Crime - Sacto 911

Big marijuana patch lands two men in jail for illegal cultivation

Two men were booked into Nevada County jail for allegedly growing 8,000 mostly ready-to-harvest marijuana plants.

Deputies, state Department of Fish and Game wardens and investigators from the District Attorney’s Office executed a search warrant Thursday morning at a 140-acre ranch where the marijuana was growing in Penn Valley.

The law enforcement contingent found plants that ranged from 16 inches to 5 feet tall. Most of the plants were ready to be harvested.

Jesse Niesen, 41, of Rough and Ready, and Espinoza Hernandez, 38, of Tlaxcala, Mexico, were arrested on charges of illegally cultivating the marijuana. Niesen was found in a tent near the marijuana patch.

Several men were questioned by authorities when they entered the property while investigators were on site. The men, who said they were there to work for Niesen, were eventually allowed to go after speaking with deputies.

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews