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El Portal Site Contained Over 3,600 Mature Plants
With information obtained from a joint investigation with the United States Forest Service and the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office, Yosemite National Park Rangers raided a large marijuana cultivation site in El Portal early Tuesday morning, August 24th, and seized 3,657 plants. The site was on land in both Yosemite National Park and the Sierra National Forest. The park worked with Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office Deputies and Detectives, an Officer from Mariposa County Probation, and Park Rangers from Point Reyes National Seashore. The total estimated worth of the seized marijuana is $14.6 million.
Two Mexican National males, who were in the United States illegally, were taken into custody while working the cultivation site during the raid. One of the men was armed with a loaded .45 caliber pistol concealed under his clothing. Both subjects were wearing camouflage clothing at the time of their arrest.
The marijuana plants growing in the site ranged in size from one plot of young one foot tall plants, to a mature plot that was in the process of being harvested with plants ranging from five to ten feet tall. In addition to seizing the 3,657 plants, several pounds of processed marijuana ready to be moved out of the site were also confiscated.
The grow site suffered extensive resource damage, including damage to the native vegetation and landscape. There were hose lines, fertilizers, trash and human waste throughout the area.
“We want these growers to know that we will not tolerate this type of activity on public lands and we will continue to aggressively seek out and eradicate illegal marijuana growing operations,” said Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher.
The operation concluded safely with only a few minor injuries to officers.
Both suspects are currently in custody awaiting charges to be filed.