On July 8, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office Marijuana Eradication Team eradicated a 4,141-plant marijuana garden on private property just off of Mt. Hamilton Road near the Lick Observatory. Two suspects were arrested after they were seen tending the marijuana plants. The suspects were 20-year-old Saul Toledo and 23 year old Luis Herrera of San Jose. Toledo was armed with a handgun. The two men were living in a tent within the garden. They were charged with cultivation, possession for sales, and possession of a firearm during commission of a felony. CA Fish and Game is working on prosecution for several environmental crimes committed in and around the marijuana garden including: pollution, poaching, and stream diversion.
On July 10, the M.E.T. eradicated 1,483 marijuana plants in Sanborn County Park. No suspects were caught at this grow site. The suspects cleared and cut an area of the park, put up a fence to keep animals out, and removed erosion preventing leaf litter from the area. The suspects were living near the garden in a tent and makeshift living area. This detail was coordinated with Santa Clara County Parks. County Park Rangers are planning to restore the area, which will include clean up of hazardous chemicals, plastic pipe, camping gear, and other cultivation supplies.
According to Special Operations Division of the Sheriff's Office Sergeant Joe Waldherr, the two gardens yielded a total of 5,624 plants. Once matured, these plants would have had a street value of over $22 million dollars.
The Marijuana Suppression Team is part of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Unit and consists of two full time deputies and a sergeant. The California Governor's Office of Emergency Services funds most of the program. The mission of the program is to minimize marijuana availability through investigations, crop destructions, arrests, prosecutions of cultivators and traffickers, to deter cultivation and potential growing areas and to seize and initiate forfeiture of perpetrator's assets.
Anyone having any information related to illegal indoor and/or outdoor marijuana gardens can call the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office Marijuana Eradication Team Tip line at (408) 808-4420.