HELENDALE, Calif. — Over 9,100 marijuana plants and 32 pounds of processed marijuana were seized during the service of six search warrants, along with four pistols, one stolen shotgun, and two rifles in the community of Helendale.
It happened on July 16th and 17th, beginning at approximately 7:00 a.m., when investigators from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department – Marijuana Enforcement Team served a total of six search warrants. All six locations had outdoor marijuana cultivations on the property and Investigators do not believe the locations are linked together.
The first location in the 48200 block of Indian Trail resulted in the seizure of 1,254 marijuana plants, 29.4 pounds of processed marijuana and two pistols. Kenneth Chong, 66, and Heidi Chong, 63, both residents of Helendale were arrested.
The second location in the 17500 block of Santa Fe Trail resulted in the seizure of 807 marijuana plants, three pounds of processed marijuana and one pistol. Thomas Ryan, 78, of Helendale was arrested.
The third location in the 30400 block of Mohave Trail resulted in the seizure of 4,698 marijuana plants and the suspect is pending identification.
The fourth location in the 29400 block of Corral Road resulted in the seizure of 1,643 marijuana plants and the suspect is pending identification.
The fifth location in the 19800 block of Mustang Trail resulted in the seizure of 504 marijuana plants. Jose Marrero, 42, of Helendale was arrested.
The sixth location in the 28300 block of Rodeo Road resulted in the seizure of 277 marijuana plants, one shotgun, and two rifles. Jose Astudillo, 54, and Lydia Astudillo, 54, both residents of Helendale were arrested.
The investigation revealed the marijuana cultivations were not in compliance with California’s Medical and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) and/or San Bernardino County’s ordinance prohibiting Commercial Cannabis Activity. San Bernardino County has an ordinance prohibiting Commercial Cannabis Activity, which includes growing marijuana plants outdoors. San Bernardino County Code Enforcement personnel will assist in the notifications to the property owners to make them aware of the violations occurring on their property.
The Sheriff’s Gangs/Narcotics Division will continue to enforce California’s cannabis laws, as well as the 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.
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.
Anyone with information regarding these investigations or is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Gangs/Narcotics Division at (909)387-8400 or NARC-MET@sbcsd.org. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or you may leave information on the We-Tip Hotline at www.wetip.com.