SNELLING — Merced County Sheriff's deputies destroyed about 3,000 marijuana plants Friday that were found about a half-mile from the end of Fourth Street.
The plants were not ready for harvest, though their street value would be at about $6 million, sheriff spokesman Tom MacKenzie said.
California Department of Fish & Game officers discovered one pot field along Highway 59 and the Merced River late Thursday while they were responding to a report of a poacher in the area. The plans were about eight feet tall.
The sheriff's helicopter and airplane found three more grows along the river, MacKenzie said. Deputies also discovered two camps where the growers would stay for days at time to care for the plants, he said.
Deputies pulled one truck's worth of plants and decided to cut and burn the rest because of the remote location of the grows. MacKenzie said some of the neighbors are worried about the grows because their children swim in the river. Growers often setup traps near their pot plants.