By Steve Large


PLACER COUNTY (CBS13) — It’s a disturbing trend in California’s weed wars.

Local landowners are becoming involved in organized crime rings by offering their property to grow massive amounts of marijuana to be shipped illegally to Mexico.

The Placer County Sheriff’s Office announced an arrest in the most recent case. The Placer County sheriff’s drone video shows the giant weed-growing “hoop houses” discovered, and 345 mature marijuana plants seized.

Deputies arrested Mexico resident Apolonio Guijosa on charges that he was growing the pot on a rural Penryn property, in a business arrangement between the local property owner and a drug trafficking organization in Mexico.

The Placer County Sheriff’s Office is now warning people against entering into these illegal agreements that can turn violent.

It’s a point made recently by U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott.

“Law enforcement has learned that the Mexican criminal organizations have adopted a new tactic since the voters of California chose to legalize marijuana,” Scott said.

Scott says these criminal organizations are offering local landowners cash to grow marijuana on their property. He spoke following the October shooting death of El Dorado County deputy Brian Ishmael, allegedly killed by a pair of marijuana growers in the U.S. illegally.

READ: El Dorado County Sheriff Blames Sanctuary, Marijuana Laws For Deputy Ishmael’s Slaying

Scott says black-market marijuana grows are thriving in California. “Thriving means that by its own study the state of California says that 80% of marijuana grown in California leaves the state, which by definition means its black market,” Scott said.

A Placer County sheriff spokesperson says SB 54, “The California Values Act,” prohibited deputies from asking Guijosa his immigration status. He was released on $10,000 bail.

Illegal, international marijuana businesses hiding within California’s legal pot laws. Now a warning to local landowners to beware.

A Placer County Sheriff now says Guijosa has a court date for which a judge expects him to appear. The sheriff is also recommending the Penryn landowner face criminal charges too.

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