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More than 8,500 illegally grown cannabis plants valued at more than $4.3 million were destroyed Friday by members of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Cannabis Enforcement Team, a sheriff’s spokeswoman said.

Sheriff’s detectives assigned to the Special Investigations and Criminal Investigations bureaus, assisted by wardens with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife and the California Highway Patrol, served warrants at two suspected illegal cultivation sites in the North County.

No cultivation licenses or permits had been issued by the state or the county to any of the sites, nor had the responsible individuals applied for them, said sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.

The first search warrant was served in the 6700 block of Foxen Canyon Road, where after securing the property deputies found 658 marijuana plants, which were subsequently destroyed.

There were no arrests, but detectives contacted individuals and interviewed them.

Additionally, Fish & Wildlife officials gathered evidence concerning potential environmental violations, Hoover said. 

A second search warrant was served in the 2400 block of Highway 246, where detectives found and destroyed 7,985 marijuana plants.

Again, there were no arrests, but individuals were contacted and interviewed.

A total of 8,643 marijuana plants worth an estimated value of $4.3 million were destroyed in both raids, which brings this week's three-day marijuana enforcement total to 14,116 marijuana plants destroyed with an estimated value of $7 million.

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Gina Kim covers crime and courts for Santa Maria Times. Follow her on Twitter @gina_k210

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