Sheriff’s Deputies in San Bernardino County raided an illegal grow operation in the high dessert, seizing nearly 5,000 plants in dozens of grow houses at a giant facility outside Victorville Thursday, and CBSLA was along for the operation.
Shortly after 7 a.m., deputies from the San Bernardino County Sheriff Department’s Marijuana Enforcement Team cleared out an Oro Grande property.
It was their first raid of the day, and although they didn’t find anyone, they knew people were just at the location. A kettle was still boiling water, a warm car still had keys in the ignition, but deputies were there to simply make arrests.
The team’s first goal was to shutdown illegal grow operations, which have become a growing problem in San Bernardino County, especially in rural communities.
Thursday’s bust was a big one.
“It looked large, but this even larger than we expected,” said Sergeant Richard Debevec, who knows these type of illegal grow operations well.
Debevec heads raids similar to Thursday’s five days a week, through the county’s Operation Hammer Strike.
The sergeant said Asian gangs are behind many of the illegal marijuana grow houses they raid, but this one was different.
“This is a Hispanic grow. Everyone automatically thinks because it’s a Hispanic grow, it is cartel related. Some are, some aren’t. Some are just mom and pop operations,’ he said.
Around the property, you can see where workers live. CBSLA found multiple sheds with beds on the ground, clothes, walkie-talkies, refrigerators full of food, a car with a scale in it. Then, in one room, there was a gun with several bullets.
Deputies said these operations are becoming more dangerous for residents.
Published: December 10, 2021
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