San Bernardino County Sheriff’s investigators found more than 1,900 marijuana plants and 200 fighting roosters after searching a large land plot in rural El Mirage Friday.
After searching the 40-acre site at about 7:00 a.m., investigators for the Sheriff’s Marijuana Enforcement Team arrested three residents of El Mirage, including a 78-year-old man, authorities said.
The suspects were allegedly growing marijuana at 20001 Silver Rock Rd. from six months to a year before sheriff’s officials received a tip about the operation and obtained a search warrant for the property.
Investigators found 14 unpermitted greenhouses at the trash-littered site, according to spokeswoman Cindy Bachman.
Several of the roosters, which were trained for illegal cockfighting, have been collected and are being tested for diseases by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, sheriff's officials said.
Jesus Lopez, 78, Alfonso Botello, 22, and Pedro Tirado, 62, were all arrested and charged with misdemeanor marijuana cultivation. Lopez was additionally charged with the possession of fighting birds.
All were cited at the High Desert Detention Center and released.
The sheriff’s department is urging those with information about the ongoing investigation to contact the Sheriff’s Gangs / Narcotics Division at 909-387-8400 or the Sheriff’s Rural Crime Task Force at 760-248-6686.
You can also leave an anonymous tip at 1-800-78-CRIME or www.wetip.com.