Liz Kellar

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September 28, 2012
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DEA descends on San Juan Ridge, seize pot plants

Federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration — with the help of dozens of deputies from Nevada County, as well as Butte and Yuba counties and the U.S. Forest Service — descended on eight properties on the San Juan Ridge Thursday morning in search of marijuana.

Search warrants were served at properties on Kilham Circle, Silverthorne Lane and Grizzly Creek, Old Mill and Tyler-Foote Crossing roads on the Ridge, as well as Moonshine Road in Camptonville, said Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal,

Approximately 60 law enforcement officials, including members of Nevada County’s Narcotics Task Force, were on hand, eradicating more than 500 marijuana plants, Royal said. Some of the plants were 10 to 14 feet tall, he added.

Agents also allegedly recovered several guns, but more specific information was not immediately available.

“No one has been arrested at this point,” Royal said. “The investigation is ongoing.”

A DEA spokeswoman would only confirm that agents were serving federal search warrants in that area today. The Nevada County raids come in the wake of federal marijuana raids last Thursday in Oregon House and Smartsville.

The Yuba County raids were the result of two five-month investigations headed by the DEA, according to the Marysville Appeal-Democrat.

At least eight properties were searched in Oregon House and Smartsville; one was listed as being owned by Grass Valley resident Chris Purpura and another by John Orr of Grass Valley. Agents said between 50 and more than 100 plants were seen at each location over several months, according to an affidavit.

Andreas Jewers, 47, Juan Jose Domingo, 47, and Elizabeth E. Stefani, 43, all of Oregon House, were arrested and booked into the Yuba County Jail on suspicion of conspiracy and cultivation of marijuana for sale.

All three posted $100,000 bail and are set for arraignment Oct. 23 in Yuba County Superior Court.

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email or call (530) 477-4229.

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The Union Updated Mar 12, 2013 06:09PM Published Oct 4, 2012 01:00PM Copyright 2012 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.