A photo from the Department of Fish and Wildlife shows some of the illegal cannabis plants seized in a July 9 operation.
INVESTIGATION SPANNED 12 PROPERTIES AT WILLOW SPRINGS RANCH
Police and state Fish and Wildlife authorities discovered more than 11,000 allegedly illegal marijuana plants and a laundry list of suspected environmental, building code, controlled substance and firearms violations on 12 parcels in San Benito County last week.
On July 9, officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife served a total of eight search warrants on the properties, which are located in a rural part of the county known as Willow Springs Ranch, reads a press release from Fish and Wildlife. The warrants were served with assistance from the sheriff’s office, Unified Narcotics Enforcement Team, California Food and Agriculture and other agencies.
The search warrants stemmed from previous surveillance of the area that revealed dozens of illegal cannabis cultivation sites scattered along the hillside, authorities said. Property records confirmed that none of the 12 parcels were permitted by the county or state for commercial cannabis cultivation.
Upon serving the warrants, officers discovered a total of 11,404 illegal marijuana plants, according to the Fish and Wildlife press release. Officers also noted numerous Fish and Game code violations related to polluting nearby waterways and illegally altering a streambed.
The officers also seized 1,772 pounds of processed cannabis and several illegal firearms, and documented “countless” building code violations, authorities said. A “large-scale butane honey oil lab” was also shut down on one of the properties.
Several suspects were detained during the operations, though authorities did not specify how many and did not release their names due to the ongoing nature of the investigation. The San Benito County District Attorney’s Office will consider criminal charges for the suspects.
Published: July 14, 2020
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