$37.6 Million Pot Field Found on Tejon Ranch

By Patric Hedlund

Within the boundaries of Tejon Ranch last week, a marijuana-growing operation said to be worth $37.6 million was raided by an interagency task force.

“Once we learned that there might be an illegal marijuana operation on our property, we were anxious for law enforcement to deal with the situation and offered them our every assistance,” Tejon Ranch Corporation spokesman Barry Zoeller said, “…Our guides and security personnel, using fourwheel drive vehicles, transported the SWAT team to the area…in a deep canyon near House Creek…a rugged 15-mile hike from the Old Headquarters area.“

Kern County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Michael Whorf confirmed that a search warrant was served on Friday, July 10. Although three subjects were seen “clipping buds” as officers approached, they fled into the forest and no arrests were made at the time. About 9,400 plants were said to have been flown out of the area.

A Kern County Fire Department helicopter noticed the plot. About eight “wildland” marijuana farms have been located in Kern County mountains this year, Whorf said, most on national forest land.

This is part of the July 17, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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