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BUSTED INDOOR MARIJUANA FACILITIES MAY BE PART OF ORGANIZATION

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EUREKA -- Tuesday's drug raids in Humboldt and Mendocino counties made a
major dent in an illegal pot growing organization, said Special Agent
Joycelyn Barnes, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department on Friday.

Tuesday's bust, in which more than 100 local, state and federal drug agents
made a dawn raid on 11 different locations, was targeted at indoor
operations. Federal crackdowns on outdoor growers in the past decade have
forced many growers inside. This move actually increased their output
because they can run year-round, Barnes said.

Barnes said all of the different locations may be part of some kind of
organization, but not a traditionally set up organization. There may be a
person at the top financially who buys land and brokers it to other people,
who in turn set up their own operations.

As of Friday, drug agents had searched 18 locations in Humboldt and
Mendocino County. Six of these were residences and the rest were facilities
located in remote areas, Barnes said. More than 30,000 marijuana plants
were seized, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, automatic
weapons, generators, three All-Terrain Vehicles, three Harley Davidson
motorcycles and one fishing boat. Four people have been arrested, two of
those from Humboldt County.

Bria and Zachary Stone's Redway home was raided as well as a facility the
couple owns in Salmon Creek. The couple was arrested on weapons and
cultivation charges. About 1700 marijuana plants were found at the Salmon
Creek residence.

In a telephone interview from her San Francisco office, Barnes said the
Justice Department's Drug Enforcement Administration is continuing to
investigate and there may be more arrests. She said she couldn't speculate
on how much of an effect the bust will have on marijuana-traffic in the state.

California still leads the nation in the number of indoor and outdoor
marijuana-growing operations, Barnes said.


Newshawk: Dale Gieringer
Pubdate: Sat, 10 Mar 2001
Source: Times-Standard (CA)
Copyright: 2001 The Times-Standard
Contact: letters@times-standard.com
Address: 930 Sixth St. Eureka, CA 95501
Fax: 707-441-0501
Feedback:
http://www.times-standard.com/AngEuk_feedback.asp?PUID=5106&SPUID=5106
Website: Eureka Times-Standard: Breaking News, Sports, Business, Entertainment & Eureka News
Author: James Tressler, The Times-Standard
Related: US CA: 29,518 Pot Plants Seized Near Laytonville
 
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