Crime

Raids turn up 40,000 pounds of marijuana, 350,000 plants in SLO, Santa Barbara counties

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Investigators seized an estimated 40,000 pounds of allegedly illegal processed marijuana and 350,000 cannabis plants during raids last week in Northern Santa Barbara County and in San Luis Obispo County, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

A two-month investigation led to a search warrants being served on June 17 on the 1800 block of West Highway 246, as well as in Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo County, said Kelly Hoover, a sheriff’s spokeswoman.

“The cultivation area itself was located on a property of approximately 187 acres of agricultural land, with just over 60 acres of it being used for the commercial cultivation of cannabis,” Hoover said. “From the initial investigation, it appeared the site was used to continually cultivate cannabis throughout the year, and at the time of the search, approximately 40 acres was presently growing, with a large amount having been recently harvested.”

It took four days for the sheriff’s Cannabis Compliance Team and other personnel — assisted by the county District Attorney’s Office, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Army National Guard Counter Drug Task Force — to seize and eradicate the processed cannabis and growing plants, Hoover said.

A total of 35 detectives, investigators and wildlife officers took part in the operation, Hoover said.

“This investigation was the result of complaints from the public, tips and information provided to the sheriff’s Cannabis Compliance Team,” Hoover said, adding that the owner of the property, who was not named, had not been located or contacted.

The case will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office for review of possible criminal charges, Hoover said.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at tbolton@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.
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