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August 18, 2022

County destroys illegal hemp garden

Owner failed to register with authorities, police said

Police confiscated nearly 7,000 illegal hemp plants following an investigation into an illegal cultivation operation on Ladd Lane, according to authorities.

On April 14, the office of the San Benito County Agricultural Commissioner and the County Counsel’s office prepared an abatement warrant for a property on the 300 block of Ladd Lane, reads a press release from the county. Hemp cultivation is prohibited at the property pursuant to the county’s hemp ordinance.

The owner of the property, Kevin Moore of Opa Farms, had previously been given a 10-day notice in March that cultivation activity needed to cease, police said. Authorities determined that Moore failed to obey the March notice from the ag commissioner.

The abatement warrant for the Ladd Lane property was filed and issued on April 16. Also that day, Moore asked the court for a restraining order to stop the county from executing the warrant.

A superior court judge heard the restraining order case April 17 and ruled against Moore’s request, authorities said. The judge’s decision allowed the county to proceed under the April 16 abatement warrant.

About 1pm April 17, staff from the county ag commissioner’s office, San Benito County Sheriff’s Office and the Unified Narcotics Enforcement Team visited the property on Ladd Lane and abated nearly 7,000 hemp plants, which weighed about 6,100 pounds, authorities said.

The county has established a legal process for the commercial cultivation of hemp in San Benito County. The process requires registration with the county ag commissioner’s office.

No arrests were made in relation to the hemp abatement. “This was a code enforcement action to abate a public nuisance,” reads the county’s press release.

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