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Sheriff’s Detectives Arrest Suspected Drug Trafficker

A home invasion investigation leads to a large marijuana grow

Narcotics detectives with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department have arrested a suspected drug trafficker after an investigation of a Goleta home invasion led to a large marijuana operation.

Jackson Burns
Jackson Burns

Patrol deputies responded about 10 p.m. Thursday to a report of an assault victim in the 100 block of Salisbury Avenue, according to Drew Sugars, a department spokesman.

The deputies were approached by the victim, 18-year-old Jackson Burns, who told deputies that two or three Hispanic male adults wearing masks and gloves had approached him as he walked outside to get something from his vehicle. The suspects chased Burns and entered his residence, where they engaged in a physical struggle, Sugars said.

He said the suspects overpowered Burns, tied his hands, covered his head and threw him into the living room. A 21-year-old friend of Burns also was attacked by the suspects, who went through his pockets and took about $30 in cash.

Sugars said the suspects fled the home in a white panel van. Burns was unhurt. His friend was treated for minor injuries at Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital.

Deputies who responded to the assault discovered a sophisticated, multistage marijuana operation. According to Sugars, a search warrant was served at the residence, where detectives found four separate grow rooms as well as outdoor plants. He said 443 marijuana plants in various stages of growth and height were seized. Scales, and packaging and shipping materials also were recovered, as were $15,000 in high-end hydroponic grow equipment and a loaded shogun.

Sugars said the street value of the plants is more than $1.1 million.

According to detectives, the marijuana was being cultivated for sale — for $3,200 a pound. Sugars said detectives believe the marijuana was being shipping to Burns’ hometown in Georgia.

Burns was arrested and booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sales and narcotics trafficking while armed. Bail was set at $30,000. His friend was not arrested.

The investigation is continuing. Anyone with information regarding this case or similar residences where related activities may be occurring are asked to call the sheriff’s Narcotics Bureau at 805.681.4100 or the Sheriff’s Tip Line at 805.681.4171.

Noozhawk managing editor Michelle Nelson can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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