OROVILLE -- Authorities in Northern California suspect that water shortages may have caused marijuana growers to abandon their illegal crops.
Butte County Sheriff's Sgt. Marty Rolph said Wednesday that deputies found that the plants had not been watered for several days when they raided two gardens in the Plumas National Forest.
No suspects were arrested in Tuesday's raids. Rolph said deputies found nearly 12,000 plants, fertilizer, camping equipment and a shrine dedicated to La Santa Muerte.
Rolph said deputies in recent years have found such shrines in marijuana grows believed to be operated by Mexicans. La Santa Muerte is not a legitimate Catholic saint and is commonly worshiped by drug traffickers seeking protection from law enforcement.