“It takes a team of law enforcement officers and environmental and code enforcement professionals to investigate and dismantle illegal cannabis operations. By doing so, they are working to protect all of us, as well as our environment and the state’s financial future. Illegal operations often bypass regulations, taxes and fees.” – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona
HUMBOLDT COUNTY – On November 15, 2021, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office announced the results of an investigation into illegal cannabis cultivation and surface water diversion near Swain’s Flat. The investigation led to the discovery of a multi-property indoor cannabis cultivation operation.
On October 27, 2021, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Marijuana Enforcement Team (MET) served a search warrant to investigate illegal cannabis cultivation in the area of the 19000 block of Highway 36. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDDFW), Humboldt County Code Enforcement and Humboldt County DHHS – Environmental Health and HazMat Unit assisted in the service of the warrant.
One parcel was investigated during the service of the warrant. The parcel did not possess the required county permit and state license to cultivate cannabis commercially. On the property, deputies located a large indoor cannabis cultivation operation powered by a 150KW diesel generator.
During the service of the warrant, deputies eradicated approximately 6,493 growing cannabis plants, seized and destroyed approximately 362 pounds of processed cannabis, 24 pounds of cannabis bud and more than 174 pounds of cannabis shake. They also located and seized $21,000 in cash pursuant to asset forfeiture proceedings.
Assisting agencies located one surface water diversion (up to $8,000 fine per day, per violation) and numerous violations related to oil/fuel storage and spills associated with a generator on scene.
While conducting follow up investigation on this case, deputies determined three additional residences located in Rio Dell to be associated with the unpermitted cultivation operation. On November 10, 2021, deputies served a search warrant on those residences. During the service of the warrant, several inactive indoor cannabis cultivation operations were located. Additionally, deputies located approximately 28 pounds of cannabis bud and over 24 pounds of processed cannabis.
No arrests were made during the service of the warrants; however, the investigation is ongoing and involved parties have been identified. The case will be forwarded to the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office for review and charging decisions upon completion.