On June 29th, 2016, Detectives with the Butte County Sheriff’s Office, Detectives from the Butte Inter Agency Taskforce, and Yuba County Sheriff’s Office conducted a search warrant in the 150 block of Natchez Creek Road, Bangor. Aerial observations of the area by the Yuba County Sheriff’s Office revealed a large scale commercial marijuana grow on the border of Butte and Yuba County. It was later found to be within Butte County’s jurisdiction, however, due to the size of the marijuana grow, both agencies were involved with the eradication of the marijuana plants.
Upon service of the search warrant, it was found that an abandoned house on the property was being used as a “camp” by the suspects. Inside the home were areas being used to process marijuana as well as sleeping quarters with personal belongings.
Trails led from the home to the marijuana grow site and four different outdoor marijuana processing areas. Detectives eradicated a total of 5,274 marijuana plants that had a net weight of 3,880 pounds.
During the initial search of the marijuana garden, Rigoberto Ledesma Zavala, age 45 of Guanajuato, Mexico, was contacted and taken into custody. Located near Zavala was an AR-15 rifle with an 8” barrel. A thirty round magazine was located within the marijuana plants that matched the caliber of the rifle. A second suspect was in the marijuana garden, however he eluded capture in the heavy brush.
From evidence located in the garden it appears water was being diverted from nearby creeks and stored in an above ground swimming pool hidden with tarps and brush to hide it from aerial observations.
Rigoberto Zavala was arrested for the cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, possession of an assault rifle, possession of a short barreled rifle, felon in possession of a firearm, felon in possession of ammunition, and armed in the commission of a felony. Zavala’s bail has been set at $195,000.00. Zavala also has a $300,000.00 felony warrant for dangerous drugs out of San Bernardino County, California.