Home Local & Regional News Sheriff Growdon Cautions Residents Traveling in Remote Areas

Sheriff Growdon Cautions Residents Traveling in Remote Areas

Pot garden uncovered by firefighters during the Bald Fire. -LCSO photo
Pot garden uncovered in early August by firefighters working the Bald Fire. -LCSO photo

Lassen County Sheriff Dean Growdon is warning residents to use an abundance of caution when exploring the county’s backcountry after several illegal marijuana plantations have turned up deep in northeastern California’s wilderness.

According to Growdon large scale marijuana plantations are found each year in remote areas of Lassen County, including a major grow operation uncovered by crews fighting the Bald Fire in August.

“These grows are often discovered by citizens who are hunting, fishing or hiking,” said Sheriff Growdon, “With hunting seasons ramping up, there will be more people out in these remote areas and it is important for them to know how to recognize a possible marijuana grow site and what to do if they encounter one.”

Growdon explained that most, if not all, of these grows were operated by Mexican nationals under the direction of drug cartels and ranged in size from 1,000 to 35,000 plants.  The persons operating these grows often have firearms for the taking of game and the defense of their crop, and they sometimes place ‘booby traps’ and poisons to protect their crops.

Signs of a potential marijuana garden:

  • Camp-site in a remote area that looks like it was camouflaged, or built to avoid being seen.
  • Trash, food, fertilizer, poison or other supplies located in a remote area.
  • Irrigation materials including pipe (normally black drip style), water pumps, or generators.
  • Heavily traveled trails in areas where they shouldn’t be.
  • Persons along a roadway in a remote area with no vehicles around.
  • Persons dropping of food or other supplies alongside a roadway.

If you encounter what you believe to be a marijuana garden Growdon recommends that you leave the area immediately, preferably the same way you entered, making as little noise as possible. When notifying the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction in the area try and provide as much information as possible about what you saw and the location of the garden.

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