Pubdate: Thu, 11 Nov 2004
Source: Redding Record Searchlight (CA)
Copyright: 2004 Record Searchlight - The E.W. Scripps Co.
Author: Christina Lucarotti
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)


The growing season for a popular, but illegal, north state plant has
come to an end, and sheriff's departments are tallying up their claims
on the harvest.

Dozens of marijuana eradication raids between June and October netted
thousands of plants in Shasta, Tehama, Trinity and Siskiyou counties.

The state's Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) program is
reporting a record season statewide with a total of 621,315 plants
seized -- a more than 33 percent increase from the 466,054 plants
taken in 2003.

The best news locally, said Shasta County sheriff's Lt. Tim McDonald,
was no one got hurt. Two Mexican nationals last year were killed
during a garden raid in Manton.

Marijuana facts

Here is a list of counties with the highest number of CAMP-seized
marijuana plants this year:

1. Riverside: 97,104 plants

2. Fresno: 69,364 plants

3. Lake: 64,198 plants

4. Tulare: 64,004 plants

5. Mendocino: 63,556 plants

6. Shasta: 52,133 plants

"Public safety is always the first concern," he said. "Nobody should
be dying over a marijuana leaf."

There were 73,655 plants confiscated this season in Shasta County,
52,133 of which were seized during CAMP-assisted operations, McDonald

Statewide figures show only five counties collected more plants.

Agents made 19 arrests and recovered 14 weapons and 58 pounds of
processed marijuana.

The total is down from the roughly 87,000 plants eradicated in 2003,
but the Bear and French fires burned out at least three or four known

"Yeah, they kind of got eradicated all right," McDonald said. "A
couple of those we were looking at prior to the fires."

McDonald said he expects fewer plants to be taken each year, an
indication, he hopes, that less marijuana is being grown in Shasta

In Tehama County, more than 20,000 plants were seized and 20 arrests
were made, sheriff's Detective Dave Hencratt said.

"That's a pretty common year," Hencratt said.

Trinity County is still totaling its numbers, but at least 9,010
plants were found during CAMP-assisted operations.

Trinity Undersheriff Dave Laffranchini said his department took more
plants than last year, but still more gardens went unchecked because
of manpower shortages.

Siskiyou Sheriff Rick Riggins said more than 25,000 plants were
eradicated in his county, most of which he believes would have been
shipped to other parts of the state.

"This is organized crime coming up here," Riggins said.

In September, a suspected member of a Mexican drug cartel, Rafael
Lua-Zaragoza, 27, was arrested at a garden near Fort Jones in Siskiyou
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