Imagine stumbling upon a secret garden. Except, this garden is nestled not amidst the wilderness but within the confines of a suburban Thousand Oaks home, far removed from the idyllic imagery of flora and fauna. Here, the greenery comprises not of blooms, but of illicit cannabis plants, tended not by gardeners, but by brothers embroiled in a clandestine operation. This is the tale of Vilen Ayvazyan and Hovannes Barseghyan, two North Hollywood siblings whose venture into the world of marijuana cultivation led to their downfall.


The Discovery

In the calm of Ventura County, a tip-off in September 2023 pierced the veil of an ordinary residence, unveiling a large-scale marijuana grow operation. Managed by 34-year-old Vilen Ayvazyan, with his brother, 41-year-old Hovannes Barseghyan, overseeing the daily nurturing of the plants, the operation was sophisticated. When authorities executed a search warrant on February 14, they unearthed not just cannabis, but a Pandora’s box of criminal activities. Seized within the walls were four firearms, myriad items pointing to identity theft, and evidence of a meticulously engineered cultivation setup. The home itself had undergone significant alterations to accommodate the marijuana growth, including timed lighting, irrigation, and fertilization systems. More alarmingly, the electric meter had been bypassed, posing an immediate fire risk and accruing approximately $50,000 in utility losses.

The Aftermath


The seizure of 160 pounds of marijuana from the premises was a substantial blow to the operation. Yet, the repercussions extended beyond the immediate legal troubles for Ayvazyan and Barseghyan. The residence, once a home, was now deemed uninhabitable. The structural and electrical modifications made to support the illicit cultivation had rendered it so. Ayvazyan, after appearing in court, remained in custody, his fate hanging in the balance. Barseghyan, on the other hand, was released but is expected to return to court on April 4. Their operation, now laid bare, has sparked an ongoing investigation into their involvement in identity theft, adding another layer of complexity to their legal woes.

Looking Forward

As the dust settles on this case, the community of Thousand Oaks grapples with the reality of such an operation unfolding in their backyard. The incident serves as a stark reminder of the multifaceted nature of drug-related crimes, often intertwined with other illicit activities such as identity theft. For law enforcement, the case underscores the importance of vigilance and community tips in uncovering hidden criminal enterprises. Meanwhile, the brothers’ venture into the world of marijuana cultivation, albeit lucrative, has proved to be a cautionary tale of the risks and repercussions of straying into the shadowy realms of illegality.


 Explore the story of Vilen Ayvazyan and Hovannes Barseghyan, two brothers embroiled in a clandestine marijuana cultivation operation in suburban Thousand Oaks. Discover the discovery, aftermath, a…  Read More