Sheriff Alex Villanueva Announces Crack Down on Illegal Marijuana Operations

Sheriff Alex Villanueva Announces Crack Down on Illegal Marijuana Operations

Sheriff Alex Villanueva Announces Crack Down on Illegal Marijuana Operations 1024 576 SIB Staff

In the early morning hours of Tuesday, June 8, 2021, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration conducted a collaborative operation to take down multiple illegal marijuana grows in Unincorporated Lancaster.

As a result of information received through public calls for service and multiple complaints from residents in Unincorporated Lancaster, the largest operation in the history of the Sheriff’s Department was developed to put an end to the hundreds of illegal marijuana cultivations in the Antelope Valley. Over 400 personnel from multiple Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Bureaus, the National Guard, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and members from the Kern County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County and Ventura County Sheriff’s Department were part of the operation.  

In the year 2020, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Narcotic Bureau Detectives identified 150 illegal marijuana cultivations during a flight reconnaissance. This year, the number increased to over 500.  The cultivations grew in size as well, the average size per grow was eight greenhouses and now the average is 15. Today, a 75 greenhouse grow that covered 10 acres of ground was bulldozed. Violent crime is also directly linked to illegal cultivations. Armed cartel members stealing water in the middle of the night from farmers and residents has become a common sight.

“We’re going to send a loud and clear message to all the cartels and illegal operations, ‘your days here are over and you need to pack up and leave or we’re going to find you,’” said Sheriff Villanueva.

So far, 23 arrests were made, 5 firearms were seized, 2 water trucks were recovered, and marijuana worth millions of dollars was seized from greenhouses.  Also, during the operation, seven mixed breed dogs including four puppies were recovered by LASD personnel and are now under the care of Reversed Rescue, a non-profit dog rescue organization. 


The success of this operation was possible because of the wide range of agencies that collaborated and thanks to the information collected from countless investigation hours and tips provided by courageous people who trust law enforcement.

Chief Laura E. Lecrivain has been a member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (Department) since 1995.  She oversees Countywide Services Division which includes the Community Partnerships, Community Colleges, Parks, and County Services Bureau.  Prior to her promotion to chief, she worked as a commander for Countywide Services Division and Custody Division. 

As a captain, Chief Lecrivain commanded the Twin Towers Correctional Facility (TTCF) where she was responsible for over 800 personnel and the care of 3,000 mentally ill inmates arrested in Los Angeles County (County).  The TTCF is the largest mental health facility in the United States and houses the County’s most severe mental health inmates.  

During her time on the Department, Chief Lecrivain had the privilege of working an array of assignments.  As a deputy, she worked Century Station patrol, detective bureau, and Operation Safe Streets (OSS).  Later, as a sergeant, Chief Lecrivain worked at the Men’s Central Jail, Compton Station, OSS, and Administrative Services Division.  Upon her promotion to lieutenant, Chief Lecrivain worked as a watch commander at Palmdale Station, and later at Compton Station.   

Chief Lecrivain is lifetime resident of Los Angeles County.  She holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Management, and a Masters’ Degree in Leadership from the University of Southern California.  In her spare time, Chief Lecrivain enjoys spending time with her family and Dodger baseball.  She also loves reading and enjoys running.