The recreational use of marijuana is now legal in California, but criminal organizations in the state still cultivate large amounts of the drug. One such operation was raided on July 31 in Plumas County. During the operation, one man was taken into custody and approximately 11,000 marijuana plants were destroyed. A Plumas County Sheriff's Office representative said the facility bore all the hallmarks of a large-scale narcotics operation run by a Mexican drug cartel.
The drug raid was carried out by members of the PCSO SWAT team supported by agents from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Forest Service. Individuals representing the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting in Plumas County were also on hand. Local farmers often assist law enforcement in these operations as illegal marijuana growing operations deprive them of water and pollute the land.
Deputies and agents allegedly discovered two men working at the Crocker Mountain facility. One of the men fled the scene and his whereabouts remain unknown. The other man was taken into custody at the scene. He is a 52-year-old Mexican national according to media reports. He was transported to the Plumas County Jail and faces a count of substantial stream diversion and multiple drug charges including cultivating, possessing and selling marijuana.
Police and prosecutors are generally interested in pursuing cases against the individuals who own and operate large drug manufacturing and cultivation facilities, and they may make generous plea offers to the individuals found working in them in return for information about their employers. Seizing this opportunity could be wise when multiple suspects have been taken into custody as prosecutors generally withdraw their offers once they have the evidence they need, but single defendants have a much stronger negotiating position. This is why experienced criminal defense attorneys could advise individuals in such situations to remain silent until they have spoken with a lawyer.