CONCOW — Marijuana plants with an estimated street value of more than $37 million were pulled from five pot plantations Monday and Tuesday, when they got in the way of bulldozer operators battling the Empire Fire.
The Butte County Sheriff's Special Enforcement Unit discovered the gardens June 13 and were planning to raid them at a later time.
The gardens were mapped for fire officials when the Empire blaze broke out, but on Monday a bulldozer operator pushed into one of the grows, increasing concerns for firefighter safety.
SEU commander Stephen Collins said 9,459 plants ranging from one to three feet were eradicated by deputies and agents with the Butte Interagency Narcotics Task Force.
He said the five gardens were spread out over a half-mile stretch in steep, rugged terrain. No one was found tending the grows, but Collins said four abandoned campsites were found in the area.
The plants were being watered by a gravity feed system from a nearby creek. Collins said the gardens were set up similar to those operated by drug trafficking organizations. No firearms were found.
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Source: Chico Enterprise-Record
Copyright: 2008 Chico Enterprise-Record
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