Marijuana garden cleanup under way

Several law enforcement agencies began Tuesday a three-day mission to clean up the messes left in various locations in Santa Clara County by illegal marijuana gardens.

The Santa Clara County sheriff’s Marijuana Eradication Team, California Department of Fish and Game and the Unified Narcotics Enforcement Team will remove trash, irrigation hoses and chemicals from the sites.

Damage from illegal gardens can have serious environmental effects as growers often poison deer and spread fertilizers into natural creeks and ponds, which they use to irrigate the gardens.

The trash will be loaded into helicopter nets and air-lifted out of the remote sites located in Santa Clara County parks, Mid-Peninsula Open Space and on land near the Lick Observatory, according to the sheriff’s office.

In August, sheriff’s deputies seized an estimated $56 million worth of marijuana plants in one Santa Clara County garden in a bust that was part of a record year in seizures for the county.

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