Two arrested over marijuana garden

July 29, 2009 7:34:19 PM PDT
Sonoma County sheriff's narcotics agents arrested two Mexican nationals during a marijuana garden eradication effort east of Petaluma this afternoon, Sgt. Chris Bertoli said.

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One suspect escaped, Bertoli said. The other two men were booked into the Sonoma County jail for cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale and possession of a firearm while committing a felony.

One of the suspects might be charged in connection with fighting a police dog used in the arrests, Bertoli said.

The sheriff's department found 5,000 mature plants ready for harvest in several gardens. Bertoli estimated the processed pot from the plants is worth $15 million.

Two to three pounds of processed marijuana were also found at the campsite in the Stage Gulch Road and state Highway 116 area that also contains vineyards, Bertoli said.

One of the suspects told the sheriff's department he had been at the site since April, Bertoli said.

The growers were using two large reservoirs to water the plants and had food and equipment at the campsite.

Twelve narcotics agents in two teams participated in the eradication effort, Bertoli said.

He said the number of marijuana plants found halfway through the current growing season is above last year's figures.

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