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Two men arrested after marijuana farm bust, Butte County sheriff says

A total of 755 pounds of marijuana was found Wednesday at a commercial marijuana cultivation site near Palmero along North Honcut Creek. Two men were arrested and other illegal items were found on the property, according to the Butte County Sheriff’s Department.
A total of 755 pounds of marijuana was found Wednesday at a commercial marijuana cultivation site near Palmero along North Honcut Creek. Two men were arrested and other illegal items were found on the property, according to the Butte County Sheriff’s Department. Butte County Sheriff's Department

Two men were arrested after a marijuana farm was discovered with 755 pounds of marijuana and a litany of other illegal goods near Palmero, according to sheriff’s deputies.

The Butte County Sheriff’s Office Special Enforcement Unit served a search warrant after a flight over the area showed the marijuana cultivation area at North Honcut Creek, according to a news release from the Butte County Sheriff’s Office.

When deputies arrived, several men were found tending to the 376 marijuana plants on the property. All of them ran, the release said, though deputies detained one 21-year-old man.

Eliecer Osornio-Gomez of Michoacan, Mexico, was arrested on suspicion of cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, armed in the commission of a felony and multiple environmental charges. Osornio-Gomez had documents that detailed his identity, though the release said that the documents “appear to be fraudulent.”

Osornio-Gomez is being held at the Butte County Jail, and his bail is set at $78,000. He will be live-scanned at the jail in order to correctly identify him, the release said.

A travel trailer was found on the property, which land owner Sven Gerald Banse, 56, was occupying. According to the release, evidence at the scene led deputies to believe that Banse was paid $10,000 by drug traffickers for the use of his land to cultivate marijuana.

Banse was arrested on suspicion of maintaining a place for the sale of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, and being armed in the commission of a felony, the release said. He, like Osornio-Gomez, is being held at the Butte County Jail, and his bail is set at $33,000.

An AR-15 rifle with a 30-round magazine was found on the property, with another 30-round magazine nearby. Gasoline was being stored next to the creek, and several areas of human waste and litter was found in the creek next to the cultivation area.

The release said the men were using Tide laundry detergent to clean their clothes in the creek — so much that it caused the creek to suffer from an algae bloom.

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