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The Placer County Sheriff’s Office arrested two men this week who were operating an extensive, illegal marijuana growing operation in Iowa Hill.

The men face numerous felony charges, including possession of a stolen handgun and an illegal weapon. More than 250 pounds of processed marijuana was found, as well as 94 marijuana plants growing inside two greenhouses.


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A deputy was patrolling the remote area Monday, which is just east of the location where deputies recently found more than $800,000 worth of stolen heavy equipment, when he saw a trailer, which was determined to be stolen. He returned the next day with a search warrant and more deputies, and they found the large-scale operation and the illegal weapons. They arrested Richard Lee Austin, 30, of San Luis Obispo, and Shane Reale Brunton, 28, of Encinitas. The pair was living on the property in a make-shift shack, and the property was littered with vehicles and trash.

They were booked at the Placer County Jail. Austin’s bail is set at $50,000 and Brunton’s is set at $25,000. Austin was charged with possession of an assault weapon; possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony; cultivating marijuana; and possession of stolen property, all of which are felonies. Brunton is charged with all of the felonies except possession of an assault weapon. They were both also charged with a misdemeanor count of possessing drug paraphernalia.

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