EL MIRAGE – Three El Mirage men were arrested after an illegal marijuana cultivation and cockfighting operation was located on their property. Reports from the public led deputies from the San Bernardino COunty Sheriff’s Marijuana Enforcement Team (MET) to a property at 20001 Silver Rock Road in El Mirage. On Friday, July 14, 2017, at around 7 a.m. authorities arrived at the large parcel with a search warrant in hand.
Soon after arrival, they located an outdoor marijuana grow and fighting birds. Three suspects, Jesus Lopez, 78, Alfonso Botello, 22, and Pedro Tirado, 62 were at the location and were detained. The search led to the discovery of over 1,900 marijuana plants growing on the property, which was believed to be there for several months. The grow was determined to be illegal, as were the 200 roosters which were allegedly being trained and maintained for cockfighting.
The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Rural Crimes Task Force and San Bernardino County Animal Control officers arrived at the location to recover the birds from the property. Both will assume the cockfighting portion of the investigation. The birds will also be tested for diseases by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
“The property, including the grow site, was littered with trash and had several unpermitted structures serving as greenhouses where the marijuana plants were being grown,” Sheriff’s officials said. “The County of San Bernardino has an ordinance prohibiting Commercial Cannabis Activity which includes outdoor marijuana cultivations. The Sheriff’s Gangs/Narcotics Division will continue to enforce California marijuana laws as well as the San Bernardino County Ordinances regarding marijuana cultivation and distribution. Persons found to be violating state marijuana laws and/or county ordinances are subject to fines, prosecution and seizure of property.”
Lopez, Botello, Tirado were all booked into the High Desert Detention Center for Cultivation of Marijuana. Lopez will also face additional charges of Possession of Fighting Birds. All charges will be reviewed by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office.
Anyone with information regarding this investigation is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Gangs / Narcotics Division at (909)387-8400 or the Sheriff’s Rural Crime Task Force at (760)248-6686. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or you may leave information on the We-Tip Hotline at www.wetip.com.
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