Unregulated cannabis sites dismantled

BOULDER CREEK — Santa Cruz County staff and law enforcement officials have dismantled two unlicensed cannabis operations in Boulder Creek, part of ongoing enforcement to dismantle illegal grows while supporting the burgeoning legal market, county spokesman Jason Hoppin announced Monday.

The operation came during the week of May 6, when state and local officials executed a search warrant on eight land parcels in the 17000 block of Bear Creek Road in Boulder Creek.

Investigators found that water from a tributary of Bear Creek was being used to cultivate the cannabis, Hoppin said.

During the investigation, authorities seized 1,079 plants. Nobody was arrested, and additional investigation is underway to determine the extent of environmental impact from the stream diversion.

State and local officials also executed a search warrant for an 80-acre parcel of land in the 500 block of Whalebone Gulch Road in Boulder Creek.

There, investigators seized 1,673 cannabis plants under cultivation inside large, non-permitted greenhouses, 61 pounds of processed cannabis, 50 pounds of recently harvested cannabis plants, 6.9 pounds of processed cannabis concentrate, gold and silver valued at approximately $67,000 and $53,330 in U.S. currency.

Investigators also found evidence of commercial sales, in addition to a loaded handgun, one loaded illegal assault rifle, one loaded illegal AK-47 and a rifle, Hoppin said. 

They also found several loaded high-capacity ammunition magazines and tactical body armor.

Investigators are determining whether the precious metals and currency were proceeds from commercial cannabis sales.

No arrests were made.

In addition to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s office, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Cal Fire and Santa Cruz County Planning Department participated in the operation.

Both cases have been turned over to the District Attorney’s Office for potential criminal charges.


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