Mexican Drug Cartels Extending Violent Reach Into Calaveras County Rancher’s Property

 Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Beckwith says he knows why the cartel chooses to work this area.

“This part of Northern California is a very popular area,” he said. “You can just get to the freeways so quickly.”

He’s helped prosecute hundreds of cases, including one of the largest seizures in his district.

It’s a case with a clear tie to one of the most well-known Mexican drug cartels, La Familia.

Investigators found Fausto Diaz with 600 pounds of methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana plants. He worked out of a home in Gilroy that served as a large source for drugs in the Bay Area.

Evidence pointing to La Familia includes detailed ledgers, automatic assault weapons, wiretapped conversations, and of course fat stacks of cash.

This also means a lot of money out of property owners’ pockets to clean up the damage and mess left behind.

James says three weeks ago, someone was living in a crude living quarters on his property, complete with a mud oven and stove.

He found another grow on his property when he stumbled on an irrigation pipe that growers had buried underground to run water from a nearby pond.

“They tapped the reservoir, and of course drained all the water, so that affects me and the cattle,” James said.


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