By Ryan Hill

EL DORADO COUNTY (CBS13) — It’s a practice that has plenty of people petrified.

“Marijuana is now legalized in California but to do an illegal grow is just going to still bring in the risk and the crimes that usually associate with marijuana,” Ray Sarlatte said.

But some people say it’s something that common in El Dorado County.

“It’s a problem. We’re in a rural area. We’re kind of used to it,” Darrin Gilmore said.

“Knowing how common it is in this area it’s just getting really concerning and scary,” Kristin Jones said.

El Dorado County Sheriff John D’Agostini said the Somerset property where Deputy Brian Ishmael and an off-duty San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Deputy were shot had an illegal grow. It was a call that Ishmael never came home from.

“So when you lose one it’s like losing a brother…a son,” D’Agostini said.

D’Agostini said there were an estimated 75 plants at that illegal grow and said the FBI is assisting with the investigation.

READ MORE: 3 Men, Including 2 Mexican Nationals, Arrested In Shooting Death Of El Dorado County Deputy Brian Ishmael

Some said the thought of having an illegal grow in their neighborhood petrifies them.

“You’re scared to confront them. Like normal neighbors if your tree’s falling over your fence, you go knock on their door. I’m not going to knock on some dude’s house if they have guns,” Gilmore said.

“I’d be really scared and I would be really worried for the other members that live nearby,” Jones said.

The sheriff told CBS13 the legalization of marijuana doesn’t remove all crime and that there is still danger when it comes to these illegal grows.

READ ALSO: What Are The Marijuana Grow Rules In El Dorado County?

“There’s a lot of violence that surrounds these gardens and we’re seeing a perfect example of it right now,” D’Agostini said. “To say that this is just a medicine that does no harm and that the California law that have been passed that are going to be able to adequately prepare us and deal with this situation is a fallacy.”

A former El Dorado County sheriff told CBS13 even if the grow is done legally on someone’s property, there’s still an atmosphere for crime to happen.


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