High desert marijuana raids target illegal growing operations

Police seize 1,800 marijuana plants, 60 pounds of processed marijuana and a gun

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - Eight people were facing criminal charges after deputies from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department Marijuana Enforcement Team and the Morongo Basin Station served search warrants Wednesday.

Eight seach warrants were served at residential properties in unincorporated areas of Landers, Joshua Tree and Yucca Valley.

Authorities said outdoor marijuana cultivations were found in unsecured fenced in areas.

Investigators said the marijuana cultivation operations were not in compliance with California's medical marijuana laws and San Bernardino County's ordinance prohibiting unsecured outdoor marijuana cultivation.

Police seized 1,800 marijuana plants, more than 60 pounds of processed marijuana and a firearm at five Landers properties, two locations in Yucca Valley and one property in Joshua Tree.

Facing charges were Vangkoua Cheurtong, 67, of Landers; Sackada Chanhdysouk, 75, of Yucca Valley; Alan Chanthamany, 32, of Landers; Hung Tran, age 62, of Yucca Valley; Som Hemsouvanh, 63, of Yucca Valley; Khamphone Chanthaviravong, 59, of Yucca Valley; Alaeng Inpadith, 32, of Yucca Valley; and DJ Danell Soukkoth, 25, transient from Fresno. Two other suspects have not yet been identified publicly.

A statement from the San Bernardino County Sheriffs Department said evidence found at the locations suggests the suspects did not intend to abide by California's medical marijuana laws or the County's ordinance prohibiting the outdoor cultivation of marijuana.

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