Suspected cartel marijuana grow seized in Nevada County’s Yuba River canyon |

Suspected cartel marijuana grow seized in Nevada County’s Yuba River canyon

A large amount of marijuana is flown out from a grow seized this weekend.
Submitted by Hamilton Bryan |

After weeks of surveillance, Nevada County Narcotics Task Force agents and officers from four state and federal enforcement agencies raided 10 suspected cartel marijuana gardens in the Yuba River canyon on Sunday, extracting 1,546 marijuana plants by helicopter.

“The plants ranged from three to six feet in height,” said Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal. “They were spread over 10 different gardens that were camouflaged by the dense forest and steep terrain.”

Royal said most of the gardens were along the South Fork of the Yuba River near the Independence Trail.

No one was arrested or present at the site during the raid, but officers confiscated some evidence that could lead to identifying suspects, he added.

In addition to Nevada County, other agencies involved included California Department of Fish & Wildlife, California State Parks, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Royal said.

He said the property where the 10 gardens were located was a combination of state parkland, Bureau of Land Management acreage and private property.

“The gardens were fed by nearby creeks and streams,” Royal said. “In addition to the water diversions, there were several types of fertilizers found in the encampments.”

The state Department of Fish & Game is conducting its own investigation into a suspected poisoning of a dead bear that was found near one of the gardens in a decomposed state, Royal said.

The surveillance was conducted over the last few weeks, Royal said. Based on evidence collected, officials believe the gardens were being run by a cartel.

“You don’t find a lot of local folks involved in something like this,” Royal said. “Usually if local folks are growing, it’s on their own private property.”

To contact Staff Writer Keri Brenner, email or call 530-477-4239.

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