RIVERSIDE COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT
Sheriff Chad Bianco
|Press Release:||Illegal Marijuana Grow|
|Written Date:||May 22, 2020||Time:||4:00 PM|
|Incident Date:||May 20, 2020||Time:||7:00 AM|
|Incident Location:||4955 Neighbors Blvd., Blythe|
|Reporting Officer:||Lieutenant Rob Roggeveen|
On Wednesday, May 20, 2020 a search warrant was served on a large-scale marijuana operation at 4955 Neighbors Blvd, located northwest of Palo Verde Valley College in the Blythe area. The grow operation covered over 200 acres, with approximately 360 green houses along with numerous other fixed and mobile structures. The search warrant was authored in response to information of a marijuana cultivation operation being run under the guise of a legal hemp operation. The Riverside County Agriculture Commission conducted a preliminary investigation which provided data the product being grown on the property was in fact marijuana.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Emergency Services Team (EST) secured the property and detained more than 90 people. Deputies from the RSD- Colorado River Station coordinated the eradication effort with Department members from the Thermal and Palm Desert Station, as well as the Bureau of Land Management, Animal Control and Code Enforcement.
For three days, all participating agencies under the supervision of the Colorado River Station personnel with the assistance of the Palo Verde Irrigation District eradicated and removed over 114,049 marijuana plants and other materials used in the marijuana cultivation. The environmental impact of the illegal operation is yet to be determined and is still being evaluated.
The Special Investigations Bureau (SIB) assumed control of the criminal investigation of those detained for the illegal grow operation. SIB has task force officers from participating federal agencies, including Customs Border Protection (CBP) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Those agencies sent additional resources to assist in processing those detained and to determine those responsible for running the illegal grow operation. Two principal suspects who owned and operated the land were taken into custody by Homeland Security Investigations. The remaining people detained were released from Sheriff’s custody. The investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information regarding this investigation is encouraged to contact Sergeant Michael Yarbrough with the Special Investigations Bureau- Marijuana Eradication Team at 760-921-7900.
The goal of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department is to keep all of our citizens safe while also improving the quality of life for those residing within the community. The illegal sale of marijuana poses a great risk to neighboring residents. These operations also negatively impact cannabis businesses legally operating within Riverside County. The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department has a zero-tolerance policy for these offenses. If you suspect drug activity in your area, please contact your local Sheriff’sStation.
Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s CrimeTips online form.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department is seeking applicants for Deputy Sheriff, Deputy Sheriff Trainee, Correctional Deputy, Sheriff’s 911 Communications Officer, and other employment opportunities such as clerical and support positions. If you are interested in a career with us, please visit our recruiting page or call 1-888-Join-RSD