A patrol deputy's keen sense of smell led to the discovery of a marijuana farm in Sage, the seizure of more than $1 million of pot and the arrest of five suspects, authorities said today.
The deputy assigned to the Riverside County sheriff's Hemet Station was in the area of Schmidt and Gene roads around 12:50 p.m. Tuesday when he detected the scent of marijuana in the 42000 block of Schmidt Road, said sheriff's Sgt. John Morin. His investigation led him to a three-acre property surrounded by a large fence, he said.
"A sheriff's helicopter arrived and confirmed his suspicions," Morin said. "As the deputy approached the location, several suspects ran from the property."
Members of the sheriff's Gang Task Force and additional deputies corralled five suspects, he said.
A search of the property turned up 184 large, mature marijuana plants, more than 150 pounds of dried marijuana plants and five pounds of marijuana ready for sale, Morin said, adding that the pot had an estimated street value of more than $1 million.
U.S. Border Patrol agents arrived at the property and placed immigration holds on all of the suspects, Morin said.
Suspects taken into custody were: Juan Rodas, 19; Bernade Ayala, 23; Bladimir Gonzalea, 22; Juan Seduardo-Hernadez, 23; and Juan Miranda, 23.