Sheriff’s Office Snags 18,000 Pot Plants

On July 18 and 19, the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s office worked in conjunction with several other agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of Justice’s Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP), to seize illegal marijuana grows in the Los Padres National Forest. They recovered a half-ton of hazardous materials (including “unregulated fertilizers” and waste) and 18,378 mature plants, estimated to be worth $36,376,000.

No arrests were made, but the growers themselves are one of the most problematic byproducts of illegal marijuana growing. According to the official press release, they “are usually armed, sometimes with automatic weapons and high-power rifles, and they have been known to place booby-traps designed to seriously maim or kill intruders.” Growers have also been blamed for dumping hazardous chemicals into the environment and watershed, and being major forest fire hazards.

Based on evidence from several of the busted camps in the San Antonio Creek area and the Romero Canyon area, police believe that Mexican nationals are playing an increasingly greater role in illegal marijuana grows in Los Padres. They urge anyone who witnesses any sort of suspicious activity to contact authorities via phone at (805) 681-4175 or email To learn more about CAMP, visit this Web site.

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