A three-month investigation led to the arrest of three suspects and the destruction of over 55,000 marijuana plants in Los Padres National Forest last week, authorities said.
Police launched the investigation in May and watched several marijuana-growing facilities along the northern slope of Pine Mountain, just north of Ojai. The area has been known to produce large marijuana gardens in the past, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department.
During surveillance, police saw two of the suspects walking from one of the marijuana gardens. One the suspect was arrested while the second ran on foot and was not immediately found, police said.
During the incident, a car arrived and the driver was found to have large quantities of plant fertilizer. He was arrested under the suspicion of making a supply drop to those working in the marijuana garden, officials said.
Further investigation led authorities to a house in Bakersfield, where a man was seen dropping off workers for the same garden. A search of the man’s residence found a pound of marijuana, a handgun and equipment used to grow pot, police said.
Since May, more than 55,000 plants from seven different growing operations have been eradicated from the same area. Police said the estimated street value of the seized marijuana was about $165 million.
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