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Canyon grow site discovery leads to incineration of 2,500 marijuana plants

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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A total of 2,500 marijuana plants were uprooted by law enforcement Monday on a steep Auburn State Recreation Area canyon slope about 7 miles northeast of Auburn. Located by air earlier in the growing season, the grow site – estimated to be about 3 acres in total – was not occupied when the Placer County Sheriff’s Department Special Enforcement Team moved in Monday. State Parks Ranger Scott Liske said the plants were being grown about mid-slope in the U.S. Canyon area above the Middle Fork American River, near Driver’s Flat on Foresthill Road. A loaded handgun, sleeping gear, stove and food were found under a makeshift shelter, Liske said. There was no evidence of canines at the campsite, he said. Camouflaged by dense manzanita, the grow traveled in a line along the canyon. The plants had matured as they approached the end of the outdoor growing season but because of lack of light, had not grown tall, Liske said. Evidence suggested some harvesting had already taken place, he said. “If the public stumbles on a site, it’s best to get out, leave the area and notify State Parks or the Sheriff’s Department,” Liske said. Plants were taken to the Sierra Pacific co-generation plant furnace in Lincoln and incinerated. – Gus Thomson