Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Marijuana grow raided in southeast Bakersfield

And another one bites the dust.

In what's become a weekly occurrence, a marijuana grow was raided Tuesday morning, this time in the 6000 block of East Panama Lane. About 2,000 plants were found on the grow, said Casey L. McEnry, a spokeswoman for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The DEA was in charge of Tuesday's operation, with the Kern County Sheriff's Department assisting. Some amount of marijuana is legal under state law for medicinal purposes with a doctor's recommendation, but federal law says possession of any amount is illegal, and the DEA can bust any grow or medical marijuana dispensary at will.

McEnry said two people were arrested and a sawed-off shotgun was seized. Also, several booby traps connected to explosive devices were found on the property.

McEnry said the investigation is still in the preliminary stages and she hoped to have more information Wednesday.

The incident is just the latest in a string of raids on marijuana grows.

On Thursday, a grow near Mira Monte High School east of South Fairfax Road was raided and more than 600 plants were seized. Jose Barragan, 39, was arrested and Monday was charged with possession of marijuana for sale and cultivation of marijuana, both felonies, deputies said.

The marijuana was planted in rows and a tall plywood fence surrounded the area. Some plants reached heights of seven to 10 feet and could provide three to five pounds of pot each.

Doctors' recommendations were posted at the site allowing about 400 plants to be grown, but the grow was a couple of hundred plants over that limit, deputies reported. In addition, most of the recommendations were dated about six weeks ago, and investigators have determined most of the pot at the site was planted about three months ago, deputies said.

It's against the law to plant marijuana before getting the recommendations.

In a larger operation in late July, more than 2,200 marijuana plants were seized and 11 people arrested when deputies served search warrants on eight marijuana grows on the outskirts of Delano, deputies reported. Each of the grows was within a quarter-mile of each other just off Garces Highway near Jumper Avenue.

Undocumented illegal immigrants were living within the grows in campers and makeshift shacks, and stolen items including watering tanks and engines were found in the compound, deputies reported. A gun was also seized.

The marijuana was being grown under the guise of being legal using medical marijuana recommendations, but all but one of the grows were out of compliance, deputies reported.

The Take Down