Big Pot Bust Near Temecula Part Of Two-Year Investigation, U.S. Attorney Says

"With these arrests and raids, we have eradicated a marijuana drug trafficking organization that had hijacked our forests and parks," said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy.

Ten people, including mid- to high-level managers of a drug trafficking ring, were charged Wednesday in a case involving the seizure of more than 45,000 marijuana plants during raids on eight grow-farms on public land in San Diego and Riverside counties -- including near Temecula -- a federal official announced.

U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy told reporters in San Diego that "Operation Mountain High" was a two-year investigation that began after drug agents performing routine aerial surveillance spotted a remote marijuana farm in Julian in the summer of 2010.

On Tuesday, agents seized a dozen firearms and 300 pounds of processed marijuana with a street value of more than $300,000 during raids at farms in Julian, Valley Center, Pala, Palomar Mountain, the Cleveland National Forest and Riverside, she said.

Fourteen phone lines were tapped for nearly six months, producing hundreds of hours of intercepted conversations that were key to building the case, Duffy said.

"With these arrests and raids, we have eradicated a marijuana drug trafficking organization that had hijacked our forests and parks," she said. "We are not going to hand over our pristine public lands to gun-toting narco- farmers who destroy our landscape and harm the environment with pesticides so toxic that they are banned in the U.S."

Officials believe the drug traffickers are part of a much larger criminal operation based in Mexico.

Duffy said the organization used undocumented workers smuggled into the United States to tend to the marijuana crops.

The organization manufactured and distributed marijuana in locations throughout southern and central California, and had links to other cannabis grows in Northern California, Utah and Idaho, authorities said.

Members of the public who happen upon a marijuana-growing operation should not confront anyone and immediately call police, said William Sherman, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in San Diego.

"These are dangerous drug traffickers, is what they are," Sherman said.

Six of the 10 arrestees were taken into custody Tuesday. All of the defendants are charged with conspiracy to manufacture marijuana.

tbone November 15, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Oh.This makes me feel safer in my community NOT .
tbone November 15, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Oh I mean its my second amendment right that makes me feel safe.
S Smith November 15, 2012 at 06:33 PM
I feel that way too, other than the legitimate medical marijuana is not grown with pesticides and in fact is carfully grown in controlled conditions without them to protect the Cancer patients and others with true health issues, These folks sound like Cartel types, at least in this article. And they need to be prosecuted if this is true. So it puts a bad light on ALL growers to have these folks in the mix. I think the Feds if they would allow legalization, and tax and control growth like other crops would soon find they had more resources to fight the Meth and Heroin and cocaine traffic which is far worse than this!
Brenda November 15, 2012 at 07:18 PM
This is what I say every single time someone posts that illegals are hard workers they do the jobs that no one in America do, the bone breaking hard work, blah blah. I always respond, no the ones who are publicly picking Berries, mowing lawns, are housekeepers, nannies, are here legally (mostly) and get paid regular wages or are given cash and then a 1099 at the end of the year. I know the strawberry pickers once were considered day workers and got paid by the basket of fruit. I have always said that the ILLEGALS are manufacturing drugs, ie meth etc. in warehouses, or houses, and marijuana in all areas and live in these well hidden tent cities where young Mexican girls are also provided for entertainment. When a drug lord(Jefe)pays for them to come across they go to work for HIM, and that includes the coyotes who bring over the young girls. They do NOT work the farms, they do NOT work the car washes etc. they manufacture drugs, prostitution, and all other illegal crimes. You need to watch documentaries sometimes where the correspondent is there to film exactly how it works. Or if you do care enough talk to Mexico residents when you go down for holiday and you will hear the truths from them as to why they stay there instead of try to get here illegally. Look through the TV guide watch some documentaries, there is one channel that mostly deals with illegals, drugs etc.
Adrian November 15, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Wow... Tbone and Brenda, you certainly have some keen insight into immigration policy.
Pamela R Tassey November 15, 2012 at 09:04 PM
I've been saying that for years. I do not use it, so tax it like tobacco and alcohol.
Andy November 16, 2012 at 01:34 AM
Legalize, tax, and regulate. Treat it like alcohol and tobacco.
Stanley November 16, 2012 at 04:45 AM
You ignorant xenophobe. If it wasn't for the American consumers of drugs and prostitutes there wouldn't be a market for these drugs and girls. Members of your family, neighbors and probably even you have done dope. And maybe your husband is keeping a pimp in business.
softy buttmanos November 16, 2012 at 04:50 AM
Yup and all white women have nothing better to do than bitch about how inferior other races are. They spend all their time on the computer rather than contributing to the economy or the kitchen.Where is your evidence Dr.Brenda?? You are a PhD in Border and Immigration Studies are you not?
Brenda November 16, 2012 at 04:53 AM
Its not insight Adrian. Its do it legal, not illegal. It hurts them more then us and instead of calling us or me a racist watch some documentaries, look at the facts. Go help build a church down there or some homes, talk to the people. If they can do it LEGAL, not be made to work in drug manufacturing, growing, or human traffic'ing, then do it fricking LEGAL. Get your paperwork done, do the requirements, then get here, get the work card, go to work with a real name, real social security number, start your life in the USA legal and SAFE. Its so easy to get residency cards, work cards its the most foolish thing I have ever seen the thousands trying to get over here a day. IF it starts with illegal it ends in illegal. As far as legalizing it Andy I agree with you. All the USA keeps doing is shelling out millions a year to Columbia and Mexico to help fight their drug wars, and not a dime goes past the Government. Went send them military equipment to fight the drug lords and it doesnt happen unless the US Marshalls are involved in a bust down there. Otherwise they wash and wax their humvees and weapons and drive around the streets all day harrassing American tourists. IF we legalize it perhaps we will stop feeding those millions a year eh?
Brenda November 16, 2012 at 04:54 AM
Thats what I was thinking ***Julian***??
Brenda November 16, 2012 at 05:02 AM
They supply or I should say human traffic'ing to provide workers for making the drugs, and then the unfortunate young women are put to work on the streets as prostitutes but also in the buildings, homes, or tent cities these illegal men work out of. They are furnished to the workers and if any of you read a paper, or watch documentaries which are on constantly about this subject you would be far better informed. Also when visiting Mexico, or any other country, Mexico is by far the most corrupt, talk to the people, ask them questions, they will gladly tell you. Thousands a year loose legs, arms from trying to jump on the trains, and they still keep trying. Just as many loose their lives trying to jump on the trains. Knowledge is your friend but you fellows do not seem to have moved past the bullying and name calling stages of high school. I responded to the article, and there is no need to respond more to uneducated name calling or filth coming out of your "mouths".
softy buttmanos November 16, 2012 at 05:04 AM
Bro, I go to Mexico weekly. It is like a poor and Spanish speaking America. You ever been there?? Only way to get involved with the bad guys is to get involved with the bad guys.
Net November 16, 2012 at 05:44 AM
Legalize it, and tax the crap out of it so California could come out its black hole. It's so damn stupid that Feds say its illegal, State says its not. What a contradiction.
tbone November 16, 2012 at 03:21 PM
No why legslize this very destructive substance . The governor needs to close the boarder do an investigation city by city and stamp out all thosr who are on wellfare that are illegal . Throw them out untill they get it done right legally . Then go after the city councils city by city mind you . Do an audit and see if any corruption is taking place . Then go to the schools stamp out all the pupild that are in our schools illegally and deport them untill they do it legally . The ppl on welfare just cut that program out completly .They can go work in the fields at 10 hr . Take the prisons and make their families pay for their rent and food .If they cannot put them in a chain gang to earn it 40 hrs a week 5 days a week . Make them sleep in tents and minimize recreational time to 10min . They are there because they could not behave so the punishment is well earned .
Brenda November 16, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Softy, I have been into Mexico so many times I could not even give a reasonable guess how many times and for at least 4 or 5 days each time. Its interesting to listen to the average everyday Mexican trying to get through each day, how they earn their money and how they yearn for something new. How they might be trying to save again to send someone over the border. Educate yourself Softy instead of just spouting out I am racsist with all the gross unecessary name calling in your posts too.
Brenda November 16, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Agree TBone. A few months with illegals off of our welfare and aid programs and we would see considerable increases in our bank accounts in California and in the entire USA. Also getting them OUT of our prisons would save us millions of dollars. The last count I saw about a year ago of illegals in our prisons was 35%. time that by the 60k a year it takes to support these illegals in jail and not only do we have more room but we also have more money in the bank. BUTT see, I believe in doing it, get er done! Get it over with, get our funds back to US citizens only, let legal immigrants come over with proper paperwork, real birth certificates and work or college cards, and we are set. Everyone works, everyone pays taxes, and its all done legally.
Andy November 16, 2012 at 08:56 PM
"this very destructive substance" - stopped reading right there.
Andy November 16, 2012 at 09:02 PM
When you can find any drug, legal or illegal, that does not cause toxic overdose resulting in death like marijuana, I will continue discussion.
Galactic Cannibal November 16, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Andy Dude, show us just one example of a marijuana user, killing Him-Herself from ingesting the plant. vs the hundreds of thousands who die from nicotine and alcohol that are both legalized. Waiting to heard from you Dude.
Galactic Cannibal November 16, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Supply and Demand the bedrock of Capitalism.. Seems that Gov. Bureaucrats do not or cannot understand that concept. When tens millions of Americans use and enjoy Marijuana and will pay for it. That is a fact , just like they enjoy nicotine and alcohol and pay for it. So why is Marijuana illegal, but nicotine and alcohol legal . All 3 are drugs. Could it be that these moronic Gov Bureaucrats cannot find a way to control the production of marijuana for tax revenue. Which they can do, far more easily, with nicotine or alcohol. Why because , to produce cigarettes or alcohol , you need a center point factory, but there is no need for a center point factory to produce Marijuana. Meanwhile by year's end another 14,500 US residents will be murdered in our country.. More than 160,000 residents have been murdered in the US since 9/11. Government Bureaucrats get you priorities right , Question can you ??? And STOP wasting our TAX dollars on failed projects like the so called 'Dug War"
Andy November 18, 2012 at 01:04 AM
GC, reread my comment. I agree with everything you said. My comment reads "that DOES NOT cause toxic overdose resulting in death". If I said "DOES result", that may have been a different picture. I believe our only discrepancy is you overanalyzing (or underanalyzing) my comment. Try some "Blackberry" instead of "Trainwreck" next time. To be clear : there has NEVER been a death caused by marijuana resulting from toxic overdose.
nathan zapata December 01, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Are any of you actual mexicans that came from mexico?just wondering?dont you think if it was that simple to just get your papers and come over and get a job and a home.people are beyond poor in mex.gutter poor generationally poor bottom of the barrel.ti come to the u.s legally it cost money.hopefully that helps your conversation?walk in there shoes would you cross illegally or stay in the madness and if your poor in mexico you are not gonna avoid cartels and problems they bring and thats a fact.
nathan zapata December 01, 2012 at 09:41 PM
One more thing who do you think buys all the weed grown illegally?im pretty sure its not mexicans.but your good ole americans that have jobs and own homes but keep there use of marijuana confidential and im talking statewide not just cali..
Galactic Cannibal December 02, 2012 at 04:06 AM
Once again our sleazy sensational media infer that Mexicans are the cause of America's drug problems . They are not, Americans are the cause of their own addictions. Example In the State of California , by far, possibly 95% of all marijuana grown here is grown by Americans From high school kids to senior citizens. And the same consumption , goes for the real killer drugs, nicotine and alcohol , sold legally and consumed by high school kids to senior citizens. HYPOCRISY with Gov. Control, rule, in the so-called Land of the Free.
Brenda December 02, 2012 at 04:11 AM
Mexicans are not to blame, they are just smart enough to make sure they always have ways to keep feeding the USA the drugs, LOL, and they keep hauling in the money. Problem is the $$$ they make all goes to the drug lords, not the people who need it so they stop coming here. I understand what you are saying Nathan, but seriously the USA cannot afford these illegals any longer, not just from Mexico but from any countries. If they come here with papers and go to work then they pay taxes like the rest of us and instead of just taking they are giving like the rest of us in the USA have to do .
Lulu January 12, 2013 at 06:24 AM
I'm an actual Mexican born in Mexico. Came here when I was eight. No it is not easy to come here to this wonderful country. It is really sad to see Mexicans get sucked into this shit. They give us hard working people a bad name. But I must agree that it's supply and demand. Mexico supplies and the demand is here in the us.
Brenda January 12, 2013 at 09:27 AM
LuLu, if you all came here legally, apply for the Visa's, etc the proper way you would come into this country ready to work and free. NOt swimming rivers, not carrying 50lb bags of drugs on your backs, and not continuing to do that back and forth for the next 10 years or so until you get killed. I was the documentaries nightly and Mexican illegals really believe they are walking into the land of the "free" and that with just a few documents for another 100 bucks or from the Drug Jeffee, they can get aid, a place to live, food cards, free food from all the agencies in the area, medical care at emergency rooms for their children, and have their babies in the ERs and the list goes on and on. THAT Is not the way it works. Illegals are illegal when they come here and stay that way. They will end up working for a Drug Lord, cartel to pay for their transportation here. They will make drugs, manufacture all the other drugs like mad scientists, package, and transport them further north, east, and also get involved in traffic'ing humans, babies, and also prostituion. The men who come here and work so hard in fields are ones who come here with a visa, and have went through and started the process of being able to stay in America, pay taxes, work, and try to make a life here. Right now its hard to make a life here. The ones who come here illegally are the ones who continue in illegal activities. Thats the way it it. They kill, they do what Jeffe says. :/
Brenda January 12, 2013 at 09:33 AM
BTW Lulu and its not just Mexican that come into this country this way. Asians also are victims of their own crime bosses that get them into the country and run illegal businesses, drug manufacturing, transporting all kinds of goods like cigarettes, booze for liquor stores, prostitution rings, and also human transporting. They also believe they will come here for an easier life, but NO that is not the way it is and in reality any person should be wise enough to know that nothing comes for free or when you try to get it illegally. I know many people in Mexico, extremely rich and extremely poor. The ones who are poor will tell you straight up their people are lazy and just want to sit around drink beer and eat all day or sleep while others with motivation will take a full time or more hour job at a hotel, work hard, make around 60 to 80 bucks a week plus some tips and survive very well until they get all their paperwork ready to come to the USA. The rich do pay their employees crap while they live in a beautiful huge house on top of a mountain overlooking their ocean front resort. Their own planes, limos, drivers, and they mostly all come from ole money. But they do take care of their employees. A few I know actually have a doctor they keep around to care for any of their employees who get sick to try and keep them healthy and working, provide uniforms to wear. For ones who do not work they go to the doctor for a pig trade or something like that. :)
Guy Falkes January 17, 2013 at 12:31 AM
Only a true psychopath could destroy someones life over a plant. How many psychopaths do we have on the payroll. Time to stop those that choose to wage war on fellow citizens. It could be said they commit treason, they wage war for profit.


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