Detectives removed 1,820 mature marijuana plants from a trespass grow site near downtown Cambria on Thursday, after the Sheriff’s Office accidentally stumbled upon the allegedly illegal operation a week earlier.
Hidden among trees on private property, the grow was located on a hilltop above Coast Union High School and Cambria Middle School near the intersection of main Street and Santa Rosa Creek Road, according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Office. Detectives said the owner of the property lives out of the area and was allegedly unaware of the activity.
Deputies discovered the “fairly sophisticated grow” in late August when they responded to the area for a report of a homeless encampment, the release says.
They found land stripped of its trees to make way for seven hoop houses, four large water tanks and an extensive drip irrigation system, large chemical tanks for pesticides, generators and an electrical panel to supply power, according to the news release.
A team of detectives from the Sheriff’s Office Cannabis Enforcement Team, Homeland Security Investigations and U.S. Fish and Wildlife, along with a biologist and Animal Services workers, went to the site to investigate and eradicate the unpermitted plants, the release said.
No suspects were located, but two abandoned dogs were found and removed from the property.
The mature plants weighed nearly 8,000 pounds, which law enforcement officers estimated to be worth about $1.9 million on the black market. No arrests have been made.