The City of Hughson is a small but prospering agricultural community nestled in the heart of the California’s Central Valley. It is in Stanislaus County, California, United States and is part of the Modesto Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 6,640 at the 2010 census, up from 3,980 at the 2000 census.

Hughson, a long-time farming community, lies in Stanislaus County. It is surrounded by orchards.

The first European to see Stanislaus County was Gabriel Moraga in 1806. It was later named Rio Estanislao in honor of Estanislao, a mission-educated renegade Native American chief who led a band of Native Americans in a series of battles against Mexican troops until finally being defeated by General Mariano Vallejo in 1826.

Between 1843 and 1846, when California was a province of independent Mexico, five Mexican land grants totaling over 100,000 acres were granted in Stanislaus County. Three were located on the west side of the San Joaquin River, with two on the north side of the Stanislaus River. Additionally, in 1844 Salomon Pico received a Mexican land grant of 58,000 acres in the San Joaquin Valley, somewhere near the Stanislaus River and the San Joaquin River in what is now Stanislaus County. However, the grant was never confirmed by the Land Commission.

Stanislaus County was formed from part of Tuolumne County in 1854. The county seat was first situated at Adamsville, then moved to Empire in November, La Grange in December, and Knights Ferry in 1862, and was definitely fixed at the present location in Modesto in 1871.
As the price of housing has increased in the San Francisco Bay Area, many people who work in the southern reaches of the Bay Area have opted for the longer commute and moved to Stanislaus County for the relatively affordable housing.

Initially, Hughson was known for its enormous production of peaches, which garnered the area the title “The Peach Capital of the World”. Peaches are no longer the primary crop in the area, and have been replaced for the most part by almond trees. The area is one of the largest almond producing districts in the world. The crops grown in Hughson include almonds, peaches, walnuts, nectarines, cherries, apples, and the occasional vineyard. In recent years, many orchards have been torn down due to development. Although it is a growing community, it maintains the small hometown feel that long-time residents have always associated with the City. It remains the smallest incorporated city in Stanislaus County, though its population has increased from just over 3,000 in 1990 to just over 7,000 in 2014. Hughson is situated to the east of Ceres, to the north of Turlock, and to the southeast of Modesto.

Drug Threats in Central Valley

California’s Central Valley faces significant drug threats, partly for the same reasons as small towns across America, but with additional danger coming from the following strategic drug threats identified by the U.S. Department of Justice include:

• Mexican drug trafficking organizations and criminal groups are conducting well-organized, large-scale smurfing operations to acquire the necessary pseudoephedrine to sustain major methamphetamine production efforts in the region. (Smurfing is a practice of disguising large transactions by breaking them up into a number of smaller transactions to avoid detection.) Law enforcement operations and pseudoephedrine control legislation have forced these smurfing operations to extend beyond the high intensity drug trafficking region (HIDTA) into southern California and Arizona.

• Cocaine availability has increased in some areas of the region, as evidenced by declining wholesale prices and rising seizures.

• Illegal cannabis cultivation operations are increasing throughout the Central Valley HIDTA region, particularly in Fresno, Shasta, and Tulare Counties. This situation is driven by the growing demand for high-potency marijuana, high levels of abuse, and the continued exploitation of California’s medical marijuana laws by illegal marijuana producers and drug traffickers. With the legalization of recreational marijuana use this year, it can be assumed that production will increase markedly.

In the rural counties of Northern California, marijuana is still a largely underground industry, worth billions. Growing cannabis in The Emerald Triangle is considered a way of life, and the locals believe that everyone living in this region is either directly or indirectly reliant on the marijuana business. The industry exploded in the region with the passage of Proposition 215 which legalized use of cannabis for medicinal purposes in California. Even before the legalization of marijuana for recreational use, legal medical marijuana sales were valued at $2.7 billion, according to The ArcView Group, a marijuana market research firm. Sales are projected to balloon to $6.4 billion by 2020 with that legalization recently passing.

Drug abuse is California’s number one killer: it is estimated that eleven people die every day from drug abuse and complications. Fortunately, California has many reputable drug rehabilitation clinics that promise new hope to those suffering from addiction and substance abuse.