- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 17, 2014

Thousands of marijuana plants were found growing in a public park in upscale Laguna Beach, California, police said.

Between 2,500 and 4,000 marijuana plants were found in the Laguna Wilderness Park in a rugged area a few hundred feet south of a private prep school, the Orange County Register reported.

At about 7 a.m. Friday, sheriff’s officials hiked into the area to pull the plants out by hand. A helicopter hauled away the plants, which had an estimated street value of about $5 million, the Associated Press reported.

It was not immediately clear how long the plants had been growing, and investigators are trying to figure out how they were cultivated. No arrests have yet been made.

This is not the first time marijuana plants have been found growing in public in Orange County.

In July 2007, deputies found more than 6,000 marijuana plants in two pot farms at Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness parks in Laguna Niguel, the Register reported.

In September 2006, 20,000 pot plants were discovered in Mission Viejo, in the Saddleback Valley, the newspaper said.