REDDING, Calif. - One man has been arrested after the largest marijuana eradication of the year to date in Shasta County.
The base camp of the operation was located several miles outside Big Bend, where tens-of-thousands of pounds of marijuana were being airlifted from grows and lifted into trucks and trailers for transport Wednesday.
The bust was conducted by multiple agencies, including: the Shasta County Sheriff's Office, the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, California Fish and Wildlife, the California Highway Patrol, the United States Forest Service and Sierra Pacific Industries, on whose land the grow was located.
The paramilitary operation involved three different teams with up to 50 officers.
Lt. Eric Magrini with the Shasta County Sheriff's Office couldn't give an exact number on the amount of marijuana confiscated, but said that thousands of plants wouldn't be an understatement.
"It's hard to say right now. Preliminary stages. Several thousand would be safe to say," Magrini said. "From the air, when we were doing the reconnaissance planning for this, it appeared in the tens of thousands."
A Mexican National had been tracked down at one of the grow sites by a K9. He was bitten and airlifted to a nearby hospital for his injury.
Magrini said the injury wasn't necessary.
"A team moved into the garden, commands were given for him to surrender," Magrini said. "He disobeyed those commands and fled on foot, and we had a dog in the garden that was assigned to one of those teams, and the dog was utilized for the apprehension of the individual."
Magrini also said that the arrest is additional proof that this is not a local marijuana grow.
"The information we've gained and the intelligence thus far is this is a drug cartel," Magrini said. "We call this a DTO, a drug trafficking organization, run by a Mexican Cartel, with ties in Arizona and into Mexico."
The teams are working overnight to eradicate the gardens.