Thanks to a tip, Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies discovered a massive and impressively sophisticated indoor marijuana grove on the Gaviota Coast Thursday morning, August 12.
Located essentially within Dos Pueblos Ranch (but, specifically, the illicit operation was taking place on a 50-acre parcel not under the same ownership as the surrounding ranch), the grow boasted roughly 10,000-20,000 plants and several hundred pounds of trimmed and ready-to-sell “very high-grade” bud.
According to Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Drew Sugars, the final tally of cannabis seized is not yet available, as deputies are still working the area. Even without the official numbers, Lieutenant Sonny LeGault with the Sheriff’s Narcotics Unit opined in the wake of the raid, “This is by far the most elaborate indoor and greenhouse marijuana operation I’ve ever seen, and I have been on more eradications than I can count.”
Arrested during the raid were Kelvin Kelley and John Dodson; the duo are both charged with felony cultivation and felony possession of marijuana for sale. Kelley was also charged with resisting arrest. Both men were booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on $30,000 bail. “Based on the size of the grow, we expect there may be more arrests coming,” added Sugars.
Specifically, the grow was taking place in nine separate greenhouses and assorted outbuildings on the site that was once the home of the Dos Pueblos Orchid Company. Basically an island of private property within the larger DP Ranch, Sugars explained that it appears neither the DP property owners nor the owners of the actual parcel where the grow was located knew anything about the illegal farming.
According to Sugars, the total street value of the marijuana seized is “at least $40 million.”