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Cebada Canyon residents fear for their safety due to nearby illegal pot farms

An illegal marijuana farm bust near Lompoc is rattling neighbors in the Cebada Canyon area. Residents say there are neighboring illegal pot farms run by cartels.

“Guns are present,” one neighbor said. She asked to remain anonymous because she feels threatened. “[The illegal pot farms] are just attracting a whole different crowd of people.”

This neighbor is not the only who’s had an issue with these cultivation sites.

“We had received numerous complaints from residents in the area,” said Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.

On Monday, deputies eradicated an illegal cannabis growers site in the canyon.

“They did find 1,700 plants. Those plants alone were worth more than $700,000,” Hoover said.

Authorities believe other plants had been recently harvested.

“There were hoop houses that had the capability to house thousands of marijuana plants,” explained Hoover.

Cebada Canyon neighbors said the cannabis cultivation sites are also using most of their water supply. Many of the properties in the canyon share wells.

“A family of four uses as much water in a year as cannabis growers use in a month,” one neighbor claimed.

Residents provided KCOY 12 with a June 2018 water bill that showed a nearby marijuana farm had used nearly 183,000 gallons of water in that month. In comparison, a neighboring grape farm had utilized 67,000 gallons. Other households had used between 10,000 to 20,000 gallons.

Neighbors said complaints to Santa Barbara County officials have been ignored.

“Dollar signs is what they’re focusing on,” one woman said.

The County’s Water Agency confirmed some Cebada Canyon marijuana sites have expired licenses. A spokesman said other farms have temporary permits that expire in March 2019.

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