SANTA BARBARA - On September 28, 2018, law enforcement officers with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, California Department of Fish & Wildlife and the California Highway Patrol served search warrants on suspected illegal marijuana cultivation sites. These cultivation sites did not possess any licenses from the State of California or the County of Santa Barbara to operate legally.
“Investigating illegal marijuana grows is imperative in California,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “Growers can do great harm to the environment with the misuse or illegal use of certain pesticides and products. Illegal marijuana grows can be extremely dangerous to enter as a law enforcement officer.”
The first search warrant was served in the 6700 block of Foxen Canyon Road where law enforcement officers report finding 658 mature marijuana plants. Several individuals were contacted and interviewed for further follow up concerning the investigation. Additionally, CDFW wardens gathered evidence concerning potential environmental violations.
An additional search warrant was served in the 2400 block of Hwy 246. Once this property was secured, law enforcement officers saw a very large marijuana cultivation site in various stages of cultivation and processing of finished product. At this location, officers located and destroyed 7,985 marijuana plants. No arrests were made, but individuals at this location were interviewed for potential future charges against the individuals responsible.
With the service of the second search warrant, officers destroyed a total of 8,643 marijuana plants worth an estimated value of $4.3 million dollars.
The September 28th search warrants marked the third day of marijuana enforcement by this team of officers. The three-day marijuana enforcement effort resulted in to 14,116 marijuana plants destroyed with an estimated value of $7 million dollars.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Cannabis Compliance Team will continue to identify and investigate illegal marijuana cultivation sites within the county. The goal of the team is to stop the illegal cultivation of marijuana and prevent the environmental crimes associated with these illegal grows.