Two major marijuana grows busted in Merced County

October 2, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
It took heavy equipment to remove the hundreds of marijuana plants in this Merced County grow. Deputies and narcotics agents also found hundreds of pounds of drying marijuana buds.

Sgt. Rich Howard said, "This is a major processing plan for distribution by the packaging, the finished product, the equipment in there."

Agents knew marijuana was being grown here and they simply came by to tell the property owner to comply with federal law and take it all out voluntarily. But those working the grow, didn't take time to listen.

Sgt. Rich Howard explained, "When we arrived and tried to make contact a number of subjects began running from us, there were fist fights with officers."

Another fleeing suspect was shot with a bean bag. Eight people were arrested all were Mexican nationals.

Earlier in the day the same agents raided marijuana grow and made three arrests. This bust came after neighbors complained about the smell of pot growing near a school.

Maria Bolt said, "The stench is so strong, and we kind of look at it as, what about the kids."

The hot weather has extended the marijuana growing season and while big, theses busts have only made a dent in the supply.

Sgt. Rich Howard said, "I know there are more out there but dawn to dust we are working these marijuana grows so if they are in violation of the law, eventually they will see us."

These busts are all part of Operation Mercury a federal effort to crack down on illegal marijuana growing operations. Many of those growing the pot believe they are protected by California's medical marijuana law, but these raids are showing them they are not.


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