Authorities served 10 marijuana-related search warrants in the unincorporated communities of Anza and Aguanga, chopping down more than 14,000 plants and arresting three Aguanga residents, sheriff's officials reported Wednesday.
The interagency operation included Riverside County Sheriff's Department deputies and personnel from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
According to sheriff's Sgt. James Burton, the 31 processed pounds of marijuana that was seized Tuesday, along with the 14,601 growing plants, added up to about three tons of cannabis material.
At one of the grow sites, deputies found several containers of pesticides, which have been banned in the United States "for endangering domestic animals and wildlife and are known hazards to the water table,'' according to a sheriff's statement that also said a rifle was seized during the operation.
Aguanga residents Zhong Zhuang, 50, Erming Xue, 66, and Cody McCormick, 35, were arrested on suspicion of cultivating marijuana, according to the sheriff's department.
Jail records show Xue was taken into custody on Silent Valley Road in Aguanga and booked on suspicion of felony marijuana cultivation, but released with zero bail. Custody information for Zhuang and McCormick was not immediately available.