Sunday, March 18 , 2018, 8:44 am | Fair 44º


Thousands of Marijuana Plants Eradicated; 3 Suspects Arrested

Sheriff's departments team up to root out the illegal grow in San Luis Obispo County

A joint operation between the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department and the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department has landed three marijuana grow suspects in jail and led to the eradication of thousands of plants.

An alert rural crimes deputy on patrol east of Santa Maria on Sunday night set the events in motion.

About 9 p.m. Sunday, a Santa Barbara County sheriff’s rural crimes deputy was on patrol when he noticed a suspicious vehicle parked alongside the 4000 block of Foxen Canyon Road. He also observed two men standing next to the rear of the vehicle with the trunk open and a large military-style duffel bag on the ground. Suspecting they may be part of illicit marijuana grow operation, the deputy contacted the two subjects before discovering a third man inside the vehicle.

All three were ordered to the ground pending backup. A subsequent search revealed two duffel bags full of freshly purchased food supplies, along with equipment and supplies typically found in marijuana grow operations. Santa Barbara narcotics detectives were summoned to assist in the case.

Further investigation led narcotics detectives to a significant-sized marijuana grow nearby, but over the San Luis Obispo County line. The SLO Sheriff’s Department put together a team to eradicate the marijuana garden. By late afternoon Monday, sheriff’s personnel had eradicated more than 5,400 plants.

Nazario Ramos-Torres, 51, and Saul Sandoval Torres, 28, were booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail for cultivating marijuana and criminal conspiracy, both felonies. Bail was set at $50,000. Humberto Trejo Ceja, 30, also was booked into the county jail and is being held on a no-bail immigration hold.

Booking photos are not being released at this time.

— Drew Sugars is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >