By Mike Hodgson
Twenty tons of harvested cannabis were seized and 350,000 plants were destroyed in a raid on an allegedly illegal cannabis cultivation site outside Buellton, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.
Detectives from the Sheriff’s Cannabis Compliance Team executed four search warrants related to the alleged illegal cultivation on June 17, culminating an approximate two-month investigation into fraudulently obtained state temporary and provisional cannabis licenses and the suspected sales of undocumented cannabis.
Search warrants were served in Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo County and the 1800 block of West Highway 246, just outside Buellton city limits, a Sheriff’s Office spokesman said.
The cultivation area was located on approximately 187 acres of agricultural land, with just over 60 acres being used for the commercial cultivation of cannabis, the spokesman said.
Based on the initial investigation, it appeared the site was allegedly used to continually cultivate cannabis throughout the year and, at the time of the search, plants were growing on approximately 40 acres.
In addition, a large amount of cannabis had been recently harvested, the spokesman said.
It took a total of four days for the team to seize approximately 20 tons of processed cannabis and eradicate approximately 350,000 cannabis plants, several of which were nearly ready to harvest.
The investigation was the result of complaints from the public, tips and information provided to the Sheriff’s Cannabis Compliance Team, and as of June 22, the property owner had not been located.
However, the case will be forwarded to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office for a review of potential criminal charges.
Because the case is still being actively investigated, no further information was released, the spokesman said.