Thursday, July 22, 2010

Authorities Bust Another Pot Plantation

By John Larson

SOCORRO – Officers from local, state and federal agencies eradicated a fourth marijuana plantation along the Rio Grande July 17.
Over 430 four-and-a-half to five foot tall marijuana plants were removed from the area.
The site was a few miles south of San Marcial on the west side of the river, and officials say evidence indicates it was maintained by the same growers as the three sites discovered in June. Socorro Police Detective Rocky Fernandez said “the site was almost identical to the previous three sites we eradicated. There were the same kind of pumps, batteries, pipings, solar equipment, and similar types of food.
“It was similar but messier than the other three. It was probably different individuals, but with the same larger operation,” he said. “There were two sleeping bags in one large tent and some clothes left behind, but it looked to be abandoned for awhile.”
He said the plants were spotted by hikers in the area. Socorro County Sheriff Philip Montoya and Chief Deputy Shorty Vaiza were part of the law enforcement contingent which included officers from the Socorro Police Department, BLM, Bureau of Reclamation, and New Mexico Game and Fish.
Fernandez said the site was accessible by four-wheelers, which were
used to haul out the evidence.
“We started at 6 a.m. and were out of there by noon,” Fernandez said. “It was a lot easier than the Escondida site, and we had more officers this time.”
He doesn’t discount the discovery of additional sites hidden in the Rio Grande bosque areas.
On July 9 another, smaller, patch was discovered just over the Valencia County line. Fernandez said that 24 plants were removed, and a warrant was issued following that incident. That case will be presented in Belen Magistrate Court, Sept. 14.

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