A sheriff's helicopter lands at the Mil Potrero Y to transport armed officers to the marijuana grow field found north of Cuddy Valley. [The Mountain Enterprise photo]
UPDATE (Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009, 4:37 p.m.) The seizure of approximately 12,645 mature marijuana plants earlier today has been estimated to have a street value of over $50 million, according to a Kern County Sheriff’s Department press release.
To date, the Kern County Sheriff’s Office has located 38 marijuana grows in the county. Of those grows 16 were on private property and 22 on public land. Approximately 164,645 mature marijuana plants have been eradicated with an estimated street value of $658,580,000.
A total of 25 suspects have been arrested during the operations, and 25 firearms have been seized. This is an increase over the 2008 record of 159,000 marijuana plants seized by the Sheriff’s Office.
UPDATE (Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009, 2:40 p.m.)—Case Agent Richard Garrett reports that 12,645 marijuana plants were seized in two grow fields, one in Pleito Canyon and one in an adjacent canyon to the east. No suspects were apprehended. One location had plants that were budding and there were signs of harvest operations in progress. Propane canisters and fertilizers were also present, according to Garrett.
FRAZIER PARK, Calif. (Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009, 8:10 a.m.)—Multiple law enforcement agencies assembled at the west end of Cuddy Valley (in the Mil Potrero Y parking area) this morning at 7 a.m. to raid a marijuana farm in the mountains to the north. The farming operation was spotted during routine helicopter reconnaissance of the area on August 18, according to Kern County Sheriff’s Department Major Violators Unit Case Agent Richard Garrett, who spoke with The Mountain Enterprise on-scene this morning. "Two or three grow fields were spotted about three and a half miles north of here, during a helicopter fly-over. This morning we’ll be transporting officers to the location by helicopter," Garrett said. "We’re not certain yet if they are two to three separate fields or just one large field."
Armed officers waited at the Mil Potrero Y for helicopters to take them. Garrett said groups of officers would be suspended beneath the helicopter, flown to the location and set down. Multiple trips would be required to get what appeared to be about 30 officers to the location.
It was not known this morning whether any suspects are present at the farm location.
Agencies participating in the raid include Kern County Sheriff’s Department, Bureau of Land Management, United States Forest Service, California Department of Justice, California Department of Fish and Game, Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, Bakersfield Police Department and Tulare County Sheriff’s Department.
Check back this afternoon for an update on this story.
This is part of the September 04, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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