General Crime

Deputies Remove Tons of Equipment From Illegal Pot Grow Areas Near Gilroy and Morgan Hill

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A team of law enforcement officers today ended a three-day operation to remove infrastructure and tons of garbage from illegal marijuana farms in multiple locations in southern Santa Clara County, officials said. The Marijuana Eradication Team of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office took away miles of plastic irrigation tubing and four tons of trash, including propane tanks, fertilizers, camping and gardening equipment in unincorporated areas near Gilroy and Morgan Hill, deputies said.

Some deputies in the team were hauled by a 100-foot-long line from a helicopter and dropped right into eight different illegal farm sites to save hours of hiking to the remote areas, deputies said. Starting Friday, the team found and destroyed illegal grow sites along Pacheco Pass Highway, Gilroy Hot Springs Highway and in the Henry Coe State Park east of Gilroy and off of Casa Loma Road west of Morgan Hill, deputies said.

On Friday, the team’s officers cleaned up a clandestine pot growth area in the Coon Creek area of the 87,000-acre Henry Coe park after being hauled by helicopter to an isolated spot three miles from Pacheco Creek in 30-degree temperatures, deputies said.

For 2012, the group, known as at the “MET team,” destroyed 91,403 marijuana plants, 500 pounds of processed marijuana, 22 outdoor growing locations and seven indoor grows, made 21 arrests and seized nine firearms, deputies said. The team receives grant funding from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s domestic cannabis eradication-suppression program for the to eliminate illegal marijuana grows in the county, deputies said.

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