LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California authorities said on Thursday they have made dozens of arrests and destroyed marijuana plants worth billions of dollars on farms that officials said are controlled by Mexican drug traffickers.
The street value of the marijuana destroyed in California's Sierra Nevada Mountains was put at $1.7 billion.
Authorities destroyed some 270 acres of marijuana plants, which were irrigated and spread with fertilizer.
"The mission is a collective fight against organized crime," Madera County Sheriff John Anderson said.
A series of raids that began in January in three northern and central California counties -- dubbed Operation Trident -- netted 97 arrests and more than 400,000 marijuana plants,
Authorities also seized nearly 500 pounds of harvested marijuana, 74 ounces of cocaine, 49 ounces of methamphetamine 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.
(Editing by Andrew Stern and Greg McCune)