The Fresno County Sheriff’s Department and federal drug enforcement agents shut down a marijuana grow in Fresno County on Thursday morning.
Law enforcement officials served a search warrant at a grove near the corner of Central and Valentine avenues, near a Fresno police regional training center and less than a mile away from West Park Elementary School.
Officials were alerted to the area by neighbors who could smell the marijuana. Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said that investigators started surveillance around the area. She said that investigators could smell the marijuana from the school.
Mims estimated that there were in excess of 3,000 plants in the 20-acre grove worth thousands of dollars each. Officials spent Thursday eradicating the plants, many of which were visible from the road.
“I’ve been in there and I’ve seen plants that are 12 feet tall,” Mims said. “Twelve-foot- tall marijuana plants. I’ve never seen the size of marijuana plants like those that are in this particular growth.”
Marijuana grown in California is sometimes worth triple the amount in other states, officials said. DEA special agent John Donnelly said that finding a marijuana grow this big would not be common in other states.
“To put in perspective, this is probably average for Fresno County,” he said. “I talked to agents in other parts of the country. This would be huge for them.”
Officials detained at least 30 people at the site for questioning, but so far no arrests have been made. Some of the people were living on the property in tents and makeshift structures.
Mims said that it is important to rid the county of large marijuana growths like this one.
“I’ve had several farmers drive by today, thanking us for taking care of this issue,” she said. “There is a guard tower with people that were armed with shotguns. They don’t feel safe because of this going on. So it’s just a quality of life issue.”
The case has been turned over to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Fresno, which will determine if any charges will be pressed against those detained.
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