Location: 63 Locations in Plainview, Rd 196/Ave 196 (Strathmore)

Incident Date: 08-07-15

Incident Time: 0700

Case Number: 15-60080

Victim: State of California

Posted by: Media Relations

A large-scale marijuana grow has been shut down this week by the Tulare County Sheriff's Department. STEP Unit, Narcotics Unit, Gang Unit, Ag Unit, Patrol, Detentions and Resource Management Agency worked together to serve 63 search warrants in the Plainview / Strathmore area.

On May 20th, the Sheriff’s Department’s air support unit conducted a fly over in the Plainview area. 63 separate marijuana grow sites were identified, and detectives later gathered information regarding each individual site, specifically the presence of marijuana plants.

Search warrants were obtained for each site and on the morning of Thursday Aug 6 and Friday Aug 7th Sheriff's Department Teams entered those locations.

The 4 entry teams were given a set of locations and arrived early in the morning. Upon arrival each team cleared any structures on the premises as well as marijuana groves to ensure the property was secure. The teams then investigated the legality of the marijuana grow site to make a determination of whether or not arrests would be made and marijuana plants eradicated.

The Teams work continued into the next day where they worked with assisting units to determine what crimes had been committed. Evidence was collected at each search warrant, and the Marijuana plants were disposed of.

Sheriff Boudreaux said, “Illegal marijuana grow operations drain a community of vital resources such as water especially during the drought. The Sheriff’s Office will be vigilant in addressing these illegal marijuana grow operations to keep our communities safe”

From the grow sites, 5,858 Marijuana plants were eradicated, 55 lbs of processed marijuana was seized, $11,284 of cash was seized, and 8 firearms were also located. An additional $84,000.00 was seized from bank accounts. 3 honey oil labs and 2 indoor grow sites were also located, one of which was determined to be stealing power. An investigator for Edison responded and determined a theft of over $4,000.

11 individuals were arrested. Their booking photo can be requested by calling 559-636-4655.

If allowed to mature, the marijuana plants were estimated to produce 1lb per plant. With an illegal street value of $1,000 per lb. The marijuana plants taken would have produced 5,858 lbs, with an illegal street value of $5,858,000.00. The estimated street value of the processed marijuana was valued at $55,000.00.

It is estimated that a full grown marijuana plant uses 5 gallons of water a day. The total water used in a week by the plants is estimated at 205,030 gallons. During this period of severe drought, families in small communities and agricultural areas are more dependent on their wells and local water systems to provide for them as California faces drastic cutbacks in water usage.

Questions regarding this and other details should be directed to the Employee and Public Relations Unit. They can be reached by calling 559-636-4695 or by emailing sheriffpio@co.tulare.ca.us.