This hoop house, full of illegal marijuana, was raided in 2019. File photo

LCSO, law enforcement partners take down two large suspected cartel marijuana grows

Thousands of pounds of marijuana from two large, north county marijuana grows will never make it to market.

According to a statement from the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office, on Sept. 13, the LCO along with the California Department of Cannabis Control, the California State Parks Police, the California Highway Patrol Air Operations, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the California National Guard served two search warrants on conjoining illegal marijuana operations at a rural location in the Little Valley area.

Five suspects were detained and questioned regarding the operations. The search warrants resulted in 3,859 marijuana plants, 1,098 pounds of processed marijuana, five firearms, one of which was an “assault weapon” and 2 grams of methamphetamine.

LCSO Sergeant Dustin Russell said such operations don’t get publicized much anymore, and this is the only one the office has been involved with this year.

Many grows are handled administratively by the county and the growers pay a tax, but there are still criminal charges for running illegal marijuana operations with firearms.

“That’s one of the main things we try to take care of  — getting firearms,” Russell said.

The sergeant said he couldn’t say for sure if the cartels were involved with the two the large grows.

“This is not the first time we’ve been to this property,” Russell said. “They’ve been suspected to be cartel in the past, but as far as directly linking the cartels to it this time, I have not been able to confirm that and the other guys haven’t either.”

While the majority of the illegal grows in Lassen County involve the Hmong people, these grows are suspected to involve Hispanic cartels.

The grows were so large, Russell said they were easily visible from aircraft.

“You could see these from Mars, they’re so big,” Russell said.

People who live in the area complained about the massive grows, Russell said, and “those complaints got referred to the California Department of Cannabis Control and they wanted to jump on it. So, we coordinated with them and the other agencies that came to help. They (the grows) were so large we had to have a lot of people.”

A 2021 motorhome reported stolen from Camping World in Anderson, California in February 2022 also was located on the grow site.

The motorhome was new on the lot when it was stolen.  The California Department of Cannabis Control will be submitting charges to the Lassen County District Attorney’s Office.