Sheriff spent $100,000 to remove pot in 2006

The Jackson County Sheriff's Department spent nearly $100,000 last summer to search for and pull out marijuana plants around the county and on one trip to help authorities in Siskiyou County.

The efforts netted 44,168 plants in Jackson County and another 20,000 in Northern California, Sheriff Mike Winters reported. He estimated the marijuana removed could have had a street value of up to $320 million.

The large growing operations that authorities eradicated in August and September 2006 likely were the work of cartels, Winters said.

"This is a big cash crop, and there's lots of money in it," he said. "If we can take the cash out of a business, that hurts."

Last year's efforts resulted in no arrests, but federal investigations into the operations is continuing, Winters said.

He said he hopes the aggressive removal of plants last year will discourage growing operations this year.

— Anita Burke

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