A 61-year-old man suspected of involvement in a Mexican cartel’s marijuana operation is being held in Mariposa County Adult Detention Facility, sheriff’s deputies reported.
Douglas Breton of Greeley Hill is being held on $100,000 bail on suspicion of cultivating marijuana, being a felon in possession of a gun, violating probation and being a felon in possession of ammunition, deputies said in a news release.
Investigators eradicated nearly 5,000 marijuana plants while searching his property last week. The operation appeared to be part of a Mexican cartel’s drug-trafficking operation, deputies said in the statement.
Deputies on June 6 learned of marijuana gardens near Dog Town Road in Greeley Hill. Investigators received reports of several men with a truck full of dirt and tractor equipment, authorities said.
Breton, a resident of the property, told deputies that he hired people to clear brush for him, the deputies said.
Investigators in a helicopter on June 9 spotted marijuana gardens near Breton’s property.
Mariposa County deputies, along with other police agencies, served a search warrant on Thursday.
During interviews, deputies said, Breton initially denied knowing about a marijuana operation. Eventually, however, he admitted to allowing men to grow marijuana on his property in the past and directed the law enforcement team to a campsite for people who tended the garden, including a tent, tarp, bedding and clothes for two people.
Investigators also said they found evidence suggesting Breton knew about the garden. They found a camera in Breton’s residence that had photographs of the helicopter and of the roads leading to the garden, authorities said.
Investigators also found three gardens about 75 feet from Breton’s home, matching fertilizers in Breton’s driveway and at the gardens and a faucet that supplied water to the gardens from the property well, deputies said.
The Mariposa County Probation Office and District Attorney’s Office, along with the Yosemite National Park Special Response Team, assisted in the investigation.