Two pot busts exceed $7 million in total street value


Authorities in recent weeks made two major busts on illegal marijuana grows in southern San Benito County.
The latest operation occurred July 22 when the United Narcotics Enforcement Team, of which the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office is a member, eradicated a pot grow in a remote area off Coalinga Road in southern San Benito County, according to the sheriff’s office report.
Agents at the scene seized 3,625 mature plants with an estimated street value of $3.625 million, according to the sheriff’s office.
“Also located in this grow were damaging fertilizers and pesticides, diverted water ways, miscellaneous garbage and skinned animal carcasses,” the report noted.
Capt. Tony Lamonica of the sheriff’s office Monday said the investigation is ongoing.
“We’re trying to chase them down,” he said.
That operation came precisely a month after another large bust in southern San Benito County. On June 22, UNET eradicated an illegal pot grow near Panoche Road and seized 3,353 plants, about 33 pounds of processed marijuana and weapons along with fertilizers, rodent killers, pesticides, diverted water and garbage, according to the sheriff’s office.
The total street value in the June 22 incident was $3.387 million. Authorities arrested suspect Emmanuel Jiminez-Rivera, 30, of East Palo Alto.