By Richie Ramos

CALAVERAS COUNTY (CBS13) – Three illegal marijuana farm busts in Calaveras County resulted in the seizure of firearms and over $600,000 worth of pot, authorities said.

According to the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office, a site along Esmeralda Road in Murphys was eradicated on Oct. 15 for the fourth time since 2017.

At this site, 555 plants and 22-pounds of processed marijuana – all estimated at a value of $403,000, authorities said. No suspects were located at the scene and the investigation into this illegal site remains ongoing, investigators said.

The very next day, a search warrant was served at a San Andreas address along Old Gulch Road in which 236 plants valued at approximately $165,000 were seized, authorities said. Two men were also located in tents and taken into custody.

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Two loaded guns and additional ammunition were found inside of the tents. Investigators said one of the men initially gave a fake name and was later found to be Pham Vo, 49, a convicted felon from Oakland. Vo was booked into the Calaveras County Jail on charges of illegal marijuana cultivation, possession of marijuana for sale, conspiracy and being a felon in possession of a firearm among other firearm-related charges.

San Andreas resident Duong Luong, 38, was identified as the other suspect. Luong was arrested on illegal marijuana cultivation, possession of marijuana for sale and conspiracy, authorities said.

That same day, a third illegal marijuana bust occurred along Oak Grove Road in San Andreas. Deputies seized 72 plants valued at around $50,000 as well as one handgun. Investigators said San Andreas resident Paul Russ Arthurs, 61, was cited for the illegal site and possession of marijuana for sale.


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