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Wednesday, December 12 , 2018, 4:53 pm | Fair 61º


Authorities Destroy $16 Million in Pot Growing on Forest Land

Marijuana plantations found near Gaviota and Cuyama Valley

Marijuana plants valued at $16 million were destroyed during two recent eradication efforts on local national forests, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.

The most recent operation occurred Thursday in the Gaviota area, said sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.

"The marijuana grow was discovered by a crew observing out of a Santa Barbara County Air Support helicopter," Hoover said.

About 2,500 plants were discovered growing on U.S. Forest Service land above the Gaviota Tunnel, Hoover said, and were eradicated by sheriff's personnel, assisted by the California National Guard and State Parks.

No arrests were made.

Last week, a separate marijuana plantation was discovered in the Springs Canyon area of the Cuyama Valley.

"Several hunters initially discovered the illegal grow and reported it to the Sheriff’s Office," Hoover said.

Some 3,000 pot plants were eradicated at the site, Hoover said, and about 3,000 pounds of trash were removed from the scene.

Several weapons were found and booked into evidence, she said, but no suspects were observed.

"The Sheriff’s Office wants to remind residents that if they come across an illegal growing operation or see suspicious activity that they should leave the area immediately and call authorities," Hoover said. "The suspects involved in marijuana growing operations are often times armed and potentially dangerous."

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton 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.

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