Stanislaus County authorities, along with federal agents, uncovered a large marijuana grow east of Denair.
The grow was found inside a 1,200 acre almond tree orchard near Hall Road and East Monte Vista Avenue, according to a release by the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department.
Agents from Stanislaus Drug Enforcement, Central Valley HIDTA, CAL-MMET, Federal Drug Enforcement Agency and the Department of Homeland raided the orchard on July 3, uncovering about 15,000 plants.
Further investigation led authorities to believe another there was another growing operation at the same orchard. On July 9, agents raided the orchard again and uncovered 23,000 more marijuana plants.
The estimated street value of the plants is about $200,000, Stanislaus authorities said.
Three men – 56-year-old Washington resident Jesus Meraz Alvarez, 31-year-old Elian Mendoza Gallardo and 29-year-old Jesus Torres – were arrested in connection to the operation. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has put a hold on all three for the men being in the country illegally.
Authorities note that the owners of the orchard are said to be unaware of the growing operation.