YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


1,400 Pot Plants Seized in Forest

Crime: No arrests are made in second such confiscation this month in Los Padres parkland. Value of marijuana is placed at more than $2 million.


In the second such seizure this month, authorities have confiscated 1,400 marijuana plants from a makeshift pot farm on national parkland.

The cultivation site, in a remote canyon west of California 33 in Los Padres National Forest, was deserted when authorities raided the farm Thursday morning. No arrests have been made.

Narcotics investigators with the Ventura County Sheriff's Department found food, clothing and a large amount of trash at the site, which indicated the growers had occupied the area for some time, authorities said.

The plants, ranging from 1 to 7 feet in height, have an estimated street value of more than $2 million, authorities said. They were uprooted with the assistance of the county's Fire Department.

Drug dealers and growers, many of them with ties to the Mexican Mafia, have long used the forest. Cultivators plant in April and start harvesting in September, authorities said.

"A lot of plants are growing up there right now," said Eric Nishimoto, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Department. "This is the season for it."

Nishimoto said he was not surprised growers had left the site before investigators arrived.

"They are pretty hip to our presence when we patrol in our helicopters in such a remote area," he said. "We can't really sneak up on them. They are on notice when we're coming."

Thursday's seizure follows another raid on forest land earlier this month, when authorities found more than 4,000 plants in Matilija Canyon, the largest plantation find in the county in more than four years. No arrests have been made in connection with that case.

At the site of Thursday's raid, in the Portrero Seco area of the forest, investigators also found the growers had dammed a natural-flowing creek for irrigation and removed natural vegetation to grow the marijuana.

Irrigation pipes and spent ammunition casings were also found, authorities said.

Los Angeles Times Articles