A major marijuana grow has been broken up by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Victims Unit. Never mind that the enforcement of Title 21 of the United States Code is the responsibility in the United States of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). But ICE SVU wants out of immigration enforcement and is poaching on DEA territory.
Los Angeles Time September 26, 2013 by Angel Jennings
Eight men with ties to a Mexican drug ring were arrested after authorities in the Central Valley discovered a drug den filled with more than $1 million in processed marijuana, authorities said.
A narcotics team served a search warrant to residents inside the Madera home Wednesday after receiving a tip of a "menacing grow," said Erica Stuart, spokeswoman for the Madera County Sheriff's Office.
Agents seized 83 plants, 500 pounds of processed marijuana and another 30 pounds of packaged marijuana "ready to hit the streets," she said.
Authorities said they believe the rental property had been converted into a marijuana-processing center and had been in business for a while.
"This was blatant organized crime," Stuart said.
The men said they did not reside in the home but had been "dropped off" at the location and assigned to "work marijuana."
Stuart said she has seen cases in which Mexican nationals enter the United States looking for work as farmers, but are instead taken and forced to work in marijuana groves.
Authorities arrested Alfredo Santos Cruz, 23, of Madera; Jose Herrera, 18, of Lamont; Rafael Barroso Gutierrez, 23, of Sanger; Andreas Gutierrez , 27, of Sanger; Adrian Martinez Silva, 24, of Sanger; Jesus Torres Barragan, 28, of Sanger; Rodolfo Herrera Reyes, 32, of Fresno; and Julio Cesar Bricnollo, 26, of San Fernando.
Surprisingly ICE SVU placed an immigration hold on all the subjects.
The men were booked on suspicion of felony narcotics charges and placed under immigration detainer hold with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
More interestingly, had the Madera County Sheriff's Office arrested the above men for a lesser crime or if Madera County SO was a 287g agency, ICE SVU would not have placed an immigration hold, claiming that the men, prior to being identified as major drug criminals, were not a priority. Perhaps if ICE SVU had the priority of arresting illegal aliens before they engaged in drug crimes, then problem of Mexican organized marijuana grows would have been nipped in the bud before the grows became a major menace in Madera County.