SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - It's been a busy few weeks for Law Enforcement officials. In the last 2 weeks, over 33,000 pounds of marijuana has been eradicated from the mountains of Santa Barbara County. The estimated street value of the marijuana is over $100 million dollars.
The most recent operation occurred August 8th, in the Gaviota area above the Gaviota Tunnel. About 2.500 plants were discovered in the bust.
On August 1st, Sheriff's Narcotics detectives found 3,000 plants in the Cuyama Valley.
Couple those numbers with the increase in drug smuggling boats that have come ashore on the Central Coast this summer, it's clear that Santa Barbara County has become a major hotbed for illegal drug trafficking.
Kelly Hoover of the Santa Barbara Sheriff's department says that Santa Barbara County's geography will always draw growers to the area.
And while it might seem like an issue specific to Santa Barbara, some believe it's become a regional issue.
Dick Porter is a local rancher and he says he has seen illegal drug activity in the San Joaquin valley.
The Sheriff's department wants to remind residents that if they come across an illegal grow operation that they should leave the area immediately and call authorities.