Los Padres pot farm discovered
By Bret Bradigan
The Ventura County Sheriff's
Department conducted an operation Tuesday afternoon near Rose
Valley to eradicate a large plantation of marijuana.
According to Eric Nishimoto, sheriff's spokesperson, the site
is near another marijuana plantation discovered and eradicated
last year. The number of plants and street value of the find
were not available by press time.
Six Mexican nationals were arrested Sept. 24 last year, after
sheriff's deputies discovered 2,000 mature marijuana plants northeast
of Wheeler Gorge.
Media was invited to a Tuesday briefing at noon at the Caltrans
site off Rose Valley Road, which included helicopter flyovers
and other air operations over the plantation site. Nishimoto
wrote in his press release, "We cannot provide more access
to the grow given its rough terrain and remoteness."
Marijuana growing on national parks and forest has become epidemic,
say law enforcement officials. Remote growing sites are often
staffed by armed guards, while the farming operations themselves
take a toll on the land, with diverted stream courses for irrigation
and pollution from growers' shelters and operations all harming
the environment, as well as the safety of forest visitors.
Los Padres has become a favorite grow zone in recent years; in
1996 more than 16,000 plants were destroyed.
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