For the second time this week, sheriff’s detectives searched out and raided a suspected illegal marijuana grow. The two busts were not related, said department spokesperson Drew Sugars, and information on this most recent operation is still somewhat scant as the investigation is ongoing.
At around 6 p.m. on Wednesday, October 6, narcotics detectives served a search warrant on a private property in the area of Highway 1 between Jalama Road and Highway 101 outside Lompoc.
Sugars confirmed the area had been staked out prior to the raid, and that when three cars drove off the property, detectives attempted to pull them over. Two of the cars stopped, but the third sped away and led authorities on a short chase south on Highway 1.
When the car eventually stopped, multiple people exited and scattered into the surrounding countryside. One was caught and taken into custody, as well as the drivers of the other two vehicles. Several more suspects are believed to have fled from the grow.
All of the suspects, said Sugars, are allegedly Mexican nationals. Those arrested were: Luis Castro Mendez, Yesenia Canales, and Guadalupe Ortega Lopez. All are from Bakersfield, and no bail was set for Lopez because he’s on an immigration hold. Bail for the other two is set at $100,000.
Authorities seized several loaded firearms and 300-400 pounds of cultivated marijuana in the cars worth at least $600,000. A helicopter was deployed during the operation—which lasted until around 10 p.m.—and Reverse 911 calls were made to nearby residents asking them to report any suspicious activity.