Agencies seize 140,000+ marijuana plants in Anza Valley, eight arrested

ANZA, Calif.- - A massive marijuana eradication operation in the Anza Valley on Wednesday led to the seizure of 140,877 marijuana plants and eight arrests, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. 

Altogether, the plants had an estimated street value of $189 million. 

The multi-agency enforcement was led by investigators from the Hemet Sheriff's, and aerial support from the California National Guard.

All told, 3,037 pounds of processed marijuana was seized, 70 tons of plants were disposed, and 27 firearms (17 rifles, 10 handguns) were confiscated.

"There are numerous businesses throughout Riverside County that have obtained permits and operate legal marijuana cultivation sites," read the release on the operation from the Sheriff's Department. "These businesses properly dispose of waste products and follow the legal process. Illegal marijuana cultivation is harmful to the environment and community."

Law enforcement arrested the following suspects:

  • 63-year-old Hien Dinhnguyen from Hemet
    • Charge: 11358 HS Cultivate Marijuana
  •  48-year-old Guoyong Jiang from Rosemead
    •     Charge 182 PC Conspiracy
  • 61-year-old Quynn Hoang from Oakland
        Charge: 182 PC Conspiracy
  •  44-year-old Dehvi Zheng from Anza
    • Charge: 11358 HS Cultivate Marijuana
  • 64-year-old Tieu Hoang from Oakland
    •  Charge: 11358 HS Cultivate Marijuana
  •  66-year-old Fu Cnang from Aguanga
    • Charge: 182 PC Conspiracy
  • 31-year-old Zhenfu Lin from Anza
    • Charge: 11358 HS Cultivate Marijuana        
  •  33-year-old Felix Hernan from Mexico
    • Charge: 1551 PC Fugitive

Mugshots were not provided for Hien Dinhnguyen, Felix Hernan, or Fu Cnang. 

The Sheriff's Department thanked 22 different  agencies for their "assistance and partnership" in conducting the sweep: San Diego County Sheriff, Orange County Sheriff, Los Angeles County Sheriff, Kern County Sheriff, Riverside County District Attorney's Office, Riverside Police, Hemet Police, Murrieta Police, Cathedral City Police, Riverside County Gang Task Force, PACT Team, Coachella Valley Narcotic Task Force, CA Fish and Game, FBI, US Drug Enforcement Administration, Cal Fire, American Medical Response, Riverside County Animal Services, CA Water Board, Riverside County Code Enforcement, and the Riverside Sheriff's Association, and the California Army National Guard. 

700 law enforcement officers assisted with the operation. 


One area resident spoke to News Channel 3's Jake Ingrassia on the day of the operation. 

"It's probably one of the number one money-makers in our area, it might even be in the whole southern part of the state," said the Anza man. 

The resident didn't want to be identified out of fear of the people behind those illegal grows. 

"Cartels would be my way of putting it," he said.

The man also expressed concerns about the potential effects the grows could have on the water sources locally. 

"They're using all the water," he continued. "Everybody out here is on a well, and they deplete your resources because your well will end up running dry because you run adjacent to these growers on industrial scale."

Search warrants were served at the locations of over 118 illegal marijuana grow operations across the 265-square-mile Anza Valley. 


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