By Bill Lindelof
A state Fish and Game warden looking for deer poachers instead recently arrested three men with marijuana estimated to be worth $40,000.
The warden, Michael Beals, saw a pickup driving out of the Mendocino National Forest in Glenn County with its truck bed covered with drywall boarding.
Beals also noted that the chunks of the drywall was flying out of the truck bed, littering the highway.
He stopped the truck and lifted the drywall to find a large bag filled with dried marijuana. Beals arrested the driver and three occupants of the vehicle.
A later investigation revealed that two of the men in the truck had been working in an illegal marijuana garden hidden in the national forest. Recently, a law enforcement marijuana eradication helicopter had flown over the garden, prompting the two men to run away with the 40-pound bag of marijuana, according to a Fish and Game press release.
Fish and Game authorities believe the two men then contacted the other two men in the truck. The four were headed home with the pot when they were intercepted by warden Beals, according to state officials.
The four were booked into Glenn County Jail on suspicion of drug-trafficking.
Marijuana growing operations on public land divert water, and use pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, some of which are illegal. The growers also kill animals that eat their crops and the operators of such gardens pose a threat to innocent hikers who stumble upon the illegal operations, officials said.
Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.