An anonymous hiker near the Placita historic site in the Crystal River Valley alerted authorities to a large cannabis grow operation in either late August or early September, leading to reconnaissance, a search warrant, the use of a Taser and the arrest of man who faces a conspiracy charge in federal court.
More details about the grow site in the national forest not far from Hayes Creek Falls are contained in the criminal complaint for Fernando Esquivel Herrera filed Monday. Herrera, whose age and hometown were not available, was advised Thursday in U.S. District Court on a charge of conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute over 1,000 marijuana plants.
The complaint reveals what appeared to be a long-running site, with expected features such as cooking and sleeping areas, including seven sleeping bags, extensive irrigation, drying screens and a total of 2,735 plants. The growers even had WD-40
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