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The Pioneer Press at the very top of the State of California grants permission for this article to be copied and forwarded.
Pioneer Press, Fort Jones, California
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
8,300 pot plants seized
-- The cash crop of Siskiyou 8,300 plants times $4,000 per plant equals $33.2 million dollars.
-- Two plantations were confiscated in mid-July.
By Liz Bowen
Pioneer Press Assistant Editor, Fort Jones, California
SISKIYOU COUNTY – Two Mexican Nationals were arrested in connection with 5,000 marijuana plants growing in a wooded area just four miles southwest of Yreka.
On July 13, 2006, Israel Guzman-Ramierez, age 20, was taken into custody and booked into Siskiyou County Jail charged with cultivation of marijuana and illegal entry into the United States. A second suspect was arrested later on the evening of July 13, after an Yreka resident reported to the sheriff’s department that a man dressed in camouflage was walking near her residence on State Route 3. Deputies from the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department then contacted Felipe Antonio Ascencio, age 25. His physical description matched the one given by law enforcement earlier in the day, when the plantation was raided. His name was also found on documents in the grow. Ascencio was taken into custody and booked into Siskiyou County Jail charged with cultivation of marijuana and illegal entry into the United States. Immigration holds have been placed on both suspects.
The large plantation had been under surveillance by the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Marijuana Eradication Unit since May, after receiving information from a private citizen of a possible marijuana operation. On July 13, the Eradication Unit along with a K-9 unit, members of the Special Response Team, agents from the Interagency Narcotic Task Force, law enforcement officers from the Klamath National Forest and an FBI agent went into the area and found two suspects in the garden. Both fled, but Guzman-Ramierez was apprehended by the Forest Service officer.
Water lines from a nearby creek were used to irrigate the quarter-mile area of 5,000 plants that ranged in size from seedlings to three-feet tall. Make-shift living quarters and a kitchen were found, but there was no sign of weapons. The investigation into the operation is continuing.
A few days later, on July 19, the Eradication Unit confiscated 3,300 seedling marijuana plants that were being cultivated in the Klamath National Forest in the Goose Nest Ranger District east of Yreka. No arrests were made and the investigation is continuing.