Multiple Agencies Target Marijuana Grows In Rural Santa Clara County

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A man shows a type of marijuana at a farm near Medellin, Antioquia department, Colombia on October 3 , 2012. A bicycle ride against drug trafficking and in favour of the legalization of self-cultivation of marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes took place in Medellin on October 6, 2012. AFP PHOTO/Raul ARBOLEDA (Photo credit should read RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/GettyImages)

A man shows a plant at a marijuana farm. (Raul Arboleda/AFP/Getty Images)

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SANTA CLARA COUNTY (KCBS) – A major marijuana eradication effort is being conducted this week in a very rural part of Santa Clara County, with multiple law enforcement agencies taking part in the operation.

The eradication effort, know as Operation Pristine, is taking place adjacent to the San Antonio Valley Ecological Reserve and is being led by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department.

It also involves the use of a California National Guard helicopter. “This week, we’re going to focus on the San Antonio Valley area, which is on the other side of Mt. Hamilton,” said Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Kurtis Stenderup. “It’s obviously a big problem, not only in our county, but throughout the state, of illegal marijuana cultivation. A lot of these grow sites are in areas that aren’t easily accessible by a person and they require to be hiked in. Then, when they find large amounts of marijuana, we try to get it out by helicopter.”

Stenderup said these illegal grows can cause a lot of damage.

“These people are armed. It’s a public safety hazard,” he said. “It’s not just about marijuana. It’s about everything else that goes with it – the damage to the environment, the damage to our creeks and our waterways and to the ecosystem.”

Stenderup said more than 60,000 plants have already been eradicated so far this year.

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