California authorities remove more than 42,000 marijuana plants in probe of illegal farms
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Authorities in Northern California have destroyed more than 42,000 marijuana plants as part of an investigation into illegal marijuana farms that are said to have had an impact on local waters.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said local, state and federal law enforcement officials served 28 search warrants in "Operation Clean Sweep," to marijuana farms operating without a permit along the Eel River in northern Mendocino County.

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The authorities, who removed a total of 42,638 plants, said the farms were suspected of polluting waters with trash, pesticides and generator fuel. They are also suspected of damming watersheds.

The sheriff's office said the sites visited do not have cannabis permits, state water permits for cannabis or permits from Cal Fire for deforestation and legal tree removal.

No arrests have been made yet, but cases will be submitted to prosecutors. 

Authorities said they observed 603 “independent acts of environment based crimes,” according to the sheriff’s office.

The Hill has reached out to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office for comment.