Valley Center illegal grow operation
The large- scale illegal marijuana-cultivation operation in Valley Center. Courtesy San Diego Sheriff’s Department

Sheriff’s personnel raided and shuttered a large-scale illegal marijuana-cultivation operation this week in the far northern reaches of San Diego County, authorities reported Friday.

A SWAT team served a warrant at the unlicensed grow site in the 10000 block of Via Patricio in Valley Center about 3 p.m. Wednesday, according to the county Sheriff’s Department.

While searching the facility, deputies detained three people and seized 600 live marijuana plants along with roughly nine pounds of concentrated cannabis, two pounds of processed marijuana, a half-pound of hashish and 15 grams of psilocybin mushrooms, said Sgt. Nick Backouris of the sheriff’s Marijuana Enforcement Team.

The estimated street value of the confiscated contraband is about $675,000, Backouris said.

Such unlawful cannabis farms have “many negative impacts on the surrounding community and environment,” the sergeant said.

“All too often, structures used for illegal marijuana-cultivation operations are haphazardly constructed, (violating) industry safety standards and posing significant hazards to anyone working in the facilities,” Backouris said. “In this instance, code-compliance officers noted numerous hazards, both structurally and electrically, resulting in San Diego Gas & Electric being requested to cut power to all structures on the property until the entirety of the property is permitted and can pass building inspection.”

City News Service contributed to this article.