Booby-trap damages fire and sheriff's vehicles near illegal marijuana grow in Baldy Mesa

·2 min read
A booby-trap, which included protruding nails, damaged first responder vehicles and fire engines dispatched to an illegal marijuana grow and fire in Baldy Mesa.
A booby-trap, which included protruding nails, damaged first responder vehicles and fire engines dispatched to an illegal marijuana grow and fire in Baldy Mesa.

A booby-trap set near an illegal marijuana grow in Baldy Mesa damaged responding fire and sheriff’s vehicles, authorities said.

The Victor Valley Sheriff’s Station reported that at 5:57 p.m. on Sunday, deputies responded to a report of a structure fire at a residence in the 9300 block of White Road in Baldy Mesa.

Upon arrival, deputies discovered the home fully engulfed. Also, the structure was being used for an illegal marijuana grow, sheriff’s officials said.

Deputies later discovered that the dirt area leading up to the residence was booby-trapped with nails sticking out of the ground, which caused tire damage to responding sheriff’s vehicles and fire engines.

There were no injuries caused by the fire and no arrests have been made.

No additional information was available at the time of the press release. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department's Marijuana Team will assist with the investigation.

Sheriff’s and fire officials did not share an estimated cost of the damaged vehicles.

Booby-traps and other dangers

For decades, drug traffickers have used armed patrols and also booby-traps that maim and kill, all to protect property, which often includes illegal marijuana grows.

Many growers use alarm systems connected by trip wires to car batteries and horns, while others dig pits and fill them with sharp objects, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Cal Fire reported that firefighters have been confronted by armed growers as well as booby-traps and explosive ammunition.

Officials have found illegal and deadly pesticides in trespass grows including carbofuran, which can impair the nervous system and cause tremors, convulsions, and even coma, the Santa Barbara Independent reported.

Carbofuran’s combustibility makes it even more dangerous during a wildfire, where it could be inhaled by firefighters and nearby residents.

Some have used guard dogs, animal traps, explosive devices, boards with nails and pipe bombs containing gunpowder and nails.

In 2017, a Wyoming police officer jumped a fence while investigating an illegal grow and landed on a plywood board covered with leaves and a plastic bag with screws coming out of it, according to NBC.

The screws went through the officer’s shoes and he suffered cuts, three puncture wounds and a split tendon.

The Baldy Mesa investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked by the Sheriff’s Department to contact Deputy E. Martinez, at Victor Valley Sheriff’s Station 760-552-6800. Callers can remain anonymous and contact We-Tip at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or wetip.com.

Daily Press reporter Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227 or RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz

This article originally appeared on Victorville Daily Press: Booby-trap goes off by Illegal marijuana grow in Baldy Mesa