Rangers patrolling the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park in California discovered a large plantation of marijuana valued to be worth at an estimated $5 million.
New York Daily News reports park rangers found around four thousand marijuana plants on Friday, Aug. 15. The illegal vegetation was said to be planted near the private housing development in Orange County, home to some famous celebrities like Kobe Bryant.
The marijuana "grove" was discovered planted on open land inside the Orange County park. According to Mirror UK, the plants were planted just past public hiking trails. But it was hidden from view by the cluster of expensive mansions built within the housing development. ABC news adds around 2,500 to 4,000 marijuana plants were discovered south of the SR-73 toll road and east of Newport Coast Drive. Orange County Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock told the Daily News that a lot of the plants "were very mature." He claimed the plants could have been planted in the area for some time now judging by their state of maturity.
NY Daily News claims authorities monitored the area for two weeks in hopes of apprehending the farmers whom they thought would come back for the harvest. However, the marijuana planters never showed up, so the authorities took matters into their own hands.
The marijuana plants were chopped down as evidence and transported via two helicopters borrowed from the sheriff's department. The helicopter made multiple trips as 20 pounds of the cannabis were stuffed into sacks one at a time. Sheriff Jeff Hallock said there were around "300 bags" airlifted to an undisclosed location. According to ABC news, the process was expected to take five to six hours to finish.
"We know that there was a highly sophisticated irrigation system that was utilized. We recovered some evidence and some property down in the ravine near the plants," Hallock said.
Narcotics officials at the Orange County Sheriff department are reportedly still on the lookout for the marijuana farmers. Investigators still do not have any suspects. ABC news urges anyone with any helpful information regarding the plantation to call the Sheriff's department at (714) 647-7000(714) 647-7000.