Man shot trying to steal marijuana in Fresno County

FRESNO, Calif.

Authorities estimate they will take 20,000 marijuana plants out of production with this latest bust. They served the search warrant Wednesday morning

Heavy equipment was needed to scoop out the mature marijuana fields from a 13-acre Sanger field.

Fresno County Sheriff's deputies knew about the marijuana grow but Tuesday night the farm was the site of a shooting.

Chris Curtice with the Fresno County Sheriff's Department said, "Two Reedley men, adult Reedley men, thought it would be a good idea to rip off marijuana plants from this particular grow."

They were confronted by an armed man who shot one of them in the back though he was not seriously injured. The pot plants were mature and ready for harvest.

"They were so big the detectives weren't able to go in there with machetes and chop them all down," added Curtice. "They got heavy equipment back there to rip them all out."

And they were planted on a farm where corn and bittermelon was growing.

"Even from here you can see there is a lot of other fields around this particular grow," said Curtice. "So it is kind of concealed from the side and the dirt road."

15 people were detained. One of them, a registered sex offender, was arrested.

Sheriff's deputies were assisted by the DEA and Department of Justice on the bust.

It is an ongoing battle. Chris Curtice says the department is aware of hundreds of illegal marijuana grows but it takes time and manpower to take them out.

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