Marijuana plants worth £1.1billion have been destroyed on farms in California with links to Mexican drug traffickers.
More than 270 acres of crops were found during police raids involving 450 officers in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Ninety-seven people have been arrested over the past three weeks, most of them Mexican nationals believed to have ties with Mexican drug barons.
It is believed marijuana is increasingly being grown in the U.S. by Mexican cartels rather than smuggling it there.
Madera County Sheriff John Anderson said: ‘The mission is a collective fight against organised crime.’
Operation Trident has seen a series of raids carried out by officers since January in three northern and central California counties.
More than 400,000 marijuana plants have been seized along with 500lbs of harvested marijuana, 74 ounces of cocaine, 49 ounces of methamphetamine – known as ‘meth’ – and numerous weapons.
Those arrested were charged with cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, weapons possession and immigration offenses, the sheriff’s office said.
By Mail Foreign Service
Last updated at 4:07 PM on 30th July 2010
Source: Daily Mail