Illegal cannabis grow near Santa Maria was site of environmental crimes, officials say

Environmental crimes allegedly occurred at an illegal cannabis operation in the 1400 block of Tepusquet Road east of Santa Maria.

Authorities eradicated nearly 8,000 cannabis plants and destroyed more than 300 pounds of illegal processed marijuana flowers at an illegal cannabis cultivation site east of Santa Maria last month.

The operation involved serving a search warrant related to alleged environmental crimes and involved the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office deputies.

The parcel, in the 1400 block of Tepusquet Road, sits in an environmentally sensitive area that is home to native plants, fish and wildlife species.

Santa Barbara County does not allow commercial cannabis cultivation in the area.

“This egregious activity will not be tolerated at the expense of the environment and those in the regulated cannabis market,” said David Bess, CDFW deputy director and chief of the Law Enforcement Division. “Illegal operations of this nature fuel other associated criminal behavior and put public safety at risk. I applaud this allied agency effort with our enforcement partners in Santa Barbara County.”

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