GUSTINE - Authorities discovered more than 8,000 marijuana plants while serving a search warrant July 4 in the 27000 block of Ingomar Grade Road, the Merced County Sheriff’s Office reported.
According to a news release on the department’s Facebook page, the operation came in response to public complaints of an illegal marijuana grow at the site.
The search warrant was served by members of the Sheriff’s Enforcement Team.
Officers discovered 21 greenhouses containing more than 8,000 marijuana plants as well as eight trailers and Conex boxes converted to indoor grow houses, clone rooms and processing rooms.
Deputies also located approximately 300 pounds of processed marijuana which had been packaged and was ready for sale, according to the news release.
Three firearms were located on the property.
Deputies also discovered a number of dangerous chemicals in 12 commercial containers, and 47 smaller bottles containing pesticides, herbicides and unknown chemicals.
The release stated that, due to the deplorable living and working conditions on the site, Merced County Environmental Health and county code enforcement officers were called in to assist with the incident.
Authorities reported that 10 workers were detained. It was later determined that they had been hired by the landowner to trim and process the marijuana.
Deputies cited the landowner for the illegal marijuana grow and several code enforcement violations, the news release stated.
Sheriff Vern Warnke reminded residents that it is illegal to grow marijuana outdoors in Merced County. Residents may legally possess six marijuana plants per residence, which may only be grown indoors.