Detectives with the San Diego Narcotics Task Force (NTF) found 354 marijuana plants illegally growing in an open space area in Ramona Wednesday and used a helicopter to lift the plants out of the rugged terrain.
That find was part of the total of 8,500 marijuana plants valued at $4.6 million found at three locations by the NTF in the last couple weeks, according to the Sheriff's Department.
The marijuana plants in Ramona were found in the vicinity of Wildcat Canyon and San Vicente Roads. The NTF did not indicate any arrests in connection to the Ramona grow operation.
Other finds that contributed that total included an illegal marijuana grow about 40 marijuana plants inside the Santa Margarita Ecological preserve in Fallbrook in late September.
The largest recent find was in an open space area in the Gopher Canyon area east of Vista. Investigators found and destroyed over 8,000 marijuana plants in the area. They also located an encampment and found an illegal dumping site for trash, pesticides and chemicals.
These illegal grows caused an unknown amount of environmental damage to the open space and ecological preserves, according to the Sheriff's Department.