Cultivation

Tens of thousands of marijuana plants seized in San Bernardino raid

A Pacific Palisades woman was detained and eight others were arrested and nearly 25,000 marijuana plants were seized at three San Bernardino locations this week as part of an intensive investigation, authorities said.

One of the locations — which police said yielded the largest number of plants — was at a former telephone company building at Sixth and E streets in San Bernardino less than a block from the rear of the San Bernardino police station.

San Bernardino police serve a search warrant on an active, large-scale marijuana operation in San Bernardino on Dec. 13, 2017. (Photo by Rachel Luna, The Sun/SCNG)

“It’s pretty bold that they would have their operation so close to the station,” commented Lt. Mike Madden, spokesman for the San Bernardino Police Department.

Police say all three San Bernardino locations are owned by Stephanie Smith, a Pacific Palisades woman in her 30s. Smith’s home was also raided, police said.

Smith was detained but not arrested Wednesday morning. Eight men were arrested on suspicion of cultivating marijuana.

The San Bernardino locations raided at 8 a.m. Wednesday were:

  • The old telephone company building in the 600 block of North E Street;
  • A once-vacant home in the 1600 block of North D Street; and
  • A commercial building in the 300 block of South Mountain View Avenue.

The investigation began nearly two months ago, said Madden. During the investigation, police found that the July electric bill at the former telephone company building at 6th and E streets was about $67,000, Madden said. Smith had paid cash for the building, police say.

On Wednesday morning, San Bernardino police were joined by members of the ATF and San Bernardino County Probation, the Inland Valley SWAT team and Riverside law enforcement for the raid.

Neighbors who live next door said they knew something was going on in the long-vacant building. Some said they smelled pot.


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