Last week's raid on a thinly disguised marijuana growing operation yielded nearly 7,000 pounds of the drug, authorities said Monday. Agents arrested four men on drug charges.
Arrested at the site Thursday were Javier Arias Guzman, 52, of Martinez; Melchor Cardenas, 21, of San Jose; Camilo Lopez Sujuan, 42, of Mexico; and Eric Pinal, 27, of San Jose. Authorities confiscated a shotgun.
According to Stanislaus County sheriff's Sgt. Robert Hunt, who is assigned to the Stanislaus Drug Enforcement Agency, Cardenas and Pinal tended the large growing operation, hidden behind a few rows of corn and a plywood fence just off Highway 33 near Holly Road. "They were hired by the Yerba Buena Collective to grow it and expected payment of $100,000 and $150,000, respectively," Hunt said, adding that state law prohibits the growing of marijuana for profit.
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Hunt said agents busted a similar operation on the same property about a year ago. The property owner doesn't yet face charges but will receive a letter stating that federal authorities will seize the property if further incidents occur there.
Hunt said his investigators are working with the U.S. attorney's office on possible federal charges, which carry a stiffer penalty than a state case.