Two men have been arrested in Placer County, accused of conducting an extensive illegal marijuana growing operation in the Iowa Hill area.
A Placer County sheriff’s deputy on Monday was patrolling the remote area just east of the location where deputies recently found more than $800,000 worth of stolen heavy equipment, when he saw a trailer that was determined to be stolen, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release. He returned the next day with a search warrant and more deputies. During the search, deputies discovered the large-scale cultivation operation and illegal weapons.
More than 250 pounds of processed marijuana was found, as well as 94 marijuana plants growing inside two greenhouses, sheriff’s officials said.
Deputies arrested Richard Lee Austin, 30, of San Luis Obispo and Shane Reale Brunton, 28, of Encinitas. The two men were living on the property in a makeshift shack, and the area was littered with vehicles and trash, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Both men were booked into the Placer County jail.
Austin was arrested on suspicion of possession of an assault weapon, possession of a firearm in commission of a felony, cultivating marijuana and possession of stolen property, all felonies. Brunton was arrested on suspicion of the same offenses with the exception of possession of an assault weapon, sheriff’s officials said. Both men also face a misdemeanor count of possessing drug paraphernalia.