Major marijuana growing operation shuttered

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Federal and local authorities were able to shut down a major illegal marijuana growing operation in El Dorado and Nevada counties after investigating property sales in numerous Northern California counties, including Placer. State Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced Tuesday that local, state and federal law enforcement agencies served 10 search warrants and 5 arrest warrants in both counties. “Today, we shut down a major illegal marijuana-growing operation,” Brown said in the press release Tuesday. “This illegal operation consisted of thousands of marijuana plants worth millions of dollars and protected by handguns, shotguns and rifles. These illegal growing operations are a threat to public safety.” In the course of Tuesday's crackdown, agents seized approximately 2,100 marijuana plants and 100 pounds of processed marijuana, plus indoor marijuana-growing equipment, such as lights and generators. Agents also found approximately $625,000 in U.S. currency and seized two handguns, three rifles and five shotguns. Several of the weapons seized were loaded. The two-month investigation began in September 2008, after agents observed an outdoor marijuana cultivation operation in Pollock Pines. Agents found that in the past four years, the suspects had spent millions of dollars on properties in El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Mendocino, Sacramento, Alameda, and San Francisco counties. During the investigation into these properties, agents discovered large indoor marijuana cultivations in El Dorado County. Law enforcement agents detained several individuals. Any individuals arrested Tuesday will face federal charges of conspiracy to manufacture/cultivate marijuana. — Staff reports