Narcotics investigators removed and airlifted up to 4,000 marijuana plants in various stages of maturity that were discovered in Laguna Wilderness Park in Orange County, California, on Friday, just a few hundred feet from a private high school and a swathe of upscale homes.
How the pot plants were discovered is not known, according to the Orange County Register. OC Parks personnel reportedly spotted the shrubbery a few weeks ago, then contacted the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Investigators began removing the plants by hand at 7 am, and with the help of a department helicopter named Duke, were able to airlift hundreds of them at a time to the nearby Coastal Peak Park, where they were packaged for evidence, notes KTLA.
Investigators are reportedly seeking to determine both the source of water which was used to grow the plants–particularly during California’s fourth consecutive year of a deep-cutting drought–as well as the level of sophistication of the irrigation system the growers used, the Register reports.
A person or people of interest are being sought in the case, and investigators are asking anyone with information to contact officials at714-647-7000. Anonymous tips can also be made via Orange County CrimeStoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS, 855-847-6227, or occrimestoppers.org.