Two People Arrested, 100 Pounds of Marijuana Seized
Happy Canyon - September 20th, 2013
Detectives from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Narcotics Unit along with
representatives from the California National Guard, United States Forest Service
and Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit Copter 2 conducted a marijuana
eradication operation today, September 20, in the Los Padres National Forest,
adjacent to Happy Canyon Road.
Approximately two weeks ago, a
hunter contacted law enforcement and provided information relating to a possible
marijuana grow located about ¾ of a mile from the Happy Canyon Shooting Range.
Based on the information provided, Detectives conducted a follow up
investigation and determined there was an illegal marijuana growing operation in
Around 6 a.m. this morning, law
enforcement personnel began surveillance in the area and entered the marijuana
grow. While conducting a security check of the grow, one suspect was observed
and before he could be taken into custody, he fled on foot. As Detectives
followed the suspect, they discovered a loaded Ruger rifle that the suspect had
set down when he initially observed Detectives approaching. A second firearm, a
Remington 30-06 semi-automatic rifle was also found within the grow.
A perimeter was established
around the grow site and two suspects were taken into custody for several
narcotics and firearm violations. Detectives seized approximately 100 pounds of
processed/packaged marijuana that was being staged for a pick-up in the near
future. The street value of the processed marijuana is approximately $250,000.
The grow was suspected of at one time having 1,600 plants.
Arrested were 27 year old old
Joel Santoyo Lopez and 37 year old Cipriano Arreola Torres. Both are Mexican
nationals who entered the United States illegally. Bail was set at $50,000 each
and a request for an immigration detainer was placed.
The Sheriff’s Office wants to
remind the public that most of the illegal marijuana grows are on public lands,
these areas are generally close to hiking trails and hunting areas. If you come
into an area that you suspect is being used to grow marijuana, you should avoid
contact with anyone who may be involved and contact law enforcement
immediately. The suspects involved in marijuana growing operations are often
armed, as in this case, and potentially dangerous.
It is important to note that
illegal marijuana grows have a large amount of trash, including toxic
chemicals. These items were discovered and transported out of the National
Forest lands with the Sheriff’s helicopter. These marijuana growing operations
on public lands are illegal in all circumstances, but they also have significant
negative impacts upon our environment. The individuals responsible for these
illegal marijuana grows, cut down the native vegetation, introduce toxic
chemicals into the National Forest lands, harm the wildlife and divert natural
water supplies into naturally arid landscapes. A major focus of these marijuana
eradication operations is the removal of the chemicals, poisons and trash that
were unlawfully introduced onto our National Forest lands.
For Media Inquires Contact PIO Kelly Hoover
Business Hours: (805) 681-4100