Multiagency operation uncovers 4,000 marijuana plants

Photos courtesy of Inyo County Sheriff's Dept.

Photos courtesy of Inyo County Sheriff’s Dept.

hogbackgrow (PRESS RELEASE – Carma Roper, Inyo Sheriff PIO) On August 22nd a massive multiagency eradication operation was successfully accomplished above Hogback Creek west of Lone Pine, CA.  Inyo Narcotics Enforcement Team (INET) and agents from the United States Forest Service have been investigating this particular grow-site and gathering evidence since May, 2013. Approximately 4,000 marijuana plants were removed from the site, as well as 350 pounds of processed marijuana.

One arrest was made during the operation, 23 year old Jose Salvador Garcia-Rodrigiuez from Lake Elsinore, CA.  Early this morning INET and Forest Service Officers conducted a felony traffic stop south of Sage Flat Road on Highway 395 in Olancha; seven more arrests were made all with ties to the Hogback cultivation site.  Those arrests include: 22 year old German Ortiz Guzman from Bakersfield, CA; 34 year old Antonio Suastegui from Bakersfield, CA; 44 year old Lorenzo Perez-Meza from Bakersfield, CA; 49 year old Refugio Guzman from Bakersfield, CA; 25 year old Javier Morales from Homeland,CA; 19 year old Jesus Solis Jr. from Garden Grove, CA; and 41 year old Isaac Duran-Solis from Bakersfield, CA.  All are being held at the Inyo County Jail under the following charges: marijuana cultivation, possession of marijuana for the purpose of sales, and conspiracy.

Trash left in grow area.Marijuana cultivation causes extreme damage to ecosystems.  As part of the illegal cultivation process, growers are responsible for using miles of plastic tubing and diverting water from natural sources for crop irrigation.  The use of banned herbicides and pesticides is also common practice.  Massive amounts of trash and chemicals were transported from the Hogback cultivation site; the estimated quantity is at minimum 2,000 pounds.   In addition, officers located banned hazardous materials which required the response of a Hazmat professional.

Assisting in the eradication operation were Inyo County Sheriff’s Department, Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Bishop Police Department, California Highway Patrol, and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.

The Inyo County Sheriff’s Department, as well as all agencies assisting in the eradication operation, want to remind residents and visitors of the dangers that are inherent in marijuana cultivation.  As soon as you become aware that you have come upon a cultivation site, leave immediately.  Do not attempt to engage with the growers.  Once in a safe place, report as much details about the location to law enforcement.



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54 Responses to Multiagency operation uncovers 4,000 marijuana plants

  1. JeremiahJoseph August 23, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

    Thanks for picking up the trash and clearing the area, But we can expect this again and again and again, can’t we? I mean there is no end in sight with this approach, This is only my opinion and I don’t care how it looks to any of you, with all the benefits we could utilize from hemp is overwhelming, using trees and other things that take more energy to produce when we could use hemp, that’s more sustainable, especially at the rate we consume paper products, but i guess if you feel entitled to it or take MotherEarth for granted who cares right? and is this “job security” really worth it when we have a serious deficit that continues to threaten us and generations after us?
    So go ahead and pat yourself on the back, and we will see you next year…
    As long as we continue to criminalize such a resource, we can expect cartels to take lives and fight for the profits it rejuvenates, because the demand is ridiculous, You actually think these bust are leaving anybody that wants to use no substance to use?
    If they can’t keep drugs out of prisons, you think this is really doing any good?

    • JeremiahJoseph August 25, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

      21 – 27, I’ll take that any day. I feel this is a convo that should take place, not because I want everybody to consume toxins legally, but because we perpetually waste finite resources! At what point does our planet become overwhelmed with obsolete goods, waste and landfills in the name of free market capitalism?
      If we could just utilize hemp to its full potential I’ll be happy with that. I can’t not mention it would help mitigate climate change and it is more safe for the user, those around them and the community then alcohol or tabacco (nicotine and additives).
      Treat drug problems as a human health issue rather then combat those that have obvious problems… we have two states we can watch and look at the crime rate stats in a couple years and see how they react to having recreational use legal.
      And furthermore educate the youth, help those that need help, and empower them to help others and the world we live in. Not combat them, hold them down and take away their voting rights….

  2. Wayne Deja August 23, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

    Good local bust close to home by our Law Enforcement agencies !!!!!!…And yet ANOTHER reason why it’s a good idea to arm yourself when taking these local hikes and trips off the beaten path…..can’t help but wonder about the local ties to this operation….

    • JeremiahJoseph August 23, 2013 at 8:53 pm #

      Ask the NSA. They have those answers.

  3. Trouble August 23, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

    Just legalize it and give all the money to our schools. Problem solved.

    • Larry Liberal August 23, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

      Now, that comment will sure to raise the ire of The Right, Trouble.

    • JeremiahJoseph August 23, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

      Yep, or just keep it illegal and watch the money go to juvenile halls, jails, and prisons.. not to mention our nations schools are falling way behind compared to other countries. If people don’t believe in logic, they will believe anything.

      • johnjcampnfish August 24, 2013 at 10:12 am #

        Huh? Our schools are falling behind because dope is illegal?

        • JeremiahJoseph August 24, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

          Maybe if our society put resources towards our kids education, understanding the pre-dispositions and social environments that make people susceptible to addictions and negative behavior, and address those factors in a proactive fashion rather then these reactive approaches.
          No our schools aren’t failing because dope is illegal, but schools might be failing because of the priority level they sit (in perspective of where our tax dollars go)

  4. Wayne Deja August 23, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

    Trouble….If that were to happen,the State would be needing all that extra school tax $$$,piping it back into the system,paying for drug rehabbing in the schools, and then later in life, when those same kids were unable to find or hold jobs for very long,and then becoming a burden to society,in big part because of going through their important first 16-21 years of their lives stoned and stupid.

    • JeremiahJoseph August 23, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

      Uh oh, here we go with some grade A fear mongering, Geez louise wayne, addictions come in many forms, the addiction to $ at top levels seems to do a lot more damage to society. Also that doesn’t just spew in our street’s, look at what the third world countries go through to get it here (all drugs), also can’t forget to mention the guns we supply them with to help them with their troubles.. society is sick in many ways, we perpetually waste our resources, so you can’t make me believe it would get so much worse.. you have a gun, why so scared?

    • Trouble August 24, 2013 at 9:43 am #

      Wayne- it is already happening in two states and just around the corner for us Californians . I don’t smoke anything anymore, but I do not think people should be harassed and arrested for doing what a majority go us adults have done. Including our last 3 Presidents.

    • Ken Warner August 25, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

      I pretty much agree with you that young people should not take drugs, smoke or drink. Those things do seem to have a lasting affect on minds that are still forming. And those affects do not appear to be positive from what I see around me.

      On the other hand, the educational system just sucks the life out of young energetic minds. Little wonder young people turn to the above mentioned just to escape the tedium.

      If we could somehow create an education system that actually stimulated young people and got them excited about real stuff — drugs etc. would not be as popular. But figuring out how to make school interesting and exciting is going to be elusive forever.

      • Mark August 26, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

        It seems the educational system at the college gets those in the system to vote democrat

        • JeremiahJoseph August 27, 2013 at 9:03 am #

          Mark you don’t mean that do you?
          That is just hilarious!
          But YES! those that are informed, educated or schooled do tend to vote on a more educated basis, I guess the stats say they vote more to the Left, did you know the a study was done on FoxNews viewers? well they tend to be more UN-informed in all areas of current events, and they tend to vote Right, Do we see a trend here?

          • Mark August 27, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

            I do mean that. 😉

            Just don’t confuse an education with being intelligent and having common sense.

            There’s plenty of video documenting un-informed people in both parties. kind of scary really.

      • Desert Tortoise August 26, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

        Maybe you didn’t pay attention in class. I found it hard work, but got good grades and went on fly for the Navy and later earn a graduate degree. If you pay attention, and have parents who push you to excel, public schools are just fine. Look which ones consistently win academic decathelons. El Camino Real High in big nasty old LA. A public school. Ridgecrest High does pretty well too. You don’t often see the fancy and expensive private schools like Harvard Academy.

        Sounds to me like sour grapes from someone who didn’t apply themselves when they had the chance, now blame their lackluster performance on the school instead of the person in the mirror in the morning.

        Btw, we used to compete against those kids from Harvard Academy in speech and debate. Their best was no better than ours. Not by a long shot.

  5. Big Rick OBrien August 23, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

    I’m gonna get a lot of crap for this (if it gets past Bennett), but I don’t care…
    How many green card holders OR legal citizens were in that bunch ?

    • johnjcampnfish August 24, 2013 at 10:17 am #

      Shame on you for such a racist comment. Everybody knows that Gusmans, Morales’, and Soliz’s were here long before any Obriens.
      It’s called the Reconquista.

    • TBone August 24, 2013 at 11:53 am #

      What would it matter? These guys were either being paid some pittance, or simply blackmailed into helping. This was a huge operation run by a large organized crime syndicate, and the guys arrested are likely disconnected from the real perps.

      But, yea, let’s make this about immigration.

    • Mongo the Idiot August 26, 2013 at 1:47 am #

      You get a “BLACK MARK” for that O’Brien, less than a century ago “your people” lined up at Ellis Island as they flooded America.
      PS, just how big are you?

      • Tourbillon August 26, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

        In polite company, Mongo, it is now referred to as a “mark of color”.

        And if you “wanna no”, I suspect you receive them with distressing frequency and so don’t need any more. On the other hand, if you “wanna know”, the desire to acquire knowledge is to be applauded, particularly in one new to the game.

  6. SIerraFan August 24, 2013 at 5:54 am #

    If you’re looking for legalization then head north to Oregon and leave this great state! Oregonians are smoking it up!

    • Desert Tortoise August 26, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

      Don’t let the door hit you. The last thing this great state needs is more pot heads.

  7. JeremiahJoseph August 24, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    Excuse me while I take more comment space, legalizing hemp, climate change and money out of politics are my strong area’s.
    Wayne I agree it is to close to home, the fact we have cartels (money driven evils) in our back yard annually! We live, hike, fish, hunt, pine nut pick etc… in these parts. I don’t want to share that space with those individuals that are willing to take my life to protect their profits either. But I will never believe it can get so bad so fast, considering how bad it already is.
    Gov’t is bloated, we all know that, sorry to say but half the time the law or system gets involved in stuff it becomes more of a problem and more difficult to get over the initial problem, then they are going to try and make me believe thier out to help?
    As I speak and think freely further, I can’t help but to think how much of a anti society we have become, this cyclical consumption theme has allowed us to live comfertably in our own bubbles that any change to any social structure puts fear in ones own self preservation…

  8. ferdinand lopez August 24, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

    thats all california needs,legalize a substance that makes them dumber and slower than they already are

    • Trouble August 25, 2013 at 8:26 am #

      Ya Ferinand- maybe they’ll all forget to use capitals and periods at the end of their sentence.

  9. Badfinger August 25, 2013 at 9:33 am #

    God’s Green Herb actually Cures many illnesses that Big Pharma makes millions from everyday, it’s always bout Money america was built on money 🙂

  10. Mongo the Idiot August 25, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    Thing is, legal weed don’t make it OK to grow in the forest. Growers use poison to control pests, this kills deer and other mammals. When these mammals die, birds come to feast on the poisonous remains. it’s easy to spot the areas where the irresponsible and illegal farms are, just look for vultures. Downstream the chemical fertilizers and poisons make their way into our (and Los Angeles) water supply. Better than that, these growers go to the local hardware store for supplies where they stand out like a crack head in Independence. Have you ever tried to hide something in a small town? Not easy is it? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve smelled weed from the car in front of me on 395.

  11. Tony Cumia August 25, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    A few yrs ago I came upon a grow area in the Bald Mountain area.I was doing field work and came upon it. I was Immediately confronted by ARMED w/ AK47s hispanics[who spoke no English] Thank God I was able to smile my way out of it.After it was busted up by law enforcement a month later, I went back and looked at the area. Complete environmental damage. Diverted streams,dams,spilled diesel fuel and gasoline,fertilizer everywhere,holes dug everywhere, Erosion from diverted streams,tubing,discarded hoses, I was there 2 months ago and nothing has changed in the area. All the trash and damage is still there. I seriously doubt that if pot was ‘legalized’ that these folks and whom ever they are working for will halt all operations of growing pot in our forests..Be careful out there, especially in the spring areas in the Glass Mountains.

    • Trouble August 25, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

      Tony, I’m not sure why you think legalization wouldn’t stop most of this. When booze was legalized again, almost all the bootlegging and killing stopped.

      • Tony Cumia August 26, 2013 at 8:47 am #

        You missed my point, most of these grow operations in national parks and national forests are done by foreign nationals[cartels] that hardly follow US laws.

    • Ken Warner August 25, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

      If “weed” was legal, there would be huge hydroponic greenhouses using megawatts of electricity to keep the grow lights on 24/7. They wouldn’t use as much water, they would employ the same people that work in tourism here. It would be a real “Benefit to the Community” because they would all have to live somewhere and buy stuff just like ordinary people.

      Their bosses would attend City Council meetings and lobby for their own interests. Pot farming would be just another viable industry. They would possibly even build renewable energy sources to cut their utility bills. Their kids would have to go to schools and get medical care. Just like regular people.

      But no…. Keep it illegal and sacrifice the forest and spend millions if not billions putting people in jail. That’s the American way.

      • Wayne Deja August 26, 2013 at 9:42 am #

        Ken….If your serious with your post above,it seems you think “weed” might be the very thing that gets this County,State,Country,and maybe even the World as a whole back on it’s feet….Let’s just look at the Owens Valley….think of the mentioned large hydroponic greenhouses being built….the jobs it would bring to the area with construction,employment,maintenance,etc….the bosses could take over the city council meetings with their own agendas.The store owners would be the new citizens we all would all look up to and try to be like…..more building and employment with their own energy sources going up……heck,maybe even build an amusement park for visitors,kinda like the old Busch Gardens in Los Angeles,complete with tours, ferris wheels, rides for the kids,souvineer stores,restaurants…call it “Marijuana Gardens”….We can base our whole economy and our lives here in the Owens Valley around marijuana…as well as extending our own lives,and living healthier at the same time,what with all the “medical marvels” the plant produces…preventing cancer,alzheimers disease,asthma,and other life-threatening sicknesses…less traffic accidents,since some claim you actually drive better and more alert when your high on pot…and,a much safer existance for those of us who like to hike and camp,without maybe stumbling upon one of those armed-cartel grow-operations that would just magically go away overnight.

    • Mark August 26, 2013 at 9:49 am #

      LEO’s that remove the plants should have re-routed the streams, torn down the dams, cleaned up the spilled fuel, removed the fertilizer, and removed the discarded hoses..

      What the hec?

    • Mongo the Idiot August 26, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

      Tony, Is it ok for me to clear that trash, or are these articles that must be left in place so BLM can complete the story?

      • Tony Cumia August 27, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

        I don’t know, why don’t you call them. Stop yapping and get up there and clean it up yourself., I would’ve but I was on a MTB…btw, its not BLM land.

  12. Mongo the Idiot August 26, 2013 at 1:32 am #

    If weed were Federally legal wouldn’t it create a BIG American tobacco, alcohol, pharmaceutical type legislative body? Would the FDA or ATF regulate it? What type of warnings would the TV ads carry; “Warning, this weed may make you feel really good?” Will we be able to buy weed light? If weed is legitimate medicine then it must be OK for a CHP officer to smoke at the donut shop on break. What will the warnings on a package of weed say, WEED may cause health problems? Will people sell programs to quit? If I get carried away do I have to sit in a circle and say “Hi, my name is Mongo and I’m a weed-a-holic? What taxes will be lobbied to cover the unknown health cost to society? If I don’t get the job I apply for or get fired because I smoke weed is it discrimination? Will big pharma invent some disease like ADD, crapple tunnel syndrome, or croans that only the patented weed they grow can treat? Will kids drink AND smoke more weed at prom or graduation? Will my doctor take medical bong hits before operating on me? How do you categorize weed; is it medicine, recreation, habit, all of the above? Can I smoke it in a non-smoking hotel room? Will they serve it at Still Life Cafe with wine? What will the forest growers do for work, portable meth labs? Can I buy weed with my WIC card? Is it covered by Medicare? Will weed make grandpa stop asking dumb questions? Who’s going to pay for this? When the hell are we going to work? Are we just going to sit around stoned out of our minds while sucking the system we created dry till all the resources are gone? I know I am.
    My name is Mongo.

  13. Mongo the Idiot August 26, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    Mongo is stupid, but not stupid enough to spend all day on a blog.
    Mongo go to work now and make America great.

  14. annonymous August 26, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

    meanwhile, in Mammoth, banks are being robbed at gun point
    Who cares about pot heads?!?!? Let them smoke their weed!

    • dean August 26, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

      There’s a big difference between smoking marijuana and growing 4000 plants on public lands.

  15. Mr. NRA August 26, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

    What don’t they call in Friends of the Inyo to clean this crap up. After all they are supposed to be Friends of the Inyo National Forest.

    • A friend of the Friends of the Inyo National Forest August 27, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

      Funny how a individual that proudly represents the NRA can easily try to dis a Group that prides itself with working together and caring for such things that others find it easy to not think about.
      Two can play this game….. Hey did you know the NRA has their own gun registry? Huh? did you know that? as much as they made all of their supporters believe they are so against background checks because there might be a national gun registry, well they are against them if it isn’t theirs??? LOL
      Just a heads up they represent gun manufactures, not the small time consumer..
      I have to say those NRA caps are sharp looking..

      • Wayne Deja August 27, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

        Friend of the Friends…..The one and only reason Mr. NRA and some others are so against the Friends of The Inyo is because,if they had their way,every single square mile would be opened to anytype of motorized traffic here in the valley….I’m with you…can’t count the times I’ve gone into the Alabama Hills and not only cleaned up some of the messes these “off-roaders” left for others to take care of,but also witnessed,and reported, the destruction they have done to the closed areas in which they aren’t supposed to be on and doing their bottle-breaking and partying.

        • Indy Resident August 27, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

          Friends of the Inyos are more than the actual group… Theyres a bunch of us that 4WD, Explore, Have fun on our open roads that have been here for a hundred years. Im not gonna lie, Im a miner, and i like the roads that are still open… I have a 5 gallon bucket in my truck for all of the trash that people leave. Not everyone that uses these trails are locals and we cant regulate it, but for us Locals that love these roads, please let us use them, keep them up and pick up after the derelicts. Please stop closing roads, planting them with stick brush, rocks and trash.

          • Friends of Green sticker money August 28, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

            Sorry, comments are closed. the law is the law! you had your chance to comment a few years ago, but I’m sure you were probably busy at the time.
            Oh well.

            Like it or not, closures will continue, and we’ll continue stealing from the Green sticker fund.

            …But don’t worry, this is going to enhance your 4×4 recreation!!
            Trust us, we wont close anyone after this is done! We promise.

    • Truth Seeker August 27, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

      The fact that the USFS is allowed to use Green Sticker fees to pay Friends Of the Inyo to close roads, proves that the system is totally broken beyond repair.

      • Tom O. August 27, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

        Here’s some truth Mr. Truth Seeker: FOI does more to enhance and rebuild popular trails all over the forest than USFS or you. For some reason the Forest Service[Circus] doesn’t do much of it any more. FOI does it mostly w/ volunteers much more effeciently and timely than USFS.
        Example; The Yost Meadow trail head in the June Lake loop access parking lot has been closed for 3 years now. The tube under the bridge at Fern Creek [the creek you go over as you enter the parking lot] was washed out. Now hikers are required to park on a shady ,windy,narrow road w/ a small shoulder. Its not very safe.
        When I did volunteer work for FOI 2 summers ago at Horseshoe Lake, I asked why its not being rebuilt. I was told the forest service has to ‘engineer it’. Well we all know the speed of the FS…..Last summer on trail days we were allowed to put a log across the creek. We then leveled off the portion of the log hikers would be stepping on. Its very common to see these on stream crossings. Last wk, the forest service was thinning the forest in that area[its just up hill from The Double Eagle Resort] Well, being the non thinking government entity that the FS is[in my opinion], They took the log out a cut it up into rounds.So now we are back to the way it was 3 yrs ago.
        USFS hired outside loggers to do all of this thinning. And that company gets to keep the wood and sell it.
        Not very efficient is it?
        Mr Truth, just how much trail work have you volunteered? Do you volunteer?
        With all of the 100s of miles of OHV road out there, I dont think attacking the only group repairing these trails is very smart. Every single day I take the dirt roads to and from Mammoth from June to go to work, Believe me, most of the roads that are choked off were seldom used or created by some careless/brainless OHV riders.There is still plenty room to tear up the forest.

        • Friends of Green sticker money August 28, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

          “FOI does it mostly w/ volunteers much more effeciently and timely than USFS.”

          Yes, they do! And they don’t care who’s toes they step on either. The USFS has given them carte blanche, to do whatever they see fit whenever, and however…

          The big picture? Friends of Cash is a wilderness group, with a anti access slant, doing whatever they please – at taxpayers expense..

          Sounds great right Tom? I mean after all, who else is going to close over 900 miles of roads? Not the people that actually likes using them! Leave it to the anti access crowd, they’ll do it with a smile, then brag and laugh about it at a booth.. in a restaurant.. in Mammoth (true story).

  16. Indy Resident August 27, 2013 at 10:15 pm #

    Soooo…. Im not allowed to post an editorial in the Register, so, ill just rant here… You have all gotten off the subject of our local agency’s’ big bust’… Lets not forget the schooling, training, resources, and local knowledge that it takes to pull off one of these ‘Big Busts’. Let me get this straight… They have been watching these individuals growing at this site since May 2013?? They have invested thousands of man hours, secret cameras( we all see them when we drive down Foothill Road above Indy’) , Drones, etc… Damn, they can sell their footage as an infomercial on how to grow pot in the eastern sierras and not get caught. Anyways, ill make it short….

    They have been monitoring this grow since May…….4 months… They have been getting the resources together to ‘BUST’ them.. It took:
    Inyo Sherrifs
    Inyo INET (our local drug enforcement that needed to go to the internet to figure out the value of the processed weed ready for sale,, They went to “” to value their bust. Damn youd think if they were our narcotics task force, they wouldnt need to go to the internet to do their job.)
    DFG(whatever their called this week)

    Closing note…. We deal with this ‘epidemic’ every year here in the hills… Sometimes it makes the local paper, sometimes it makes national news… Hooray for our local agencys doing their job!!!! They have been watching them since MAY?? They watched them come and go?? They watched the pot grow?? They watched them bringing up the Hazardous Materials?? They watched all of this happening?? All of this money, time, knowledge, and sweat?? Then they watch them harvest, package 350 lbs of weed ready for transport?? Then after alls done, they pull over the first one headed south at Olancha and busts him?? HHHOOOOOOORRRRAAAAAYYYY!!! WE did it… We got them!!!

    WHY DONT THEY FOLLOW THEM TO THE DESTINATION POINT????? GET THE BIG BOSS/BIG BUYER… not just some dumb immigrant doing his job.

    We may never find the ‘Big Boss’, but we can definately find the bigger boss than what we looked at for 4 months…. Im just rambling… sorry


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