MARIPOSA COUNTY – On June 6, the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office received information about possible illegal marijuana gardens in the Dog Town Road area of Greeley Hill in Mariposa County.
Several Hispanic males were reportedly seen in the area with a semi-truck full of dirt and tractor equipment.
Douglas Breton, another resident on the property, stated to deputies that he had people clearing brush from the property a few weeks earlier but that at this time no one else should be on the property. During a helicopter overflight search conducted on June 9, several plots of marijuana were located.
On Thursday, June 25, Mariposa County Sheriff’s deputies along with Mariposa County Probation Officers, Mariposa County District Attorney’s Office and Yosemite National Park Special Response Team, served a search warrant on the property.
During the initial interview Breton indicated that he had no knowledge of a marijuana garden. He told investigators that he did have two Hispanic males working on the property to work off a debt.
Breton stated that while walking on the property he noticed irrigation line on the hillside, but that he did not want anything to do with the size of the garden and never gave anyone permission to grow marijuana this season.
Breton did admit to the investigators that in previous years he has allowed some Hispanic males to grow marijuana on the property, and he directed the team to a camp site where he said the people working on the garden were staying.
Evidence located on the property led investigators to believe that Breton had prior knowledge of the marijuana growing on his property. That evidence included a camera found inside Breton’s residence which had photos of the overflight operation; photos of the roads leading to the garden sites; the proximity of the 3 gardens just 75 feet from his residence; matching fertilizer bags found at the grow sites and the driveway of the residence; and the water supply connected to a faucet near the property well.
Three plot sites were located on the property, and a total of 4,964 marijuana plants were eradicated.
A campsite consisting of a tent under a tarp with bedding and clothes for two people, along with a cell phone and a casino player’s club card to Menominee casino in Keshena, WI, were also located. The Sheriff’s Office says this appears to be a Mexican cartel drug trafficking operation.
Douglas Breton, 61, of Greeley Hill, was arrested and is being held at the Mariposa County Adult Detention Facility for charges of 11358 HS Cultivation of Marijuana; 29800(A)(1) Felon in possession of a firearm; 1203.2 Probation Violation, 30305(A) Felon in possession of ammunition.
He is being held on $100,000 bail.