Specialized teams on Tuesday swooped onto Santa Clara County's Mount Hamilton to discover 7,000 marijuana plants, and arrested one suspect - the eighth such arrest this season, authorities said.
While on their mission, wardens found Jose Villasenor Cardenas, 26, who was last living in Merced, tending the plants on a private ranch without the owner's knowledge, said Fish and Game Lt. John Norres.
Authorities booked Cardenas, who said he was originally from Michoacan, Mexico, on charges of cultivating marijuana, resisting police and several environmental crimes, including altering a streambed, water pollution and littering. Each of the plants has a street value of about $3,000.
Norres said at least one suspect got away.
But the arrest of Cardenas marks the eighth arrest this season as it relates to illegal marijuana grows in Santa Clara County.
Fish and Game wardens, along with the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Marijuana Eradication Team, have gone on half a dozen missions this year, trying to arrest the growers and clean up the mess they leave in the woods.
Norres was part of the team where a warden ended up shooting and injuring Alvaro Sanchez, 24, on June 28 at an illegal grow near Mount Madonna between Gilroy and Watsonville. Sanchez was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon,and unlawful possession of marijuana at a site with about 3,400 plants. A second suspect in that case has not been found either.
To see a report on that arrest, click here:
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