DELANO — Two men are behind bars after investigators busted up a major pot farm operation in Delano on last week. Ignacio Valencia, 27, and 39-year-old Juan Carlos Palacios Gomes, both of Delano were booked into the Kern County Jail for cultivation of marijuana, conspiracy. Gomes faces an additional charge of resisting arrest. Both men are being held on immigration holds.
According to the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, the arrests were the result of a five-month long investigation by the Sheriff’s Office Major Violator Unit into a marijuana drug trafficking organization operating in Kern County Two search warrants were issued and for a suspected large clandestine marijuana garden operation in the Delonegha Creek Drainage near the Democrat Fire Station on Highway 178 in Lake Isabella , and for an apartment in the 1000 block of 10th Avenue in Delano where detectives believed the harvested marijuana was being processed and stored.
On Sept. 19, detectives, with the assistance of U.S. Forest Service, Kern County HIDTA, officers from Cal-MMET and KCSO Gang Suppression deputies, served the search warrant on the suspected stash apartment. “Mr. Gomes was at the apartment and after trying to flee, was arrested by deputies without incident,” Ray Pruitt, sheriff’s public information officer said. “The second suspect, Mr. Valencia was taken into custody at around the same time after he was located at a family member’s home.”
Pruitt also said that investigators found approximately 101 pounds of marijuana along with additional evidence of marijuana cultivation at the apartment on 10th Avenue. The next day, the second search warrant was executed at the Delonegha Creek marijuana garden, where detectives found two large gardens containing 3,770 6-foot marijuana plants and an additional 40 pounds of processed marijuana. The processed marijuana and plants, which according to authorities had a potential value of approximately $15,000,000, was flown out and destroyed by law enforcement.
KERO: Major drug discovery north of Lake Isabella
Californian: Two arrested for allegedly operating large pot farms