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Large-scale illegal marijuana cultivation busted in Riverside, 8 arrested

Published On: 05-31-2016 in Category: marijuana


Eight persons were arrested and over 3,500 marijuana plants were seized recently in connection with a large-scale illegal marijuana grow operation in Riverside County’s Anza community. The seizure from a private property located off the Tripp Flats Road in Anza in May 2016 was in response to a search warrant served by the Marijuana Enforcement Team (MET) of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

A criminal investigation into illegal cultivation of marijuana led to the discovery of the suspected unlawful operation involving farming of cannabis that used indoor “greenhouse” type structures. So far, the drive that started in March 2016 has led to the arrest of 29 people and closure of 17 illegal marijuana grow operations in Riverside. More than 61,000 plants worth between $61.1 million and $605.6 million have been confiscated by the MET.

While executing the search warrant, the officers uncovered a huge plantation of marijuana that violated all state and county laws. The operation “was in violation of illegally cultivating marijuana for the purposes of monetary profit,” said the police report.

Most of the accused did not have the state as their domicile. Those arrested were booked into the Riverside County Jail. They were identified as Bountong Vatsna (46) of California; Amme Lee (32) and Thieng Sopha (38) of Alabama; Saobory Yin (35), Avelino Partida (28), May Yang (49), Thoa Lee (39) and Youa Kue (51), all from Wisconsin.

All the accused were independently charged with cultivating marijuana worth more than $500 and possessing illegal marijuana over 1,000 pounds with an intent to selling and conspiring to commit a felony. Though Yin was released after submitting the bail amount of $100,000, the other seven are still in custody.

Marijuana decriminalized in California, not legalized

California has only “decriminalized” marijuana and has not legalized it. In California, planting, cultivating, harvesting, drying or processing marijuana are still illegal. Patients and their designated primary caregivers, however, may legally possess and cultivate (but not distribute or sell) marijuana if they have a physician’s recommendation or approval.

The Riverside Sheriff’s Association is one of the seven interest groups that are a part of the Coalition for Responsible Drug Policies, one of the leading anti-pot groups of California. The Riverside Sheriff’s Association donated $5,000 in February 2016 to prevent recreational marijuana from becoming legal in California. Supporters of the coalition have raised more than $2 million to fight the legalization of marijuana in the state.

Will California legalize recreational marijuana?

Come November and California voters will have the opportunity to legalize recreational marijuana in the state. However, police and prison guards of the state are not in favor of the move and are working against it. In fact, half the money raised to oppose California’s legalization ballot measure is coming from law enforcement authorities.

It cannot be denied that marijuana has medicinal properties. However, many people also get addicted to the drug. If you or your loved one is hooked on marijuana or other such drugs, seek medical assistance from the Riverside Drug Treatment and Rehab Center. Our treatment advisors can help you get the most effective deaddiction interventions that can assist you in your journey to sobriety. Chat online or call our 24/7 helpline at 951-221-4018 for more information.

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