Nearly 7,000 marijuana plants were seized and a half-dozen people were arrested during a series of raids on illegal cultivation sites in the Anza Valley, authorities said Thursday.
According to Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. James Burton, the operations were conducted Wednesday morning in various locations within the unincorporated communities of Anza and Aguanga.
The pot farms were being tended by different people, all of whom were taken into custody without incident. They were identified as 56-year-old Pasith Khamphanh of Aguanga, 37-year-old Marlyn Liddle of Anza, 46-year-old Samith Linhtasack of Aguanga, 34-year-old Edgar Mares of Anza, 53-year-old Bounma McKenyon of Aguanga and 70-year-old Vang Phommachanh of Aguanga.
All were arrested on suspicion of illegal cultivation of marijuana. However, only McKenyon was booked into jail — at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta, where he spent a few hours before posting $20,000 bail. The other suspects were issued criminal citations and released from custody.
Burton said requests for charges will be submitted to the District Attorney’s Office.
He said 6,795 cannabis plants were seized, while 2,244 pounds of processed weed was confiscated, as well as a semiautomatic rifle and a handgun. All of the marijuana was destroyed, according to the sergeant.
Deputies have been conducting raids on illegal grows in the Anza Valley for the last several years. No commercial pot farms have been issued permits in unincorporated areas of the county.
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