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Large Marijuana Crop Seized at Remote Site

Drugs: 46,000 plants found in a rugged canyon constitute San Diego County's largest haul in 22 years.

July 14, 2001|From Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — Authorities uprooted more than 46,000 marijuana plants in a remote canyon on Palomar Mountain, San Diego County sheriff's officials said Thursday.

The find was the largest in the 22-year history of the county's pot eradication efforts.

No arrests have been made. Several people fled the area when sheriff's deputies arrived Monday. Officers were unable to chase down in the rugged terrain.

Laborers had been tending the site since early May and the plants had reached an average height of about three feet, said Sheriff's Lt. Bill Baxter.

The marijuana was growing in terraced rows under cover of thick trees and brush and watered with gravity-fed drip lines. The terrain, about 75 miles northeast of San Diego, is so rough that it took three hours for officers to reach the area, Baxter said.

An eradication team consisting of city, county and federal officers discovered the site after a police helicopter spotted a smaller marijuana patch nearby.

More than 18,000 plants were removed Monday and an additional 28,000 plants were taken out Wednesday. The pot will be burned later in the year, Baxter said.

Last year, the eradication team removed 147,000 plants from 300 locations. About 90,000 plants have been uprooted so far this year.

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