Drought slows illegal marijuana farms in Santa Barbara County

Oct 21, 2014

One of the 18 illegal growing operations targeted by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office in 2014.
Credit Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office

Marijuana Eradication Season is now over in Santa Barbara County according to the Sheriff's Office, and law enforcement says 47,000 plants were destroyed this year as part of the program.

Sheriff's spokesperson Kelly Hoover says the plants had an estimated street value of $131 million. This year's sweep however was down slightly from last year primarily because of the drought, Hoover said.

Most of the growing operations were found on Los Padres National Forest land by Santa Barbara County aircraft. In all, 18 individual illegal gardens were discovered.

The County also had help from the state of California's Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) which is no longer state-funded according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. The US Forest Service and the California National Guard also played a role in the eradication efforts. 

KCBX requested statistics from the Sheriff's Office on the total amount of tax dollars spent on this year's campaign but was told that information was not available.