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San Andreas, CA – Calaveras County grow busters eradicated three illegal operations, made two arrests, and confiscated evidence of a firearms manufacturing operation.

According to Sgt. Greg Stark, three search warrants served over the course of last Tuesday and Thursday focused in the areas of Angels Camp and Railroad Flat.

At the warrant search in the 3000 block of Paint Road in rural Angels Camp, deputies seized 1,944 marijuana plants and evidence of a butane honey oil (BHO) extraction operation as well as drug paraphernalia.

They also discovered and confiscated processed marijuana, nearly a pound of concentrated marijuana extract (Honey Oil), and 31 firearms, four of which fit the legal description of being assault weapons. One handgun was later determined to be stolen. All weapons and drugs were taken and booked into evidence.

Stark shares that this was where evidence of firearm manufacturing was found and deputies seized 11 AR-15 style “lowers,” which did not contain serial numbers and were not commercially manufactured, along with 28 high-capacity magazines, over 5,000 rounds of ammunition, and a sword.

Two 44-year-old suspects, both Angels Camp residents, were arrested at the scene. They are John Manuel Cortez and Christopher Sanchez.

Cortez was booked into the Calaveras County Jail on charges of being a felon in possession of firearms; conspiracy to commit a crime; maintaining a drug house and being a prohibited person in possession of ammunition. Ineligible for release per the Covid-19 judicial order, he is being held with a bail of $35,000.

Sanchez, who was booked and released with a citation to appear in court, is charged with illegal marijuana cultivation; possession of marijuana for sale; maintaining a drug house; illegal manufacturing of assault weapons; receiving known stolen property with a value over $950; possession of high-capacity magazines; illegal possession of assault weapons.

A second warrant served in the 400 block of Ridge Road in Railroad Flat was the third one in the past three years, Stark notes. While at least one suspect probably fled the area on foot deputies seized 421 growing marijuana plants, a small amount of processed marijuana, and collected extensive evidence for the ongoing investigation.

At another unrelated Railroad Flat site located in the 3000 block of Independence Road, deputies seized 454 growing marijuana plants and collected evidence for further case follow up.

The Calaveras Sheriff’s Office encourages anyone with knowledge of illegal marijuana operations to call its anonymous tip line at 209 754-6870.

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