Just about 200 tons of illegally cultivated marijuana was seized in the Hemet valley and surrounding places more than a nine-month span, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Division.

The agency’s Hemet station released figures indicating that involving Jan. 25 and Oct. 15, raids by deputies in Aguanga, Anza, East Hemet, Sage and San Jacinto netted raw and processed cannabis valued at roughly $392 million.

Sheriff’s Sgt. James Burton stated that the item, totaling 196 tons, was destroyed following the seizures.

“The aim of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Division is to preserve all of our citizens protected whilst also enhancing the good quality of life for these residing inside the neighborhood,” Burton stated. “ Marijuana cultivation negatively impacts the atmosphere in lots of techniques, such as diminishing and poisoning the water table … adversely affecting the well being of neighboring residents.”

The operations led to 54 arrests and the confiscation of 58 weapons, according to Burton.

Departmental information showed that the bulk of the raids have been performed in Anza, exactly where some residents have appeared ahead of the Board of Supervisors and publicly asserted their need to carry on with unlicensed grows in spite of prohibitions.

Critics of the raids say the county is not enabling adequate genuine growers to cultivate marijuana, pushing them into the black industry. They also say the permitting course of action is also costly.

Supporters of the raids say the illegal grows are accountable for crime, pollution and anxiousness amongst residents who really feel overwhelmed by illicit cannabis.

In 2018, the board authorized complete regulations that allow a restricted quantity of growers to apply for licenses to cultivate and sell marijuana in designated places.

The vetting course of action by the Transportation & Land Management Agency is ongoing.

Employees Writer Brian Rokos contributed to this report.