More than 150 pounds of marijuana buds and about 3,500 plants were confiscated in Ballico during a marijuana enforcement operation by authorities, according to the Merced County Sheriff's office.
The sheriff's office's Marijuana Enforcement Team on Friday served a search warrant at a property in the 8900 block of East Avenue in Ballico, a news release states.
As deputies arrived, the sheriff's office drone spotted 11 people run from the property, according to the release. Two people were detained and later arrested.
On the property, authorities confiscated more than 150 pounds of dried marijuana buds. They also destroyed 3,496 plants that were in two large greenhouses, the release states.
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"Sheriff Vern Warnke wants to remind everyone that the Merced County Sheriff's Office will be enforcing the cultivation laws regarding marijuana that the county has put in place starting in 2018," the release states.
Those rules include an outright ban on growing marijuana outdoors.
Also, county ordinances limit the number of plants grown indoors to six.
Greenhouses are considered outdoor grows because they are not a "fully enclosed and secure structure located upon the grounds of a private residence," according to the County Cannabis Ordinance, Sgt. Ray Framstad said.
The rules for growing marijuana are listed under the ordinance, according to the release:
Personal use cannabis plants limited from twelve (12) to six (6).
Cultivation can occur in either 1) within a single private residence; or 2) inside a fully enclosed and secure structure located upon the grounds of a private residence. Outdoor cultivation of any type, on any parcel is prohibited.
Cultivation must comply with Building and Construction Code, Title 16.
Cultivation cannot be conducted in a manner that constitutes a public nuisance.
Noncompliance can result in administrative penalties, and all violations are considered misdemeanors.
Anyone with questions on the ordinance or laws regarding growing marijuana in Merced County are urged to contact the Merced County Sheriff's Office with questions at 209-385-7445.