Detectives destroy 5,473 plants worth an estimated $2.7 million in 3 raids

 Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office raided three large, illegal pot grows in the Cuyama Valley area on Sept. 25-26.

The raids were carried out by detectives assigned to the Special Investigations Bureau and Criminal Investigations Bureau, along with the two resident deputies assigned to the New Cuyama Sheriff’s substation,

The SBSO said the cultivation sites did not possess any licenses from the State of California or the County of Santa Barbara to operate legally, nor had the responsible individuals attempted to obtain proper licensing.

Here is a rundown on the raids bproved by the SBSO:
•The first search warrant was served Sept. 26 in the 1600 block of Santa Barbara Canyon Road in the southeast part of the Cuyama Valley. As detectives entered the property, three Hispanic male adults fled into the foothills.

Due to the several outbuildings and the widespread marijuana grow, detectives were not able to pursue the suspects until they could conduct a search to ensure there were no additional suspects.

A Santa Barbara County Sheriff/Fire Air Support Unit helicopter responded to the area to search for the suspects but they were not located.

After the property was secured, deputies located 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 this location.
•After detectives were finished with the first search warrant, an additional search warrant was served on a rural property accessed by Wasioja Road. Detectives entered the property and found a large camp along with a marijuana grow.

The property was unoccupied when detectives arrived, but due to the vantage point of the roads entering the property, it is likely that the suspects fled when they saw law enforcement. the air support helicopter responded and searched the area but no suspects were located. After securing the property, detectives destroyed 2,318 marijuana plants, and noticed large amounts of trash from people camping at the location including various gro w chemicals.
•On Sept.26, detectives served an additional search warrant on a rural property located 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 located on the property, but there was evidence indicating suspects had been at the location within the past day. Detectives destroyed 1,200 marijuana plants at this location. They also found a small puppy that appeared sick and was huddled around growing chemicals. Detectives recovered the puppy and turned him into County Animal Services to be cared for.
In total for the two-day eradication operation, detectives destroyed 5,473 plants worth an estimated $2.7 million dollars in value. Additional follow up investigation is required to identify the suspects involved in funding the marijuana cultivation sites.