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CDFW Serves Search Warrants on Illegal Marijuana Grows in Trinity and Shasta Counties

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)”.

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Media Contact:
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 207-7891

 

CDFW Shuts Down Illegal Marijuana Grows in Lake County

Wildlife officers at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) shut down two illegal marijuana grows on private property in Lake County.

A record check on both properties showed no state license to grow cannabis, no county cultivation permit, no CDFW Lake or Streambed Alteration Agreement had been filed nor were there any steps taken to secure any of these licenses or permits on the two commercial-size operations.

“Illegal marijuana grows of this nature are known for stealing water and causing great environmental harm to California’s fish and wildlife,” said David Bess, Deputy Director and Chief of the CDFW Law Enforcement Division. “CDFW supports cultivators who comply with applicable state and local laws and take action to prevent environmental impacts.”

On May 21, CDFW officers served a search warrant in Lower Lake with approximately 6,000 outdoor marijuana plants. Four suspects were arrested. On May 29, wildlife officers served another search warrant in Upper Lake with approximately 400 outdoor marijuana plants. One suspect was arrested and a stolen firearm was recovered.

Combined Fish and Game Code violations include illegal water diversions, pesticide and petroleum products placed near streams and garbage placed near waterways. Charges for all suspects will be filed with the county District Attorney’s office for consideration.

CDFW would like to remind 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 “CALTIP” followed by a space and the desired message, to 847411 (tip411).

Media Contact:
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 207-7891

State Agencies Host Four Cannabis Permitting Workshops in May and June

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) are hosting several cannabis permitting workshops in May and June.

“These free events are designed to help cultivators through the state licensing process,” said James Rosauer, CDFW Cannabis Program Supervisor. “Participants can ask specific project questions and meet staff face to face. There is no better time to get help with a state cultivator license.”

CDFA will provide an overview of the state’s cannabis cultivation licensing program and review the requirements for a cannabis farming license. CDFW will cover Lake and Streambed Alteration agreements and how to limit environmental impacts. SWRCB will review policy and permitting, and other important information. Computers will be available for applicants to apply for water permits. Other agencies may include CAL FIRE, the Department of Pesticide Regulation, the Franchise Tax Board among city and county representatives.

These free workshops are ideal for new and existing cannabis cultivators, and those interested in the topic. Attendees will have time to talk with state agency staff about individual projects after the presentations.

The free workshops are scheduled on the following dates and times.

Thursday, May 9
10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (presentations begin at 10:30 a.m.)
Arts and Community Building
10400 Heather Avenue
California City

Tuesday, May 14
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (presentations begin at 10:30 a.m.)
Mateel Community Center
59 Rusk Lane
Redway

Thursday, May 16
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (presentations begin at 10:30 a.m.)
County Library Community Room
995 Palm Street
San Luis Obispo

Tuesday, June 25
10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (presentations begin at 10:30 a.m.)
Natural Resources Building – First floor auditorium
1416 Ninth Street
Sacramento

All state agencies encourage cannabis cultivators to obtain all necessary state licenses and county permits, as well as implement best management practices to reduce environmental impacts. Following these recommendations can help cultivators avoid common pitfalls that may lead to enforcement actions.

To learn more about CDFW’s role in cannabis cultivation, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/cannabis or email AskCannabis@wildlife.ca.gov.

To report environmental crimes or a black market grow, please call the CalTIP hotline at (888) 334-2258 or text “CALTIP” followed by a space and the desired message, to 847411 (tip411).

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Woman Sentenced For Environmental Crimes in Lake County

Dead Birds and Banned Pesticide Found At Unlicensed Marijuana Grow

On March 11, Elizabeth Garcia, 33, of Fairfield was sentenced to three misdemeanor violations relating to the use of a banned pesticide at a Lower Lake black market marijuana grow.

Garcia was placed on three years probation, ordered to pay fines and fees of $22,700 and complete 240 hours of community service. In addition, she has prohibitions related to cannabis possession and cultivation.Lake County woman

The violations stem from a Sept. 2018 investigation by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) for black market sales and environmental crimes. The illegal grow contained 850 plants and was not permitted by the county or licensed by the state.

“The conviction of this case was a result of a team effort with CDFW scientists and enforcement, SWRCB, U.C. Davis Veterinary Medicine and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation,” said Susan J. Krones, Lake County District Attorney. “The abundance of natural resources in our county should be respected and treated with care. This conviction demonstrates that noncompliance with state environmental laws will not be tolerated.”

While serving a search warrant, wildlife officers observed the presence of a suspected illegal substance and a dead bird, identified as a hermit thrush, found within the cultivation site and another bird carcass nearby.  Plant samples and the deceased bird were tested and both returned positive for carbofuran.

“Black market marijuana operations can be very harmful to the environment,” said David Bess, Deputy Director and Chief of the CDFW Law Enforcement Division. “Grows of this nature are a public safety threat and keep the legal cannabis market from reaching its full potential.”

Carbofuran has been banned in the United States since 2009. A single aspirin-sized tablet of carbofuran is toxic enough to kill 20,000 small birds and just a teaspoon can kill a 300-lb. black bear.

CDFW encourages cannabis operators to obtain state licenses and local authorization for commercial cultivation. Learn more at wildlife.ca.gov/cannabis.

CDFW would like to remind the public to report environmental crimes such as water pollution, illegal water diversions and poaching to the CalTIP hotline by calling (888) 334-2258 or by texting “CALTIP” followed by a space and the desired message, to 847411 (tip411).

Media Contact:
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 207-7891

 

Wildlife Officers Seize Firearms and More at Black Market Marijuana Operation in Hayfork

Last month, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), assisted by the Trinity County Sheriff’s Department, served a search warrant at a private parcel in the Hayfork area of Trinity County. 

The warrant was based on evidence of black market marijuana sales, environmental crimes and other criminal activity. CDFW also verified that the private property and parties involved were not licensed by the state to commercially grow and/or produce cannabis products.

Officers seized five firearms, 455 pounds of processed marijuana, 1,540 grams of Butane Honey Oil (BHO) and equipment for a BHO lab. Along with this, wildlife officers found evidence of black market marijuana being shipped across state lines.

“There is no doubt that black market marijuana operations prevent California’s legal cannabis market from thriving and encourage other criminal behavior,” said David Bess, Deputy Director and Chief of the CDFW Law Enforcement Division. “Shutting down an operation of this nature is one of the many tasks that wildlife officers encounter when protecting California’s natural resources.”

The Trinity County District Attorney’s office is reviewing five felony charges against the two suspects.

CDFW reminds cannabis cultivators to obtain state licenses and local authorization for commercial cultivation. Following these recommended actions can help cultivators avoid common pitfalls that may lead to enforcement actions. Learn more at wildlife.ca.gov/cannabis.

CDFW would like to remind 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 “CALTIP” followed by a space and whatever the desired message, to 847411 (tip411).

Media Contact: Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 207-7891