On Friday, July 29, 2016, at 9:25 a.m., Narcotics Investigators served a two location search warrant in the unincorporated area just outside the City of Fillmore. These locations consisted of two large properties, one in the 3600 block of Grand Avenue and the other in the 2500 block of Grand Avenue. The search warrant was in regards to citizen complaints about suspected cultivation of marijuana at each location.
At the location in the 3600 block of Grand Avenue, investigators located five plots of land which contained a total of seven large greenhouses with an elaborate electrical and plumbing setup, several conex boxes and trailers being used as living quarters. Each greenhouse was set up specifically for the cultivation of marijuana and the conex boxes were being used for the storage and processing of harvested marijuana. Investigators located over 2,700 marijuana plants in various stages of growth from inside the greenhouses and outdoor grows along with over 100 pounds of processed marijuana. A group of people located on the property were interviewed. Investigators determined that they were not in compliance with California State law in regards to the cultivation of marijuana. All persons involved in the cultivation of marijuana appeared to have made no attempt to comply with any of the applicable medical marijuana laws. The owner of the land was not located on the property and failed to come forward.
One plot of land contained about 200 marijuana plants growing outdoors. A person responsible for this outdoor grow site came forward. Investigators learned that this outdoor grow site was unrelated to the other four plots of land. Documentation was provided which indicated all California medical marijuana laws were being followed and the cultivation was in compliance.
All marijuana was seized from the four plots that were out of compliance. The seized marijuana has an estimated street value of over 5 million dollars. The marijuana in compliance at the smaller outdoor lot was not seized.
At the location in the 2500 block of Grand Avenue, investigators located one large greenhouse and one conex box. Marijuana was being cultivated inside of the greenhouse and at an outdoor grow site along a natural stream bed. Investigators located over 1,100 marijuana plants and over 50 pounds of processed marijuana. Investigators also located indicia of sales, loaded firearms and an undisclosed amount of U.S. Currency. Two people located on the property were interviewed. Investigators learned that these persons were not compliant with California medical marijuana laws. Investigators also located water pipes leading from the cultivation site up to the nearby mountain range. A natural source of water was located in which a makeshift dam had been constructed to pool the natural water in order to divert it for use in the cultivation of marijuana. The Department of Fish and Wildlife responded to evaluate the effect of the water diversion on the environment. They determined that the dam has caused substantial damage to the mountain’s ecosystem and has caused instability to the mountain’s soil. All marijuana was seized from this location. The seized marijuana has an estimated street value of over two million dollars. An investigation is continuing into both locations. At this time, the names of the suspects are not being released.
The cultivation of medical marijuana is permissible under California law when done properly. California medical marijuana laws specify what qualified patients may and may not do as it applies to the possession, transportation and cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The law is quite simple to follow when an honest effort is made. Narcotics investigators follow and comply with Proposition 215 (Compassionate Use Act), Senate Bill 420 (Medical Marijuana Program Act) and the Attorney General Guidelines. The Attorney General Guidelines provide a relatively easy to follow set of guidelines which law enforcement follow for enforcement guidance and the general public may review to verify if they are in compliance or not. These guidelines may be accessed at the following website: http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/sourcefiles/Brown_Guidelines_Aug08.pdf.
The Ventura County Narcotics Task Force is made up of detectives from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Oxnard Police Department, Simi Valley Police Department, California Highway Patrol, and the Army National Guard. These detectives work cooperatively in the investigation of narcotics offenses occurring in Ventura County.