FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Statistics released by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office reveal that illegal cannabis cultivation continues to be a chronic problem in Fresno County.
While possession of small amounts of marijuana is legal for recreational use in California, deputies say large unlicensed marijuana operations remain illegal. Because these operations are unregulated, they pose dangers to the public and the environment.
Some statistics released by the sheriff’s office reveal so far in 2023:
77,200 live cannabis plants have been eradicated
2,600 pounds of processed cannabis were seized at cultivation locations
8,000 pounds of growing psilocybin mushrooms
70 pounds of processed psilocybin mushrooms
$44,000 seized in U.S. Currency
32 arrests were made related to narcotics sales and the cultivation of marijuana
55 search warrants were served for cannabis-related offenses
The following statistics are specifically related to the work of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office Drug Enforcement Unit during seizures from patrol stops, ongoing investigations, and assistance on cannabis-related offenses:
600 pounds of processed cannabis
1,300 pounds of recently harvested cannabis plants
300 pounds of THC Vape pens/cartridges
150 pounds of concentrated cannabis packaged for sale
$20,000 seized or encountered as evidence with cannabis products possessed for sales
The majority of locations eradicated in Operation Sentinel were run by Drug Trafficking Organizations that were attempting to commercially cultivate illegal marijuana for sale, according to deputies.
Officials say these groups not only produce and distribute marijuana illegally but deal in other substances such as methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, psilocybin mushrooms, and fentanyl.
Deputies say these numbers are part of the Domestic Cannabis Suppression/Eradication Program, which helps provide funding to local law enforcement agencies through the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to fight illegal marijuana activities.