SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA - The discovery of a large marijuana growing operation in south Sacramento County kept fish and game wardens busy Sunday afternoon.
Wardens and other law enforcement officers chopped down more than 5,000 pot plants in the Cosumnes Wildlife Habitat in between the towns of Thornton and Galt.
PHOTOS: 10,000 pot plants found in Cosumnes Wildlife Area
A California Highway Patrol chopper helped haul bags of pot plants, chemicals and equipment.
"The concern right now is to get what damages the environment fuel fertilizer and things like that, we wanna get that out," Fish and Game Public spokesperson Andrew Hughan said.
On Thursday, a game warden investigating a poaching tip, discovered the growing operation. He then had a face-to-face showdown with one of the suspects.
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"He came around the corner facing the game warden with a 12 gauge shotgun and the game warden drew his weapon and he surrendered peacefully," Hughan said.
The suspect told wardens 12 other suspects are involved in the growing operation, but got away from the wardens.
The concern now is cleaning up the toxic mess to protect the environment.
"It's toxic to animals. So they eat marijuana, then they die; and the stuff is toxic to creeks and streams," Hughan said.
Game wardens removed more than 2,000 plants, 20 loads of fertilizer, 40 gallons of gasoline and eight cans of propane.
Wardens plan to continue the cleanup throughout the week.