Police in Santa Barbara County, California raided an enormous unlawful hashish cultivation website final week, with deputies discovering so many illicit crops the enforcement operation took 4 days to full. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office stated on Saturday that 350,000 hashish crops had been destroyed and 20 tons of processed hashish had been seized from the location.
A two-month investigation into the cultivation operation culminated on June 17 with search warrants being served in northern Santa Barbara County close to Buellton and two different websites, one in Santa Maria and one other in neighboring San Luis Obispo County, in accordance to Kelley Hoover, a spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.
“The cultivation area itself was located on a property of approximately 187 acres of agricultural land, with just over 60 acres of it being used for the commercial cultivation of cannabis,” Hoover stated. “From the initial investigation, it appeared the site was used to continually cultivate cannabis throughout the year, and at the time of the search, approximately 40 acres was presently growing, with a large amount having been recently harvested.”
Multiple Agencies Participate in Raid
Deputies from the sheriff’s workplace, together with members of its Cannabis Compliance Team, have been assisted in the eradication operation by the county District Attorney’s Office, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Army National Guard Counter Drug Task Force. In all, 35 detectives, investigators, and wildlife officers took half in the raid, Hoover stated.
“This investigation was the result of complaints from the public, tips, and information provided to the sheriff’s Cannabis Compliance Team,” Hoover famous.
The sheriff’s workplace has not launched the identify of the proprietor of the property the place the marijuana cultivation website was situated and has not but situated or made contact with the proprietor, in accordance to media studies.
Authorities are investigating if a license to domesticate hashish on the property had been obtained from the state fraudulently and if unlawful hashish gross sales have occurred. Hoover stated that the case has been referred to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s workplace for attainable felony fees.
Are Licensed Cultivators Operating Illegally?
To achieve permission from the county to domesticate hashish, which is required to get hold of a license from the state, candidates had to file an affidavit that stipulated the location had been used to develop medical marijuana prior to January 16, 2016. However, there have been no necessities to present documentation or in any other case show the declare made on the affidavit.
That loophole left the system ripe for abuse, in accordance to a report from the Los Angeles Times. One space resident, Blair Pence, stated the fields subsequent to his vineyard have been used to develop bell peppers till 2018, two years after operators claimed they have been cultivating marijuana on the location. Now, there are 30 acres of hashish rising on the property.
“These guys are all lying through their teeth,” Pence stated.
Jacqueline McGowan, the director of native licensing and enterprise improvement at Okay Street Consulting in Sacramento, advised High Times in an e-mail that some licensed hashish operators in Santa Barbara County might, in reality, be working illegally.
“If some of the county’s current cultivators signed this affidavit under penalty of perjury, and they did in fact lie and no prior cultivation had occurred, then the Sheriff may be in the right here when eradicating these licensed operations,” McGown stated. “I would interpret that document to mean that if you had been cultivating prior to January 19, 2019, you would be allowed to continue cultivating under that identical footprint. However, any expansion would be prohibited unless the county expressly allowed it.”