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Major marijuana bust in Fresno County

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A big pot bust Thursday uncovered some very big pot plants that neighbors have complained about for months.

The Fresno County sheriff's office raided the huge garden early in the morning.

The grow is located at Central and Valentine, just southwest of Fresno city limits, and it's not the first time it's been a trouble spot.

The field behind us starts with some squash vines, but just on the other side of that legitimate crop was the huge pot field.

Investigators said it had more than 3000 plants, including one you could clearly see from the road.

This pot plant is taller than a basketball hoop, earning it the nickname "The General Sherman" from Fresno County narcotics investigators, after the famously tall tree in the Sequoia National Forest.

Among thousands of pot plants, "The General Sherman" stood out most to Sheriff Margaret Mims.

"I've been in there and I've seen plants that are 12 feet tall," she said. "12 feet tall marijuana plants. I've never seen the size of marijuana plants that are in this particular grow."

The plants have had months to grow.

Action News was at the same field in July, talking to neighbors who complained of the smell and a guard tower hovering over the crops.

"You've got gang members out there taking care of it," Steven Petersen told us in July. "They've got guns. They've got spotlights on it at night time."

Sheriff's deputies say they seized two guns as they raided the field.

Drug Enforcement Administration agents got a federal search warrant to seize the marijuana because even though the growers have medical marijuana cards, growing marijuana is against federal law.

DEA agents say Central Valley pot grows like this one are starting to stand out across the country.

"Put in perspective, this is probably average for Fresno County," said Special Agent John Donnelly. "I talked to agents in other parts of the county. This would be huge for them."

Officers detained more than 30 people who were on the farm but as of Thursday evening none of them had been booked into jail.

(Copyright ©2014 KFSN-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
marijuana, medical marijuana, fresno southwest, fresno county, local, corin hoggard
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