Illegal grow

Deputies with the Calaveras County sheriff’s marijuana enforcement team searched four properties last week for suspected illegal marijuana grows, including one on the 1400 block of Hidden Valley Road in West Point.

Deputies with the Calaveras County Sheriff’s marijuana enforcement team searched four grows last week, cited three people, and seized pot estimated to be worth more than $2.3 million, a sheriff’s sergeant announced this week.

During the most recent search was on Aug. 6. deputies had a search warrant for a suspected illegal marijuana grow in the 12000 block of Armstrong Road in Sheep Ranch. They found a grow spread out and hidden in trees and brush, with evidence of people living on-site with debris, trash, and human waste scattered around the area.

Lengths of plastic pipe that carried water from a nearby creek to irrigate plants was also found on the property, as well as fertilizers and pesticides stored and used above the creek. They seized 814 growing marijuana plants estimated to be worth more than $569,000, but no one was arrested.

Deputies searched another suspected illegal grow in the 8000 block of West Murray Creek Road in Mountain Ranch on Aug. 4 and seized 285 growing marijuana plants with an estimated value exceeding $199,500.

One person at the scene, May Lao Her, 51, of Fresno was cited on suspicion of illegal marijuana cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale.

Also on Aug. 4, deputies searched a property in the 400 block of Blossom Lane in Rail Road Flat. 

Deputies seized 343 growing marijuana plants estimated to be worth about $1 million, but no one was at the property. It was the third time marijuana enforcement team personnel searched and seized pot at the location in the past three months. 

The same location was also searched and cleared of pot in 2018. Previous investigations at the location have resulted in an arrest warrant for Krsnathakur Widmer, 31, of Bader.

Deputies searched another property on Aug. 4 in the 1400 block of Hidden Valley Road in West Point, where they seized 816 growing marijuana plants estimated to be worth more than $571,000.

Fay Villalobos, 81, of West Point, and Imanol Marte Martinez, 31, of Livingston, were at the property and cited on suspicion of illegal marijuana cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale.

Investigations of all four locations were continuing, Calaveras County sheriff’s staff said.

Contact Guy McCarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemocrat.com or 770-0405. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.

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