Members of the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Narcotics Task Force along with state and federal authorities discovered more than 10,000 marijuana plants in two marijuana growing operations in the county. Illegal marijuana grows, such as these found on private property and public lands, and present a very real danger to the public's safety. This week detectives destroyed almost seven thousand plants found growing on public land in the Cypress Mountain Road area, west of Paso Robles. Task force members then destroyed more than three thousand plants that were being grown on Los Padres National Forest land off Hi Mountain Road, west of Pozo. No arrests were made. Rifle ammunition, five gallon propane tanks, and large trash piles were also discovered. In addition, the grow sites were littered with cigarette butts in areas where the vegetation is exceptionally dry. The total estimated street value of the marijuana plants is 6.5 million dollars.
Farther south, about 5,000 plants worth an estimated potential street value of about 16 million dollars have been destroyed as a result of two recent Marijuana Eradication Operations. Both operations occurred on United States Forest Service Land in Santa Barbara County and involved collaboration from several different agencies.
The most recent operation occurred yesterday in the Gaviota area above the Gaviota Tunnel. The marijuana grow was discovered by a crew observing out of a Santa Barbara County Air Support helicopter. Sheriff’s Narcotics Detectives along with personnel from the California National Guard and California State Parks responded to the site early this morning. About 2,500 plants were discovered and eradicated. Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit Copter 2 assisted.
Last week, on August 1, Sheriff’s Narcotics Detectives, along with California National Guard representatives conducted a Marijuana Eradication Operation in the Sulfur Springs Canyon area of the Cuyama Valley. This time about 3,000 plants were discovered. Several hunters initially discovered the illegal grow and reported it to the Sheriff’s Office. Santa Barbara County Air Support provided two helicopters to assist in removing the marijuana and about 3,000 pounds of trash found at the scene. Several weapons were found at the scene as well and booked into evidence. No suspects were observed.
Both operations are under investigation by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit. The suspects involved in marijuana growing operations are often times armed and potentially dangerous.