Santa Maria Sun / News
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 24
Combined task force destroys large-scale pot grows in Los Padres National Forest
BY JEREMY THOMAS
Over several days earlier this month, a consortium of law enforcement agencies destroyed several large marijuana grow operations in the Los Padres National Forest, eradicating more than 11,000 plants valued at $30 million.
Most notably, investigators destroyed a grow southwest of Cuyama, yielding about 10,500 plants. Another near East Camino Cielo Road contained more than 1,300 plants.
In addition, authorities found a loaded handgun at one site, as well as 38 pounds of processed marijuana with a street value of $95,000.
In all, 25 law enforcement personnel took part in the operation, which was headed by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department. The California Department of Justice, U.S. Forest Service, and the Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue assisted.
According to the Sheriff’s Department, the team also removed more than a ton of trash, tents, and chemicals, including rat poison. They also found eight propane tanks and evidence of illegal poaching near the grow sites.
No arrests were made, though the Sheriff’s Department said evidence points to Mexican nationals as suspected of tending the grows.
The department is asking forest visitors to contact the office if they spot campers with irrigation tubing or large amounts of food, unusual trail wear, or a loss of water in creeks.
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