Monday morning Sheriff’s Parks Bureau deputies were patrolling in the Tujunga Ponds Wildlife Sanctuary (210 Freeway/Wentworth Street, Sunland) when they discovered three men in a small crude structure in a remote area of the Park.
The Tujunga Ponds Wildlife Sanctuary is part of the area patrolled by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Parks Bureau.
It is illegal to be in a Los Angeles County Park after dark, let alone to build a structure and reside there. The structure had four bunk beds built into the walls, tables, shelves and even fire extinguishers on the walls. They also had a rock patio in front of the building with a barbeque and tables.
Suspect Robert Downs, a 51 year old man, said that he has been living in the Tujunga Ponds Sanctuary for over a year. He said that the construction of the somewhat concealed small shed began gradually approximately eight months ago using materials he procured from a are home repair store.
He camouflaged the entire structure down to the tire of the wheelbarrow by cutting down trees and using camouflage tarp and paint to keep from being detected by law enforcement.
During their investigation, the deputies found eight Marijuana plants growing near the structure.
Suspect Downs was arrested for Cultivation of Marijuana and for Removing Plants and Trees from a County Park.
He was booked at the Inmate Reception Center of the Los Angeles County jail and is being held in lieu of $30,000.00 bail.
Two other men, a 30 year old and a 45 year old, both residents of Sun Valley, were issued citations for Los Angeles County Code violations and released.
The structure will be removed from the park during the next two weeks by personnel from the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Departments Parks Bureau is dedicated to providing a safe and drug free environment at all Los Angeles County Parks.
The Parks Bureau polices 177 county parks, golf courses and special event venues throughout Los Angeles County.