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Marijuana Busts Pass 2006

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
Narcotics detectives hauled a truckload of marijuana out of the North County on Tuesday for the second time this week as the seizure of hundreds of plants pushed figures past last year’s totals.

The bust was the fourth this harvesting season, which spans from May until October, and added 1,140 plants to the total amount of marijuana seized this year, according to sheriff’s spokesman, Sgt. Brian Hascall.

“Apparently it’s going to be a banner year for marijuana in this county,” Hascall said. This year’s 33,043 plants seized so far has surpassed all of last year, when 32,362 plants were discovered.

“I think we just have more (marijuana),” said Hascall about the increase. “We’ve got the same number of personnel in place. We have the same agreement and working relationship with the Forest Service as last year. I just think there are more grows out there that we’re discovering.”

At 10 to 14 feet, the plants found Tuesday off Adelaida Road west of Nacimiento Lake Drive were the tallest discovered this year.

A campsite found near the plants indicated people were living there to tend to the marijuana. No one was at the site when sheriff’s officials hiked to the area Tuesday morning.

On Monday, the third marijuana farming operation found this year was eradicated from a swath of land in Los Padres National Forest south of Santa Margarita Lake. Narcotics detectives found about 5,700 plants off Pozo Road that were about 2 to 4 feet tall.

There appears to be no connection between the two marijuana operations, Hascall said.

“Half of the grow had already been harvested,” Hascall said of Monday’s bust, estimating that the entire field would have been as large as 12,000 plants.

U.S. Forest Service officials found the field several weeks ago and kept it under surveillance.

There was no one at the site when about 30 investigators and rangers raided the area in the early morning hours Monday. A campsite was found. It appeared that whoever had been at the site had been gone for several days, authorities said.

Packaged marijuana was found at both spots. Officers chopped the plants down, and the marijuana was flown out of the remote area by helicopter.

The largest bust this year yielded 61,000 plants on July 8 in an area near the Santa Barbara County line off Highway 166.

Sheriff’s officials said they are no longer estimating the street value of marijuana plants found because the amount can vary drastically when considering the size, maturity, concentration, amount of bud on the plant and other factors.

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