More than 50,000 marijuana plants, worth $201 million, were found growing in California’s Los Padres National Forest, reports the Los Angeles Times. Ventura County Sheriff’s Dept. Capt. Don Aguilar said in the report that “the operation is one of the largest single grows the department has ever busted.”
In addition to the plants, authorities reportedly found rat poisons, hundreds of pounds of fertilizer, and “mountains of trash” at the site.
Capt. Aguilar told the Times that the massive grow operation could be connected to Mexican cartels currently operating in California, based on the materials left behind at the grow site. He explained that cartel growers routinely use poisonous chemicals in their operations, and that the trash found at the site suggests a team of growers lived there for some time. He also noted that cartel growers tend to carry guns to protect the crops.
“It’s a dangerous situation,” Aguilar said in the report.
Authorities reportedly seized the plants and burned them at a different location.