A large marijuana grow, hidden amongst 1,200 acres of almond trees near Denair, was busted by Stanislaus County Sheriff's Deputies this week. Deputies seized over 38,000 marijuana plants during the two-day operation.
Agents from Stanislaus Drug Enforcement, Central Valley HIDTA, CAL-MMET, the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security worked together to locate the marijuana plants near the intersection of Monte Vista Avenue and Hall Road, just east of Denair.
On July 3, agents seized over 15,000 marijuana plants that were planted between almond trees within the orchard. During the investigation, agents located a second marijuana grow in the same orchard.
Today, agents returned to eradicate another 23,000 marijuana plants from the location.
With over 38,000 marijuana plants seized altogether, the estimated street value was approximately $200,000.
According to the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, Jesus Meraz Alvarez, 56 of Washington, Elian Mendoza Gallardo, 31 a transient, and Mendoza Jesus Torres, 29 a transient, were arrested for cultivation of marijuana. An immigrations hold was also placed on both Gallardo and Torres for being in the country illegally.
The property owners of the almond orchard were contacted and were reportedly unaware that the suspects had set up camps in the middle of their orchards and were growing marijuana.
The incident is still under investigation by agents. Anyone who witnessed suspicious activity or has any further information can contact the Stanislaus Drug Enforcement Agency at (209) 558-6300.
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