Sheriff Bill Brown’s newly deployed Cannabis Compliance Team swept several marijuana grows in Tepusquet on September 6, asserting they were illegal as they had no temporary permit from the state. Along with personnel from county planning, the District Attorney’s Office, and state Fish & Wildlife, law enforcement officers served warrants on the 7900 block of Blazing Saddle Drive and the 1800 block of Tepusquet Road. Illegal grows are known to be scattered all over the county, Lt. Brian Olmstead said, and Tepusquet residents were vocal during the county ordinance process about the quantity of them in their canyon.
While cutting down 1,400 plants at those addresses, investigators noticed another grow on Tepusquet Road. There, another 174 plants were removed. Other violations included grading and streambed disruptions at the sites, the Sheriff’s Office announcement stated. An unidentified 62-year-old man in Palos Verdes was served with a warrant for the Tepusquet plantings. Olmstead explained that grows were being grandfathered in if they existed before January 9, 2016, but that they had to get a temporary license from the state to grow cannabis. These sites were not registered with the state. The Sheriff’s Office also believes a false document was filed with the county for the marijuana grow.
The Sheriff’s Office is gathering evidence to provide to the District Attorney’s Office to determine charges, Olmstead said. If the grower is charged with perjury or environmental crimes, he could face fines or jail time.