BUTTE COUNTY (CBS13) — Twelve people from Mexico were arrested in an investigation across three Butte County properties involved in a marijuana operation ran by members of a Mexican drug trafficking organization, the Butte County Sheriff’s Office said.
Search warrants were issued at three Brush Creek residences along Bonnie Meadow Lane as a result of an investigation into $164,200 in cash seized during an Oroville traffic stop in early November.
The sheriff’s office said the Special Enforcement Unit developed probable cause to believe the three men arrested in the traffic stop were on their way to Bonnie Lane to buy a large amount of marijuana.
Butte County detectives said they eradicated 1,204 live marijuana plants, collected over 278 pounds of processed marijuana bud, over 457 pounds of marijuana bud on stem, over 184 pounds of marijuana shake, two illegal Ar-15 rifles and over $14,000 in cash.
The twelve individuals, all from Mexico, were identified as Roberto Estrada, 38, Jennifer Marquez, 34, Beatriz Alvarez, 34, Emilio Orozco, 31, Daniel Perez, 22, Bernardo Ayalavarez, 34, Vianney Barcena, 34, Carolina Ruiz, 20, Dulce Sanchez, 27, Nestor Ortiz, 32, Cristobal Briseno, 19 and Orlando Martinez, 29.
All 12 were arrested on charges of marijuana cultivation. Estrada and Ortiz had additional charges of maintaining a residence for drug sales, the sheriff’s office said.
The sheriff’s office said all 12 people are from Mexico, but it is unclear if they were in the U.S. illegally.
Officials said additional suspects have been identified and search warrants will be sought. The sheriff’s office said the illegal weapons are being processed for the presence of DNA.