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Over 23,000 marijuana plants seized and 12 arrested during Operation Hammer Strike week 13

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Operation Hammer Strike

CALIFORNIA— Week 13 of Operation Hammer Strike resulted in 18 search warrants, over 23,000 marijuana plants seized, and 12 arrests, officials said.

Between November 22, 2021, and November 28, 2021, investigators from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department – Marijuana Enforcement Team (MET), along with San Bernardino Sheriff’s deputies from several different Patrol Stations, served 18 search warrants at various locations in Oro Grande, Helendale, Joshua Tree, Newberry Springs, Twentynine Palms, Johnson Valley, San Gabriel, Redlands, Pinon Hills, and Phelan.

MET personnel had received numerous complaints about large outdoor and indoor marijuana cultivations in these areas.

illegal marijuana operations in san bernardino county
(photo courtesy of SBSD Headquarters)

Over this past week, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s personnel located and arrested 12 suspects. Investigators seized 23,002 marijuana plants, 791 pounds of processed marijuana, 15 guns, and over $45,000.00 in cash. Investigators eradicated a total of 89 greenhouses found at these locations and four indoor grow locations.

The investigations revealed the cannabis cultivations were not in compliance with California’s Medical and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) and San Bernardino County’s ordinance prohibiting Commercial Cannabis Activity. San Bernardino County has a law prohibiting Commercial Cannabis Activity, which includes growing marijuana plants outdoors.  

The Sheriff’s Gangs/Narcotics Division will continue to enforce California’s cannabis laws and San Bernardino County’s ordinance regarding cannabis cultivation and distribution. Persons found guilty of violating the state law and county ordinance are subject to fines, prosecution, and seizure of property.  

illegal marijuana operations in san bernardino county
(photo courtesy of SBSD Headquarters)

Property owners who are growing marijuana or are aware their tenants are growing marijuana on their properties in violation of the state law and local ordinances may also be subject to civil or criminal sanctions. Property owners are encouraged to contact their local law enforcement or code compliance agency to confirm if cultivating cannabis is prohibited or allowed under specific regulations.

The suspects were cited or booked on charges of Cultivation of Cannabis, over six plants, Possession for Sales of Marijuana, Illegal Water Discharge, Possession of an Unregistered Firearm, and Conspiracy.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Gangs/Narcotics Division at (909)387-8400 or NARC-MET@sbcsd.org. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may call the We-tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463), or you may leave the information on the We-Tip Hotline at www.wetip.com.

illegal marijuana operations in san bernardino county
(photo courtesy of SBSD Headquarters)

LIST OF LOCATIONS:

  1. Parcel with no address, Oro Grande
  2. Parcel with no address, Helendale
  3. 14400 Block of Melrose Avenue, Oro Grande
  4. 36900 Block of Troy Road, Newberry Springs
  5. 37000 Block of Troy Road, Newberry Springs
  6. 46700 Block of Valley Center, Newberry Springs
  7. 47300 Block of Autumn Leaf, Newberry Springs
  8. 600 Block of Flohero Lane, Twentynine Palms
  9. 63600 Block of Tilford Way, Joshua Tree
  10. Parcel with no address, Johnson Valley
  11. 100 Block of Fisk Avenue, San Gabriel
  12. 12800 Block of San Timoteo Canyon Road, Redlands
  13. 15200 Block of Azalea Road, Phelan
  14. 9300 Block of Eaby Road, Phelan
  15. 15 – 700 Block of Juniper Road, Phelan
  16. Parcel with no address, Phelan
  17. Parcel with no address, Phelan
  18. 15700 Block of Silver Rock Road, Phelan

SUSPECT NAMES:

  • Somphone Lavilay, 49 year old male resident of Rapid City, SD. Location #4
  • Tune Thonesavanh, 53 year old male resident of Rapid City, SD. Location #4
  • Kiew Vogvilay, 57 year old male resident of Newberry Springs, CA. Location #5
  • Macario Santoyo, 19 year old male resident of Mexico. Location #8
  • Yaniesky Gonzalez, 38 year old male resident of Joshua Tree, CA. location #9
  • Guang Li, 52 year old male resident of Long Meadow, MA. Location #11
  • Ming Zhang, 43 year old male resident of San Gabriel, CA. Location #11
  • Yumiao Shi, 38 year old female resident of Brooklyn, NY. Location #11
  • Xin Huang, 39 year old male resident of Philadelphia, PA. Location #11
  • Ming H. Zhang, 30 year old male resident of San Gabriel, CA. Location #11
  • Brent Edington, 44 year old male resident of Phelan, CA. Location #13
  • Eduardo Carillo, 31 year old male resident of Mexico. Location #16

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