The word “alameda” means “a place where poplar trees grow”; which was kind of the case when Alameda County Sheriffs discovered 24 gardens containing over 22,000 marijuana plants in a rural area of the county near the community of Sunol. The discovery was the biggest outdoor growing operation the Sheriff’s office has ever encountered. It all started after a motorist told police they saw a teenager wearing camouflage clothes run up a creek bed.
Police investigated the report and observed two men wearing camouflage, believed to be in their late 20s, working in one of the gardens. The suspects managed to evade arrest by running through heavy brush and steep ravines. Deputies later recovered a loaded semiautomatic handgun on the trail that was dropped by one of the men.
The police and marijuana eradication team found 22,838 seedlings about 20 inches tall that were fed with a fresh water supply directly from two creeks on a ridge. In addition to the gardens, authorities discovered three camp sites, three kitchen areas, sleeping bags, fertilizer and other equipment at the sites. The area of land is owned by the San Francisco Water District and feeds the Calaveras Reservoir.
Photo: Windmills in Alamenda County by Monica’s Dad