Pot Growers Busted in Berkeley Hills

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday July 04, 2006

Three men were arrested and 152 marijuana plants seized when a major growing operation was discovered in a remote section of the Berkeley hills. 

A UC Berkeley patrol discovered the growing operation early last week, and a subsequent stakeout led to the arrest of one man Wednesday, which in turn led to the arrests of two others. 

The growing operation was located on rugged terrain several hundred yards west of the Claremont Avenue/Grizzly Peak Boulevard intersection, said UCB Police Lt. Doug Wing. 

“We have patrols in the hills during the summer,” said Lt. Wing. “One of them found it.” 

The plants were too young to harvest yet, he said. 

“The suspects all gave the same name at first,” said the officer, though eventually they were able to determine that the men were Jose Diaz-Mendez, 45, Jose Diaz-Nieto, 27 and Jose Diaz III. 

All are Mexican nationals, and Diaz-Mendez has been identified as the father of the other two. 

The trio was taken to the Berkeley city lockup and booked on suspicion of felony marijuana cultivation. 

Asked for further details about the growing operation, Lt. Wing declined to comment beyond stating that the case is still under active investigation.