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Registered: 07/26/04
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Pot farm raid leaves one dead, one wounded. 50,000 plants seized. [CA]
    #4503483 - 08/06/05 12:18 PM (12 years, 10 months ago)

Man killed in pot raid -- warden wounded
Big marijuana haul in Los Gatos hills

August 6, 2005 - sfgate.com

It was supposed to be a fairly typical bust on the second day in the annual marijuana-eradication season by statewide officials -- but it turned deadly and anything but routine.

By day's end Friday, one suspect lay dead in the rugged hills after a gunbattle, one Fish and Game warden was shot by an accomplice guarding the pot field -- the first shooting of an agent in the 21-year history of the raids -- and authorities had seized as many as 50,000 plants, much more than they found during all of last year, investigators said.

Camouflaged sheriff's deputies carrying rifles scoured the steep hills above Los Gatos all day and throughout the night searching for another suspect who fled the early-morning raid. Authorities were to continue the search today.

"They're being more confrontational because there's a lot more marijuana out there," said Bob Cooke, special agent in charge of the California Department of Justice Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement in San Jose.

One suspect has been killed in raids each of the past two years, and agents have been shot at -- but never hit, Cooke said.

Fish and Game Warden Kyle Kroll, a 25-year-old Mountain View resident, was struck by a bullet that went through both his legs. Kroll, who has been a warden for two years, underwent surgery at Valley Medical Center in San Jose during the morning and was expected to recover, authorities said.

The incident began early Friday when half a dozen officers from several agencies assembled at 5 a.m. and drove up the mountain to the end of Wagner Road. They hiked for 1 1/2 hours to land that is closed to the public but where thousands of mature marijuana plants had been spotted by sheriff's deputies in helicopters on Mount Umunhum. The land is owned by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District.

About 7 a.m., officers encountered two armed men who apparently had been guarding the crop, said Terrance Helm, spokesman for the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department.

Details of what happened next were scarce because radio communications were poor in the remote area and crime scene investigators had to be airlifted by chopper to the scene, Helm said.

Gunfire broke out between the pot guards and the officers, and one of the guards was hit while the other man ran. All available deputies in the county were summoned to Los Gatos Christian Church near the base of the mountain, which was headquarters for the operation throughout the day, Helm said.

Kroll was airlifted off the mountain while a SWAT team swarmed in and blocked off the area around the injured suspect. By the time medical workers arrived, the man had died, Helm said. Information on the man was not available from the coroner, who also had to be airlifted to the scene.

Investigators said they hadn't assembled a detailed description of the men.

"It makes no sense," Helm said of the shootout. "Generally, when they know law enforcement is coming, they flee. They generally don't shoot it out with the cops."

The eradication project is run by the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, a program of the California Department of Justice. CAMP has five teams that work throughout the state trying to locate and destroy marijuana plants, which are starting to be harvested this time of year.

In all of 2004, authorities seized 6,026 marijuana plants in Santa Clara County during raids like the one Friday. But if the high estimate of Friday's raid holds, authorities will in two days have seized more than eight times what they did in the county for all of last year, according to CAMP statistics.

A separate raid Thursday resulted in the seizure of 5,000 plants from Big Basin State Park north of Santa Cruz, Cooke said. Last year, authorities destroyed 621,315 plants statewide. The harvest season, when the raids are conducted, runs through the end of September.

The farm raided Friday was much larger than authorities initially thought. They suspected that up to 10,000 plants were being grown on two or three acres -- but as the helicopters scanned the area looking for the suspect, they discovered the swath to actually be about a mile long, Cooke said, and it could yield up to 50,000 plants. The plants stand between 4 and 7 feet tall.

People planting marijuana in the area probably chose it because it was closed to the public, said John Maciel, operations manager for the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. Signs denoting the closed portion, which is under planning for recreational development, are posted throughout the area, he said.

Each plant is worth about $4,000 in street sales, Cooke said -- meaning that if there are indeed 50,000 plants of high quality, the crop could be worth $200 million. Most of the large-scale marijuana-growing operations in California are run out of Mexico, though it was unclear Friday whose plants were on the mountain and where they would have been sold.

Cooke estimated that it would take a dozen people to cultivate the crop on Mount Umunhum.

Officers from the California Highway Patrol, the California Division of Forestry, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department, the Department of Fish and Game, and the San Jose Police Department worked out of the church-based command post.

Four helicopters were being used in the search, and late Friday, a helicopter carried a large load of marijuana down from the mountain in a net.

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Registered: 11/11/04
Posts: 22,320
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Re: Pot farm raid leaves one dead, one wounded [CA] [Re: veggie]
    #4503489 - 08/06/05 12:20 PM (12 years, 10 months ago)

That's just a damned shame! :nonono:



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fuck this site
Registered: 05/13/04
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Re: Pot farm raid leaves one dead, one wounded [CA] [Re: blissedout]
    #4503786 - 08/06/05 02:47 PM (12 years, 10 months ago)

heh... whenever I hike to the top of my hill (not even a mile), I can see that mountain and most of los gatos

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Registered: 07/26/04
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Re: Pot farm raid leaves one dead, one wounded. 50,000 plants seized. [CA] [Re: veggie]
    #4505744 - 08/07/05 02:32 AM (12 years, 10 months ago)

Search Ends for Second Pot Farmer
August 6, 2005 - kron4.com

LOS GATOS MOUNTAINS (KRON) -- Authorities have now called off the active search for the second person who was guarding a marijuana growing operation in the Los Gatos hills.

The man ran away from the garden shortly after a Friday morning shoot-out with authorities that left at 25-year old State Fish and Game warden with gunshot wounds to both legs.

Kyle Crowell is expected to make a full recovery.

In addition to ended the search, authorities are wrapping up the larger than expected job of hauling the pot plants off the mountain.

"We thought we would have enough to fill one truck," Santa Clara County Sheriff's Dept Lt. Luther Pugh told KRON 4's Holly Juscen. "We didn't realize we would be filling dumpsters also."

Investigators believe they've found as much as $30 million worth of marijuana in the farm. The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department found out about the pot farm ten days ago, then scheduled the raid for Friday morning."

Authorities believe the second person at the garden got away. The first person was shot and killed in the raid.

"Our experience with the people who work these gardens is that these people have a bit of a network that will probably move him to another garden if not out of the country."

Investigators say they also found two rifles and evidence of prior cultivation at the site.

"We can see the old irrigation systems, the drip line systems, and the brush being cleared out," one agent said. "So we know they have been up there before but we think this is the first year we've gotten marijuana off this ridge."

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Registered: 03/28/05
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Re: Pot farm raid leaves one dead, one wounded. 50,000 plants seized. [CA] [Re: veggie]
    #4505759 - 08/07/05 02:38 AM (12 years, 10 months ago)

its a shame another person was killed for something that wasn't worth a human life. This is why it should be legal.

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Registered: 01/07/05
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Re: Pot farm raid leaves one dead, one wounded [CA] [Re: blissedout]
    #4505814 - 08/07/05 03:02 AM (12 years, 10 months ago)


blissedout said:
That's just a damned shame! :nonono:

"To get what you've never had, You must do what you've never done."

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Registered: 06/21/05
Posts: 24,569
Loc: FL
Re: Pot farm raid leaves one dead, one wounded [CA] [Re: LethalX5]
    #4518936 - 08/10/05 06:36 PM (12 years, 10 months ago)

so now were criminals that deserve to die?


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