Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s detectives arrested a Goleta resident on Thursday, July 15, after responding to an assault report at the man’s house. There, authorities discovered 443 marijuana plants — valued at over $1.1 million — and a sophisticated indoor grow operation.
At approximately 10 p.m., said Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Drew Sugars, deputies were called to a residence on the 100 block on Salisbury Avenue in Goleta and were approached by a man in distress. The resident — 19-year-old Jackson Burns — purportedly told the deputies that two or three Hispanic men wearing masks and gloves had approached him as he walked outside to get something from his car.
The suspects, relayed Burns, chased him into his home, attacking and overpowering him. They then allegedly zip-tied his hands, covered his head with a towel, and threw him into his living room. Burns’s 21-year-old friend was also reportedly attacked and robbed of $30 in cash, said Sugars.
Deputies eventually cleared the residence and confirmed that the suspects had fled, learning that the group was last seen driving away in a white-paneled van. Burns was uninjured in the ordeal, and his friend was treated for minor injuries.
The deputies, said Sugars, then called in narcotics detectives to inspect what they thought was a grow operation. Serving a search warrant at the residence, detectives reportedly found four separate grow rooms and an outdoor area. They seized a total of 443 marijuana plants in various stages of growth and height (that were allegedly worth a total of $1,107,500) as well as scales, packaging, and shipping materials. More than $15,000 in high-end hydroponic equipment and a loaded shotgun were also seized.
Authorities determined during the course of their investigation that Burns was allegedly cultivating marijuana for the purpose of selling it, “working outside the scope of and exploiting Proposition 215/Sentate Bill 420,” said Sugars. Burns is believed to have sold the pot at $3,200/pound and to be shipping it back to his hometown in Georgia.
Burns was booked into county jail on $30,000 bail and is facing charges of cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sales, and narcotics trafficking while armed. His friend was not charged.
Sugars said that the investigation into the robbery is ongoing, and anyone with information is urged to call the Sheriff’s Department at (805) 681-4100 or the anonymous tip line at (805) 681-4171.