Deputies Eradicate Several Outdoor Marijuana Cultivatins-3 Suspects Arrested
7/19/2013 10:00:00 AM
Nature of Incident:
Marijuana Cultivation Eradications and Arrests
Date & Time:
July 15, 2013
Sheriff's Narcotics bureau, Sheriff's Aviation Unit, California Department of Justice ' Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP)
(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent
City of Residence
A 3 month investigation into marijuana cultivation has led to the arrest of 3 suspects and the eradication of over 55,000 marijuana plants.
In May 2013, members of the Sheriff's Aviation Unit and Sheriff's Narcotics Detectives located multiple large-scale marijuana cultivation operations in the Los Padres National Forest, along the north slope of Pine Mountain, north of the city of Ojai. For many years, this area has produced several large illegal marijuana gardens.
During one late night surveillance, 2 suspects were observed walking from an identified marijuana garden. Suspect Jorge Pucnetapi was contacted by detectives and subsequently arrested for marijuana cultivation. The second suspect fled and has not yet been arrested. During this incident, a vehicle arrived in the area and the driver was contacted by investigators. The driver, Alfredo Sanchez, was found to be in possession of large stores of food and plant fertilizers. Detectives believe Sanchez was making a supply drop to those working in the marijuana garden and was arrested. Follow up investigation led detectives to a residence in Bakersfield where Jose Figueroa was contacted and arrested after being seen dropping off workers for the marijuana garden. A Search Warrant conducted at his residence revealed one pound of processed marijuana, a handgun, and equipment used in marijuana production.
Since May, over 55,000 marijuana plants from 7 illegal marijuana growing operations have been eradicated from the north slope of Pine Mountain. Estimated street value for the seized marijuana is $165,000,000.00. Eradication teams included the Sheriff's Narcotics Unit, Sheriff's Mountain Marijuana Eradication Team, Sheriff's Aviation Unit, and the California Department of Justice - Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP), and the United States Forest Service.
The grow sites contained elaborate irrigation systems that carry water to the plants. Several large reservoirs were cut into the mountain sides and miles of irrigation hose crisscross the slope over hundreds of acres. Hundreds of pounds of fertilizers, pesticides, and animal repellants are used throughout the gardens, creating a dangerous environment for wildlife and any unfortunate hikers who happen to stumble into the growing areas.
The Ventura County Sheriff's Office would like to caution those who frequent backcountry locations to be aware that there is still illegal marijuana growing operations that have not yet been identified by law enforcement. Those involved in the illegal activity can be dangerous, as well as the chemicals they use in the marijuana growing process. If you see any suspicious activity, quietly leave the area and notify law enforcement immediately.
Sergeant Mike Horne
Media Release Date:
July 18, 2013
Captain Don Aguilar
Captain Don Aguilar