Madera County Sheriff John Anderson announced Friday, June 7, agents with the Madera County Narcotic Enforcement Team, assisted by Madera County SWAT and Madera County Sheriffs Deputies, completed a 12-hour eradication mission in the Bailey Flats region of Madera County.
More than 12,000 plants, with a value of $14,557,200, were discovered growing on steep terrain on private land used for cattle grazing.
Anderson says Madera County is once again seeing a rise of illegal grow sites sprouting up in the foothills as well as the U.S. National Forest, impacting natural water sources, wildlife and now livestock.
It is believed that the growers of this operation have ties to a drug trafficking organization based in Mexico.
Agents not only eradicated plants but also removed mounds of trash that included bags and drums of deadly chemicals commonly used by these particular growing operations.
Anderson said the growers are equally dangerous.
They arm themselves to protect their gardens, with no regard for the safety of citizens, he said. These (people) should be considered dangerous. Do not confront them.
Anyone who sees any kind of suspicious activity, which includes a sudden increase in vehicle traffic, is urged to call either the Madera County Sheriffs Office at (559) 675-7770, or the MADNET tip line at (559) 675-7776.
No arrests were made during the June 6 operation. The case is still under investigation.