Deadly shooting at South Valley marijuana garden

Monday, September 05, 2011

Investigators are trying to find the gunman who left one person dead near a South Valley marijuana garden. The shooting happened in a rural area near Dinuba Monday afternoon. At this point, the motive isn't clear but investigators said the victim's body was found near hundreds of marijuana plants. "An estimate at this time would be somewhere in the neighborhood around 400 plants. Of course, that's a part of the investigation, the legitimacy of the grow and any of the potential to be related to the homicide," said Lt. Rob Schimpf with the Tulare County Sheriff's Department.

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The marijuana is on private property owned by a family that formerly ran a farm labor contracting business. They told Action News four or five permit holders grow marijuana on the property for personal use. They said they didn't know the victim personally, but investigators said he may have been assigned to care for the marijuana.

While the hidden grow surprised some neighbors, others said it was no secret. "When the wind's blowing in this direction, you can smell it. So I knew they were growing it," said neighbor Lupe Salcedo. Salcedo grows stone fruit in the orchards surrounding the grow and said he's been concerned about the possibility of something like this happening.

Investigators said there are hundreds of grows in rural Tulare County and acts of violence around them are becoming more and more prevalent.

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shooting, homicide, marijuana, crimetracker, tulare county, dinuba, local, amanda perez
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