7 killed in shooting at illegal marijuana grow operation in Riverside County, Sheriff’s Dept. says

Local news

A search is underway for whoever is responsible for the shooting deaths of seven people at a suspected illegal marijuana growing operation in the unincorporated Aguanga area.

Deputies responded to an assault with a deadly weapon call in the 45000 block of Highway 371 just after 12:30 a.m. Monday, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department stated in a news release.

A woman suffering from multiple gunshot wounds was found at the location and transported by paramedics to a local hospital for treatment, according to the news release.

The woman was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

A search of the property revealed six additional victims, all suffering from gunshot wounds. All six of those victims also died from their wounds, according to the release.

During a news briefing Tuesday evening, Sheriff Chad Bianco described the location as a “very large, very extensive” illegal marijuana growing operation with upwards of 20 people living on the property.

All seven victims were Laotian, as were any potential witnesses, according to Bianco. Additionally, all the victims were discovered on or around multiple dwellings erected on the land, he said.

Authorities have yet to identify the property’s owner, but they believe it may have been rented out, Bianco said. 

More than 1,000 pounds of marijuana, several hundred marijuana plants and a cannabis oil lab were found at the location. Bianco said the packaged product alone had a street value of $1 million to $5 million.

Detectives believe multiple suspects were involved in the incident, but no one was in custody as of Tuesday evening, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

The shooting appears to have been an isolated incident. Investigators do not believe there is threat to the general public.

Investigators were still processing the scene and searching for potential witnesses later Tuesday. Federal authorities’ assistance has been requested, Bianco said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department at 951-955-2777.

Aguanga is located about 20 miles east of Temecula.

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