Officials in Santa Cruz County reported eradicating marijuana gardens containing more than 11,000 plants this week, according to the sheriff’s office. On Wednesday, sheriff’s deputies reported finding three marijuana gardens containing more than 8,000 plants in the area of state Highway 129 and Old Chittenden Road near Watsonville. No arrests were made, but investigators said that large areas of trees and brush had been cleared and terraced for the pot gardens, and loads of fertilizer and pesticide were found, according to the sheriff’s office. A similar operation was uncovered when Cal Fire extinguished a 1-acre fire near state Highway 9 and Skyline Road. Firefighters contacted a man leaving the area on Highway 9 with an identification card from Mexico, who said he had been out jogging. The man, who reportedly had cuts and bruises consistent with rapidly moving through a densely forested area, was photographed and allowed to leave. A follow-up investigation revealed a marijuana grow containing around 3,000 plants within a few hundred feet of where the fire started, according to the sheriff’s office. Pesticides, fertilizers and trash were found. No arrests were made, and no one was found in the garden, which was eventually eradicated Friday by the sheriff’s office.
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