Santa Clara Co. sheriff's deputy bit by rattlesnake during marijuana operation

An eastern massasauga rattlesnake (USFWS)

A Santa Clara County sheriff's deputy was bitten by a rattlesnake during a illegal marijuana grow eradication mission, the sheriff's office confirms. 

The deputy is recovering and is in stable condition at the hospital.  

The operation, part of the department's Marijuana Eradication Team (MET), was working early Thursday morning in unincorporated Morgan Hill near San Antonio Valley Road east of Mount Hamilton. But the bite happened later in the day at around 1 p.m. 

According to the sheriff, a male deputy was bitten on the leg while hiking, but had to walk for about a mile back to the team's vehicle, before driving to a helicopter landing zone. 

The deputy was airlifted by CALSTAR air medical services and taken to a local hospital. 

The sheriff's office was said to be scouting the area for illegal marijuana grows and found recently used infrastructure for a grow in the vicinity. 

“This incident reminds us of the inherent dangers that deputies face each and every day trying to keep the public safe. Illegal marijuana grows and drug manufacturers create an immense danger to not only law enforcement, but the community as a whole. We are wishing our deputy a speedy recovery.” said Sheriff Laurie Smith.