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Marijuana Eradication Operation
updated: Jul 12, 2013, 4:07 PM

Source: Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Deputies observing on Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit Copter 2 spotted an illegal marijuana growing operation in Romero Canyon located in National Forest land in the front-country above Montecito. Last Tuesday, Sheriff's Narcotics investigators along with U.S. Forest Service and California National Guard personnel conducted a marijuana eradication operation in the area. While there, they discovered another marijuana grove a few miles away, also on National Forest land, near a popular hiking trail. Early this morning, Narcotics Detectives, assisted by the other agencies involved, went back in to eradicate the second grove. In all, between both areas in Romero Canyon more than 7,000 marijuana plants were discovered including processed marijuana which was found at the second site.

When Deputies arrived early this morning, one suspect was observed and a second suspect was heard in the area. The suspects fled from authorities. The suspect who was observed did not have a weapon, but it is unknown whether the other suspect was armed. Copter 2 searched the area but was unable to locate the suspects. Sheriff's Narcotics Investigators are conducting an on-going criminal investigation relating to this illegal growing operation.

In addition to the marijuana, a significant amount of trash and irrigation drip line was removed in order to rehabilitate the environment in and around the illegal marijuana grove. The trash included food, rat poisoning, a car battery, propane tanks, clothing and an extensive amount of drip line. In all, 1300 pounds of material was transported out of the area by Copter 2. These illegal marijuana groves have a significant impact on the environment. The individuals responsible are not only cutting down the native vegetation but they are bringing in toxic chemicals that are harmful to the environment and wildlife.

The Sheriff's Office wants to remind the public to be on the lookout for suspicious activity and to be aware that marijuana cultivation is occurring on public lands which is illegal under any circumstance. If you see any suspicious activity or individuals associated with these illegal operations, you are asked to leave the area, avoid contact and alert authorities immediately. The suspects involved in marijuana growing operations are often times armed and potentially dangerous.

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Processed plants.

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I am watching many helicopter trips at the top of Romero Canyon and it looks like they are removing bales of marijuana. (07/13/13)
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