October 1, 2014
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - Authorities in the Central Valley say more than 120,000 pot plants have been seized and 73 people arrested as part of a summer-long effort to eradicate large marijuana growing operations on farmland.
The U.S. Department of Justice and sheriff's officials from six counties announced the results of the effort dubbed "Operation Mercury" on Wednesday.
Officials stressed they were not targeting people growing marijuana for legitimate medical needs. They said many of the growers supplied dealers in other states.
California's temperate weather and laws allowing pot to be grown and consumed for medical use have made it the country's leading marijuana producer.
Federal and county law enforcement officers say farmland in the Central Valley is increasingly being used to grow marijuana illicitly.
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