Five arrested on state, federal charges in pot raid
Local, state and federal investigators were out in force again Wednesday in the second day of a series of raids on marijuana-growing operations.
“They were targeting local and regional marijuana cultivators that were hiding behind Prop. 215 to conceal their criminal activities,” Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal said. “A total of 14 federal search warrants were executed at different locations.”
The Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigation branch led a multi-agency marijuana bust that also included Nevada County Sheriff’s deputies and members of the Narcotics Task Force, as well as the Mountain and Valley Marijuana Investigation Team in targeting several locations in Nevada County, Royal said. They also raided several gardens in El Dorado and Yuba counties, Royal said.
The local busts reportedly involved several marijuana farms off Chalk Bluff Road between Highway 20 and Red Dog Road, about 11 miles east of Nevada City.
Five people have been arrested on state and federal charges, some of which were outstanding warrant, Royal said. He could not provide their names, citing the ongoing investigation. Outstanding state charges likely will be handled locally, while any federal charges will come from grand jury indictments.
“We confiscated and eradicated approximately 1,400 plants ranging in size up to 10 feet in height,” he said. “The plants that we confiscated under the federal search warrants were in both indoor and outdoor grow locations. Additionally, we seized 90 pounds of processed marijuana.”
Several handguns and shotguns were found at different locations that were allegedly being used to protect the cultivation sites, Royal said.
“At one location, we seized approximately 2,000 steroid tabs and injectable steroids, along with a small bottle of vial of MDMA (ecstasy) in powdered form,” he said.
The amount of money involved is a tip-off in commercial grows, Royal said.
“It’s not about medical marijuana,” he said. “On a true co-op, the grower is entitled to reasonable compensation to grow for the members.”
In some cases, law enforcement has found multiple copies of the same medical marijuana recommendation posted at different gardens, Royal said.
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