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Authorities: Marijuana growers using solar power

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By RUSSELL CONTRERAS Associated Press
 
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Authorities say illegal marijuana growers are increasingly using solar power to operate large-scale operations and remain off the grid.

New Mexico State Police recently busted up a marijuana operation around the Four Corners region that used solar panels to pump water. And authorities in California have stepped enforcement against solar panel thefts from vineyards that they believe were headed to illegal growers.

Authorities say that some growers are using solar panels to allow illegal marijuana operations to be self-sufficient and remain undetected from local and federal investigators.

Last month, agents in New Mexico raided a solar-operated facility and seized around 250 marijuana plants that were between six- to eight-feet tall in Rio Arriba County.

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