Ten-thousand marijuana plants, with a street-value of $40 million, were yanked from an illegal marijuana grow deep in Santa Clara County's Henry Coe State Park on Wednesday.
Santa Clara County Sheriff’s deputies and fish and game wardens hiked for hours to get to the camp before choppers carried away the bundles of plants.
This new grow was in the same place where deputies eradicated a major pot grow last year -- and where a neighboring rancher reported hearing a gunshot two weeks ago.
Wednesday, in addition to marijuana, deputies found two rifles with scopes, a reminder that the growers are ready and willing to kill for their crop.
“We think that it’s the cartels, the Mexican cartels, that are doing it,” said Sheriff Laurie Smith. “There’s a huge profit. The people who are tending the grow are not profiting, but there are huge profits.”
The growers got away this time, but the sheriff’s department has arrested 19 other people at illegal grows in the county just this year.
California Fish and Wildlife wardens say the illegal grows create major environmental damage -- as growers dam streams, use illegal pesticides and fertilizers and poach animals.