Three Detained in Illegal Marijuana Grow in San Diego County with 600 Marijuana Plants, Psylocibin Mushrooms, and Hashish Seized

February 25, 2023 – San Diego County Sheriff’s Department officials report that on Wednesday, February 22 around 3:00 p.m., members of the Sheriff’s Department’s Special Enforcement Detail (SED/SWAT) served a narcotics-related search warrant in the 10000 block of Via Patricio in Valley Center.

The warrant was part of an investigation by the Sheriff’s Marijuana Enforcement Team (MET). Three adults were detained during warrant service.

As a result of warrant service, the following seizures were made:

  • 600 live marijuana plants
  • Approximately 2 pounds of processed marijuana
  • Approximately 9 pounds of concentrated cannabis
  • Approximately 15 grams of psylocibin mushrooms
  • Approximately one-half pound of hashish

The estimated street value of the seizure is about $675,000. A large-scale water-based THC extraction operation was discovered at the property.  A criminal complaint will be filed with the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office. Assisting specialized investigators are conducting independent, parallel investigations within their fields of expertise.

Illegal marijuana cultivation has many negative impacts on the surrounding community and environment. To provide the most effective service to the surrounding community, MET requested assistance from specialized investigators including California Fish and Wildlife’s Cannabis Enforcement Program, San Diego County Code Compliance, California Department of Tax and Fee Administration and California State Water Resources Control Board’s Agriculture and Cannabis Section. Each specialized investigator plays a key role in ensuring illegal marijuana cultivation doesn’t negatively impact our communities.

San Diego County Code Compliance assists by ensuring any physical safety hazards present on the property are mitigated. All too often, structures used for illegal marijuana cultivation operations are haphazardly constructed, ignoring industry safety standards and posing significant hazards to anyone working in the facilities. In this instance, Code Compliance Officers noted numerous hazards, both structurally and electrically, resulting in San Diego Gas and Electric being requested to cut power to all structures on the property until the entirety of the property is permitted and can pass building inspection.

The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) is committed to enforcing cannabis laws to hold individuals and businesses accountable for taxes owed to the state. In cooperation with law enforcement partners, CDTFA is combating underground economic activities associated with illegal cannabis businesses. This effort removes illicit cannabis products that pose health and safety risks, deters others from similar crimes and recovers revenue to fund vital public programs.

The State Water Resources Control Board and nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards, collectively known as the Water Boards, are one of the state agencies that regulate the commercial cultivation of cannabis. The role of the Water Boards and purpose of the Cannabis Cultivation Policy and General Order is to minimize and mitigate the negative effects to water quality from cannabis cultivation activities, including the diversion of water and discharge of wastes that could impact waters of the State of California. Unpermitted cultivations and the land development associated with the cultivation, without engineered controls and containment, may discharge wastes, such as excess fertilizers, pesticides, sediment, and litter that adversely impact our streams, rivers, wetlands, lakes, and groundwater aquifers.

The warrant follows community concerns about illegal marijuana operations near schools and residential areas. We want to assure those we serve know the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department is listening to the community and recognizes the negative impact illegal marijuana grows have on our neighborhoods.


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