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Coordinated Cannabis Raids Net Arrests, Drugs, Cash, Weapons
A coordinated multi-agency operation targeted over 60 confirmed outdoor and indoor illicit marijuana grows throughout the entire county, with multiple arrests reported along with drugs, cash and weapons confiscated. Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department Photo

The culmination of a months-long investigation into illegal cannabis operations resulted in multiple arrests and the seizure of drugs, weapons and cash this past week.

The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office said the investigation led to a major week-long joint marijuana eradication operation which took place between Monday, May 31 and Friday, June 4. The operation was spearheaded largely by the Sheriff’s Office Community Resource Unit (CRU), which is comprised of a supervising sergeant and 11 sheriff’s deputies. The operation targeted over 60 confirmed outdoor and indoor illicit marijuana grows throughout the entire county.

The sheriff’s office partnered with multiple other agencies in order to make the operation run as smoothly as possible. All locations spanning many corners of the county were the subject of search warrants previously approved by local Superior Court judges.

Assisting in the operation were Northern and Southern California teams from the Bureau of Cannabis Control, specifically the Cannabis Enforcement Unit, as well as Stanislaus County Public Works, Stanislaus Animal Services, Turlock and Modesto Irrigation Districts, Riverbank, Patterson and Stanislaus County Code Enforcement, Pacific, Gas & Electric, California Department of Fish & Wildlife, S/O Special Investigations, Air Support & SWAT, Fusion Center Crime Analyst/Statistical tracking team, Stanislaus Regional 911 communications center, and Waterford, Patterson, Hughson and Riverbank Police Services.

The final statistical data of the operation included:

74,088 eradicated marijuana plants, 39,883 of which were fully budded marijuana plants, 34 grows were hauled off entirely, 25 were cut and left in-place, 36,954 were young clones, 1,687.3 pounds of fully processed marijuana plants were recovered, 46 firearms were seized, $172,347 in cash was seized, 83 people were either physically arrested, booked or issued citations for various new law violations, 26 places had their power shut-off by their respective local utility companies, 16 code enforcement referrals were made, and 13 warrants resulted in Child or Adult Protective Services referrals for unsafe living conditions wherein guardians were arrested for endangering their kids. Four Riverbank residents were among those taken into the custody during the initial investigation.

The total estimated street value of all the eradicated marijuana was nearly $100 million.

Sheriff Jeff Dirkse said, “We truly appreciate the assistance from all allied agencies who came together in order to make this operation a tremendous success. The community can rest assured we are dedicated to strongly regulating and enforcing all black market, cannabis-related laws.”

Dirkse added the sheriff’s office would like to remind the general public of the dangers which exist from illegally growing or cultivating marijuana.

Oftentimes, they are the targets of violent, take-over style home invasions where people are armed with weapons. Shootings, robberies, aggravated assaults, kidnappings and burglaries are some of the unintended victimization consequences for those trying to profit from the sales of black-market marijuana.

Other dangers associated from these types of grow operations include the environmental fallout from toxic pesticides saturating the soil, gaseous fumes infiltrating nearby structures and fungal molds growing unabated in excessive heat and humidity. Utilities are routinely stolen from others instead of paying for their electricity. Furthermore, people are often trafficked from outside the United States as a less-expensive option to provide the human capital needed to tend to the illegal crop. 

The state and the county have specific guidelines, tracking mechanisms, revenue collection means, and laws which must be followed for a legitimate or regulated business to engage in the commerce of legalized marijuana. Each of the 64 locations which were targeted during the coordinated operation chose to ignore those mandates, said authorities.