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Ventura County Sheriff's Office
Thursday July 29th, 2010 :: 06:29 p.m. PDT


Narcotics Arrests/Marijuana Garden Eradications

Nature of Incident: Narcotics Arrests/Marijuana Garden Eradications

Location: Near Sespe Condor Sanctuary, Fillmore

Date & Time: July 27 and July 29, 2010

Unit Responsible: Ventura County Narcotics Bureau, West County Street Team

Suspects City of Residence Age

Alfredo Botello Temecula 22

Juvenile Mexico 16


In the night time hours of July 27, detectives from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department narcotics bureau, West County Street Team, conducted surveillance of clandestine marijuana cultivations in the backcountry of Fillmore. The Sheriff’s Air Unit, on a routine fly over, had discovered the garden. The garden was split into 2 sections separated by a drainage in the mountains off Squaw Flat Road North of the city of Fillmore. Squaw Flat Road is a single lane, rutted dirt road used to access the multiple oil pumps in the area and the condor sanctuary.

During this surveillance, detectives saw 5 male subjects walk from the direction of the gardens and secrete themselves in the heavy brush. A short time later, a vehicle approached this location and met with the 5 subjects. After a brief exchange, the vehicle left the area and the subjects returned the way they had arrived. The subjects approached the detectives and upon seeing them, scattered, dropping the duffle bags they got from the car. Two suspects were caught and arrested for conspiracy to cultivate marijuana and booked.

The car was followed for the 9 miles to a maintained roadway where a marked Sheriffs’ black and white vehicle was waiting. When the deputy attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver refused to stop and drove an additional 2 miles. The car then pulled over and the driver fled, jumping a K-rail and over a cliff. An extensive search of the area failed to locate the driver. In the car, a rental, detectives located 78 pounds of processed marijuana. It is the investigator’s belief the driver brought food to the 5 subjects and they brought out the processed marijuana.

On July 29, detectives went to the garden sites to seize any remaining marijuana. There they found 1138 plants, but the majority of the plants had been harvested. Additionally, approximately 10 pounds of processed marijuana was located.

Alfredo Botello and a male juvenile were arrested at the garden site. This is the second cultivation operation this year where investigators found juveniles working in the gardens. The juvenile arrested during this investigation told detectives that he had been in the garden for about 15 days. Prior to this he lived in Mexico. Wanting to come to the United States, he hired a “coyote” to smuggle him across the border. He said he went to Arizona for 1 day, the coyote then brought him to the Fillmore grow site. He was told that he could pay his debt to the coyote by working in the garden. He told investigators that he did not feel he had a choice in the matter.

Officer Preparing Release: Sgt Mike Horne

Follow-up Contact: Sgt Mike Horne 805-383-8700

Approved by:

Ventura County Sheriff's Office
800 S Victoria Ave
Ventura, CA 93009

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 805-654-9511

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