A Mega Marijuana Farm

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Sep 1, 2001.

  1. By Monte Morin, Times Staff Writer
    Source: Los Angeles Times

    Tipped off by an anonymous caller, authorities Thursday uncovered what appears to be Orange County's largest marijuana farm hidden amid the sharp mountain ridges and desolate canyons of Cleveland National Forest.
    More than a dozen Orange County Sheriff's deputies hiked three hours through thick stands of beaver tail cactus and live oak before discovering some 2,000 fully grown marijuana plants in a rugged area near the Orange County-Riverside County border.

    The cannabis, which reaches 3 to 6 feet at full growth, in some cases had been carefully planted beneath trees for concealment. It was nurtured by a sophisticated irrigation system of plastic pipes and hoses. Officials said they were still trying to figure out how the operation worked but said pipes appeared to get water from a nearby well. Detectives believe the farm existed for some six months before deputies leveled the crop with axes and chain saws Thursday afternoon. No arrests have been made.

    Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Amormino estimated the value of the plants at more than $3 million, a haul so large that it will take two days to remove the plants from the canyon by helicopter.

    "Whoever did this knew exactly what they were doing," said an undercover narcotics deputy who asked not to be named. "This is not cheap stuff and there's a lot of it. We don't make these kinds of finds very often."

    While authorities were shocked by the size of the farm, residents of the eclectic back country were less impressed. In a mountainous region that attracts millionaires, Love Generation refugees, hermits, artists and bikers, groves of marijuana plants come with the territory, they said.

    "Am I surprised? No way," said Chathi Anderson, a patron at Cook's Corner, the canyon's famed roadhouse located about 10 miles from the farm. "I don't think people look at it as a crime. I'm sure there were people who hiked up through there and saw it and didn't get concerned."

    Bartender Rhonda Palmeri added: "This is a place where you get real different walks of life, all different types of people. You get everything from preppies to cowboys to hippies . . ."

    Deputies found the farm several miles from the dead end of Trabuco Creek Road, a dirt road that features a handful of dilapidated shacks and trailers, as well as a tiny airstrip for remote-controlled airplanes.

    As sheriff's deputies prepared to begin piling the plants into a large net that would be airlifted from the forest to the airstrip, where it would then be jammed into a truck and driven off for burning, residents shrugged at the news.

    Orange County is not considered a major spot for marijuana growing, and other parts of the state have recorded much larger busts. But local officials said they've never found such a large farm in the county. A 6,000-plant farm was discovered this year in Angeles National Forest. An even larger one was uncovered recently in San Diego County.

    Investigators are still trying to determine who grew the plants.

    But back at Cook's Corner, patrons had their own ideas about who made the anonymous call alerting authorities.

    "The deal went bad, somebody got somebody else mad," Kristy Yovin said.

    Drugs: Anonymous tip leads authorities to what might be O.C.'s largest crop deep in Cleveland National Forest.

    Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
    Author: Monte Morin, Times Staff Writer
    Published: August 31 2001
    Copyright: 2001 Los Angeles Times
    Contact: letters@latimes.com
    Website: http://www.latimes.com/
  2. that's sad...

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