Pubdate: Tue, 23 Aug 2005
Source: Napa Valley Register (CA)
Copyright: 2005 Pulitzer Community Newspapers, Inc.
Author: Carlos Villatoro, Staff Writer
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)


Following nearly three weeks of reconnaissance, Napa law enforcement 
officers struck a blow against marijuana farmers in the Lake Berryessa area 
Monday. Napa Special Investigation Bureau agents raided two separate pot 
farms, seizing several thousand plants.

One farm was located near the Pleasure Cove resort, not far from Moskowite 
Corner. The other was embedded in a remote location near Truck Creek, said 
Justice Regional Operation Cmdr. Jack Nelsen of the California Department 
of Justice.

Napa County Sheriff's deputies and NSIB agents discovered the farms in the 
first week of August during reconnaissance flights, Nelsen said. The NSIB, 
which is comprised of members from virtually every local law enforcement 
agency, brought in the state Department of Justice to help them raid the farms.

Agents first raided the farm near Pleasure Cove and discovered about 1,500 
plants. A plant can yield about a pound of marijuana, Nelsen said, and one 
pound is valued at roughly $2,000 on the street.

The remote location of the second farm posed a problem for agents, Nelsen 
said. A helicopter was used to drop teams of agents into the illegal 
garden, where they would use a machete to chop down the plants, load them 
into nets and fly them to a landing zone at a parking lot near the Pope 
Creek Bridge. Agents on the ground unloaded the helicopter and threw the 
plants into a chipper. About 2,000 plants were located at the second farm, 
Nelsen said.

"Napa has seen twice as many plants this year as last year," Nelsen said.

Nelsen said sheriff's deputies will bury most of the mulched marijuana and 
keep some as evidence. Although no arrests were made in connection with the 
pot farms, Nelsen said they were most likely run by a Mexican drug cartel. 
He would not specify which cartel was responsible, saying that the 
investigation was continuing.

Lake Berryessa's remote location, weather and ample supply of water makes 
it an attractive spot to grow marijuana, he said.
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