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11 arrested, guns seized in huge ‘black market’ marijuana grow at Sacramento wildlife preserve

The rules for growing marijuana in Sacramento

If you are 21, you can grow marijuana in California. But the rules vary by city. Here is what’s legal in Sacramento if you want to grow pot.
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If you are 21, you can grow marijuana in California. But the rules vary by city. Here is what’s legal in Sacramento if you want to grow pot.

Wildlife officers made nearly a dozen arrests last month, shutting down a massive “black market” marijuana grow operation discovered at side-by-side properties on the Cosumnes River Preserve, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Monday.

More than 15,000 marijuana plants were “eradicated,” 3,000 pounds of processed marijuana were seized, about 1,900 pounds of trash were cleaned up and 11 total suspects were arrested in connection with the south Sacramento County operation, Fish and Wildlife said in a news release.

The bust happened July 12 following a complex investigation that also confiscated three loaded firearms and turned up evidence of deer poaching, severe environmental violations and the use of a rented U-Haul truck to ship out hundreds of pounds of weed.

The environmental violations included illegal water diversion, pesticides being placed near streams, garbage placed near waterways and destruction of wildlife habitats, authorities said.

“The grow was located in sensitive wildlife habitat,” the news release said. “The property is home to hundreds of bird species, including the greater sandhill crane and Swainson’s hawk,” which are both listed as threatened species under California’s Endangered Species Act, as well as dozens of species of fish and other wildlife.

Fish and Wildlife says it owns one of the involved land parcels, and the other is owned by The Nature Conservancy, a Virginia-based charity environmental organization.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife urges citizens to report illegal cannabis grows, environmental crimes and poaching to the CalTIP hotline by calling (888) 334-2258 or texting information to “TIP411” (847411).

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Michael McGough anchors The Sacramento Bee’s breaking news reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A Sacramento native and lifelong capital resident, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in journalism.
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