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Latrobe pot site closed in big state raid

By: Staff report
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An informant inside a marijuana-grow operation with a crop near Latrobe Road helped authorities jail 21 people in five counties July 30. Two suspects are held without bail in El Dorado County lockup. Reportedly observed tending a plot on federal Bureau of Land Management territory were Eduardo Gradios-Contreras, 26, and Jose Ayaia Lopez, 20. Each man is charged with possession of marijuana for sale, a felony. State and local officials made the multiple arrests after an informant learned about the various connected locations after traveling on a food-delivery detail for cultivation workers, according to the state Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement. Officers had inside information on the gang's escape routes, security tactics, pesticides used without authorization on public land and other operation details, officials said. Shotguns, around $10,000 in cash and volumes of drugs, including methamphetamine, were seized at the sites, one near Lake Clementine in Placer County. At each of five locations, around 1,700 marijuana plants were seized. Street value of the seized pot was put at $5.5 million. State officials said the gang was a major drug player from Kern County to Oregon.