Abandoned Pot Grows, Overrun by Bears, Raided in Butte County

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Shrine to La Santa Muerte, or “Holy Death,” found at the Concow grow. Courtesy: Butte County Sheriff’s Office


Sheriff’s say they seized thousands of marijuana plants from a garden in the mountains of Butte County early Tuesday.

According to a release, the Butte County Sheriff’s Office Special Enforcement Unit carried out the raid after helicopters helped spot the operations.

First, a marijuana grow was found in the Concow area near Dogwood Creek, a little over 22 miles northeast of Oroville.  Deputies searched the site and found that the plants had not been watered in several days, leading authorities to assume that the growers had run out of water.

About 2,900 marijuana plants were taken from the garden. No suspects were found, and the camp area looked as if it had been raided by bears and other forest creatures.

Sheriff’s note that a shrine to La Santa Muerte was also found at the camp. Interestingly, the idol is not a legitimate Catholic saint. Rather, it is an idol commonly found at marijuana grows, as drug traffickers worship it to ask for protection from law enforcement.

Later, deputies raided another growing operation about 23 miles southwest of the Concow grow, in the Feather Falls area near Echo Ridge Road. Again, the suspected growers had already abandoned the area as water became scarce. Still, 9,012 marijuana plants were taken from the garden.

A 25-pound bucket of rat poison was also found at the Feather Falls garden. The bucket looked to have been eaten by a bear, as claw and teeth marks were found on it. Further, several 10 pound boxes fertilizer that would have polluted Lake Oroville was taken from the scene.

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