More than $700,000 worth of marijuana plants were reportedly destroyed Monday after detectives assigned to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Special Investigations Bureau served a search warrant at a suspected illegal cultivation site in the Cebada Canyon area northeast of Lompoc.
The site, located in the 3100 block of Avena Road, did not possess the necessary state license to cultivate legally, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Once on site, detectives reported discovering several hoop structures that were built to cultivate several thousand marijuana plants.
“When detectives served the search warrant and secured the property, they discovered that the operators of the cultivation site had just recently harvested the plants in the last week and had transported the product from the plants off the property,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said. “During the search, detectives did find 1,423 younger plants that were not ready for harvest at this time. These plants were destroyed.”
Hoover reported that the value of the destroyed plants, if they had been allowed to mature, was estimated at $711,000.
Detectives interviewed the owner of the cultivation operation and will investigate further before forwarding their findings to the District Attorney’s Office for consideration of a criminal complaint, the Sheriff’s Office reported.
“The Sheriff’s Cannabis Compliance Team will continue to identify and investigate illegal marijuana cultivation sites within the county,” Hoover said. “The goal of the team is to stop the illegal cultivation of marijuana and prevent the environmental crimes associated with these illegal grows.”