SANTA MARIA - On July 29, 2020, detectives with the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office Cannabis Compliance Team executed a search warrant in the area of Pine Canyon and Highway 166 with the assistance of wardens from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and agents assigned to the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting.
The search warrant was related to an unlicensed outdoor cannabis operation, which was discovered while reviewing past reports and current active cannabis licenses in the county. Law enforcement officers located approximately 4,000 unlicensed and untagged cannabis plants and approximately 200 pounds of dried product.
According t the sheriff’s office, Without licensing and Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting Compliance (METRC) tags, the cannabis derived from this operation would have likely entered the illicit market, undercutting the licensed operators in California, and would circumvent the safeguards in place to ensure consumer safety. This investigation remains ongoing.
“This law enforcement action works to protect consumers as well as licensed growers,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “I’m grateful no officers were hurt in the service of this warrant, as often times they face dangerous situations when entering illegal cannabis operations.”