Tulare County property owner shocked after pot bust

October 16, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Tulare County property owner is in shock after he discovered a large marijuana garden growing on his land. The marijuana garden was discovered near Earlimart on Avenue 72 near Highway 99.

The landowner shows us the debris left behind after sheriff's deputies bulldozed an illegal marijuana garden growing on his property.

Jonathan Cajimat says he was alarmed when he got a violation notice from Tulare County back in July that medical marijuana was illegally growing on his property near Earlimart.

Cajimat is from Los Angeles but his family has owned farmland in Tulare County for thirty years. He said, "My grandparents, great grandparents grew vegetables we called this the farm and now look at this -- this is a nightmare you know."

Cajimat's family planned to move here once his parents retired. Now they say they will sell the property after learning 362 medical marijuana plants were grown on the land without following the law, and without their knowledge. They're worried continuing to keep the land will cause more problems.

On Monday deputies served a 24-hour notice that they would get rid of the marijuana if it wasn't removed.

The sheriff's office also discovered several people had been living near the grow in a mobile home and in an abandoned house they own across the street. The abandoned house was also used to process the marijuana.

Sgt. Chris Douglass said, "We did have information that there were people squatting on the property and that is part of our investigation as well."

Cajimat admits he hasn't checked on the property in more than three years but says his family never had any problems before.

New changes to the county's medical marijuana ordinance put more pressure on property owners by holding them responsible for any illegal activity that happens on their land.

Cajimat added, "As a property owner this is a learning experience I think with everyone that has property its important to check up on the property."

Cajimat's family will now have to pay several fines plus the more than $1-thousand dollars it cost for the sheriff's office to get rid of the grow.


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