Approximately 72,000 marijuana plants were located and destroyed Tuesday, June 7 at a grow operation discovered in a remote area of western Siskiyou County near Somes Bar.
Three male suspects dressed in woodland camouflage who were tending the grows evaded capture, according to a press release from the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department.
The US Forest Service had received information about the grow operation from an anonymous source, said Sheriff’s spokesperson Allison Giannini.
The Siskiyou County Sheriff Department Marijuana Eradication Team and the Special Response Team, as well as the Department of Fish and Game and the Forest Service conducted the raid in the forest east of Highway 96, locating three separate marijuana grow nurseries in the Offield Saddle area.
Upon entering the garden deputies saw three Hispanic males dressed in woodland camouflage tending the marijuana grows, Giannini said.
The suspects left the area on foot and were pursued by law enforcement teams and a canine, however, they evaded capture in heavily wooded, rugged terrain, said Giannini.
“Unfortunately, we have criminal elements who have elected to use public lands to cultivate marijuana on a large-scale basis in Siskiyou County and neighboring jurisdictions,” said Sheriff Jon Lopey in the release. “I consider the influx of these criminals to be a serious public safety threat to our citizenry. It is safe to say that at least some of these offenders are members or associates of dangerous drug cartels, which primarily originate in Mexico. Although the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office is teaming with federal, state and local law enforcement partners to eradicate this potential threat, it is difficult to mitigate the potential danger in all portions of the fifth largest county in California.