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Siskiyou County sheriff makes large pot bust

A Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office marijuana eradication team reported seizing 105 plants from an elaborate indoor hydroponic garden in Mount Shasta.

The team got a tip about a commercial marijuana growing operation at a home in the 1400 block of Ayers Lane in Mount Shasta, then received a search warrant for that address.

The smell of marijuana wafted from the house as deputies approached, sheriff's office spokeswoman Susan Gravenkamp said. The three people renting the home weren't there when authorities arrived and police are still looking for them, she said.

When it raided the house June 30, the eradication team found a large growing operation in the garage and structural changes inside the house to help hide the work, Gravenkamp said.

They seized 105 plants that authorities estimate would have produced a crop worth $336,000 upon maturity. Evidence showed that other plants already had been harvested, dried, packed and shipped out, officials said. Only a small amount of dried marijuana in several bags remained.

Officials also seized extensive hydroponic and ventilation systems, lights and a carbon dioxide generator used in production.

Gravenkamp noted that marijuana eradication efforts step up in the late summer as illegal crops mature. Northern California reports a dramatic increase in large-scale pot-growing operations linked to organized crime and authorities urge people to be aware of this type of activity in the forests. Anyone who sees anything suspicious is encouraged to call authorities.