About 8,100 marijuana plants and 4 tons of garbage was hauled out of grow sites in San Mateo County.
About 8,100 marijuana plants with a street value of more than $28 million was eradicated from numerous grow sites in the coastal mountains of San Mateo County in late August and early September, the height of harvest season, according to the San Mateo County Narcotics Task Force.
The plants were in various stages of growth and pulled from the ground with the help of CAMP, the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, a multi-agency task force managed by the state Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement and other local law enforcement agencies.
Along with the marijuana, approximately 4 tons of potential environmentally-toxic garbage was hauled out of the grow sites, according to a statement by Cmdr. John Munsey. The garbage consisted of camping gear, food garbage, household garbage, propane tanks, thousands of feet of irrigation tubing, stoves, sleeping bags, tarps, various fertilizers and pesticides and rodent poison, Munsey wrote in the statement.
A 12-gauge shotgun was also discovered that may have been used to protect the gardens and possibly for hunting, Munsey said.
Any suspects likely fled the area when a CAMP helicopter searched the mountains for the grow sites, he said.
“It may be fairly difficult to find the suspects,” he told the Daily Journal yesterday. Some of the marijuana may have been intended for local markets and may have been intended to distribute elsewhere, he said.
The marijuana grow sites were situated in secluded areas. The suspects, none of whom were located, used sophisticated irrigation systems to tap into available water sources and maintained well-supplied sources of water, Munsey wrote in the statement.
Much of the operation revolved around bringing back the land to its natural state through land reclamation efforts, he said.
It was a “good year” for the task force, he said.
In 2011, more than 5,000 plants were eradicated from five grow sites located in the San Francisco Watershed property and the Skyline Ridge Open Space area in the county, according to the task force.
In 2000, the task force found more than 12,000 marijuana plants growing near the Crystal Springs Reservoir, a record bust for the county at the time.
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