Santa Maria - North County

Pot bust near Buellton paid for with cannabis taxes

20 tons, 350,000 plants seized

Cannabis taxes fund 20 ton pot...

BUELLTON, Calif. - Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Deputies seized 20 tons of illegal cannabis and eradicated about 350,000 illegal plants in four raids connected to a cultivation site outside of Buellton.

On June 17, Sheriff's Cannabis Compliance Team detectives executed four search warrants in connection to illegal cannabis cultivation in Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo and the 1800 block of West Highway 246, just outside of Buellton city limits.  

The investigation was a result of complaints from the public and from tips and information provided to the Sheriff's Cannabis Compliance Team. 

The warrants were part of a two-month investigation involving fraudulently obtained state temporary and provisional cannabis licenses and the suspected sales of undocumented cannabis. 

The operation had 35 detectives, investigators and Wildlife Officers from various agencies. 

The agencies included the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Cannabis Compliance Team, Special Investigations Bureau, Criminal Investigations Bureau, Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office, California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Army National Guard Counter Drug Task Force.

The illegal cannabis was located on 187 acres of agricultural land with just over 60 acres being used for the commercial cultivation of cannabis. 

At the search, investigators found approximately 40 acres was presently growing with a large amount having been recently harvested. 

It took a total of four days to seize approximately 20 tons of processed cannabis and eradicate about 350,000 cannabis plants, several that were nearly ready to harvest. 

The case is still being actively investigated and the owner of the property has not been contacted. The Santa Barbara County District Attorney's office will review the case and make a decision regarding criminal charges.

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