AGUANGA, Calif. (AP) — Detectives on Tuesday investigated what prompted the Labor Day killings of seven people at an illegal marijuana growing operation in a small, rural Southern California community known for its horse ranches and nurseries along dirt roads.
The fatal shootings in Aguanga, north of San Diego, represent the latest flashpoint in the violence that often permeates California’s illegal marijuana market.
The state broadly legalized recreational marijuana sales in January 2018 but the illicit market is thriving — in part because hefty legal marijuana taxes send consumers looking for better deals in the illegal economy.
Before dawn Monday, Riverside County sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of an assault with a deadly weapon at an Aguanga home. They found a woman suffering from gunshot wounds who later died at a hospital, according to a sheriff’s department statement.
The deputies also discovered six more dead people at the house that “was being used to manufacture and harvest an illicit marijuana operation,” the statement said.
A car is left parked at a house where killings occurred in the rural town Aguanga, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020. Seven people were found fatally shot at an illegal marijuana growing operation in Aguanga. The crime scene was discovered before dawn Monday, Sept. 7, after deputies responded to a report of an assault with a deadly weapon at a home in the unincorporated community of Aguanga, north of San Diego, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement. (AP Photo/Elliot Spagat)
Investigators seized more than 1,000 pounds (454 kilograms) of marijuana and several hundred marijuana plants.
While officials said they did not immediately find any suspects, the sheriff’s statement called the deaths “an isolated incident” that did not threaten people