there’s been no reduction, obviously a failed experiment… Read more »

Jeremiah's Alter Ego
Jeremiah's Alter Ego
9 years ago

Its up to the American voters to make the difference and hope our sell out repersentitives respect the American voters over the coporate influence.

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

it made me laugh Trouble .. I totally hear ya .. I smoked it years ago .. until had to quit .. I have mixed emotions and opinions on it. I do know .. speaking in regard to recreation, it is not so bad as a lot of people portray… Read more »

Last resort
Last resort
7 years ago
Reply to  Big AL

YOU may not be able to drive on cannabis but for some it should be prescribed so they chill the f out.

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago
Reply to  Mark

LOL .. the pension thing had to get thrown in there .. figures. But you’re right on the rest of that .. if we legalized it what would we do with half of the INET MONET people? drug enforcement is a big business now days, probably one of the fastest… Read more »

sierragrl
sierragrl
9 years ago

Mexican cartel grow sites are exactly what we don’t want in our country and why legalization of home grown for personal use is a good thing….the mexican cartels are making millions (billions maybe?) and none of that money is hitting the american economy! Get em out a here and the… Read more »

Jeremiah's Alter Ego
Jeremiah's Alter Ego
9 years ago
Reply to  sierragrl

Well said sierraGrl I fully agree. There is alot of common sense tied to legalizing pot but when somebody only see’s the bad in something and has never been personnally efected by the benefits of pot (Cancer patients, PTSD, Depression, etc.). So what I am saying is your typical conservative… Read more »

Eastern Sierra local
Eastern Sierra local
9 years ago

more proof that the only route to stop the illegal grow operations on public land is to legalize marijuana, God wanted it this way that’s why he said, “Behold, I have given you every plant bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, which… Read more »

JeanGenie
JeanGenie
9 years ago

ESL, Yes such wonderful logic! Try eating some Jimson weed seeds and see how that sets with you, or toast some marshmallows with oleander sticks, and then follow it up with some amanita mushrooms.
Actually, that might solve some of our overpopulation troubles! Go Jesus!

Eastern Sierra local
Eastern Sierra local
9 years ago
Reply to  JeanGenie

JeanGenie- actually Jimson Weed is a highly potent hallucinogen and I have utilized this “God” given plant for this exact purpose- fabulous!
Our Native American brothers in the south west showed me how. God is wonderful!

JeanGenie
JeanGenie
9 years ago

Dear ESL, Before you spout off about the hallucinogenic properties of Jimson weed, or maybe at the same time, you should point out that it is also extremely toxic and can kill or injure one if used improperly. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to be responsible for anyone getting hurt… Read more »

Wilfred S.
Wilfred S.
9 years ago
Reply to  JeanGenie

But in the case of marijuana, it’s completely non-toxic. No one has ever died from died from ingesting any amount of this plant, ever.

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
9 years ago
Reply to  JeanGenie

Wilfred S….There is a girl in town that had to be taken to the ER because of ingesting weed…She didn’t die,but got very sick,probably because of what some creep put in it hoping to get her real high and happy and,well,you can guess what else he was wanting once she… Read more »

Eastern Sierra local
Eastern Sierra local
9 years ago
Reply to  JeanGenie

Actually, JeanGenie; you were the one spouting off about the hallucinogenic properties of jimson weed by saying the following, “Try eating some Jimson weed seeds and see how that sets with you, or toast some marshmallows with oleander sticks, and then follow it up with some amanita mushrooms.” I only… Read more »

JeanGenie
JeanGenie
9 years ago

ESL, I see you read but do not comprehend, or read your own thoughts into other’s statements. You are the one who initially mentioned Jimson weed’s hallucinogenic properties, not me. I mentioned it as a toxic plant, which it is. I sure hope that some kid doesn’t go out and… Read more »

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago

LOL Local then why do a lot of Christians consider it a sin … to smoke pot .. the same as getting drunk .. just an observation. Who knows what Jesus would do … He might fire up .. He might not. I don’t think God really cares either way.… Read more »

salblaster
salblaster
9 years ago

thats quite a haul, over 100 million street value, thats 3,600$ per plant. in the picture they look kinda small, maybe the big ones were up the hill. whats the benifit for over estimating the crop. a few years back some of the creeks between olancha and indepedence had big… Read more »

Wilfred S.
Wilfred S.
9 years ago
Reply to  salblaster

“whats the benifit for over estimating the crop?”

Law enforcement’s budget is directly tied to these projections. It’s that simple.

Drug enforcement in this country has become its own cartel. It’s all become a vicious cycle, revolving around greed.

Mark
Mark
9 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred S.

When someone steals my pot plants and I catch them, I will have the Sheriff arrest them for grand theft using the same over estimatation of my crops worth.

Mark
Mark
9 years ago
Reply to  salblaster

There’s so much pot out there those estimates aren’t even close to being correct. Pots basically free among those who legally grow it. Best way to get varity is by trading your buddy a 1/4lb of cush for a 1/4lb of purple haze. I’m totally against illegal grows in our… Read more »

Steve
Steve
9 years ago

If you come across one of these grow sights, you better put one in the chamber. Stay safe out there.

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago
Reply to  Steve

Yes these people would kill you if you stumbled into it. it has happened before .. some even booby trap the perimeter, and have look outs. it’s not a walk in the park. I remember as a kid going to my grandfather’s cabin for the summer in northern California (Mendocino… Read more »

Small town girl
Small town girl
9 years ago

Trouble,
I think your right. They could bail out the town and then some! its a win win situation.

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago

Gona take more than that to bail out the “town”

Wants to know
Wants to know
9 years ago

So where was it?

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago
Reply to  Wants to know

Good question. We’re asking.
Benett

Big Rick OB
Big Rick OB
9 years ago

Why not use the county jail inmates, both Inyo & Mono, to do the “labor intensive” work? And also, what about the Conservation Camp? It makes NO sense at all to pay anyone to clean up this mess when the county has all those convicts (misdemeanor only) just sitting on… Read more »

Wilfred S.
Wilfred S.
9 years ago
Reply to  Big Rick OB

Perhaps because forced slave-labor is widely frowned upon in modern, civilized countries. Prison slavery is a slippery slope down a path to corruption. A simpler solution would be legalizing pot, but that would mean less taxpayer dollars being funneled to law enforcement and the prison system, which currently makes up… Read more »

Reality Bites
Reality Bites
9 years ago
Reply to  Big Rick OB

Great Idea Big Rick, Have a bunch of criminals cut down illegal marijuana. I am sure they would not stash any.

Big Rick OB
Big Rick OB
9 years ago
Reply to  Reality Bites

Reality…read the article. The pot is ALREADY GONE. The labor intrusive work is cleaning up all the water piping, fertilizer bags, and other trash. GEEZ!

Big AL
Big AL
9 years ago
Reply to  Big Rick OB

Yes Big Rick .. I agree .. when they catch these guys like this .. put them on a chain gang and other select prisoners and take them out to do clean up and restoration on these sites. In fact .. prison labor could do a lot of good in… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
9 years ago

Maybe the cops should apply to open their own wellness center with their new found stash.

Trouble
Trouble
9 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

Why so negative people? I bet that 7.25% sales tax on 108 million would pay for your schools next year.