EXCLUSIVE: Marijuana grow raid caught on video in Angeles National Forest

ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST (KABC) -- Undercover agents conducted a raid on a marijuana farm run by a Mexican drug cartel in the Angeles National Forest.

The agents dropped in from helicopters and found 2,500 plants, which are estimated to be worth about $1.25 million.

The pot farm was just steps away from hiking trails in the forest.

"The last thing you want to do with your family is run into some armed individuals trying to protect their crops," said Lt. Christopher Bergner with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Officers and deputies from the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Forest Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department were all hoisted by choppers and dropped into the mountainous terrain.

Their drop and raid were captured in video exclusively for Eyewitness News. Their faces were hidden to protect their undercover status.

When they hit the camp, breakfast was cooking and a radio was playing, but no one was in sight.

"This group probably has 10 more out there and even if we got two or three of them, there's still six they got away with," one agent said.

Team members estimate they raided only about 30 percent of the illegal pot grows in California mountains, which means millions of dollars worth of marijuana is still making it out.

It's not just marijuana that is being hauled out of the grows. There were hundreds of weapons and ammunition as well as thousands of feet of irrigation pipes found at the site.

The illegal irrigation systems harm nearby wildlife and the water diversion kills anything downstream that relies on water, authorities said.

Fertilizers and pesticides used to protect the crops also cause damage to the forest. Dead animals were found near the grow.

The operation comes on the heels of a $2 million raid done a day earlier in the same mountain area. Despite the success of the raid, the marijuana eradication team members will be back to find yet another grow.
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