Marijuana Farm Nearly Invisible on Terraced Slope

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Sep 2, 2001.

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

    To hear narcotics investigators tell it, whoever cultivated more than 2,000 marijuana plants in rugged Trabuco Canyon was part botanist, part camouflage expert and part mountain goat.
    Toiling for months on the plantation, the growers hiked up near-vertical slopes in the Cleveland National Forest, hauling young seedlings and irrigation hoses with them, then digging terraces into the canyon slopes to sow their crops.

    In a densely grown region populated by coyotes, rattlesnakes and quail, the unknown planters knew enough to farm on the canyon's moist, shaded slopes, not the sun-seared dry faces. They also planted the pot beneath trees so their illegal plantation would remain nearly invisible from spying helicopters. Dust was used to camouflage an ingenious irrigation system of plastic tubing that drew water from tiny storm-water gullies and creeks.

    The planters probably returned to the scene--a three-hour hike from the nearest road--every other week. They punched small holes in the irrigation hoses so they would drip water on the base of the plants, which were spaced irregularly over several acres.

    Orange County sheriff's deputies finished hacking down the 3- to 6-foot-high cannabis shoots Friday, describing the operation as the county's biggest marijuana farm. While much larger plantations have been found elsewhere in the state, investigators said this farm is significant because marijuana is rarely grown in any quantity in Orange County.

    They also conceded that they might never have uncovered the operation without the help of an anonymous caller.

    "If we hadn't gotten this tip, this field could have been there another 15 years," said John Fleischman, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department. "You couldn't even tell it was there if you were right on top of it in a helicopter. You could only see the plants that had grown so tall that they were peeking through the trees."

    While investigators marveled at the remoteness of the farm--narcotics agents spent three hours hiking to it and even killed a rattlesnake they stumbled upon--authorities said they were still perplexed about who planted the marijuana. A closer inspection of the area may reveal clues.

    "It's very difficult to determine who did this unless they left something behind," said Capt. Kim Markuson of the sheriff's special investigations division. "As we clear the field, we're looking for evidence like store receipts for their equipment."

    Investigators declined to say what motivated the anonymous caller, calling such information part of their ongoing investigation. However, a Web site operated by High Times -- -- a magazine that writes about the drug culture, offers this insight into how such caches are discovered: "Most often, growers or dealers are not entrapped by a narc--they are informed on by a suspicious neighbor, jealous spouse, angry 'friend,' or misguided acquaintance."

    Because the land is owned by the federal government, property records will shed no light on the planter's identity.

    On average, Orange County authorities raid one or two outdoor pot farms each year. Usually, the raids yield anywhere from 500 to 1,000 plants. Narcotics investigators said they had found 2,000 plants at the Trabuco Canyon farm and were still counting. They estimated the street value at $3 million to $3.5 million.

    "This particular farm is rather extensive," Markuson said. "If you're standing at one end, you can't see to the other."

    By late afternoon Friday, deputies had hauled out the first load of harvested plants by helicopter--a mere dent in the pile. They then began the tedious process of bagging the plants in paper evidence sacks and loading them into a truck. Eventually the pot will be destroyed by burning, an option that was not open to deputies Friday.

    "There's no way we could have burned those plants in the field," Markuson said. "We would have had a tremendous forest fire."

    Drugs: Sheriff's deputies hack down 2,000 plants cultivated with an ingenious irrigation system and hidden by trees on remote, nearly vertical terrain.

    Complete Title: Marijuana Farm Nearly Invisible on Terraced O.C. Mountain Slope

    Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
    Author: Monte Morin, Times Staff Writer
    Published: September 1, 2001
    Copyright: 2001 Los Angeles Times
  2. All I can say is, I sure wish they'd put that much effort into fighting REAL crime...What a damn shame.
  3. Grows like that pay for organised crime..... thats why the only grows that get busted are huge ones. thank god....

  4. since the ONDCP simply cannot reduce demand to nothing, this action will drain the money that would have gone to local growers and stayed in the local economy, away to foreign criminal organizations. It is very difficult to see how this helps the communities we live in or the country as a whole.

    please correct me where I've got it wrong :confused:
  5. I agree, wasted money. Not to mention they didn't catch anybody, what a joke.

    For every dealer or grower arrested, there will be five more waiting in line to cash in. So in the end the DEA is creating more drug offenders.

    I say we fight to have a clause for paying fed-taxes, if any person decides to they can say they don't want their tax dollars going into the DEA.
  6. fuck those douchebag's, they can steal all the plant they want, we can always grow more. Chin up chaps :hello:

  7. I would never make those assumptions. :smoke:
  8. no, shit?! they knew to plant a plant where its ideal for anything but a cactus to grow in

    hmm we are definitely dealing with masterminds here :rolleyes:
  9. Is this from 2001 like the date suggests?

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