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Men Build Makeshift Home Near 210 Freeway, Marijuana Found Nearby

Sheriff's Parks Bureau deputies were patrolling the Tujunga Ponds Wildlife Sanctuary when they found three men in a crude shed, near a remote area of the park. Marijuana was allegedly also discovered near the camouflaged shack.

Three men built a camoflauged shed complete with bunk beds, walls, tables, shelves, fire extinguishers and even American flags in the Tujunga Ponds Wildlife Sanctuary, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Parks Bureau.

Deputies were patrolling the Tujunga Ponds Wildlife Sanctuary near the Foothill (210) Freeway and Wentworth Street in Sunland when they found three men living in a remote area of the park, according to a department news release.  

Officials apparently also found eight marijuana plants growing near the structure. 

Robert Downs, 51, said he allegedly lived in the sanctuary near the 210 freeway for more than a year, according to the department release. He explained that the construction happened about eight months ago using materials from a home repair store. 

Downs allegedly camouflaged the entire structure by cutting trees and using tarp and paint to hide from the law. 

Downs was arrested on suspicion of cultivation of marijuana and for removing plants and trees from a Los Angeles County park. 

He was booked at the Inmate Reception Center of the Los Angeles County jail and held in lieu of $30,000 bail. 

Officials did not name the two other men, but described them as a 30-year-old and another 45-year-old, both residents of Sun Valley. They were issued citations and released.  

The Tujunga Ponds Wildlife Sanctuary is part of the area patrolled by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Parks Bureau.  

"It is illegal to be in a Los Angeles County Park after dark, let alone to build a structure and reside there," the department wrotein the release.

"The structure had four bunk beds built into the walls, tables, shelves and even fire extinguishers on the walls. They also had a rock patio in front of the building with a barbeque and tables," officials said.  

The County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works will remove the structure during the next two weeks. 

Sherri July 18, 2012 at 01:18 AM
Why couldn't you just look the other way, seriously they were not hurting anyone!

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