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Illegal Pot Farm With 22,000 Plants Found On Mendocino County Tribal Land

COVELO, Mendocino County (CBS / AP) — Ten people were held after authorities found thousands of marijuana plants being grown illegally on tribal land in Northern California, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday.

Investigators on Tuesday raided a growing operation at the Round Valley Indian Reservation and found 55 plastic greenhouses along with swimming pools set up to water the plants, along with waste such as burned household trash and chemicals used in pot cultivation, according to a Sheriff's Office statement.

Deputies destroyed more than 22,000 plants ranging from 1 foot to 4 feet tall, officials said.

Mendocino Illegal Marijuana Grow Tribal Land
Aerial view of an illegal marijuana grow at the Round Valley Indian Reservation in Mendocino County. (Mendocino County Sheriff's Office)

The sheriff and staff have met "numerous times" with the Tribal Council about "non-native persons" setting up large marijuana growing operations on the reservation, the Sheriff's Office said.

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"Community members, including many of the tribal elders, have voiced their fear about this activity as there has been a marked increase in gunfire and acts of intimidation associated with the large marijuana gardens," the office said.

The sheriff's office also said the growing operation may be related to a missing person's case involving 39-year-old Victor "Gallo" Medina of San Jose, who was reported missing by his family last month.

"The information obtained in that investigation indicated Victor had been at this particular grow before he went missing and had been involved in the marijuana growing operation in that area," deputies said.

Two men, 69-year-old Perrin Hoaglen of Covelo and 24-year-old Adrian Silva Farias of Monroe, Washington, were arrested but released without posting cash bail under state Judicial Council rules designed to limit the number of people in jails to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, authorities said.

Eight other people were identified and released. Authorities identified the eight others as 36-year-old Amanda Garica of Covelo, 19-year-old Juan Flores of Clearlake, 33-year-old Nayeli Salas of Madera, 18-year-old Primitivo Farias of San Jose, 26-year-old Victorio Doval of San Jose, 21-year-old Juan Cuevas Rubio of San Jose, 21-year-old Armondo Ramirez Reyes of San Jose and 23-year-old Luis Picazo of San Jose.

Their cases will be sent to the county district attorney's office for possible prosecution, according to the Sheriff's Office.


© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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