“These types of operations put officers in harm’s way as suspects are often armed and sometimes have butane honey oil extraction labs on the premises. We are grateful for the officers’ work to protect our communities, our environment, and those who legally cultivate cannabis.” – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona
TRINITY COUNTY - During the week of June 26, 2022, officers with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), Trinity County Sheriff’s Office and Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office served 34 search warrants in the Mad River, Kettenpom and Zenia areas of southern Trinity County. The warrants were part of an investigation into environmental crimes associated with illegal cannabis cultivation.
Additional support for the operation was provided by the California National Guard, Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office, State Water Resources Control Board and CDFW environmental scientists.
Prior to serving the search warrants, a records check was conducted on the properties to determine what steps may have been taken to secure a state cannabis cultivation license. In all 34 cases, no county permits or state licenses to cultivate or manufacture commercial cannabis had been issued.
When the final numbers were tallied, CDFW scientists who assisted in the operation documented more than 150 environmental violations, including illegal water diversions, large scale illegal grading, sediment discharge to streams, introduction of petroleum products and trash into watersheds, and the use of dangerous rodenticides and pesticides. Many of these violations were directly impacting national forests.
“Our staff and county partners did an exceptional job in conducting these investigations in a very rural area of Trinity County,” said CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division David Bess. “The numerous environmental crimes associated with these operations is staggering but not surprising. Illegal operators of this nature are a detriment to our native fish and wildlife and those legally cultivating cannabis.”
In total, officers eradicated 84,150 illegal cannabis plants and destroyed more than 5,419 pounds of illegally processed cannabis. Six firearms were also seized and one butane honey oil extraction lab was dismantled.
Several subjects were detained, interviewed and later released pending charges with the Trinity County District Attorney’s Office.