Regional Drug Task Force Continues in Marijuana Eradication Campaign

MODESTO, CA- Agents from the Stanislaus Drug Enforcement Agency continue their eradication effort in dismantling large illegal Marijuana grows across the county. One grow had produced some of the largest marijuana plants ever seized by agents. All three search warrant raids were a result of anonymous tips received by the task force.

The raids began on Tuesday, August 28th, at a 40-acre chicken ranch in the 11000 block of Yosemite Boulevard, in Waterford. Drug agents discovered the outdoor marijuana grow in between two abandoned chicken barns. Investigators seized approximately 491 plants, which weighed 8880 lbs. Agents estimate the street value, once the marijuana was harvested and processed, to be $1.2 million. The location of this illegal marijuana grow was 400 feet from Waterford High School.

Arrested for cultivation at this location were:

John Lee, a 53-year-old Waterford resident

Kathy Lee, a 53-year-old Waterford resident

Khon Phommavahn, a 36-year-old Waterford resident

Ricky Saeteurn, a 39-year-old Waterford resident

Narcotic agents continued with their efforts and on Wednesday, August 29th, they served two additional search warrants. Task force agents started their morning by seizing a illegal marijuana grow of approximately 130 plants at a ranchette in the 5600 block of Hammett Road, in Modesto. Arrested for cultivation at this location were:

Patrick Fletcher, a 21-year-old Salida resident

Tyrone Garden, a 43-year-old Salida resident

Later in the day, task force agents went to a ranch in the 1000 block of South Mitchell Road in Turlock, to serve their third search warrant. Agents discovered an illegal outdoor marijuana grow in the middle of a 40-acre cornfield. The 187 marijuana plants were surrounded by a fence, in an attempt to conceal their location. Although this seizure was not as large a scale as the task force is accustomed to seeing, they were awed at the size of the marijuana plants. Agents equated this grow with being equivalent to walking through a Christmas tree lot. “These were some of the biggest marijuana plants we have seen in several years” said Modesto Police Sergeant Jason Grogan, who is a supervisor for the Stanislaus Drug Enforcement Agency. The plants had a weight of 12,000 lbs. and an estimated street value of $750,000. No one was located at the property and no arrests were made.

“We will continue our mission of dismantling illegal drug operations to include the eradication of illegally possessed marijuana” said Sergeant Grogan. “We appreciate the help and support from the community in aiding us in identifying these illegal grows.”

The Stanislaus Drug Enforcement Agency is a multi-agency narcotic task force, which is comprised of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. The goal of the task force is to identify, disrupt, and ultimately dismantle drug trafficking organizations operating within the Central Valley.

Police ask anyone who may have information on illegal drug violations to call Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward. Tipsters can also text information to Crime Stoppers by sending a text message to 274637. Just type “TIP704” along with your message.

  • theskeptic2

    It is so comforting that the discovery, and subsequent removal, of these evil plants was made.
    Omigosh…had this ‘devil weed’ fallen into the hands of some ‘dope smoking derelict,’ we would all be in danger.

    Goodness gracious! Our very lives, our children, our dogs, and kitty cats may have all been at risk.

    Hot dang!

    But, on the other hand:

    I smoked my first joint in December, 1967, at the tender age of 21.

    Now, a mere 44 years later, I still smoke pot. I have never ‘graduated’ to ‘harder’ drugs. Nor, have I ever harmed anyone.

    I am living proof that this prohibitionist propaganda is a fallacy…a blatant lie.

    The worst experience I had with marijuana was spending 5 years in Federal Prison for a pot offense.

    While there, I watched armed bank robbers come and go in as little as 20 months.

    When I went to the parole board after more than 3 years ‘behind the wall,’ I pointed this out to the panel members. Their response: “You must understand that yours was a very serious offense.”

    I laughed about that for another 2 years (as I still sat in prison)…then wrote my book:

    Shoulda Robbed a Bank.

    I hope you check it out. I need the money.

  • theskeptic2

    All card-carrying members of the DEA need to read: Shoulda Robbed a Bank
    Here is one of its reviews:

    5.0 out of 5 stars… If David Sedaris had written ‘Catcher in the Rye’..this would be it, June 30, 2012
    Amazon Verified Purchase
    This review is from: Shoulda Robbed a Bank (Kindle Edition) I have never smoked pot in my life…nor do I ever care to.
    I read about this book in numerous Huffington Post comments. Thought I would read it because I know nothing about marijuana or the people involved with it. I am ecstatic that I did. Funny, Funny, Funny!!!
    The chapters are like short stories. Stories about unloading boats with helicopters, close encounters with law enforcement, traveling through the jungles of South America. The chapter about the author’s first time smoking marijuana made me feel like I was with him…coughing.
    All of the characters were just a group of loveable, nice guys and girls. Not what I had been raised to believe…hysterical maniacs high on pot bent on death and mayhem. They were nothing like that.
    If you have ever read any of David Sedaris’ books, and like them…you will love Shoulda Robbed a Bank.
    And the crazy things happening reminded me of Holden Caufield in ‘Catcher in the Rye’ and the way he staggered through life.
    The way the words are put together are like nothing I have ever heard. I am sure I will use many of the sayings found in this book just to dazzle my friends. A terrific read. I love this book.