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Illegal pot growers targeted by Riverside County officials in second raid in 6 weeks

Illegal pot growers targeted by Riverside County officials in second raid in 6 weeks
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department seized truckloads of confiscated marijuana plants on Wednesday. (Riverside County Sheriff’s Department)

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department served roughly 80 search warrants in Anza Valley on Wednesday and arrested several people connected with illegal marijuana grow operations.

“Heavy police activity throughout the Anza Valley today. There is no threat to public safety,” officials tweeted. Hundreds of police officers from several agencies were reportedly seen in the area, and video and photos showed truckloads of confiscated marijuana plants.

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The raids come more than a month after Riverside County officials held a similar eradication effort in Anza on April 20, or 4/20 — a date typically viewed as a holiday for marijuana users. At the direction of newly elected Sheriff Chad Bianco, illegal marijuana distributors were the target. Bianco said at the time that tons of illegal marijuana were confiscated.

“We treated 4/20 a little different. ... Yes, there is a new Sheriff in town,” he wrote on Facebook.

In October, before his election, Bianco voiced concerns about the possibility of a growing black market in marijuana sales after the drug was made legal.

He has made tamping down on such illegal grow operations a clear priority since becoming sheriff.

“If you choose to grow marijuana illegally, expect a visit from us. We have changed ‘Marijuana Monday’s’ to ‘Marijuana Any-days,’ ” he wrote in April.

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