VENTURA (CBS) — A routine helicopter flyover has turned up a massive marijuana-growing operation in Ventura County.
KNX 1070′s Vytas Safronikas reports sheriff’s deputies discovered the plantation north of Ojai near Maricopa Highway 33 and Lockwood Valley Road.
“One of our helicopters that was flying into the back country had spotted this plantation and they flew in this team of narcotics investigators and they spent about five hours removing more than 22,000 marijuana plants,” said Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Eric Buschow.
Investigators estimated the pot farm had the potential to yield over 11,000 tons of pot with a street value of up to $88 million when fully grown.
The plantation appeared to be a sophisticated one, complete with two campsites, an elaborate kitchen with a large propane stove, several hundred pounds of food, and an extensive irrigation system.
“This is all cartel-controlled, and what they’ll do is they’ll run irrigation lines from natural water sources,” said Buschow.
As much as 13 acres of public land was affected by the operation in addition to any unknown effects of the numerous fertilizers and pesticides used by deputies in the area.
No arrests have been made so far. An investigation is ongoing.