Wildlife officers with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) served search warrants on five illegal marijuana grows in Trinity and Shasta counties.
A record check on each property showed no state license or county permit to grow cannabis, no CDFW Lake or Streambed Alteration Agreement had been filed, nor were any steps taken to secure any of these licenses or permits on any of the commercial-size operations.
“Illegal marijuana cultivation has no place in today’s regulated cannabis market,” said David Bess, Deputy Director and Chief of the CDFW Law Enforcement Division. “Individuals who destroy our environment and continue to cultivate illegally produced marijuana will be held accountable.”
On June 4 and 5, CDFW served two search warrants in Shasta County where commercial cannabis cultivation is prohibited. The first warrant was served off of Spootsy Drive in the Montgomery Creek area where wildlife officers discovered 1,752 outdoor marijuana plants. Two suspects were arrested, eight firearms were seized along with $12,000 in U.S. currency. The second search warrant was served off of Nathaniel Lane also in the Montgomery Creek area where wildlife officers discovered 948 outdoor marijuana plants. One suspect was arrested.
On June 6 ,13 and 18, wildlife officers served three search warrants in Trinity County. The first warrant was served off of Barker Creek Road near the town of Hayfork. Officers found approximately 5,273 outdoor marijuana plants and detained eight suspects. On June 13, CDFW served a search warrant in the Swift Creek Watershed off of Rancheria Creek Road and found over 1,500 outdoor marijuana plants. Two suspects were detained. On June 18, wildlife officers served a search warrant in the 100 block of Our Road in the Burnt Ranch area. Officers discovered 2,425 illegal marijuana plants and seized five firearms, which included a .223 caliber assault rifle.
Fish and Game Code violations for all grows included illegal water diversions, pesticide and petroleum products placed near streams, sediment discharge and garbage placed near waterways. Charges for all suspects will be filed with the respective county District Attorney’s office for consideration.
“Seemingly harmless cultivation activities such as water diversions and land clearing can substantially disrupt wildlife behaviors and severely damage the habitats they rely on to eat, breed and survive,” said Jennifer Nguyen, CDFW’s Cannabis Program Director.
CDFW’s cannabis program consists of scientists and law enforcement officers and is a critical component of California’s transition into a regulated cannabis industry. Staff work with cultivators to bring their facilities into compliance, provide assistance in remediating environmental violations, and facilitate enforcement actions with other local agencies to remove illegal grows. Learn more about CDFW’s role at www.wildlife.ca.gov/cannabis.
CDFW encourages the public to report environmental crimes such as water pollution, water diversions and poaching to the CalTIP hotline by calling (888) 334-2258 or by texting information to “TIP411 (847411)”.
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 207-7891