Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s detectives say they destroyed $2.7 million worth of marijuana products while serving a series of search warrants in the Cuyama Valley this week.
Detectives assigned to the Special Investigations Bureau and Criminal Investigations Bureau, as well as two deputies at the New Cuyama Sheriff’s substation served search warrants at suspected illegal marijuana cultivation sites on Wednesday and Thursday. The sheriff’s office says the cultivation sites didn’t have licenses from the state or county to operate legally.
The first search warrant was served in the 1600 block of Santa Barbara Canyon Road. Detectives say they went onto the property, and three men ran into the foothills. Detectives searched the area to make sure there were no additional suspects. They later brought a helicopter to search for the three people who ran away, but deputies weren’t able to find anyone. Deputies did find two rifles, a small amount of cocaine, more than $9,000 in cash, and a large marijuana grow. Detectives destroyed 1,955 marijuana plants at the property.
Detectives later served another search warrant at a rural property off Wasioja Road. Detectives found a large camp, as well as a marijuana grow. They say no one was there when they arrived, but it’s possible the people inside saw them coming and left beforehand. A helicopter was brought in again to search the property, but no suspects were found. Detectives destroyed 2,318 marijuana plants.
On Wednesday, detectives served another search warrant on a rural property in the 8300 block of Foothill Road. Detectives secured the property and found a large marijuana grow with several camping trailers on the property. No suspects were there at the time, but there was evidence someone had been there within the past day. Detectives destroyed 1,200 marijuana plants at that location. Detectives also recovered a sick puppy and took him to County Animal Services for care.
During the two-day operation, detectives destroyed 5,473 plants, worth an estimated $2.7 million in value. Investigators are now trying to identify the people involved in funding the marijuana cultivation sites.