Authorities remove marijuana plants from Romero Canyon


Authorities remove marijuana plants from Romero Canyon

Montecito Marijuana Groves Eradicated

Illegal Grow Operations Spotted By Helicopter Last Week

Monday, July 15, 2013
Article Tools
Print friendly
E-mail story
Tip Us Off
iPod friendly
Share Article

Santa Barbara Sheriff’s detectives, U.S. Forest Service officials, and National Guard personnel found and removed more than 7,000 marijuana plants in Romero Canyon above Montecito during an eradication operation last week. Two separate groves located a few miles apart were spotted from the air by deputies riding in the Air Support Unit’s Copter 2.

Early Friday morning, detectives observed one unarmed suspect and heard another when they set out on foot to eradicate the second of the two discovered groves. Both suspects fled the area and Copter 2 was unable to locate them. In addition to the plants, authorities found processed marijuana at the second location.

Marijuana plants growing in Montecito
Click to enlarge photo


Marijuana plants growing in Montecito

Copter 2 also removed 1,300 pounds of trash, including food, rat poison, a car battery, propane tanks, clothing, and a drip line. The waste and illegal marijuana groves are responsible for “bringing in toxic chemicals that are harmful to the environment and wildlife,” according to a written statement from Sheriff’s spokesperson Kelly Hoover. Officials continue to investigate the grows and look for suspects, she said.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

There is a really simple way to not have this problem anymore.

Num1UofAn (anonymous profile)
July 15, 2013 at 4:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

We need to fabricate a demand for that new jail somehow.

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
July 15, 2013 at 5:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

They should donate the marijuana to local dispensaries.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 15, 2013 at 5:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It is amazing they can do this so close to Montecito proper. I hike there often and no signs... While there may be "a really simple way" to avoid this problem, Num1UofAn, the "1,300 pounds of trash, including food, rat poison, a car battery, propane tanks, clothing, and a drip line" are unacceptable in natural forested area. Further, even when mj is fully legal, this kind of illegal crap may continue.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
July 16, 2013 at 5:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The pot that was removed was the pot that was cut that day. The pot cut down two weeks ago was never removed by the SBSO. Fact. There's $2M in pot about 200' off Romero Cyn Trail -- already picked if anyone wants some free pot. Why no one reports on that story is a mystery to me.

ooshea (anonymous profile)
July 16, 2013 at 6:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

DrDan - if it were legal, why would people still grow it illegally on such a scale as this? Do we have any moonshine operations in our hills?

sacjon (anonymous profile)
July 16, 2013 at 9:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I too am surprised the growers chose a location so near hikers/bikers. Perhaps they were in the lower part of the canyon where they had a chance to tap into the creek for irrigation? Would love to see the aerial photos.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
July 16, 2013 at 10:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

DrDan: This wasn't trash - it was stuff in use by the grower(s). The cops called it trash to create the impression that the growers had a negative effect on the environment. There's no reason to believe anything would have been left when the plants were harvested. "Trash" is equivalent to the "massive" gang brawl, which involved 9 people.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
July 16, 2013 at 10:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Probably just some Montecito kids.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 16, 2013 at 11:33 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Sheriff Bill Brown and District Attorney Joyce Dudley are responsible for this and both want to be reelected

Should they be?

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
July 16, 2013 at 12:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

14noscams: I'm going to have to, politely, disagree with you on your belief that the growers would have removed their "stuff" once they completed their growing operation. Considering they are already conducting an illegal act (growing marijuana) and they are going to be furthering that act (selling said marijuana). I think one could believe their "stuff" would most likely be left behind and become........wait for it, "trash". Plus, I have never read, seen, or heard of illegal, back country, marijuana growers being the leaders of the enviornmental movement to clean up our forests.

K_V: As far as the grow being "Montecito kids". It depends on how far the grow was away from the main trail. If it required any effort at all to get to, I'm going to say it was, most likely, our friends from another country...... Those Darn Canucks!

ChrisR (anonymous profile)
July 16, 2013 at 3:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Once again, I remind people that marijuana was legal in the U.S. until 1937.

Meanwhile, our local economy (in which the working-class struggle and still can't afford to buy a home) is based on getting tourists drunk. (Who then drive home under the influence)

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 16, 2013 at 3:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What if the plants are breeding on their own?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 16, 2013 at 3:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Sorry, ChrisR, just because they grow and sell pot/medicine, does not follow or conclude that they litter the national forest as well.

Try your Gateway Drug theory instead.

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
July 16, 2013 at 5 p.m. (Suggest removal)

People who produce and sell aspirin also don't do their dishes.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 16, 2013 at 5:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If it was legal . obviously people wouldn't go out of their way to grow in off places . It takes a lot of work . people grow outdoors so they can make money . It comes from the earth .whats the problem ? lighten up conservatives . smoke a bowl ! yeah they left trash , so do oil companies !!! put them in jail for ruining mother ocean ! america is full of a bunch of idiots , yeah youll send your babies off to fight a war for corporate power , yet you hassle people who wanna make a buck . everyone gets prescription drugs ! but something from the earth is bad , oh yeah its not manufactured in a laboratory , I guess it must be bad ! wheres the freedom you so valiantly fought for ?????? oh yeah we dont have that !

Dover72 (anonymous profile)
July 16, 2013 at 6:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

K_V: I think you're onto something. However, I think Cyberdyne Systems, aka Skynet, may also play a role in the genetic makeup of these "self breeding" plants. I'll check with Miles Dyson and get back to you.

John_Adams: I'm not sure I said, or insinuated, anything about a "Gateway theory" as it relates to my previous post. I believe any type of narcotic, prescrition or otherwise, can be considered a "gateway" drug. Just as alcohol can be someone's first step into a possible deep abyss. Anyhow, I was just throwing my 2 cents out there regarding "stuff" and "trash". From your snarky reply, you may want to consult with Maverick before landing your plane on the carrier. You seem a little spooked......

K_V, my reply....too much?

ChrisR (anonymous profile)
July 16, 2013 at 7:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Let My People Grow!!

loonpt (anonymous profile)
July 17, 2013 at 12:27 a.m. (Suggest removal)

ChrisR: Your response to my comment on the SBSO reference to equipment in use by the growers as "trash" refers to backcountry grows which involve Mexican drug cartels with growers living on the grow site, using campfires, herbicides and pesticides. You may want to reread this article - it refers to a grow in the foothills very close to residential Montecito, so your comment isn't relevant. You haven't had the opportunity to read news articles about grows similar to this in the SB foothills in which local growers, using no toxic chemicals, removed all equipment following harvest, since the growers have never issued press releases.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
July 17, 2013 at 9:15 a.m. (Suggest removal)

We must eradicate the illegal blah, blah, blah - ya see folks? The Sheriff went to that fancy FBI academy - there he was brainwashed by the FBI to somehow believe that as an elected official of SB county, instead of keeping rapists, burglars and murders off our streets, his REAL job is to eradicate a "dangerous" plant that the people of California have basically voted legal.

If you go to Sheriff Wonderfull's site (, he assures us that marijuana eradication doesn't come out of the general fund - BS, the maintenance required to keep the Sheriff's little air force flying is general fund money. End of story!

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 17, 2013 at 6:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Oh yeah, completely forgot to mention that the dead body recently found off 154 wasn't pure happenstance - the Sheriff was out doing his "real" job - looking for illegal weed and just happened to "discover" a wrecked truck. Now, if the deceased's family had asked the Sheriff to fly along 154 searching for the vehicle, what do you wanna bet they'd just get a bunch of excuses?

For all we know, somebody ran that person off the road and murdered him, but the Sheriff couldn't care less what actually happened, his REAL job is "abating" that killer weed!

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 17, 2013 at 6:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It is time to legalize pot in California and allow people to grow it legally! The Drug War is a major failure. If grown and f sold legally and taxed, this would provide a great revenue source for California. What are we waiting for?

vlhamilton (anonymous profile)
July 19, 2013 at 8:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Lets refer to spirityankers comment, Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, BLAH, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.....

Now for vlhamilton's rational, " If grown and sold legally and taxed, this would provide a great revenue source for California." Great idea, criminals ALWAYS pay their taxes and look for ways to fund the government.

Lets take your pie in the sky theory that we legalize it and tax it. THEN WHAT DO WE DO WITH THE PEOPLE WHO STILL GROW IT AND SELL IT ON THE BLACK MARKET??? Unbelievable..........

Priceless (anonymous profile)
July 20, 2013 at 7:01 a.m. (Suggest removal)

event calendar sponsored by: