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Lake and Mendocino county sheriff’s deputies, along with agents from state Fish and Wildlife and Food and Agriculture departments, eradicated a large illegal pot farm earlier this month in Lake County.

They found 51,799 illegal cannabis plants, confiscated seven guns, seized more than $27,000 in cash and documented about 40 Fish and Game Code crimes, the Fish and Wildlife department said in a press release.

The farm spanned two parcels in the Scotts Valley area outside of Lakeport.

The Aug. 4 seizure stemmed from an investigation into environmental damage associated with illegal commercial cannabis cultivation.

“An illegal cannabis cultivation operation of this magnitude has severe impacts to California’s natural resources and the legal cannabis industry,” said David Bess, Fish and Wildlife’s deputy director.

Violations included garbage piled near waterways, numerous unpermitted water diversions, illegal grading of the landscape resulting in sediment discharge and stockpiles of chemicals near waterways, the statement said. One cultivation site was built over an existing stream resulting in a modified channel into a ditch with polluted water.

Twenty-six people were detained including two minors, a 16-year-old girl and 17-year-old boy, who were working at the site.

Criminal charges will be filed with the Lake County District Attorney’s Office.

You can reach Staff Writer Lori A. Carter at 707-521-5470 or lori.carter@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @loriacarter.

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