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Marijuana Eradications Yield Arrests, Environmental Crime Investigations

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San Andreas, CA –- Multiple recent illegal grow busts kept marijuana roughly valued at $6.5 million from the black market and netted three arrests.

Calaveras County sheriff’s officials the sheriff’s Marijuana Enforcement Team (MET) along with officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife served two search warrants in West Point the first day.

At a site located in the 1400 block of Hidden Valley Road, the team took out 219 marijuana plants that in total weighed nearly 2,500 pounds. Deputies also seized 72 grams of processed marijuana and arrested two suspects at the scene.

Taken into custody were 48-year-old Dung Ly of West Point and 51-year-old Johnny Tu of Mountain Ranch. Ly faces charges of illegal marijuana cultivation, possession of marijuana for sale, and maintaining a drug house. Tu is charged with illegal marijuana cultivation, possession of the same for sale, and conspiracy to commit a crime.

Later that day, the team and wildlife officers served a search warrant near the 2000 block of Bald Mountain Road and Eganhoff Road. Arrested on site was 43-year-old Zachery Cockerton of Jackson and the team destroyed 91 marijuana plants totaling 1,820 pounds. Cockerton is facing charges of illegal marijuana cultivation with Water Code and Fish and Game Code violations, and possession of marijuana for sale

Several Reactivated Grow Sites Busted Again

Several parcels located in the 6000 and 7000 blocks of Cedar Springs Road in Mountain Ranch were the focus of the MET and environmental officers the next day. Calaveras sheriff’s officials state that these parcels were previously searched and eradicated last year.

During the visit, members found multiple environmental violations on the parcels, including water diversion, and that marijuana was being grown in wooded areas and along the banks of a flowing creek. By the creek, investigators discovered a camping area with roughly made shelters.

Overall, the team destroyed over 2,940 marijuana plants and seized 4.25 pounds of processed marijuana. Officials add that Calaveras County Code Compliance and the State Water Board continue to investigate the parcels for multiple violations, and while no persons were arrested, the case is ongoing.

To view photos from the site busts, click into the image box slideshow

Variables used to provide rough street value estimates are as follows: between $1,300 and $2,000 per plant and half-pound of pot when from an indoor grow; $1,000 to $1,500 per plant and pot per pound yielding from greenhouses; $700 to $1,000 per plant and processed pot per pound from outdoor operations. Experts note that larger cultivated plants can produce ten or more times more than a pound per plant.