COUNTY The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Cannabis Compliance Team made two busts related to illegal cannabis cultivation, processing and sales in Montecito and Carpinteria on June 4.
According to a Sheriff’s Office press release, detectives made the first bust on the 4200 block of Carpinteria Avenue, where they served a warrant and located several cannabis cultivation rooms operating without state licenses and against Carpinteria city rules. More than 1,900 cannabis plants and five pounds of processed cannabis were seized.
The second bust occurred on Monte Cristo Lane in Montecito, where about 100 pounds of processed cannabis was seized along with packaging and sales paraphernalia. Also, 15 Armenian laborers were found trimming cannabis plants that originated from the Carpinteria location. These workers were not held against their will or the victims of human trafficking, according to the release, but were hired by a contractor outside of Santa Barbara County. The owner of the operation wasn’t able to be identified or contacted and it’s unknown if it was a legally operated service.
One of the two men arrested following the investigation was 44-year-old Montecito resident Forrest Buchanan, who was booked for cultivating and selling cannabis without a state license. The other was one of the laborers, 41-year-old Glendale resident Vardges Babayan, and was arrested for possessing a loaded firearm.