MADERA COUNTY – The discovery of 200 marijuana plants growing near the Berenda Slough in Chowchilla gave new meaning to the phrase “weed abatement” early yesterday morning.
On Tuesday, Sept. 30, Water District employees, clearing bamboo from the banks of the slough, discovered two separate marijuana plots, and alerted the Sheriff’s Office. Due to the enormity of the crop, deputies turned the case over to MADNET (Madera County Narcotic Enforcement Team).
With agents already handling another massive marijuana growing operation that same day, they tackled the 200 plants Wednesday at sunup.
No sooner had they hacked and hauled away the plants in this grow, word came in that three more gardens had been discovered – this time in Coarsegold.
Narcotic and Code Enforcement Agents hit the road and headed north. They reportedly found two illegal outdoor growing operations located off Highway 41, and a third illegal outdoor operation near Hogans Mountain Road.
While agents eradicated the nearly 4,000 pounds of plants from the foothills, Code Enforcement was tallying fines that totaled more than $65,000.
The Sheriff’s Office reports that “despite clear and concise language concerning Madera County’s Medical Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance,” growers continue to ignore it.
“Madera County’s Medical Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance is simple. Marijuana plants can only be grown in a fully enclosed room and/or structure that must not exceed 120 square feet. Penalties for growers refusing to comply include a $250 fine per plant, and immediate abatement.”