Nearly a ton of pot seized in foothills busts
Special to The Union
Three people were arrested and nearly a ton of marijuana was seized from two sites in the foothills after authorities served search warrants on Thursday.
NET-5, the Yuba County Sheriff’s Office and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife served the first warrant in the 11000 block of Moran Road near New Bullards Bar Reservoir. When law enforcement officers arrived, they discovered marijuana plants had been recently pulled out of the ground and relocated.
“We found evidence that there were over 200 plants,” said Ron Nelsen, task force commander for NET-5, a local joint narcotics task force. “After talking to neighbors over the past few days, we learned that some cars had come in recently and taken the plants somewhere else.”
Nelson said law enforcement presence in the foothills following the shooting of two deputies earlier this month might have prompted those responsible for the grow to relocate. He said deputies have been active in the foothills conducting compliance checks since the shooting.
The second location — the 10000 block of La Porte Road in Challenge — netted 165 plants and three arrests.
“They were all pretty healthy plants,” Nelson said. “Three subjects were there when we arrived. Their property was backed up against a stream, or state waterway. They indicated they were hoping to sell the product to a dispensary.”
Nai Fong Saetern, 30, and Sengon Jeffrey Sachao 28, both of Sacramento, and Zach Tsyn Saepharn, 22, of Challenge, were arrested on suspicion of cultivating more than six plants, possession of marijuana for sale and conspiracy to commit a crime. They were booked into Yuba County Jail, with bail set at $20,000 each.
A third location in the same block of La Porte Road — about 200 yards away — was also searched. Nelson said 66 plants were located at the site, all extremely healthy plants capable of producing 8-10 pounds of marijuana buds each.
Nelson said a man was there tending to the plants when they arrived, but was compliant with law enforcement. There was a medical marijuana recommendation to grow at the location, so the unidentified man was cited for misdemeanor charges for cultivation and possession for sale, he said.
“His statement to us was, ‘It’s too easy to make a lot of money making marijuana,’” Nelson said.
Of the plants found at the property, 60 were seized and six adult marijuana plants were left to fulfill the property owner’s recommendation to cultivate, Nelson said.
In total, 225 plants were taken by law enforcement. The marijuana totaled 1,890 pounds.
Nelson said law enforcement became aware of the illegal grows after local residents lodged complaints.
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