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7 killed in Aguanga shootout: Investigation uncovers illegal marijuana grow

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Deputies who were investigating a shooting attack Monday morning that left 7 people dead discovered an illegal marijuana grow and processing operation.

No suspects have yet been arrested, and authorities have not yet identified any of the 7 people who were shot at a home in Aguanga along the 45000 block of Highway 371, west of Anza, at 12:33 a.m.

Six people were pronounced dead at the home. Another woman later died at a hospital.

Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said in a news conference Tuesday afternoon that all seven victims, none of whom have been identified, were Laotian nationals.

Watch: Sheriff Bianco discusses the killing of 7 people in Aguanga shootout

Investigators from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department Central Homicide Unit and Hemet Station have assumed the investigation.

Deputies said evidence located at the scene indicated the location was being used to manufacture and harvest an illicit marijuana operation. There were more than a thousand pounds of marijuana on the property along with and several hundred marijuana plants.

"It was a very large illegal marijuana grow," Bianco said. "There are multiple makeshift buildings. We located over 1,000 pounds of processed marijuana valued between $1 million to upwards of $5 million. They had a nursery type place for growing the plants, a place to dry the plants and places to process the plants."

A suspect search of the area came up empty. Investigators said they are currently working on leads, and the investigation is ongoing. The FBI and other federal agencies have been requested to assist because evidence indicates the cultivation operation had connections in other states. The most telling aspect was that a number of vehicles found at the property were registered outside California

The department said this appears to have been an isolated incident, and there is no threat to the general public.

Anyone with information regarding the incident was asked to contact Central Homicide Investigator Paz at (951) 955-2777.

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Jeff Stahl

You can watch Jeff every weekday morning on News Channel 3 in the Morning and News Channel 3 at Noon. Learn more about Jeff here.


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