Valley News -

By Kim Harris
Managing Editor 

Heavy police activity reported in Anza

UPDATED: 80 warrants served in illegal marijuana eradication push amid murder investigation

 

Last updated 6/6/2019 at 4:01pm

Diane Sieker

A member of the Army National Guard moves out to participate in the cannabis enforcement activity at the Riverside County Sheriff's Command Center at Hamilton High School on Wednesday, June 5.

UPDATE: June 5, 2019, 12:30 p.m.

Approximately 80 search warrants were served in the Anza Valley Wednesday, June 5, according to officials with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. The search warrants were served amid a murder investigation that began Tuesday evening.

"We have several arrests," Riverside County Sheriff's Department's Sgt. Martinez said.

The joint effort kicked off early this morning, with a staging area established at Hamilton High School, 57430 Mitchell Road in Anza. From there participants, including deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff's office, Army National Guard, Code Enforcement and Animal Control, along with other public safety agencies, made their way out to serve the warrants.

Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said that the agencies, which included more than 600 personnel, began serving search warrants at daylight.

"I don't have the exact number," Bianco said, adding that they were hoping to shut down "a couple hundred" illegal grows before the day ended.

Bianco said that he knows hat the majority of marijuana that is being grown in the area is being shipped out of state.

"They get a lot more money for it out of state," he said. "The legitimate market for marijuana is not as profitable as the black market and that is what the majority of this is."

Bianco said the residents of the Anza Valley have been overrun with illegal grows, something he hoped to change with today's efforts.

"With them comes cartels and gangs and grows that are protecting themselves from thieves and with that comes guns and gunfights and shootings and robberies and everything that comes along with it. One of the locations we were going to hit this morning we had to be at last night for a murder on the property. This isn’t a victimless crime.”

Bianco said that marijuana wasn’t a pretty little plant and they weren’t trying to take away someone’s medication.

“This is a quality of life issue that is destroying this valley,” he said. “The bottom line is its illegal.”

Bianco said that his officers were still working the scene of the murder from Tuesday night but that he could not comment on any arrests.

Police and military helicopters, trucks pulling trailers were spotted removing marijuana from the various alleged illegal grows.

"There is no threat to public safety," an earlier Tweet using the hashtag "Marijuana Eradication," said.

Road blocks, helicopters and numerous raids happening simultaneously are all being reported by eyewitnesses via social media.

But for Bianco, the answer to the problem of illegal grows is a simple one.

"Don't grow marijuana in Anza," he said.

Kim Harris can be reached by email at [email protected]

This is a breaking news story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

ORIGINAL STORY:

Courtesy photo

A Tweet posted by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department announces heavy police activity throughout the Anza Valley.

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department is reporting heavy police activity throughout the Anza Valley today, via its Twitter account.

Eyewitnesses at the staging location are reporting members of the Army National Guard, Code Enforcement and Animal Control, along with other public safety agencies, all are on hand for the joint effort.

"There is no threat to public safety," the Tweet using the hashtag "Marijuana Eradication," said. "We have no additional releasable information at this time."

Road blocks, helicopters and numerous raids happening simultaneously are all being reported by eyewitnesses via social media.

Kim Harris can be reached by email at [email protected]

This is a breaking news story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

 

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