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Saturday, November 17 , 2018, 11:49 am | Fair with Haze 65º


400,000 Plants Discovered at Illegal Marijuana Farm East of Santa Maria

Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputies destroyed pot plants; matter referred to the district attorney

Sheriff’s deputies destroy marijuana plants near Santa Maria.
Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies destroy some of the 400,000 marijuana plants that found growing on an illegal plantation east of Santa Maria. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department photo)

The discovery of a huge marijuana plantation hidden among existing farm fields east of Santa Maria has led to the seizure of approximately 400,000 plants, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

The operation spearheaded by the county Cannabis Compliance Team marked the largest seizure among several recent operations conducted by law enforcement officers, sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said Thursday.

On Monday, investigators served a search warrant on the 2700 block of Telephone Road stemming from allegations about the illegal cultivation of cannabis.

“During the investigation, a Santa Maria resident was believed to have provided false information to county officials in an attempt to obtain a temporary state cannabis license,” Hoover said. “Additionally, the subject had no valid state cannabis license, and was found to be cultivating approximately 400,000 marijuana plants in various growth cycles and maturity.

Due to the size of the illegal marijuana site, eradication efforts spanned two days, and detectives were assisted by members of the sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Bureau, Special Enforcement Team and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. 

The Sheriff’s Department will forward the reports to the District Attorney’s Office for potential charges related to illegal marijuana cultivation and perjury. 

Authorities noted that the county has developed an ordinance that provides a path to legally cultivate marijuana within its jurisdiction.

This week's operation is the latest illegal marijuana farm busted in northern Santa Barbara County. 

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

An aerial view of an illegal marijuana plantation east of Santa Maria. Click to view larger
An aerial view of an illegal marijuana plantation with some 400,000 plants east of Santa Maria. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department photo)

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