Paralleling the efforts of adjacent counties’ law enforcement agency marijuana eradication efforts, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Narcotics Bureau proves to be equally determined to enforce the laws against illegal cannabis agriculture within its jurisdiction.
On July 15th, joint efforts between VCSD Narcotics, Sheriff’s Mountain Marijuana Eradication Team, Sheriff’s Aviation Unit, the United States Forest Service, and the California Department of Justice were rewarded with the arrests of Jorge Pucnetapi, 28, Alfredo Sanchez, 36, and Jose Fugueroa, 23, in the Pine Mountain area within the Los Padres National Forest just north of the city of Ojai.
Long an area of active illegal marijuana cultivation activity, VCSD spokesman Sgt. Mike Horne reported that surveillance of the region had been under regular aerial surveillance for the past several months, and that “during one late night surveillance, two suspects were observed walking from an identified marijuana garden.”
Pursuant to that observation, Pucnetapi was contacted by uniformed Deputies. As the other suspect fled the area on foot, Horne described to the media the untimely arrival of a motor vehicle driven by Sanchez, who “was found to be in possession of large stores of food and plant fertilizers.” Subsequent investigation into the apparent delivery of cultivation supplies led to the home of Figueroa in Bakersfield, where he was found to be in possession of processed marijuana, marijuana production equipment, and a handgun.
According to Horne, more than 55,000 marijuana plants from seven individual growing operations have been seized and destroyed in the Pine Mountain area with an estimated street value of $165 million.
Photos: Courtesy Ventura County Jail Booking
The Fillmore Gazette- Marijuana Cultivation Eradications and Arrests
Ventura County Star- Authorities Find 55,000 Marijuana Plans in Los Padres, Arrest 3 Men