On Friday, July 2, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department investigators arrested eight suspects for illegal marijuana cultivation in a streambed on Oro Grande in an investigation that seized nearly 1,500 plants and over a ton of processed marijuana. Of the eight suspects, six were San Bernardino residents.
According to a sheriff’s department press release, starting at approximately 7 a.m., investigators from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department - Marijuana Enforcement Team (MET), Fish and Wildlife wardens, and San Bernardino Sheriff's deputies from several different patrol stations, served a search warrant at an outdoor marijuana cultivation in Oro Grande, north of Victorville. MET personnel had received numerous complaints about the location.
MET personnel located and arrested eight suspects including: Manuel Alcara, 22, of Ontario; Cezar Ochoa, 29, of Long Beach; Heminia Padron, 42, of San Bernardino; Samuel Galvin Jr., 23, of San Bernardino; Abelino Galvin, 59, of San Bernardino; Franciso Galvin, 18, of San Bernardino; Abel Vargas, 29, of San Bernardino and Bridgette Magana, 26, of San Bernardino.
Investigators seized 1,455 marijuana plants, one semi-automatic shotgun and 2,438.6 pounds of processed marijuana (wholesale value approximately $2.5 million), most of which had been packaged in one-pound bags. Fish and Wildlife wardens will pursue felony charges of Altering a Streambed and Cultivation of Marijuana within a Streambed.
The investigation revealed the cannabis cultivation was not in compliance with California's Medical and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) and San Bernardino County's ordinance prohibiting commercial cannabis activity. San Bernardino County has a law prohibiting commercial cannabis activity, which includes growing marijuana plants outdoors.
The Sheriff's Gangs/Narcotics Division will continue to enforce California's cannabis laws and San Bernardino County's cannabis cultivation and distribution ordinance. People found guilty of violating the state law and county ordinance are subject to fines, prosecution and seizure of property.
Property owners who are growing marijuana or are aware their tenants are growing marijuana on their properties violate the state law and local ordinances; they may also be subject to civil or criminal sanctions. Property owners are encouraged to contact their local law enforcement or code compliance agency to confirm if cultivating cannabis is prohibited or allowed under specific regulations.
Anyone with information regarding this investigation is urged to contact the Sheriff's Gangs/Narcotics Division at (909) 387-8400 or NARC-MET@sbcsd.org. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may call the We-tip Hotline at 1 (800) 78-CRIME (27463), or you may leave the information on the We-Tip Hotline at wetip.com.