New Melones Lake, CA — Tuolumne County law enforcement says the destruction of pot grows has doubled, and they attribute the rise to the drought and Rim Fire.
The amount of pot plants eradicated this year has already surpassed last year’s total. The Tuolumne Narcotics Team has destroyed 44,084 marijuana plants this year, which is double the amount of 2013.
On Tuesday, officials followed up on a helicopter sighting of a marijuana grow near New Melones Reservoir. Officers had to be brought in by boat to get to the site. Once there, they found and destroyed 7,547 small marijuana plants.
Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Sgt. Scott Johnson says the drought and Rim Fire have played a role in the higher numbers.
“With the drought year, they are able to plant earlier so we’re finding gardens earlier,” says Johnson, “Also with the drought they’re having to get closer and more out in the open to water sources because traditional water sources, springs and such, are dried up.” Johnson says the Rim Fire has also forced the growers to plant out in the open, as many of the hidden sites, used in the past are burned out.
No arrests were made at the site this week, but Johnson confirms it was a Transnational Criminal Organization Operation grow.