Location: 24 locations in Pixley, Teviston and Earlimart area

Incident Date: 07-22-16

Incident Time: 0700 hours

Case Number: 16-60707

Victim: State of California

Posted by: Dispatch

A large-scale marijuana grow operation has been shut down this week in the communities of Pixley, Teviston and Earlimart. Personnel with Tulare County Sheriff's STEP / Narcotics Units/HIDTA (Teams) and the Resource Management Agency worked together to serve 24 search warrants in the Pixley area.


After receiving numerous citizen complaints about marijuana grows in the Pixley area, Detectives began to investigate. After compiling a list received by citizens and patrol, the grows were confirmed and search warrants for all properties were written.


During the 2-day operation, detectives and assisting personnel eradicated 4,979 marijuana plants, located a honey oil lab, seized over $17,000 in US Currency, seized eight firearms (including two assault rifles). In total, nine arrests were made, with an additional seven to follow (pending contact). In one of the residence, CWS was called to assist as the owner was charged with child endangerment.


If the marijuana plants would have been allowed to mature and yielded at minimum one pound of processed marijuana, the estimated illegal street value of the marijuana would be $1,000 per pound. In total, if allowed to mature, the plants would have had an illegal street value of more than $4 million.


Eight subjects were arrested and found to be illegally cultivating marijuana and in possession of marijuana for sales.


 Oscar Vargas (39 YOA) -Huntington Park area

Alfonso Vargas (60 YOA) -Huntington Park area

Shelly Soriano (47 YOA)-Teviston area

Javier Martin Jr (46 YOA) -Pixley area

Mauricio Isamael Aguilar (31YOA) -Pixley area- has an additional charge of Honey Oil Lab.

Rafael  Acevedo-Valencia (31YOA) -Teviston area-has an additional charge of possession of an illegal assault rifle

Ruben Hernandez (61YOA)- Earlimart area

Rogelio Ramos (58 YOA) -Earlimart area

Jose Luis Franco (28) Pixley area- has an additional child endangerment charge


An average outdoor marijuana plant can consume approximately five gallons of water per day.  Considering California’s current water crisis, the total marijuana plants seized were consuming approximately 24,895 gallons of water per day.


Anyone with more information regarding this investigation is urged to contact the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office at 559-733-6218 or anonymously at tcso@tipnow.com or by text or voicemail at 559-725-4194.