The Tuolumne Narcotics Team (TNT) and Tuolumne County Sheriff's found and removed almost 31,000 pot plants on Monday April 22, 2014 from the Moccasin area of Tuolumne County. Officers noted that the pot growing operation was on Bureau of Land Management land and appeared to be another Mexican drug cartel operation.
There were no suspects located in the area at the time of the plants removal. The pot growing operation was spotted from the air by a law enforcement fly over of the two sites near each other where the plants were found.
Early detection and eradication of the grow sites has been a goal for TNT in recent years. The final street value of the nearly 31,000 plants was suggested to be in the $10 million range. Mexican cartel grows in the rural BLM areas has been on ongoing problem for decades now and is continuing to escalate.
Spokesperson Sgt. Scott Johnson from the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Department stated: “No suspects were located in the grow operation. There was some evidence that they uncovered at the scene and the pattern of grow indicates that it is another Mexican drug cartel grow.”
Local citizens living near BLM land have reported heavier than normal activity in the past five years, most likely due to increased interdiction of pot smuggling by state and federal authorities near the California and Mexican border area.