MEAD VALLEY – In an effort to combat the rise in illegal marijuana cultivation, the Riverside Sheriff’s Department arrested ten suspects in a Mead Valley sweep.
According the Sheriff’s Department, the county has been experiencing an annual increase in the number of outdoor marijuana grows since 2011. The department reports than since the beginning of this year, deputies have discovered and eradicated 36,700 marijuana plants, arrested 37 suspects for cultivation, and seized more than 254 pounds of processed marijuana, along with $78,000 in cash.
The marijuana harvest season runs from April to September, and in this time period last year, the department reports the discovery of 75 outdoor marijuana farms in the department’s jurisdiction alone. The discovery of illegal cultivation led to 90 felony arrests. According to a press release, in many cases these marijuana grows took place on property that had been rented out to the growers.
The department advises landowners to be aware that California law does not allow for the growth and sale of marijuana for profit. While some individuals may have a doctor’s prescription and be allowed to grow enough plants for personal consumption, cultivating large amounts of the plant is a felony. Individuals who are discovered renting out property to growers are also subject to arrest and prosecution.
On April 30, 2015, the Sheriff’s Department made 10 arrests in Mead Valley in connection with the seizure and eradication of 816 mature marijuana plants. The department listed the following suspects who were arrested and booked into the Southwest Detention Center:
Salvador Becerra, 51, of Mead Valley
Martina Barajas, 43, of Mead Valley
Jaqueline Kelly, 23, of Mead Valley
Alejandro Verdusco, 27, of Mead Valley
Ruffino Hererra, 19, of Mead Valley
Joel Herrera, 25, of Oceanside
Eredria Ortega, 44, of Mead Valley
Those arrested are facing charges for a variety of criminal violations that include cultivation, drug possession, vehicle theft, child endangerment and weapons charges.