LOS PADRES NATIONAL FOREST, Calif. - Detectives with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office Cannabis Compliance Team eradicated about 4,000 illegal marijuana plants while serving a search warrant in the Los Padres National Forest west of New Cuyama on Thursday.
Wardens from the Department of Fish and Wildlife and agents assigned to the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting assisted detectives in the Sierra Madre area of the National Forest.
The warrant was served in this area in order to find and remove illegal marijuana growth as well as halt the environmental damages created by illegal marijuana operations.
The Sheriff's Office said some of the damages caused by these crimes are related to damming and diverting water away from natural waterways, contaminating lands with outlawed poisons such as carbofuran and increasing fire risk from the use of make-shift stoves, fires and other flammables.
Deputies said when these operations have run their cycle, they are often abandoned, leaving behind trash and other hazardous materials.
During the service of the search warrant, detectives and agents reported locating and eradicating about 4,000 illegal marijuana plants.
However, they also encountered dangerous chemicals. The Sheriff's Office said these chemicals can be fatal if ingested.
Detectives are coordinating with the United States Forest Service for assistance with the dangerous cleanup.
Detectives said they did not encounter any suspects during this operation.
The investigation is still ongoing.