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Fresno County deputies investigate a murder at a marijuana grow

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A murder investigation is underway in Fresno County after a man was found shot to death. Deputies worked into Sunday night to remove marijuana from the crime scene. Authorities were called to Sumner and Wakefield Avenues near Orange Cove around 11:30 a.m. When deputies arrived at the property they found a man's body in a field where marijuana was being grown.

Deputies are talking with people who live on the property and are looking for leads in the homicide investigation. Deputies worked to eliminate a dozen marijuana plants, budding, and ready for harvest at the crime scene. It's a small amount compared to what they usually find, but it's still worth thousands on the market.

"Usually we have trailer loads and trailer loads of this, when we eradicate marijuana grows, there's probably more on the property that's being processed and trimmed and dried," said Lt. Rick Ko of the Fresno County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies are getting a search warrant for the rest of the property. They found marijuana plants Sunday morning when they were called to the scene of a homicide. After deputies found a 45-year-old man shot dead at the marijuana grow they quickly created a perimeter on the ground and a sheriff's helicopter circled from the air. Deputies have not given a motive but say marijuana grows tend to attract violence.

"We had six homicides last year at marijuana growth sites and the trend of violence is continuing to escalate and becoming more prevalent, particularly in our county," Ko said.

The plants were covered by a black tarp surrounded by other crops in the field, but deputies say the marijuana crop was the only one harvested. Harvest season is usually the most dangerous.

"What's happening now is that have dried it, packaging it and selling it. And that's why it so people are so vulnerable for robberies home invasions that are involved in the marijuana trade," Ko said.

A neighbor said the people who live at the home on this land seemed cordial and friendly. Deputies say there are about 480 marijuana grows in the county. They have taken out about 100. As far as the homicide is concerned deputies say they have strong leads but they have not made an arrest. If you have any information you're asked to call the Fresno County Sheriff's Office.

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Tags:
orange cove, fresno county sheriff department, marijuana, crimetracker, murder, fresno county, local, anthony pura
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